This week in science

James Webb Telescope ready for launch and more: Understand the world through 7 images

ESA/CNES

Alex Wong/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Here are the week’s biggest science stories, told through 7 stunning images.

Connie Allen

7. Calming presence

Connie Allen

December 22

Researchers determined that young male elephants are less aggressive in the presence of older males. The findings suggest poachers who target older males for their tusks could increase the chances of elephants attacking humans.

Connie Allen

6. Out of hiding

WEHI

December 21

Researchers discovered how Toxoplasma parasites disable host cells’ ability to alert the immune system. The finding could help scientists understand how latent infections hide in the body.

WEHI

5. Report from Ryugu

JAXA

December 21

Scientists released the first analyses of the Ryugu asteroid samples — captured by the Hayabusa 2 spacecraft. They suggest near-Earth asteroids may be too fragile to survive Earth’s atmosphere if they ever crossed our path.

JAXA

4. Which came first?

Lida Xing

December 21

Researchers in China discovered an exceptionally well-preserved oviraptorosaur embryo, positioned in the same “tucking” posture as a chicken in its egg. The rare fossil sheds light on when modern bird behavior arose in their dinosaur ancestors.

Xing et al./iScience

3. Packed away

ESA/CNES/Arianespace

December 17

Engineers placed the James Webb Space Telescope into the Ariane 5 rocket fairing in preparation for launch. The launch is delayed yet again to December 25 at the earliest.

ESA/CNES/Arianespace

2. Sourcing silver

Jean Milot

December 16

Researchers identified possible sources of silver used in Roman coins in the Iberian Peninsula. Unearthing these silver mines helps shed light on the geopolitical landscape in the ancient world.

Jean Milot

December 16

Researchers identified the first “true millipede” in Australia. It’s the first creature discovered with more than 1,000 legs — 1,306 to be precise. Mining in its habitat means the millipede could already be in danger of extinction.

P. Marek, et al. SCIENTIFIC REPORTS (2021)