Table of Contents May 2015


Ailments like heart disease and diabetes have become all too common since humans shifted from hunter-gatherers to desk jockeys over the millennia. Natural selection can’t keep pace with our cushy, sedentary lifestyles, and our cover story explores the health implications of human "dysevolution."

Plus we talk with scientists working to cure addiction by rewiring the brain, and we’ll take you into the operating room to show you how it works. And evidence deep beneath Arizona’s Painted Desert could rewrite long-held theories about dinosaur evolution.

You’ll also meet the bacteria that hitch rides on airplanes, get an unprecedented view of the seafloor, and learn about an ambitious plan to genetically modify a whole species of mosquito — all in this issue of Discover

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Today's humans are afflicted with ailments that virtually didn't exist for our nomadic forbears. Can we adapt our way out of them?
Researchers have begun to pinpoint the detailed circuitry that governs addiction. By rewiring those connections, they just might serve up a cure.
Ancient stone beneath the Arizona desert could answer long-standing questions about dinosaur evolution — and hint at our solar system's possible fate.
The trauma of a concussion left me struggling to reclaim my mind — and my life.


A remarkable scheme to alter the pest’s DNA could change the disease-carrying species for the better — or wipe them off the Earth.
Exercise-induced pain stops a healthy baby boomer in his tracks. Is his heart telling him to slow down?
Thanks to Google Earth and other open-access imagery, amateur archaeologists are making spectacular finds — but what are we losing?
The biggest structure in the universe has been mapped, offering a whole new way to think about "you are here."
Humans continue to seek after it, but other life forms have already achieved it.


Exploring the latest applications of aural research techniques.
It's possible to convert carbon dioxide to oxygen in just one step.
Physicists spur flocking behavior in a lifeless system.
Soot emissions, a major cause of Arctic melting, were historically higher than previously thought.
Used cigarette filters could provide useful energy storage material.
Photos from the Rosetta mission reveal some interesting features on the surface of Comet 67P.
Viruses and bacteria can persist on airplane surfaces for days, researchers find.
Thousands of previously unknown features have been identified from above.
Harnessing fire may have propelled human evolution in more ways than previously believed.
A microbiologist goes deep underground to explore what happens in the absence of radiation.
From the beating of our hearts to the chemistry of our brains, scientists are taking advantage of our bodies' natural energy sources.
Labs don't yet exist, but the technology has come a long way.
We round up the science books you should make sure to check out this month.