Table of Contents November 2016


Long ago, a special population of mammoths once called an island in the Bering Sea home. Now, researchers are digging into the mud at St. Paul Island to discover what drove them to extinction. Then, meet James Allison, a doctor who is fighting cancer his own way: hacking patients' immune systems. Learn how he is changing the cancer game.

You'll also get a close-up glimpse at an ambitious and innovative project to send nanospacecraft Alpha Centauri, our closest neighboring star system. Find out why it's so hard to resist the office doughnuts, and see why researchers are racing against the clock to study long-lost lunar data before it disappears. It's time to dig into the November issue of Discover!

Digital editions


Half a billion years ago, a creature slithered across the seafloor for the first time. It may have launched an evolutionary arms race.
A fleet of tiny probes could reach the nearest star system within our lifetime.
The Ice Age giants of St. Paul Island outlived those on the mainland for millennia. What finally drove them to extinction?
How an iconoclastic cancer researcher gamed the immune system and unleashed a potent new weapon against the disease.


Severe belly pain lands a young woman in the hospital not once but three times — yet abdominal scans find nothing.
To lose that extra weight, think less about food and more about environment.
Lab-grown comets and hydrothermal vents are helping scientists unravel life’s strange origins on a young, sterile Earth.
Long before the Silk Road or the Roman Empire, the Indian Ocean was awash with commerce.
Environment? Genetics? Why does heart disease strike so many more African-Americans?
Researchers scour old labs and archives, looking for invaluable lunar data before it’s too late.
The Romans built ones that have stood the test of time. And they can even entertain us, in a sense.


Bacteria branch out on this updated phylogenetic diagram.
The death throes of nearby stars might have influenced evolution on Earth.
Now approaching a wolverine’s maximum life expectancy, this could be his last winter.
A small frog in a dark rainforest gives one scientist hope for endangered amphibians.
How a bulge of volcanoes shaped the Red Planet.
Explore the alien landscape of Earth’s nearest neighbor.
A student calculates a more realistic answer to a classic physics homework problem.
CSI: Britain, dogs and cats and space, man.