Volume 581 Issue 7806, 7 May 2020

A trick of the tail

The cover shows an artist’s impression of the giant theropod Spinosaurus aegyptiacus. Like other non-avian dinosaurs, spinosaurs are usually thought of as largely land-dwelling, but it has been suggested that some of them may have been semi-aquatic — an idea that has proved controversial. In this week’s issue, Nizar Ibrahim and his colleagues present a Spinosaurus fossil with a uniquely shaped tail that seems to be adapted for propulsion in water. The remains were found in the 97-million-year-old Kem Kem beds of southeastern Morocco and represent the most complete skeleton of a Cretaceous theropod found in mainland Africa to date. The flexible tail has very tall neural spines and would have been capable of extensive left-to-right movement. Modelling studies by the researchers suggest that the tail would have created significant thrust, indicating that Spinosaurus could have moved through water in a similar manner to modern crocodiles.

Cover image: Davide Bonadonna & Fabio Manucci (modelling and final composition), DI.MA. Dino Makers (colour design).

This Week

News in Focus

Books & Arts

Opinion

Work

Research

    News & Views

  • News & Views |

    People who carry the gene variant APOE4 are at higher-than-average risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. It emerges that this variant is linked to defects in the blood–brain barrier and subsequent cognitive decline.

    • Makoto Ishii
    •  & Costantino Iadecola
  • News & Views |

    An elusive type of atom known as pionic helium has been directly excited by laser light for the first time. The work establishes a promising experimental platform for probing fundamental physics.

    • Niels Madsen
  • News & Views |

    Pancreatic cancer does not respond to certain anticancer treatments that boost immune responses. A mechanism active in tumour cells that contributes to this evasion of immune targeting has been uncovered.

    • Anirban Maitra
  • News & Views |

    Highly charged ions could form the basis of the next generation of ultra-precise clocks, using electronic transitions in the ions as the ‘pendulum’. An ingenious method for characterizing such transitions has been reported.

    • Marianna S. Safronova
  • Articles

  • Article |

    Long-lived pionic helium atoms (composed of a helium-4 nucleus, an electron and a negatively charged pion) are synthesized in a superfluid-helium target, as confirmed by laser spectroscopy involving the pion-occupied orbitals.

    • Masaki Hori
    • , Hossein Aghai-Khozani
    • , Anna Sótér
    • , Andreas Dax
    •  & Daniel Barna
  • Article |

    Penning trap mass spectrometry is used to measure the electronic transition energy from a long-lived metastable state to the ground state in highly charged rhenium ions with a precision of 10−11.

    • R. X. Schüssler
    • , H. Bekker
    • , M. Braß
    • , H. Cakir
    • , J. R. Crespo López-Urrutia
    • , M. Door
    • , P. Filianin
    • , Z. Harman
    • , M. W. Haverkort
    • , W. J. Huang
    • , P. Indelicato
    • , C. H. Keitel
    • , C. M. König
    • , K. Kromer
    • , M. Müller
    • , Y. N. Novikov
    • , A. Rischka
    • , C. Schweiger
    • , S. Sturm
    • , S. Ulmer
    • , S. Eliseev
    •  & K. Blaum
  • Article |

    SQUID-on-tip tomographic imaging of Landau levels in magic-angle graphene provides nanoscale maps of local twist-angle disorder and shows that its properties are fundamentally different from common types of disorder.

    • A. Uri
    • , S. Grover
    • , Y. Cao
    • , J. A. Crosse
    • , K. Bagani
    • , D. Rodan-Legrain
    • , Y. Myasoedov
    • , K. Watanabe
    • , T. Taniguchi
    • , P. Moon
    • , M. Koshino
    • , P. Jarillo-Herrero
    •  & E. Zeldov
  • Article |

    Aluminium- and gallium-doped iron compounds show a large anomalous Nernst effect owing to a topological electronic structure, and their films are potentially suitable for designing low-cost, flexible microelectronic thermoelectric generators.

    • Akito Sakai
    • , Susumu Minami
    • , Takashi Koretsune
    • , Taishi Chen
    • , Tomoya Higo
    • , Yangming Wang
    • , Takuya Nomoto
    • , Motoaki Hirayama
    • , Shinji Miwa
    • , Daisuke Nishio-Hamane
    • , Fumiyuki Ishii
    • , Ryotaro Arita
    •  & Satoru Nakatsuji
  • Article |

    Wall-free liquid channels surrounded by an immiscible magnetic liquid can be used to create liquid circuitry or to transport human blood without damaging the blood cells by moving permanent magnets.

    • Peter Dunne
    • , Takuji Adachi
    • , Arvind Arun Dev
    • , Alessandro Sorrenti
    • , Lucas Giacchetti
    • , Anne Bonnin
    • , Catherine Bourdon
    • , Pierre H. Mangin
    • , J. M. D. Coey
    • , Bernard Doudin
    •  & Thomas M. Hermans
  • Article |

    Over the past 18,000 years, the residence time and amount of soil carbon stored in the Ganges–Brahmaputra basin have been controlled by the intensity of Indian Summer Monsoon rainfall, with greater carbon destabilization during wetter, warmer conditions.

    • Christopher J. Hein
    • , Muhammed Usman
    • , Timothy I. Eglinton
    • , Negar Haghipour
    •  & Valier V. Galy
  • Article |

    Discovery that the giant theropod dinosaur Spinosaurus has a large flexible tail indicates that it was primarily aquatic and swam in a similar manner to extant tail-propelled aquatic vertebrates.

    • Nizar Ibrahim
    • , Simone Maganuco
    • , Cristiano Dal Sasso
    • , Matteo Fabbri
    • , Marco Auditore
    • , Gabriele Bindellini
    • , David M. Martill
    • , Samir Zouhri
    • , Diego A. Mattarelli
    • , David M. Unwin
    • , Jasmina Wiemann
    • , Davide Bonadonna
    • , Ayoub Amane
    • , Juliana Jakubczak
    • , Ulrich Joger
    • , George V. Lauder
    •  & Stephanie E. Pierce
  • Article |

    Breakdown of the blood–brain barrier in individuals carrying the ε4 allele of the APOE gene, but not the ε3 allele, increases with and predicts cognitive impairment and is independent of amyloid β or tau pathology.

    • Axel Montagne
    • , Daniel A. Nation
    • , Abhay P. Sagare
    • , Giuseppe Barisano
    • , Melanie D. Sweeney
    • , Ararat Chakhoyan
    • , Maricarmen Pachicano
    • , Elizabeth Joe
    • , Amy R. Nelson
    • , Lina M. D’Orazio
    • , David P. Buennagel
    • , Michael G. Harrington
    • , Tammie L. S. Benzinger
    • , Anne M. Fagan
    • , John M. Ringman
    • , Lon S. Schneider
    • , John C. Morris
    • , Eric M. Reiman
    • , Richard J. Caselli
    • , Helena C. Chui
    • , Julia TCW
    • , Yining Chen
    • , Judy Pa
    • , Peter S. Conti
    • , Meng Law
    • , Arthur W. Toga
    •  & Berislav V. Zlokovic
  • Article |

    In mouse models of central nervous system injury, Htt is shown to be a key component of the regulatory program associated with reversion of the neuronal transcriptome to a less-mature state.

    • Gunnar H. D. Poplawski
    • , Riki Kawaguchi
    • , Erna Van Niekerk
    • , Paul Lu
    • , Neil Mehta
    • , Philip Canete
    • , Richard Lie
    • , Ioannis Dragatsis
    • , Jessica M. Meves
    • , Binhai Zheng
    • , Giovanni Coppola
    •  & Mark H. Tuszynski
  • Article |

    A set of five small molecules can induce the transformation of fibroblasts into rod photoreceptor-like cells, which can partially restore pupil reflex and visual function when transplanted into a rod degeneration mouse model.

    • Biraj Mahato
    • , Koray Dogan Kaya
    • , Yan Fan
    • , Nathalie Sumien
    • , Ritu A. Shetty
    • , Wei Zhang
    • , Delaney Davis
    • , Thomas Mock
    • , Subrata Batabyal
    • , Aiguo Ni
    • , Samarendra Mohanty
    • , Zongchao Han
    • , Rafal Farjo
    • , Michael J. Forster
    • , Anand Swaroop
    •  & Sai H. Chavala
  • Article |

    Characterization of 22-nucleotide short interfering RNAs in plants finds that they accumulate in response to environmental stress, causing translational repression, inhibition of plant growth and enhanced stress responses.

    • Huihui Wu
    • , Bosheng Li
    • , Hiro-oki Iwakawa
    • , Yajie Pan
    • , Xianli Tang
    • , Qianyan Ling-hu
    • , Yuelin Liu
    • , Shixin Sheng
    • , Li Feng
    • , Hong Zhang
    • , Xinyan Zhang
    • , Zhonghua Tang
    • , Xinli Xia
    • , Jixian Zhai
    •  & Hongwei Guo
  • Article | | Open Access

    Pneumococcal and rotavirus vaccines have reduced antibiotic consumption substantially among children under five years old in low- and middle-income countries; however, this effect could be doubled if all countries were to implement vaccination programmes and meet universal vaccine coverage targets.

    • Joseph A. Lewnard
    • , Nathan C. Lo
    • , Nimalan Arinaminpathy
    • , Isabel Frost
    •  & Ramanan Laxminarayan
  • Article |

    Inhibition of the autophagy–lysosome system upregulates surface expression of MHC class I proteins and enhances antigen presentation, and evokes a potent anti-tumour immune response that is mediated by CD8+ T cells.

    • Keisuke Yamamoto
    • , Anthony Venida
    • , Julian Yano
    • , Douglas E. Biancur
    • , Miwako Kakiuchi
    • , Suprit Gupta
    • , Albert S. W. Sohn
    • , Subhadip Mukhopadhyay
    • , Elaine Y. Lin
    • , Seth J. Parker
    • , Robert S. Banh
    • , Joao A. Paulo
    • , Kwun Wah Wen
    • , Jayanta Debnath
    • , Grace E. Kim
    • , Joseph D. Mancias
    • , Douglas T. Fearon
    • , Rushika M. Perera
    •  & Alec C. Kimmelman
Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter for a daily update on COVID-19 science.
Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing