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The ancient mariner

Armed with a crocodilian snout and 16-inch thumb claws, a new species of dinosaur discovered by Paul Sereno, professor in organismal biology and anatomy, last fished the rivers of Africa 100 million years ago. Part of a group of dinosaurs that evolved in present-day Europe, Suchomimus tenerensis (“crocodile mimic from Ténéré”) challenges current theories on continental drift. The dinosaur’s remains, which Sereno and his 15-member expedition unearthed in the fall of 1997, suggest that Africa and Europe—thought to have drifted apart long before Suchomimus’ apparent migration—may still have been connected. The 36-foot-long predator was captured in an illustration by Michael Skrepnick for the National Geographic Society, a trip sponsor.

Philosopher Freud

Denounced by many scholars as an early 20th-century artifact, Freud’s psychoanalytic process is championed once again in Jonathan Lear’s Open Minded: Working Out the Logic of the Soul (Harvard University Press). Lear, the John U. Nef distinguished service professor in the Committee on Social Thought, places psychoanalysis within philosophical discussions of Plato and Aristotle, resuscitating a field that, in his mind, has fallen prey to an undeserved “deadness.” Attack of the killer weeds?

While farmers favor genetically altered crops for their resistance to toxins and larger yields, a recent study by Joy Bergelson, assistant professor in ecology and evolution, showed that certain crops’ herbicide-resistant genes can spread to the weeds targeted by the herbicides. She found that cross-pollination allowed the protein responsible for herbicide immunity to “leak” from a small crop of engineered mustard plants to surrounding weeds. The resulting “superweeds” look like regular weeds and can pass on the trait to future generations.

The clone arm of the law

Is human cloning ethical? Clones and Clones (W. W. Norton and Company), a new book edited by Law School professors Martha Nussbaum and Cass Sunstein, collects opinions from more than a dozen experts on the subject, including other members of the Law School faculty. The arguments, drawn from disciplines as diverse as biology and theology, frame one of today’s greatest debates: Should we clone humans?—M.D.B.

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