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Preview: AP Top Science News At 9:24 p.m. EST

AP Top Science News at 4:20 p.m. EDT

AP Top Science News at 4:20 p.m. EDT

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Modest gains, but US students still lag in science learning
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The vast majority of U.S. students still lack a solid grasp of science despite some modest gains by fourth and eighth graders, especially girls and minorities....

Report: Wildlife populations halved on average since '70s
LONDON (AP) -- Global wildlife populations have fallen an average of 58 percent from 1970 levels, with human activity reducing the numbers of elephants in Tanzania, maned wolves in Brazil, salamanders in the United States and orcas in the waters of Europe, researchers say....

Italy quakes take out buildings standing after August jolt
CAMERINO, Italy (AP) -- The red brick Amatrice city hall resisted the devastating Aug. 24 quake that collapsed buildings all around it, only to crumble under the one-two punch of lesser jolts Wednesday night. They also brought down a centuries-old church tower in Camerino that had withstood both a quake in 1997 and the one in August....

Study predicts deserts in Spain if global warming continues
BERLIN (AP) -- Southern Spain will become desert and deciduous forests will vanish from much of the Mediterranean basin unless global warming is reined in sharply, according to a study released Thursday....

Cholesterol test for 1-year-olds? Study says it could help
What if a blood test could reveal that your child is at high risk for early heart disease years in the future, giving you a chance to prevent it now? A big study in England did that - screening thousands of babies for inherited risk - and found it was twice as common as has been thought....

Experts uncover hidden layers of Jesus' tomb site
JERUSALEM (AP) -- In the innermost chamber of the site said to be the tomb of Jesus, a restoration team has peeled away a marble layer for the first time in centuries in an effort to reach what it believes is the original rock surface where Jesus' body was laid....

Rehabilitated orangutans freed in Borneo as species dwindles
KEHJE SEWEN FOREST, Indonesia (AP) -- Jamur didn't hesitate as the door of her temporary cramped quarters slid open. In less than a second, the stocky red-haired orangutan was savoring freedom for the first time in nearly two decades....

Girls & autism: It can be subtle, or absent for some at risk
CHICAGO (AP) -- Think autism and an image of an awkward boy typically emerges. The developmental disorder is at least four times more common in boys, but scientists taking a closer look are finding some gender-based surprises: Many girls with autism have social skills that can mask the condition. And some girls are born without autism despite the same genetic mutations seen in boys with the condition....

Long, curved, akimbo: Hope uncovered for bird beak deformity
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) -- Biologist Colleen Handel saw her first black-capped chickadee with the heartrending disorder in 1998....

Oregon weighs whether all kids should get outdoor education
MOUNT HOOD NATIONAL FOREST, Ore. (AP) -- Each year, thousands of Oregon parents hug their kids goodbye and send them tramping into the wilderness for up to a week to learn about their state's natural wonders....