The magnetic chomp of a Venus flytrap—and more dispatches from science’s front lines

New discoveries in biomagnetism, COVID-19’s environmental costs, and a dinosaur’s wing

When the Venus flytrap’s jawlike leaves are stimulated by prey, the plant produces a small magnetic field, new research has found. Such fields have been detected in only two other plants: a bean and a single-celled alga. The scientists who discovered this field think it’s a by-product of electrical impulses that trigger the flytrap’s leaves to close. Biomagnetism of this type has been studied extensively in the human brain but is less understood in plants. —Annie Roth

The fight against COVID-19 has had environmental costs. Mountains of personal protective equipment have been discarded—at one point, an estimated 3.4 billion masks a day. What shielded humans now harms wildlife, like the perch trapped in this glove in the Netherlands and countless birds snared in mask straps. —AR

(For young climate activists, the pandemic is the defining moment for action)

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