Monday, December 28, 2009

Ear Controls Blood Flow

Tiny organs deep within the inner ear, the utricle and saccule, have been shown to control blood flow to the brain, possibly allowing mankind to evolve an upright, walking stance.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Acacia Plant Controls Ants

The African acacia plant has been found to secrete chemical signals that send the ants living on them into a defensive frenzy when under stress, revealing a rather complex symbiotic relationship between plant and insect.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Molecular Transistor Created

Scientists have created the first transistor made from a single benzene molecule connected to two gold contacts, manipulating the molecule's energy states depending on the applied voltage to behave just like a silicon transistor.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Earth's Gravity Mapped

The European Space Agency's Gravity Field and Steady-State Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE) satellite has produced the most detailed map ever of variations in gravitational strength on the Earth's surface, measuring differences as small as one part in 10 trillion.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Venomous Raptor Discovered

Paleontologists have discovered the fossilized remains of a venomous raptor (Sinornithosaurus) in China, a close relative to the ferocious Velociraptor, that lived 128 million years ago and is the first example of venom in the raptor lineage that leads to modern birds.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Fog Discovered on Titan

The discovery of fog (mostly methane and ethane) on Saturn's largest moon, Titan, reveals that moon may be the only other body in our solar system to have significant quantities of liquid on its surface, thus the only known active hydrological cycle outside of Earth.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Three-Body Problem Solved

A team of physicists has constructed a stable model of Borromean rings using three lithium atoms bound together, providing experimental proof to the solution of the three-body problem proposed mathematically in 1970.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Water-Rich "Super -Earth"

Astronomers have discovered a new rocky planet (GJ 1214b, dubbed "super Earth") that is only 2.7 times the mass of the Earth and likely to consist of at least half water by mass, albeit at temperatures and pressures to extreme to support life as we know it.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Coconut-Carrying Octopus

Scientists have discovered a veined octopus (Amphioctopus marginatus) in Indonesia that carries and prepares coconut shells for shelter, possibly the first evidence of the use of tools by an invertebrate species.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Saturn's Mysterious Hexagon

The latest images of Saturn sent back by the orbiting probe Cassini show the most detailed photos of a long-lived mysterious hexagon pattern in the jet stream surrounding Saturn's north pole, the origin of which remains unexplained.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Two-Tone Surface of Iapetus

Data from the Cassini spacecraft orbiting Saturn has solved a centuries-old mystery of why the moon Iapetus has a two-toned surface: It is created by dust settling on the leading side of Iapetus from another of Saturn's moon.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Evidence of Mass Cannibalism

An excavation of a 7000-year-old Neolithic burial site in southwest Germany shows evidence of mass cannibalism in nearly 500 human remains, including infants and the unborn.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Devastating Ancient Volcano

A recent study has shown that the Sumatran volcano Toba, which erupted about 73,000 years ago, released about 800 cubic kilometers of ash into the air that blanketed the planet for about six years, dropping temperatures about 16°C and triggered an Ice Age that lasted 1800 years.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Poisonous Catfish Catalogued

A recent study reveals that over 1600 species of catfish are possibly venomous with neurotoxic and hemolytic venom delivered through sharp, bony spikes along the edges of dorsal and pectoral fins.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Feeding Birds During Winter

In a study of the migratory European bird species blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla), researchers have discovered that the human act of feeding birds during the winter has changed the blackcap species into two reproductively isolated groups on their way to a separation of species in as little as 30 generations.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Most Massive Star Known

Analysis of a 2007 supernova explosion (SN2007bi) has revealed that it originated from a star with over 200 times the mass of our Sun, a supermassive star astronomers previously believed could not exist at that size.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Micro-Quasar Detected

NASA's Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope has directly detected high-energy gamma rays from Cygnus X-3, a mysterious binary system and one of the strongest x-ray sources that is believed to be a micro-quasar possibly powered by an accompanying black hole.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Hammerhead Shark Eyesight

The mystery of the shape of a hammerhead shark's head has been explained in a study that demonstrates not only superior binocular vision with an increase in head width but also nearly 360° vision in the vertical plane.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Ancient Supervolcano Eruption

A recent study provides "incontrovertible evidence" for the eruption of the supervolcano Toba on the island of Sumatra 73,000 years ago, an event that deforested much of India and initiated an "instant Ice Age" lasting about 1800 years and which threatened the human race with extinction.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Young Brown Dwarf Seen

NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has observed the youngest brown dwarf yet found, providing valuable insight into how these mysterious objects may form.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Ancient Ocean on Mars

A new NASA map adds further evidence that an ancient ocean once covered up to one third of Mars' surface, with extensive valley networks that imply heavy rainfall that would feed such a large body of water.

Monday, November 23, 2009

New Deep Sea Creatures

In the latest update of the ten-year Census of Marine Life, about 5600 new species of deep-sea creatures have been identified living below the level where sunlight ceases, ranging from single-cell animals and tubeworms to large squid and crabs.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Termites Farm Fungus

Termites have been shown to farm certain species of mushrooms and raise them in sustainable monoculture farms for the benefit of their colonies, even to the point of becoming dependent upon their domestic farming production for food.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Three New Ancient Crocodiles

Three new prehistoric crocodile species have been discovered in Africa, two 20-foot-long predators (one with a flat pancake-like head) and one miniature "RatCroc" barely three feet long, revealing a much more diverse crocodilian world that existed 100 million years ago.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Water Found on Moon

NASA's Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) mission that smashed into the Moon's surface about a month ago has revealed evidence of water in the lunar soil—and a significant amount of water instead of just the trace that was expected.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Earth-Sized Stars with Oxygen

Two unusual Earth-sized dwarf stars have been found with oxygen-rich atmospheres, remnants of the collapse of massive supernovae and missing the hydrogen or helium envelopes that typically shield the oxygen from view.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

South African Dinosaur Found

Described as an evolutionary "missing link," a new dinosaur species (Aardonyx celestae) discovered in South Africa could provide insight into how some sauropods transitioned from walking on two legs to four, allowing them to grow to a massive size.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Prehistoric Site Beneath Oxford

A 3.7 hectare site has been discovered beneath Oxford University that includes a prehistoric settlement dating back to the Neolithic or Bronze Age, about 4000 years ago.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Chaotic Planetary System

NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has imaged a three-body planetary system surrounding the star HR 8799 that shows evidence of a cloud of fine dust kicked up by collisions among smaller bodies, possibly showing a system still in formation with planets yet to have settled into stable orbits.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Aftershocks from Last Century

The small, sporadic earthquakes experienced recently in the American Midwest states are actually long-felt aftershocks from the devastating New Madrid earthquakes of 1811 and 1812

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Iron on Mercury

NASA's Messenger probe has revealed much greater levels of iron and titanium on the planet Mercury than previously estimated, raising further questions about that planet's formation.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Galaxy Cluster Reveals Structure

A huge cluster of recently discovered galaxies some 60 million light-years long point to an underlying structure within the universe, a massive unexplained filament around which galaxies form.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Rift to Become New Ocean

Seismic models reveal that a 35-mile long rift that formed in the desert of Ethiopia in 2005 will eventually expand to form a new ocean within several million years.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

New Ankylosaur Discovered

A new species of armored ankylosaur, Tatankacephalus cooneyorum, has been discovered in early Cretaceous formations of central Montana.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Dinosaur Species Reclassified

Paleontologists are beginning to re-analyze many dinosaurs and reclassify them as different growth stages of the same previously named species, a move that may eliminate as many as one third of all known dinosaur species.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Most Distant Star Explosion

NASA's Swift satellite has detected a violent gamma-ray burst, named GRB 090423, from the collapse of a massive star some 13 billion light-years away, making it the oldest and most distant object ever recorded.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Color on Saturn's Moons

NASA's Cassini spacecraft has returned images showing unexplained patches of color on Mimas, Enceladus, Tethys, Dione and Rhea, Saturn's five innermost icy moons.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

32 New Extrasolar Planets

Astronomers from the European Southern Observatory have announced the discovery of 32 new extrasolar planets, bringing the total number of known planets existing outside our solar system to over 400.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Warm-Blooded Effects

A new study demonstrates that common elevated mammalian body temperatures (37°C in humans) hinders the growth of most fungal strains, lending a new theory for the rise of mammals as the dominant species after the extinction of the dinosaurs.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Shape of Solar System

Instruments aboard NASA's Cassini spacecraft have revealed the relative shape of the heliosphere to be almost spherical instead of the predicted comet-shaped as it moves through the interstellar medium, forcing revisions of decades-old theoretical models.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Edge of the Heliosphere

Data from NASA's Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) has produced a sky map at the edge of our heliosphere, revealing a bright ribbon of detail or emissions not previously detected by either of the Voyager probes and not consistent with any current theory of this boundary with the local interstellar medium.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Human Brain and Language

During a rare brain surgery to relieve seizures, researchers used intra-cranial electrophysiology (ICE) to gain significant insight into Broca's area and how the brain processes grammar and produces words.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Ancient Indian Impact Crater

Scientists have found evidence of an impact crater in the Shiva basin off the western coast of India that is four times as large as that beneath the Yucatan Peninsula, leading to speculation that this may have been the asteroid impact leading to the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

"Magnetricity" Observed

Scientists have proven the existence of atom-sized "magnetic charges" that behave and interact like electric charges, demonstrating a perfect symmetry between the forces of magnetism and electricity.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

New Flying Dinosaur Found

Paleontologists in northeast China have discovered fossils of a new flying dinosaur, named Darwinopterus, possessing features of both primitive and advanced flying reptiles and that may fill in a gap between earlier and older pterosaurs.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Vegetarian Spider Found

A spider with a nearly completely herbivorous diet, the Bagheera kiplingi, has been discovered in the jungles of Central America and Mexico, making it unique among the known 40,000 carnivorous spider species.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Probe Crashes on Moon

NASA's Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) smashed a bus-sized spacecraft into a crater near the Moon's south pole in a planned experiment to examine the debris for traces of subsurface water.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Dinosaur Tracks in France

Paleontologists have discovered a trail of sauropod tracks in the Jura plateau of eastern France possibly extending hundreds of meters, the largest preserved dinosaur tracks in the world.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Large Ring Around Saturn

NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has discovered a large, faint ring of ice and dust surrounding Saturn millions of miles out from the planet and is believed to be the early stages of another ring formation.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Cache of Dinosaur Eggs

Geologists have discovered hundreds of fossilized dinosaur eggs clustered at a site in southern India that is believed to have been an annual nesting site for sauropods.