Wednesday, March 31, 2010

New Human Ancestor Found

Working through DNA alone taken from a small finger bone found in Denisova Cave in Siberia, scientists have identified a new ancient human species (dubbed "X-woman") distinct from Neanderthals and Homo sapiens, sharing a common ancestor about 1 million years ago.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Amphibious Insect Discovered

Scientists have discovered the first truly amphibious insects in the freshwater streams of Hawaii, several species of caterpillar belonging to the moth genus Hyposmocoma that are equally suited for life both in and out of water.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Laptops as Earthquake Detectors

Researchers at UC Riverside and Stanford University have developed a novel method of distributed computing called the Quake-Catcher Network, which takes advantage of accelerometers built into commercial laptops and shareware to act as a low-cost earthquake warning system.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Three Flavors of Moon Water

Combining data from NASA's LCROSS and India's Chandrayaan-1 lunar probes, scientists have identified three distinct types of water composition that exist on the Moon: nearly pure water ice, ice containing various chemical compounds in solution, and an ice-soil mixture.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

How Dinosaurs Rose

New research has broadened the picture of how a changing Earth due to massive volcanic activity at the end of the Triassic period led to the extinction of about half of all species and gave rise to an environment in which the giant dinosaurs grew and thrived for millions of years.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Saturn's Chaotic Rings

New data from NASA's Cassini probe have revealed the surprisingly chaotic, violent environment of Saturn's rings, including evidence that they rapidly rearrange themselves and warp out of shape, that they include dozens of moonlets colliding with each other, and that the rings are surrounded by a thin oxygen atmosphere.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

New Clawed Dinosaur Found

Students in Mongolia have discovered a nearly complete and perfectly preserved fossil skeleton of a new six-foot-long agile predator (Linheraptor exquisitus) that was a cousin of Velociraptor, living about 75 million years ago.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Dog Origins in Middle East

New DNA analysis has traced the earliest domestication of modern dogs as taking place in the Middle East from native wolves of that region about 10,000 years ago.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Prehistoric Amphibian Found

Fossils of a new species of giant amphibian (Fedexia strieglei) with bone-ripping tusks dating back about 300 million years have been found on Pennsylvania lands owned by the FedEx shipping company.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Unknown Ancient Cemetery

A remote cemetery in the desert of China's autonomous region of Xingjiang named Small River Cemetery No. 5 has revealed the well-preserved bodies of a 4000-year-old unknown group of people with European features buried in upside-down boats, a group whose origin and identity language have been lost.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Old Egyptian Statues Found

Archaeologists have recently unearthed two large red granite statues in southern Egypt at Luxor dating back 3400 years ago from a mortuary temple that are the best-preserved examples of Amenhotep III's face yet found.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Sea Life Below Antarctic

In a surprising discovery, researchers found both a shrimp-like creature (Lyssianasid amphipod) and a foot-long piece from a jellyfish in a 600-foot hole drilled down to subfreezing waters beneath the Antarctic ice sheet, where they expected no life to exist other than a few rare microbes.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Psychopathic Brain Seeks Reward

Psychologists have discovered that the brain of a psychopath contains a hyper-reactive dopamine reward system, one so strong that the quest for reward often overwhelms any potential risks or punishment as well as any social mores.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Reindeer Have No Body Clock

Researchers have found that reindeer have no internal (circadian) body clock, allowing them to better function and adapt to life in the extreme Arctic polar months with continuous daylight or no daylight.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Scandinavian Viking Skeletons

Fifty-one decapitated skeletons found buried in a mass grave in Dorset, UK, are believed to be Scandinavian vikings, most likely publically executed by the local Anglo Saxons after a failed raid around AD 910 to AD 1030.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Mars Loses Atmosphere

Astrophysicists have discovered that Mars constantly loses a portion of its atmosphere to the pressure of the solar wind, especially to energetic solar events known as corotating interacting regions (CIR), due to its lack of the protective effects of a planetary magnetic field.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Half-Male, Half-Female Chickens

Scientists have decoded the genetic quirk of gynandromorphia, a condition in which 1 in every 10,000 chickens grows distinctly half-male and half-female, and found the condition develops in birds independently of sex hormones.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Titan's Slushy, Solid Core

Extremely precise measurements by the Cassini spacecraft have shown that Saturn's moon Titan has a slushy underground ocean beneath a brittle crust of ice and on top of a solid core of rock and ice, unlike the expected molten core and mantle of most terrestrial objects.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Organic Molecules in Nebula

Organic molecules that are chemical precursors for life such as water, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde and methanol have been identified through a spectral analysis of the light from the stellar nursery of the Orion Nebula.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Impact Crater in DR Congo

Deforestation of the last decade in the Central African country of DR Congo has revealed a possible giant impact crater 36-46 km wide that is clearly visible in satellite images.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Extreme Binary White Dwarfs

Astronomers have discovered the smallest known binary white dwarf system (HM Cancri), together no more than eight times the diameter of the Earth, which orbit each other only every 5.4 minutes and are so close mass is flowing from one star to the other.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Moon's Original Crust

Views of a crater in the South Pole-Aitken basin, the result of an asteroid impact within a 1500-mile crater created by a previous massive asteroid impact, reveal the Moon's exposed lower crust untouched by later volcanic activity and provide a glimpse of the Moon's geologic history.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Seeing Through Paint, Paper

Researchers have found a method to reconstruct the light passing through opaque objects such as paper, paint or biological tissue using a mathematical transmission matrix to reconstruct the image based on the known physical properties of the material, essentially viewing opaque solids as lenses.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Tomb of Ancient Egyptian Queen

The burial chamber of an ancient queen Behenu from Egypt's Old Kingdom some 4000 years ago has been unearthed in the necropolis of Saqqara outside of Cairo, including a number of green hieroglyphics on white stone and religious texts on the walls.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Ancient Antarctic Airburst

Evidence of tiny spherules and a layer of extraterrestrial dust found in two ice cores from Antarctica point to an ancient "airburst" event, where an estimated 100,000-ton stony meteorite exploded in the air about 481,000 years ago.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Fossils of Snake Eating Eggs

A fossil site in Gujarat, India, of a large snake coiled around and throughout a nest of sauropod eggs, captured at the moment of consuming the young as they hatched, provides a rare insight into not only physiology but also the captured behavior of an ancient predator.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Giant Prehistoric Filter Feeders

New fossil evidence has revealed that the prehistoric seas were filled with giant plankton-eating bony fishes throughout the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods, and all disappeared with the same event that killed the dinosaurs.