Sunday, October 31, 2010

Evidence of Martian Water

By analyzing the very soil it became stuck in 2009, the NASA's Mars Expedition Rover Spirit has found further evidence of water in recent geologic history as stratified layers close to the surface formed from seepage of surface frost or snow.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Early Sauropod Found

The first complete fossil skeleton of an early ancestor of the sauropods (Yizhousaurus sunae) has been discovered in China, a critical evolutionary link that helps to show how the iconic four-legged, long-necked sauropods developed.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Heaviest Neutron Star

Astronomers have found the heaviest neutron star yet discovered (formally classified as PSR J1614-2230), more than 20% heavier than the previous maximum with a mass twice that of the Sun yet packed into an object the size of a metropolitan city such as London (radius about 10 km).

Thursday, October 28, 2010

New Snub-Nosed Monkey

A previously unknown species of snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus strykeri) has been discovered in the forests of northern Myanmar, with a tail longer than its body length and an upturned nose that causes it to sneeze when it rains.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

"Starquakes" Yield Data

Although designed to search for exoplanets, by analyzing data collected from the Kepler spacecraft astronomers can detect stellar oscillations ("starquakes") that yield new insights about the age, size, composition and evolution of stars.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

New Amazon Species

A new report issed by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) details more than 1200 new species discovered over a decade-long study of the Amazon rainforest, including an new anaconda species, a "goliath" catfish that feeds on monkeys, a pink river dolphin and hundreds of new amphibians, spiders and plant species.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Insects in Indian Amber

More than 700 new species of insects have been found in 150 kg of amber recovered from lignite mines in the Cambay Shale of the Indian state of Gujarat, many new to science and related to species found in distant parts of the globe.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Peruvian Residential Pyramid

A half-excavated 1400-year-old Moche pyramid in Peru is unusual in that it shows signs of permanent residence for a few dozen elite citizens with evidence of meal preparation, storage of corn beer and copper smelting as well as ritualistic human sacrifice.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Rinderpest Virus Eliminated

For only the second time in history, humanity has succeeded in eliminating a disease virus completely -- namely, the rinderpest (German for "cattle plague") virus that once killed cattle by the millions and lead to famine among human populations for thousands of years, with the last known case reported in Kenya in 2001.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Bread 30,000 Years Ago

Researchers have found starch grains on grinding stones estimated at 30,000 years old, indicating that Paleolithic Europeans ground starchy plant roots for flour that was made into simple breads 10,000 years earlier than previously known and contrary to the often assumed low-carbohydrate "caveman" diet.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

"Walnut" Moon Mystery

New planetary models have shed light on the origin of the unusual "walnut" ridge formation of Saturn's moon Iapetus, with the moon in a region far enough from the planet to retain much of its initial rotational spin while still forming and producing the characteristic bulge along its equator.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Benford's Law

Researchers have extended the number of natural phenomena that are known to follow the curious mathematical rule known as Benford's law, demonstrating that it applies to such varied events as depth of earthquakes, brightness of gamma rays that reach Earth, rotation rates of pulsars and infectious disease numbers reported to the World Health Organization.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Asteroid Collision

The Hubble Space Telescope and the Rosetta probe currently en route to explore the asteroids have captured images of the recent explosive collision of two asteroids for the first time, with the event estimated to have occurred in early 2009.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Earliest Land Plants

Fossils of the earliest plants (liverworts) to have colonized dry land have been found in Argentina, pushing back this event by 10 million years to have the ancestor of all land plants growing on dry ground as early as 472 million years ago.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

New Carnivorous Mammal

A new species of cat-sized, carnivorous mammal named Durell's vontsira (Salanoia durrelli) similar to a mongoose has been identified living in Madagascar, one of the most threatened carnivore species in the world and the first new species to be discovered in 24 years.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Strong-Handed Dinosaur

The discovery of a new fossil (Sarahsaurus aurifontanalis) in Arizona reveals a small sauropod with a long neck and an unusual clawed hand built for strength and leverage, leading paleontologists to believe they were opportunistic scavengers instead of strict herbivores.

Friday, October 15, 2010

New Language Found

A National Geographic team working to record threatened indigenous languages has discovered one entirely new to linguists in northeast India named Koro, belonging to the Tibeto-Burman family of languages, and spoken by only between 800 and 1200 people.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Earlier Dinosaur Origins

New research on small fossilized footprints found in Poland of a new proto-dinosaur dubbed Prorotodactylus reveal that the first dinosaurs appeared about two million years after the end-Permian extinction event, much earlier than previous estimates of 15-20 million years after this mass extinction.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Horror Fly Back from Dead

Once thought to be globally extinct and not sighted for almost 160 years, the bone skipper fly (Thyreophora cynophila) has been spotted in the forests of Central and Western Europe, where it lives and breeds in the bone tissue of highly decayed carrion.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Unpredictability of Heliosphere

Data from NASA's Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) craft reveal the unpredictable boundary of the heliosphere where the solar wind meets the interstellar medium, shrinking significantly within six months and reacting apart from the Sun's eleven-year cycle of activity.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Neutral Atom Isolated

Researchers have successfully slowed a group of charge-neutral rubidium-85 atoms using laser cooling techniques and then selected out and held a single atom with a pair of optical tweezers to obtain an image, a breakthrough in handling atoms that could lead to smaller quantum-based computing.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

"Artificial Leaf" Solar Devices

Researchers have developed water-gel-based solar devices ("artificial leaves") that mimick natural processes using plant chlorophyll, carbon nanotubes or graphite to generate electricity that is less expensive and more environmentally friendly than current silicon-based solar cell technologies.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Comet-Like Mercury

The two satellites of NASA's STEREO mission have visually captured a comet-like tail of gases escaping into the solar wind behind the planet Mercury opposite the Sun that is many hundreds of times the size of the planet itself.

Friday, October 8, 2010

"Coreshine" and Star Birth

Astronomers have coined the term "coreshine" to describe the newly discovered phenomenon of mid-infrared light scattered by the interior of stellar clouds of dust and gas, providing a method to see inside developing stars that are otherwise opaque to visual examination.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

California Animal Fossils

Workers digging a trench for a California utility company southeast of Los Angeles have unearthed a rich trove of 1500 fragments of animal and plant fossils including some 35 species dating back some 1.4 million years, filling in some gaps in the area's natural history.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Massive Blast Created Phobos

Astronomers have uncovered firm evidence, namely the presence of minerals that only form in liquid water, that Mars' largest moon Phobos owes its origin to a massive collision of an object with the planet's surface.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Replace BIOS with UEFI

Having long outlasted its design lifespan, the legacy software for personal computers known as BIOS used to initialize and boot the individual systems will be replaced in 2011 with a more powerful and flexible Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI), which should allow computers to boot in seconds.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Swarm of Saudi Earthquakes

With more than 30,000 earthquakes recorded between April and June 2009 in the northwest corner of Saudi Arabia, an ancient lava field known as Harrat Lunayyir, this area is shown to be unexpectedly volcanically active.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Bizarre Horned Dinosaur

Two new species of bizarre horned dinosaurs, relatives of the more well-known Triceratops, have been discovered in Utah as part of the lost continent of Laramidia during the Late Cretaceous that have an ornate configuration of up to 15 horns protruding from their face.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

600,000 Plant Species Cut

About 600,000 duplicate and erroneous plant species names are being eliminated in an effort to consolidate and develop a single inventory of the global plant species, ultimately with the goal of streamlining conservation and research efforts.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Tigers Found in Himalayas

A "lost" isolated population of tigers has been discovered and captured on video in the mountainous Himalayan foothills of Bhutan, living and successfully breeding at elevations higher than any other tiger species.