Friday, December 10, 2010

Hairy Fly Rediscovered

Thought extinct since 1948, specimens of the bizarre and flightless hairy fly (Mormotomyia hirsuta) have been rediscovered living in its only known habitat in Kenya's remote Ukazi Hills where it lives and breeds in the bat-filled clefts of isolated rock.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Rare Red Novae

Astronomers have observed the formation of a rare red nova (V1309 Scorpii) from the combination of a binary star system known as a contact binary, where the two stars orbit each other close enough to touch and eventually merge and explode.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Saturn's Strange Propellers

Data from the Cassini probe orbiting Saturn have revealed strange propeller-shaped wakes thousands of kilometers long that exist within the planet's rings, the result of small unseen moons ploughing through the rings and providing new insight into planet formation theories.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Giant Stork Fossils

Fossil remains of a giant marabou stork (Leptoptilos robustus) that once stood 1.8-m tall have been discovered on the Indonesian island of Flores, the latest in a series of extreme-sized animals native to that island including dwarf elephants, giant rats and a species of "hobbit-like" hominids.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Arsenic-Tolerant Bacteria

Scientists have isolated arsenic-tolerant bacteria (GFAJ-1) found in a California lake and have cultured them to thrive in an arsenic-heavy environment, possibly substituting arsenic for phosphorus on a molecular level and changing the baseline chemistry believed necessary for life to function.