Monday, January 31, 2011

Dinosaurs Survived Extinction

Using a new fossil dating technique called uranium-lead (U-Pb) dating, paleontologists have determined the age of a femur bone from a hadrosaur to be 64.8 million years old, indicating dinosaurs may have survived the mass KT extinction event of 66 million years ago by at least 700,000 years.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Hubble Spies Earliest Galaxy

Images from the Hubble Telescope's ultra-deep field reveal what astronomers believe is the oldest and earliest galaxy yet found, formed some 13.2 billion years ago and a mere 480 million years after the Big Bang, existing at a time when star formation was some ten times slower than it was millions of years later.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

New Hybrid Whale Discovered

Using DNA analysis from Norwegian whale hunts, biologists have discovered an unlikely hybrid whale that is a cross between the Antarctic minke whale and a northern minke whale, two species occupying opposite migratory patterns and hemispheres that were never thought to meet.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Single-Fingered Dinosaur Found

Paleontologists have discovered a new species of parrot-sized theropod (Linhenykus monodactylus) that lived in Mongolia 84-75 million years ago and is the first to have only one finger with a large, single claw on each forelimb.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

New Family for Pink Meanie

From genetic analysis and visual examinations, reclassification of the predatory pink meanie jellyfish (Drymonema larsoni) as a new species has also required the creation of a new family (Drymonematidae) to include all Drymonema species—the first such major addition since 1921.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Illusion Aided Throwing Skill

A new study has found a natural size-weight illusion was critical to early human's development of the ability to throw objects long distances, a neurological key requiring extremely coordinated timing, motor and perceptive skills on par with social organization and language sharing the posterior parietal cortex in the evolution of the human brain.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Iranian Cheetah Subspecies

Genetic analysis of the critically endangered Asian cheetahs of Iran reveal that it is a distinct subspecies (Acinonyx jubatus venaticus) that split from African cheetahs about 30,000 years ago.

Monday, January 24, 2011

African Fossil Preservation

An ancient cold wind from a prehistoric ice-cap is the reason for the remarkable preservation of animal fossils in the remote Table Mountains of South Africa, providing nutrients to surface vegetation and a stagnant shallow sea that preserved even delicate tissues such as eyes and muscles.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Pterosaur with Preserved Egg

Fossil remains of a pterosaur (Darwinopterus spp.) have been discovered in China that include an intact egg within the body cavity, allowing paleontologists to sex a dinosaur for the first time.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Quantum States in Bird's Eyes

In a process known as the radical pair (RP) mechanism, bird's eyes are thought to detect changes in quantum-entangled electron pairs separated by light and altered by Earth's magnetic field, allowing them to orient themselves by exploiting this phenomenon of long-lived quantum states.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Sungrazer Comet Storm

Between December 13 and 22 of last year, NASA's Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) detected more than two dozen sungrazing comets, a rate dramatically up from a norm of one every few days, and what may be a precursor of a larger as-yet undetected body moving along the same orbit.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Relativistic Effects in Car Batteries

New calculations reveal that the heavier lead nuclei in conventional lead-acid car batteries attract electrons more powerfully, reaching 60% the speed of light and enabling the generation of 2 V, as opposed to lighter elements such as tin that are too weak to provide similar attractive force.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Earth's Rotation Changes Zodiac

Astronomers from the Minnesota Planetarium Society have recalculated the star signs corresponding to the zodiacal constellations and found due to Earth's precession the astrological signs have shifted by about a month from those established millenia ago.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

34,000-Year-Old Cells Found

Sealed within a fluid-filled chamber constructed of salt crystals, scientists have found 34,000-year-old microorganisms living in a state of hibernation within a microscopic ecosystem and have been able to culture new microbes from these samples.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Early T. rex Ancestor

Fossils of a new species of early predatory dinosaur (Eodromaeus) have been discovered in Argentina, a small four-foot-long ancestor of later carnivorous dinosaurs such as T. rex, that lived some 230 million years ago.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Cosmological Standard Candles

New observations using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope show that Cepheid variables, pulsating stars often used as calibration points to measure cosmological distances, can lose mass and shrink over time and thus make measurements of distance more difficult.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Thunderstorms Create Antimatter

NASA's orbiting Fermi Gamma-ray Telescope has detected unexpected positron bursts originating from lightning flashes in thunderstorms on the surface, such radiation focused into a beam by Earth's magnetic field and directed out into space.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Smallest Rocky Exoplanet Found

Astronomers have discovered the smallest exoplanet yet found, a rocky world named Kepler 10b, 560 light years distant with a diameter about 1.4 times that of Earth and about 4.6 times greater mass but that orbits its star too closely to provide an environment suitable for life.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Glassy Metal Strong as Steel

A new amorphous metal alloy of palladium, silver and other elements has been developed at Caltech that combines the toughness of glass and the material strength of steel, promising new fatigue-resistant building materials for construction and manufacturing.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Flying "Vampire" Tree Frog

A new frog species (Rhacophorus vampyrus) discovered in Vietnam uses its webbed feet to glide from tree to tree and, unique to the species, its tadpoles possess hard black fang-like hooks whose purpse has yet to be determined.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Green Blob in Space

The Hubble Space Telescope has spotted a green blob (illuminated by a quasar in a nearby galaxy) of mostly hydrogen gas acting as a stellar nursery in a remote area of the universe outside of any galaxy, named Hanny's Voorwerp after its amateur Dutch discoverer.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Giant Tree-Like Molecule

A team of chemists has produced the largest stable synthetic molecule ever made (PG5), with a tree-like structure and diameter of 10 nm and a mass equal to 200 million hydrogen atoms, in the hopes of finding new applications such as drug delivery.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Crab Nebula Particle Accelerator

New observations by two telescopes have found the Crab Nebula to be a source of high-energy gamma-ray flares from mechanisms hidden within it that are not clearly understood, producing "the highest particle energies ever associated with a single source."

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Between Brown Dwarf and Planet

A new astronomical study has found a large gap in the sizes of planetary objects between 25 and 40 times the mass of Jupiter, providing a natural and usable demarcation in the classification of these objects into gas giants (planets) or brown dwarfs (stars).

Friday, January 7, 2011

Plasma Jets Explain Corona

Plasma jets erupting from within the Sun cause hot coronal temperature fronts ahead of them, explaining the mystery of why the corona is orders of magnitude hotter than the chromosphere itself.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Wreckage from "Pristine Star"

Astronomers have detected the remnants of a star that exploded more than 13 billion years ago, likely one of the very first generation of stars to exist in our universe, whose chemical constituents were almost only hydrogen and helium.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Oxygen Crash and Extinction

Analysis of rock samples around the world reveal an oxygen crash in the world's oceans about 499 million years ago that led to rising levels of toxic hydrogen sulfide and a mass extinction of Cambrian species, the cause of which is still unknown.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Superconductors and Alcohol

For reasons still unclear, laboratory substances such as an iron tellurium sulphur sample are turned into superconducting materials by mulling them in a water-alcohol (ethanol) mix, with the best results obtained using ordinary red wine.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Comet in Disguise

A newly discovered comet spotted last month turns out to be an known asteroid (596 Scheila, 1906), one of a category of hybrid objects called main belt comets with stable inner-solar system orbits that are "dormant" for long periods of time.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Bee Virus Spreads

Recent studies have identified the Israeli acute paralysis virus (IAPV), spread through pollen transfer, as a factor contributing to colony collapse disorder of American honeybees.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Fossil Crocodile Found

Fossils of a new ancient reptile species related to modern crocodiles (Neptunidraco ammoniticus) were discovered in limestone slabs from Ferrara, Italy, destined for kitchen countertops, warehoused in 1955 and only recently examined in 2009.