Thursday, March 31, 2011

Earliest Humans in Texas

A new site in a creek bed near Salado, Texas, has produced more than 16,000 artifacts of the oldest human ancestors who lived in North American about 15,500 years ago, more than 2000 years before the Clovis people.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

First Mercury Photos

NASA's Messenger spacecraft has successfully entered orbit around Mercury and has begun sending back the first images in almost four decades, with a mission to map the entire surface of the planet for the first time.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sauropod "Missing Link"

A newly discovered type of dinosaur species (Leonerasaurus taquetransis) in Argentina may provide the "missing link" in the evolution of prosauropods of the Triassic era into the long-necked, long-tailed herbivore sauropods of the Jurassic era.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Gut Bacteria and Human Brain

Researchers have uncovered a bidirectional "cross-talk" communication between the flora living in the human gut and the way the brain is wired that influences anxiety-related behaviors and may relate to psychiatric illness, intestinal diseases and metabolic disorders such as obesity.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sperm Grown from Scratch

For the first time, mouse germ cells have been grown into viable sperm cells outside the testes and successfully fertilized eggs to produce healthy embryos, a development that could lead to new treatments for infertility.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Anti-Helium Created

Scientists at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) have created atoms of anti-helium, two anti-protons with two anti-neutrons, the heaviest particle of antimatter known to date.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Ancient Proteins Imaged

Using modern infrared and x-ray technologies, paleontologists have imaged the organic compounds (amides) present in an exceptionally well-preserved fossil sample of 50-million-year-old reptile skin in a nondestructive manner.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Spring Rains on Titan

Images from the Cassini space probe show seasonal showers of liquid methane in the atmosphere of Saturn's largest moon Titan, further evidence the moon has a "methane cycle" similar to Earth's environmental water cycle.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

First Sauropod Embryo Found

The first complete fossilized sauropod embryo (ostensibly of a titanosaur) has been found in a sample discovered in Mongolia in the late 1960s but shelved until now and analyzed using neutron tomography.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Native American Land Use

New research has shown that prehistoric Native American land use had a widespread impact on the development of floodplains and other landscape features centuries before the establishment of European settlements and their own farming practices.

Monday, March 21, 2011

First Angolan Dinosaur

The first dinosaur fossils ever found in the African nation of Angola have revealed themselves to be a previously unknown species of sauropod, dubbed Angolatitan adamastor.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Fluorescent Silkworms

Researchers have found they can manipulate silkworms to produce colored silk by simply altering their diet accordingly, a practice with implications for reducing that industry's dependence on chemical dyes as well as potentially producing specialized silk with medicinal enhancements.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

New Ancient Primate Fossils

Fossilized jawbones of ancient tarsiers (Tarsius sirindhornae) found in a coal mine in Thailand have been determined to be a previously unknown species of these primates, one with rounded instead of sharp teeth indicating a different diet than most tarsier species.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Room-Temperature Brown Dwarf

A newly discovered brown dwarf (WD 0806-661 B) some 63 light-years distant has been found to have a surface temperature of only 30°C, much cooler than any previously known dwarf star and what may be a "missing link" between planetary gas giants and functioning stars.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Banana Peels as Filters

New research shows ground and processed banana peels to be effective in extracting heavy metals from water, even exceeding the capacity of other traditional materials that are themselves toxic or environmentally hazardous.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

"Wet Mummy" Found

A 600-year-old "wet mummy" dating from the Ming dynasty has been discovered by Chinese roadworkers near the city of Taizhou, accidentally preserved in an anaerobic environment when her coffin flooded with water.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Crickets Fire Rings of Air

African cave crickets have been found to communicate by using their wings to fire doughnut-shaped vortices of air at potential mates, a method that is silent and eliminates detection by predators and which might be adapted for stealthy and secure robotic communications.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Stingless Stingrays Discovered

Long sold commercially as pets, scientists have gathered enough specimens to identify two new species of freshwater stingless stingrays (Heliotrygon rosai and H. gomesi) native to the Amazon and distinct enough to justify creating a whole new genus.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Enceladus Generating Power

New data from the Cassini spacecraft show that the internal heat-generated power of Saturn's moon Enceladus as detected through linear fissures at its southern polar region is more than an order of magnitude greater than expected, with the mechanism of this power output unknown.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Impact Crater in DR Congo

Initially described in 1919 and recently seen on satellite images in the 1990s, the so-called Luizi structure in the Democratic Republic of Congo has been confirmed as the first known impact crater in central Africa after shatter cones were discovered on-site.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Laboratory-Grown Urethras

For the first time, researchers have used a body's own cells to build custom urethras to replace damaged tissue in five male patients by growing a combination of smooth muscle cells and endothelial cells in a laboratory on a biodegradable scaffold.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Tools and Hand Evolution

New research shows that the evolution of the unique features of the human hand is a direct result of the use of simple Stone Age cutting tools that evolved away from features adapted more for locomotion, confirming a theory first proposed by Charles Darwin.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Rare Cosmic Explosion

Observation of a rare coincidence of events, including a powerful gamma-ray burst and the x-ray radiation of its associated supernova explosion, astronomers are able to further support the theory that these mysterious phenomena are associated with the destruction of stars.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

"Zombie" Ant Fungus

A newly discovered fungus (Ophiocordyceps camponoti-balzani) in the Brazilian rain forest creates "zombie" ants by infecting their brain and directing them to an optimal place for the fungus to grow and spread its spres.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Earthquake from Space

The February 22nd earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand, has been mapped by a Japanese spacecraft in orbit, building a synthetic aperture radar interferogram showing the deformation of Earth's crust due to the magnitude 6.3 event.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Invasive Amphibian Species

Invasive amphibian species such as the marsh frog (Pelophylax ridibundus) are more likely to thrive in areas in which similar species are already established, contradicting Darwin's hypothesis that such invasive species would be unsuccessful due to competition for resources.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Humans and Shakey Ground

Scientists have established a link between the shape of the landscape and the habitats preferred by early humans, finding Australopithecus africanus adapted to mixed or mosaic habitats often created by active tectonic earth movements near rivers or lakes.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Oldest Known Pteranodon

Fossilized bones of the left wing of a Pteranodon species discovered north of Dallas by an amateur fossil hunter is the first such specimen found in Texas dating to 89 million years ago, making it the oldest remains of a pterosaur yet found.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Shifts in Human Evolution

A new computational analysis suggests that instead of being driven by classic selective sweeps in which beneficial adaptations spread broadly through the population, human evolution has been primarily influenced by smaller, subtle shifts in multiple genes.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Earliest New World Remains

Anthropologists have discovered the remains of a cremated three-year-old child that date back 11,500 years ago at a site in what is now Alaska, making them the earliest human remains found in the New World and shedding light on human migration from Asia to North America.