Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Shrew's Bizarre Strong Backbone

Scientists have discovered a previously unknown species of hero shrew (Scutisorex thori) in central Africa that possesses an unusually shaped backbone of 10 to 11 interlocking vertebrae unique in the mammalian world, providing the animal with extraordinary and disproportionate structural strength for reasons yet unknown.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Dolphins Identify by "Names"

New research shows that bottlenose dolphins have a unique signature whistle that they respond to by repeating that whistle back to the originator, ignoring other similar vocalizations and supporting evidence of a concept of identity with a distinct "name" for each individual animal.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Earth's Life on Land Much Older

A recent study presents newly discovered tiny fossils (Diskagma buttonii) found in ancient soil samples and comparable to modern Geosiphon fungi as evidence of land-based life on Earth, pushing back estimates of its first appearance from 500 million years to 2.2 billion years ago.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Giant Viruses Discovered

Researchers have discovered a previously unknown class of megaviruses (Pandoravirus) seemingly found everywhere and of unknown function or effect, some a thousand times larger than a flu virus and with 200 times as many genes with only 6% of those genes known to science.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Neutrino Flavor Flip Confirmed

Researchers at Japan's Super-Kamiokande laboratory have evidence of muon neutrinos changing to their electron counterpart "flavor" during mid-flight, the first such confirmation of predicted flavor oscillations with implications that their corresponding anti-particles may interact asymmetrically (CP violation).

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Memory in Decapitated Worms

Researchers have found that flatworms trained in a simple task and then decapitated retained their memories of the task after their head had regrown, implying that memory may be stored in other body cells and then imprinted in the new brain as it regenerates.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Electron Microscope Noise Barrier

Researchers working with advancing electron microscopy have encountered a noise source from thermal vibrations in the atomic structure of materials that generates an interfering magnetic field for the incident electrons, possibly introducing a physical limit to the resolution possible with the technology.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Behavior of Watched Crickets

Researchers have demonstrated crickets change their own aggressive behavior when they are aware of being watched by other crickets, the first time such social behavior has been observed in invertebrates and revealing an unexpected depth of learning and memory in insects.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Blue Blood Survives Freezing

Researchers have found a specialized blue pigment called hemocyanin in the blood of the Antarctic octopus (Pareledone charcoti) that is copper-based instead of the more common iron-based hemoglobin, allowing the ions to bind with oxygen and the animals to survive in sub-freezing waters of -1.9 degrees Celsius.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Optical Lattice Atomic Clock

Scientists have developed a new method of timekeeping called an optical lattice atomic clock that is three times more accurate than current atomic clocks, measuring oscillations from strontium atoms excited by a laser rather than microwave-based cesium fountains with an accuracy of losing only one second every 300 million years.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Ancient Forest Found Underwater

Divers have discovered a Bald Cypress forest at least 0.8 km long off the coast of Alabama, freshly preserved for at least 52,000 years under ocean sediment in an oxygen-free environment in the Gulf of Mexico and most likely uncovered by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Mysterious Deep-Space Explosions

Astronomers from the CSIRO Parkes radio telescope have detected four point sources of powerful fast radio bursts (FRB) of unknown origin outside the Milky Way galaxy and billions of light-years away, each lasting only a few milliseconds yet giving off more energy than does our Sun in 300,000 years.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Pluto's Moons Named

After a membership vote, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) has formally adopted the names Kerberos and Styx for the recently discovered fourth (P4) and fifth (P5) moons, respectively, of Pluto.