Thursday, October 24, 2013

Bees Almost Went Extinct

Using molecular modeling techniques on the DNA of modern carpenter bees (Xylocopa spp.) along with fossil evidence, researchers believe that bees almost disappeared with the mass extinction event that ended the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, possibly related to the mass extinction of flowering plants that occurred at the same time.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

First Venomous Crustacean

Biologists have discovered the first known venomous crustaceanSpeleonectes tulumensis, a tiny, pale, cave-dwelling member of the remipedes group native to Central America that uses its venom to paralyze and partially digest small shrimp.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Gold in Tree Leaves

Researchers have found gold particles in the leaves of gum trees (Eucalyptus spp.) in Australia, with the trees acting as hydraulic pumps to draw the metals from underground sources and providing a possible new method for identifying mineral deposits.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Orca Undergo Menopause

Researchers have found that female killer whales (Orcinus orca) undergo menopause as they age, along with humans and pilot whales one of only three species known to do so, living 50 to 60 years past their reproductive age presumably as an evolutionary advantage to increase the survival rates of young males and their offspring.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Complete Skull of Homo erectus

Anthropologists have found the entire skull of a Homo erectus dating back some 1.8 million years in Georgia, the earliest complete specimen yet found and so perfectly preserved it suggests the human ancestor was more variable in appearance than previously believed with several classified subspecies such as H. habilis and H. rudolfensis simply belonging to this single species.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

First Tilted Solar System

NASA's Kepler spacecraft has detected the first known star system with two large planets that orbit on a plane at a steep 45-degree angle relative to the stellar equator, the gas giant Kepler-56 about 2800 light years distant.