Thursday, December 4, 2014

Isolated Humpback Whales

Researchers studying humpback whales that inhabit the Arabian Sea and northern Indian Ocean have found them to be the most genetically distinct whales in the world, suggesting this long-distance migrating population has remained isolated from other whales for 70,000 years.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Homo erectus Art on Seashell

A pattern recently discovered on a seashell originally discovered Java in the 1890s reveal 500,000-year-old deliberate engravings ascribed to Homo erectus, the first evidence of abstract thought from that extinct hominid species.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Two New Subatomic Particles

The "Beauty" experiment at CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHCb) has identified two never-before-seen baryonic particles named Xi_b′ and Xi_b*, each one consisting of a beauty (b), a strange (s) and a down (d) quark.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Ancient Gene-Hoarding Shrub

An ancient flowering, evergreen shrub (Amborella) that only grows on a single Pacific archipelago off the eastern coast of Australia has absorbed the entire mitochondrial genes of a moss, three green algae and several hundred genes from an unknown number of flowering plants for a bloated genome orders of magnitude larger than any other known plant.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Half of Stars Outside Galaxies

Analyzing a faint background glow detected by the Cosmic Infrared Background Experiment (CIBER), astronomers estimate that as many as half of all stars exist outside of galaxies, left adrift as a result of galactic collisions.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

New Teotihuacan Chambers Found

Archaeologists have found three previously unknown chambers at the end of a tunnel discovered in 2003 under the Temple of the Feathered Serpent at Teotihuacan, with the new rooms filled with thousands of artifacts such as small statues, rubber balls, gemstone objects and seashells.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Majorana Particle Signature

Researchers have seen the first evidence of a so-called Majorana particle, a theoretical particle that is simultaneously its own corresponding antiparticle, on a chain of iron atoms placed on the surface of a lead-based superconductor.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Lunar Plain Not Impact Crater

The latest analysis of the Oceanus Procellarum, the large, dark plain on the near side of the Moon, shows it is rimmed by structures that form straight lines and angles, implying formation due to tectonic activity and not as the result of an impact.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Octopus with Longest Gestation

Scientists have observed a deep-sea octopus (Graneledone boreopacifica) brooding a clutch of eggs at a site in the Pacific Ocean for roughly 53 months, longer by far than any other known species.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Human DNA Mostly "Junk"

A new study estimates that only 8.2% of human DNA is functional, performing or directing vital developmental activities, with the remainder of the molecule leftover evolutionary material described as "junk" that serves no known genetic purpose.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Vampire Bats Lose Bitter Taste

Once though essential to every animal species as a caution against ingesting toxins, three species of vampire bats have significantly fewer taste receptors for bitter compounds due to their evolutionary specialization for an all-blood diet.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Small Asteroids May Be Clusters

Using data from the Spitzer Space Telescope, researchers have found small asteroids that are up to 65% empty space and that many smaller bodies may be clusters of rubble or a dust cloud with a solid nucleus instead of solid rocky bodies.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Water Reservoir Inside Earth

A massive reservoir of water three times the volume of Earth's oceans has been discovered 700 km down inside the mantle locked within a blue rock called ringwoodite, with the liquid "sweating" out of the mineral due to the great pressures and temperatures.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Dark Side of the Moon Mystery

Astrophysicists have solved the Lunar Farside Highlands Problem, the question dating from 1959 as to why the far side of the Moon has no maria like the near side, the explanation being that the Moon was tidally locked with Earth's orbit soon after its formation resulting in a temperature gradient and thicker crust on the side facing away from Earth.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Bacteria in Healthy Placentas

Long thought to be sterile, a new study has found that the placenta is home to a non-pathogenic bacterial community that is similar to that found in the mother's mouth and that may be linked to poorly understood pregnancy disorders.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Conflicting Neutron Decay Results

Physicists have found conflicting results for the natural decay of the neutron that depend upon the type of experiment used, with discrete lifetimes of 887.7 seconds and 878.5 seconds from two different methods lying outside experimental error and that may point to new physics not yet understood.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Metal-Eating Plant Found

Scientists have found a new species of plant (Rinorea niccolifera) in the Philippines that sustains itself by consuming nickel with its leaves accumulating 18,000 ppm without being poisoned, a level that is up to a thousand times greater than other plants.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Effect of Weak Broadband EM

Biologists studying migratory birds accidentally discovered that the effects of low-level broadband electromagnetic fields common in cities and a thousand times below the range that affects human health can disrupt the behavior and magnetic migratory sense of urban songbirds.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Two Rings around Asteroid

Astronomers have found two sharply defined rings surrounding the asteroid Chariklo, at 250 km in diameter the largest centaur orbiting between Saturn and Uranus in the outer solar system and the smallest object yet seen to host a stable ring system.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Most Distant in Solar System

Astronomers have discovered a new distant dwarf planet (2012 VP113) that is the most distant known object in our solar system, part of the inner Oort cloud with an elliptical orbit of 80 AU at its closest point to the Sun and perturbed enough to suggest the existence of a further large, planet-sized massive body.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Rare Chimeric Albino Redwood

Scientists and historians are fighting transit authorities to prevent the removal of an extremely rare 52-foot, healthy chimeric albino redwood growing near a railroad in Cotati, California, one of only ten specimens ever found that produce male and female cones as well as displaying normal and albino tissues in the same tree.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

"Zebra Stripes" in Van Allen Belt

NASA's Van Allen probes have detected a persistent pattern in the inner radiation belt surrounding Earth similar to "zebra stripes," a distortion caused by the rotation of the planet that was previously thought incapable of affecting the high-energy electrons of the belts with velocities near the speed of light.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

1500-Year-Old Moss Lives

Researchers have demonstrated moss frozen in ice on the Antarctic Peninsula for at least 1530 years can be revived and continue to grow, showing that a vital element of ecosystems can survive long-term, millennial-scale ice ages.

Monday, March 17, 2014

First Direct Evidence of Big Bang

Researchers studying the polarization of the cosmic microwave background have mapped the unique B-mode pattern that is consistent with that predicted for the primordial gravitational waves generated by the cosmic inflation in the fraction of a second following the Big Bang, providing the first physical evidence of gravitational waves as well as the theory of cosmic origins.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Microbe "Eats" Electricity

Researchers have found a common bacteria (Rhodopseudomonas palustris) uses a method called extracellular electron transfer (EET) to pull electrons from iron and conductive minerals found in soil for use with sunlight as nourishment in their own metabolism.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Oldest Piece of Earth's Crust

Using uranium decay dating methods, a 4.4 billion-year-old zircon crystal found in the Jack Hills region of Western Australia has been confirmed as the oldest known fragment of Earth's crust, evidence of solid crust formation soon after Earth's formation itself and quickly following the impact that produced the Moon.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Fossil Ichthyosaur Live Birth

Scientists have discovered a rare 248 million-year-old fossil in China of an ichthyosaur (Chaohusaurus) that died during labor and the oldest embryonic fossils yet found, revealing that the ancient sea reptile bore live young head-first as the former land species once evolved to do.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Shape-Shifting Neutrinos Seen

Japan's Super-Kamiokande detector has found its first evidence that neutrinos interact with matter through detection of predicted levels of high-energy solar neutrino oscillations as they pass through the bulk of the Earth.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Earliest Non-African Footprints

Scientists have discovered the first fossilized human footprints outside of the African continent on a Happisburgh beach on the eastern side of England, dating back 800,000 years and providing direct evidence of the earliest known humans in Northern Europe.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Space River of Hydrogen Found

Astronomers have discovered a very faint, tenuous filament of hydrogen gas known as a cold flow winding through intergalactic space and into nearby spiral galaxy NGC 6946, supporting new theories of star formation using extragalactic sources of matter.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Dog Cancer Preserves Genes

Genetic analysis of the communicable cancer canine transmissible venereal tumour (CTVT) suggests it appeared in dogs about 11,000 years ago and preserves the identical DNA of the dog from which it originated, allowing a rare comparison of ancient versus modern animals.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

New Dolphin Species Discovered

Scientists have discovered a species of river dolphin previously unknown to science in the Araguaia River of Brazil, only the fifth such freshwater species known and the first discovered since 1918.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Cosmic Background "Web" Seen

Using a distant quasar to backlight a gas cloud two million light years across, cosmologists have imaged filaments in the gas of what is believed to be a dark matter "web" providing a large-scale structure to the expanding universe as predicted by computer simulations.

Friday, January 17, 2014

First Data on Ball Lightning

While recording a thunderstorm in China, a team of researchers captured a ball lightning event on their instruments for the first time with spectrographic readings indicating the composition of the lightning the same as that of the soil, speculating the origin of ball lightning to be a combination of vaporization of silicon oxide and the resulting shockwave of the strike.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

New Antarctic Sea Anemone

A research team has discovered a species of tiny sea anemone previously unknown to science living in the Ross Ice Shelf off Antarctica, the first such species living in pure ice instead of soil and the first to live upside down, hanging from the underside of the ice shelf.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Redefining the Ampere

In an effort to revise the current 1948 definition of the SI unit of electrical current (ampere) that relates current to a given force through a thought experiment, researchers have succeeded in tracking single electron charges (e) as they travel across barriers driven by voltage pulses.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Bird-Eating Fish

Long suspected but never proven until now, evidence has been captured on video of the freshwater African tigerfish (Hydrocynus vittatus) hunting, catching and eating low-flying barn swallows in a South African lake in Mapungubwe National Park.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Accuracy of Measured Universe

Using baryon acoustic oscillations (BAO) as a standard unit of measure, astronomers with the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey have measured the distances between galaxies in the universe to within 1% accuracy covering 10,000 square degrees of sky.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Earthquake Lights Explained

New research finds that mysterious lights reported for centuries before or during seismic activity are associated with areas of geological rift zones, and are theorized to be electrical charges generated from stresses between rocks that travel vertically along fault lines.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Unique Supervolcano Eruptions

Using models and simulations, volcanologists have determined that supervolcanoes erupt by very different mechanisms than smaller volcanoes, with the buoyancy of the molten rock creating stress that cracks open the top of the chamber instead of underground pressure building until it breaches the surface.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Primate Duplicate Genes

Small fragments of DNA called core duplicons replicated and spread across the chromosomes of select primates between 8 million and 12 million years ago, a genetic characteristic not found in other animals and an evolutionary trait that may have "seeded" chromosomal development and fundamentally influenced human evolution and brain size.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Gaseous Earth-Mass Exoplanet

The recent discovery of an exoplanet (KOI-314c) with a mass comparable to Earth yet covered with a thick atmosphere of hydrogen and helium like a gas giant challenges theories on planetary formation and the assumption that Earth-mass planets necessarily be of a rocky composition.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

New Mutagenic Compounds Found

Researchers have discovered a new class of compounds called nitrogenated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (NPAH) found naturally in combustion products such as vehicle exhaust and charred meat that can be up to hundreds of times more mutagenic than known carcinogens.

Monday, January 6, 2014

"Ardi" Links to Human Lineage

New research comparing the well-preserved cranial base of the contested 4.4 million-year-old African primate species Ardipithecus ramidus ("Ardi") found in Ethiopia reveals a closer evolutionary relationship to Australopithecus and modern humans rather than to apes, placing the species in the human evolutionary lineage.