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Life goes on for marine ecosystems after cataclysmic mass extinction
10/20/2017 07:22 AM
One of the largest global mass extinctions did not fundamentally change marine ecosystems, scientists have found.

NASA's MAVEN mission finds Mars has a twisted magnetic tail
10/19/2017 04:18 PM
Mars has an invisible magnetic 'tail' that is twisted by interaction with the solar wind, according to new research using data from NASA's MAVEN spacecraft.

New NASA study improves search for habitable worlds
10/19/2017 04:18 PM
New NASA research is helping to refine our understanding of candidate planets beyond our solar system that might support life.

Climate shifts shorten marine food chain off California
10/19/2017 03:16 PM
Environmental disturbances such as El Niño shake up the marine food web off Southern California, new research shows, countering conventional thinking that the hierarchy of who-eats-who in the ocean remains largely constant over time.

Field trips of the future?
10/19/2017 02:42 PM
A biologist examines the benefits and drawbacks of virtual and augmented reality in teaching environmental science.

DNA damage found in veterans with Gulf War illness
10/19/2017 02:41 PM
Researchers say they have found the 'first direct biological evidence' of damage in veterans with Gulf War illness to DNA within cellular structures that produce energy in the body.

New tyrannosaur fossil is most complete found in Southwestern US
10/19/2017 12:30 PM
A fossilized skeleton of a tyrannosaur discovered in Utah's Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument was airlifted by helicopter Oct 15, and delivered to the Natural History Museum of Utah where it will be uncovered, prepared, and studied. The fossil is approximately 76 million years old and is likely an individual of the species Teratophoneus curriei.

Ancient DNA offers new view on saber-toothed cats' past
10/19/2017 12:30 PM
Researchers who've analyzed the complete mitochondrial genomes from ancient samples representing two species of saber-toothed cats have a new take on the animals' history over the last 50,000 years. The data suggest that the saber-toothed cats shared a common ancestor with all living cat-like species about 20 million years ago. The two saber-toothed cat species under study diverged from each other about 18 million years ago.

Evolution in your back garden: Great tits may be adapting their beaks to birdfeeders
10/19/2017 12:30 PM
A British enthusiasm for feeding birds may have caused UK great tits to have evolved longer beaks than their European counterparts, according to new research. The findings identify for the first time the genetic differences between UK and Dutch great tits which researchers were then able to link to longer beaks in UK birds.

H7N9 influenza is both lethal and transmissible in animal model for flu
10/19/2017 12:30 PM
In 2013, an influenza virus began circulating among poultry in China. It caused several waves of human infection and as of late July 2017, nearly 1,600 people had tested positive for avian H7N9. Nearly 40 percent of those infected had died. In 2017, a medical researcher received a sample of H7N9 virus isolated from a patient in China who had died of the flu. He and his research team subsequently began work to characterize and understand it.

Liquid metal discovery ushers in new wave of chemistry and electronics
10/19/2017 12:30 PM
Researchers use liquid metal to create atom-thick 2-D never before seen in nature. The research could transform how we do chemistry and could also be applied to enhance data storage and make faster electronics.

Six degrees of separation: Why it is a small world after all
10/19/2017 09:10 AM
This study examines how small-world networks occur within bigger and more complex structures.

Itsy bitsy spider: Fear of spiders and snakes is deeply embedded in us
10/19/2017 09:09 AM
Snakes and spiders evoke fear and disgust in many people, even in developed countries where hardly anybody comes into contact with them. Until now, there has been debate about whether this aversion is innate or learnt. Scientists have recently discovered that it is hereditary: Even babies feel stressed when seeing these creatures - long before they could have learnt this reaction.

A mosquito's secret weapon: a light touch and strong wings
10/19/2017 08:10 AM
How do mosquitoes land and take off without our noticing? Using high-speed video cameras, researchers have found part of the answer: mosquitoes' long legs allow them to slowly and gently push off, but their wings provide the majority of the lift, even when fully laden with a blood meal. For comparison, mosquitoes push off with forces much less than those of an escaping fruit fly.

Noxious ice cloud on Saturn's moon Titan
10/19/2017 08:10 AM
Researchers with NASA's Cassini mission found evidence of a toxic hybrid ice in a wispy cloud high above the south pole of Saturn's largest moon, Titan.

Scientists see order in complex patterns of river deltas
10/19/2017 08:10 AM
River deltas, with their intricate networks of waterways, coastal barrier islands, wetlands and estuaries, often appear to have been formed by random processes, but scientists see order in the apparent chaos.

Scientists pinpoint jealousy in the monogamous mind
10/19/2017 08:10 AM
Scientists find that in male titi monkeys, jealousy is associated with heightened activity in the cingulate cortex, an area of the brain associated with social pain in humans, and the lateral septum, associated with pair bond formation in primates. A better understanding of jealousy may provide important clues on how to approach health and welfare problems such as addiction and domestic violence, as well as autism.

Slow Internet? New technology to speed up home broadband dramatically
10/19/2017 08:10 AM
Slow internet speeds and the Internet 'rush hour' -- the peak time when data speeds drop by up to 30 percent -- could be history with new hardware that provides consistently high-speed broadband connectivity.

Fossil coral reefs show sea level rose in bursts during last warming
10/19/2017 08:09 AM
Scientists have discovered that Earth's sea level did not rise steadily when the planet's glaciers last melted during a period of global warming; rather, sea level rose sharply in punctuated bursts.

Dogs are more expressive when someone is looking
10/19/2017 08:09 AM
Dogs produce more facial expressions when humans are looking at them, according to new research.

More than 75 percent decrease in total flying insect biomass over 27 years across Germany
10/19/2017 08:09 AM
The total flying insect biomass decreased by more than 75 percent over 27 years in protected areas in Germany, according to a new study.

Salmon sex linked to geological change
10/19/2017 08:08 AM
It turns out that sex can move mountains. Researchers have found that the mating habits of salmon can alter the profile of stream beds, affecting the evolution of an entire watershed. The study is one of the first to quantitatively show that salmon can influence the shape of the land.

Want to control your dreams? Here's how you can
10/19/2017 08:08 AM
New research has found that a specific combination of techniques will increase people's chances of having lucid dreams, in which the dreamer is aware they're dreaming while it's still happening and can control the experience.

Scientists dig into the origin of organics on dwarf planet Ceres
10/18/2017 01:18 PM
Since NASA's Dawn spacecraft detected localized organic-rich material on Ceres, scientists have been digging into the data to explore different scenarios for its origin. After considering the viability of comet or asteroid delivery, the preponderance of evidence suggests the organics are most likely native to Ceres.

Understanding the coevolving web of life as a network
10/18/2017 11:32 AM
Coevolution, which occurs when species interact and adapt to each other, is often studied in the context of pair-wise interactions between mutually beneficial symbiotic partners. But many species have mutualistic interactions with multiple partners, leading to complex networks of interacting species.

Nature or nurture? Innate social behaviors in the mouse brain
10/18/2017 11:29 AM
The brain circuitry that controls innate, or instinctive, behaviors such as mating and fighting was thought to be genetically hardwired. Not so, neuroscientists now say.

Inflammation trains the skin to heal faster
10/18/2017 11:28 AM
Stem cells in the skin remember an injury, helping them close recurring wounds faster, researchers have found. The discovery could advance research and treatment of psoriasis and other inflammatory diseases.

Petals produce a 'blue halo' that helps bees find flowers
10/18/2017 11:28 AM
Latest research has found that several common flower species have nanoscale ridges on the surface of their petals that meddle with light when viewed from certain angles.

Solar eruptions could electrify Martian moons
10/18/2017 10:41 AM
Powerful solar eruptions could electrically charge areas of the Martian moon Phobos to hundreds of volts, presenting a complex electrical environment that could possibly affect sensitive electronics carried by future robotic explorers, according to a new NASA study. The study also considered electrical charges that could develop as astronauts transit the surface on potential human missions to Phobos.

Stiff fibers spun from slime
10/18/2017 09:35 AM
Nanoparticles from the secretion of velvet worms form recyclable polymer fibers.

Potential human habitat located on the moon
10/18/2017 08:43 AM
A new study confirms the existence of a large open lava tube in the Marius Hills region of the moon, which could be used to protect astronauts from hazardous conditions on the surface.

Ancient preen oil: Researchers discover 48-million-year-old lipids in a fossil bird
10/18/2017 07:12 AM
As a rule, soft parts do not withstand the ravages of time; hence, the majority of vertebrate fossils consist only of bones. Under these circumstances, a new discovery from the UNESCO World Heritage Site “Messel Pit” near Darmstadt in Germany comes as an even bigger surprise: a 48-million-year old skin gland from a bird, containing lipids of the same age. The oldest lipids ever recorded in a fossil vertebrate were used by the bird to preen its plumage.

Battling flames increases firefighters' exposure to carcinogens
10/18/2017 07:02 AM
The threat of getting burned by roaring flames is an obvious danger of firefighting, but other health risks are more subtle. For example, firefighters have been found to develop cancer at higher rates than the general population. Now researchers have measured how much firefighters' exposure to carcinogens and other harmful compounds increases when fighting fires. Their study also points to one possible way to reduce that exposure.

Navigational view of the brain thanks to powerful X-rays
10/17/2017 02:37 PM
Imagine Google Earth with only the street view and a far-away satellite view but not much of a map view. Brain imaging, for the most part, has been missing just that, and a lot of research on how the brain computes happens on that map-like level. New imaging tackles this special view of the brain with the highest-energy X-rays in the country that illuminate thick sections of a mouse brain.

New research opens the door to 'functional cure' for HIV
10/17/2017 01:30 PM
Scientists have for the first time shown that a novel compound effectively suppresses production of the virus in chronically infected cells.

How we determine who's to blame
10/17/2017 10:44 AM
Using eye-tracking technology, cognitive scientists have obtained the first direct evidence that people use a process called counterfactual simulation to imagine how a situation could have played out differently to assign responsibility for an outcome.

Flexible 'skin' can help robots, prosthetics perform everyday tasks by sensing shear force
10/17/2017 10:43 AM
Engineers have developed a flexible sensor 'skin' that can be stretched over any part of a robot's body or prosthetic to accurately convey information about shear forces and vibration, which are critical to tasks ranging from cooking an egg to dismantling a bomb.

Study reshapes understanding of climate change's impact on early societies
10/17/2017 10:43 AM
A new study linking paleoclimatology -- the reconstruction of past global climates -- with historical analysis shows a link between environmental stress and its impact on the economy, political stability, and war-fighting capacity of ancient Egypt.

Scientists determine source of world's largest mud eruption
10/17/2017 09:43 AM
More than 11 years after the Lusi mud volcano first erupted on the Indonesian island of Java, researchers may have figured out why the mudflows haven't stopped: deep underground, Lusi is connected to a nearby volcanic system.

Study shows how water could have flowed on 'cold and icy' ancient Mars
10/17/2017 09:43 AM
Research by planetary scientists finds that periodic melting of ice sheets on a cold early Mars would have created enough water to carve the ancient valleys and lakebeds seen on the planet today.

What training exercise boosts brain power best? New research finds out
10/17/2017 09:43 AM
One of the two brain-training methods most scientists use in research is significantly better in improving memory and attention. It also results in more significant changes in brain activity.

Domestication has not made dogs cooperate more with each other compared to wolves
10/17/2017 09:01 AM
Following domestication, dogs should be more tolerant and cooperative with conspecifics and humans compared to wolves. But looking at both in more naturalistic living conditions, however, speaks for more cooperative behavior of wolves. Researchers now show that the wild ancestors are excelling their domesticated relatives in teamwork. In an experimental approach dogs but not wolves failed to cooperatively pull the two ends of a rope to obtain a piece of food.

Keratin, proteins from 54-million-year-old sea turtle show survival trait evolution
10/17/2017 07:18 AM
Researchers have retrieved original pigment, beta-keratin and muscle proteins from a 54-million-year-old sea turtle hatchling. The work adds to the growing body of evidence supporting persistence of original molecules over millions of years and also provides direct evidence that a pigment-based survival trait common to modern sea turtles evolved at least 54 million years ago.

Filling the early universe with knots can explain why the world is three-dimensional
10/16/2017 05:03 PM
Filling the universe with knots shortly after it popped into existence 13.8 billion years ago provides a neat explanation for why we inhabit a three-dimensional world. That is the basic idea advanced by an out-of-the-box theory developed by an international team of physicists.

Whales and dolphins have rich 'human-like' cultures and societies
10/16/2017 10:22 AM
Whales and dolphins (cetaceans) live in tightly-knit social groups, have complex relationships, talk to each other and even have regional dialects -- much like human societies. A major new study has linked the complexity of Cetacean culture and behavior to the size of their brains.

Bite on this: Alligators caught eating sharks
10/16/2017 10:21 AM
Jaws, beware! Alligators may be coming for you. A new study documents American alligators on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts are eating small sharks and stingrays. This is the first scientific documentation of a widespread interaction between the two predators.

Hubble observes source of gravitational waves for the first time
10/16/2017 10:21 AM
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has observed for the first time the source of a gravitational wave, created by the merger of two neutron stars. This merger created a kilonova -- an object predicted by theory decades ago -- that ejects heavy elements such as gold and platinum into space. This event also provides the strongest evidence yet that short duration gamma-ray bursts are caused by mergers of neutron stars.

Radio 'eyes' unlocking secrets of neutron-star collision
10/16/2017 08:28 AM
When a pair of superdense neutron stars collided and potentially formed a black hole in a galaxy 130 million light-years from Earth, they unleashed not only a train of gravitational waves but also an ongoing torrent of radio waves that are answering some of the biggest questions about the nature of such a cataclysmic event.

Astronomers strike cosmic gold, confirm origin of precious metals in neutron star mergers
10/16/2017 08:28 AM
What many thought would be a long way off, the detection of gravitational waves from the merger of binary neutron stars, actually happened on Aug. 17. The observation of a blue and then red glow from the radioactive debris cloud left behind matched simulations of what the merger should look like, proving that such mergers are the source of most of the very heavy elements in the universe, including gold.

Harvey runoff menaces Texas' coral reefs
10/16/2017 08:28 AM
The more than 13 trillion gallons of floodwater from Hurricane Harvey have created a massive plume of freshwater in the Gulf of Mexico that is threatening the coral reefs of the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary about 100 miles offshore of Galveston.