'Jigsaw puzzle' dinosaur Chilesaurus boasted weird mix of traits
By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Scientists have unearthed fossils of a strange dinosaur in southern Chile that boasts such an unusual combination of traits that they are comparing it to a platypus, that oddball egg-laying, duckbilled mammal from Australia. Named Chilesaurus diegosuarezi, it is a member of the same dinosaur group as Tyrannosaurus rex, theropods, which includes the largest land meat-eaters in Earth's history, but it ate only plants with a beak and leaf-shaped teeth, scientists said on Monday. "Chilesaurus constitutes one of the most bizarre dinosaurs ever found," said paleontologist Fernando Novas of the Bernardino Rivadavia Natural Sciences Museum in Buenos Aires, calling the creature an evolutionary "jigsaw puzzle." "The skeletal anatomy of Chilesaurus gathers characteristics of different dinosaur groups, like a floor is composed of mosaics of different shapes and colors. No other dinosaurs exhibit such a combination or mixture of features." Chilesaurus lived in a region crisscrossed by rivers at the Jurassic Period's end, approximately 145 million years ago.
Mon, 27 Apr 2015 11:42:47 -0400
Zebrafish 'inner ear' development wins science video prize
By Ben Gruber This is a video of a lateral line, an organ that allows fish to sense water movement, developing in a zebra fish. Using an imaging technique called Selective Plane Illumination Microscopy, which uses sheets of lights to illuminate sub-cellular activity, Dr. Mariana Muzzopappa and Jim Swoger from the Institute for Research in Biomedicine in Barcelona Spain, claimed top honors in this year's Nikon Small World in Motion Photomicrography Competition. Second place went to Dr. Douglas Clark from San Francisco, California who used polarized light to create a time-lapse movie showing crystals forming on a single drop of a solution saturated with caffeine in water. Third place honors went to Dr. John Hart from the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science at the University of Colorado-Boulder for a detailed look at oil floating on the surface of water.
Mon, 27 Apr 2015 15:26:11 -0400
Hunt for ancient royal tomb in Mexico takes mercurial twist
By David Alire Garcia TEOTIHUACAN, Mexico (Reuters) - A Mexican archeologist hunting for a royal tomb in a deep, dark tunnel beneath a towering pre-Aztec pyramid has made a discovery that may have brought him a step closer: liquid mercury. In the bowels of Teotihuacan, a mysterious ancient city that was once the largest in the Americas, Sergio Gomez this month found "large quantities" of the silvery metal in a chamber at the end of a sacred tunnel sealed for nearly 1,800 years. "It's something that completely surprised us," Gomez said at the entrance to the tunnel below Teotihuacan's Pyramid of the Plumed Serpent, about 30 miles (50 km) northeast of Mexico City. Some archeologists believe the toxic element could herald what would be the first ruler's tomb ever found in Teotihuacan, a contemporary of several ancient Maya cities, but so shrouded in mystery that its inhabitants still have no name.
Fri, 24 Apr 2015 13:27:52 -0400
Decline in U.S. science spending threatens economy, security: MIT
By Sharon Begley NEW YORK (Reuters) - Warning of an "innovation deficit," scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology say declining government spending on basic research is holding back potentially life-saving advances in 15 fields, from robotics and fusion energy to Alzheimer's disease and agriculture. Science funding is "the lowest it has been since the Second World War as a fraction of the federal budget," said MIT physicist Marc Kastner, who led the committee that wrote "The Future Postponed" report, issued on Monday. Federal spending on research as a share of total government outlays has fallen from nearly 10 percent in 1968, during the space program, to 3 percent in 2015.
Mon, 27 Apr 2015 00:02:36 -0400
Hot times at Yellowstone: huge magma chamber found deeply buried
By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Deep beneath Yellowstone National Park, one of the world's most dynamic volcanic systems, lies an enormous, previously unknown reservoir of hot, partly molten rock big enough to fill up the Grand Canyon 11 times, scientists say. Researchers on Thursday said they used a technique called seismic tomography to a produce for the first time a complete picture of the volcanic "plumbing system" at Yellowstone, from the Earth's mantle up to the surface. Scientists already knew of a large magma chamber under Yellowstone that fed the eruptions 2 million, 1.2 million and 640,000 years ago. "The existence of the second magma chamber does not make it any more or less likely that a large volcanic eruption at Yellowstone will occur.
Fri, 24 Apr 2015 07:23:41 -0400
Climate Deniers to Pope Francis: 'There Is No Global Warming Crisis'
As Pope Francis prepares a historic document to make environmental issues a priority for Catholics, a group of climate-change deniers is trying to convince the pontiff this week that global warming is nothing to worry about. "Humans are not causing a climate crisis on God's green Earth in fact, they are fulfilling their biblical duty to protect and use it for the benefit of humanity," Joseph Bast, president of the Heartland Institute,said in a statement. The group is sending a delegation to Rome this week to try to get Pope Francis to pay attention to its position with events Monday (April 27) and Tuesday (April 28).
Mon, 27 Apr 2015 13:01:38 -0400
Learning from Earth's Smallest Ecosystems (Kavli Hangout)
From inside our bodies to under the ocean floor, microbiomes communities of bacteriaand other one-celled organisms thrive everywhere in nature. The diversity of all the plants and animals everything that's alive today that you can see with your eyes that's a drop in the proverbial ocean of diversity contained in the bacterial and microbial world.
Mon, 27 Apr 2015 12:22:59 -0400
Songbirds Emerge for Spring, But Is the Timing Off? (Essay)
Naomi Eide is a master's student in the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, College Park. According to theCornell Lab of Ornithology's guide, many say the golden-crowned sparrow's whistles sound like a phrase, such as "I'm so tired" or "Oh, dear me." The air is bustling with the songs of flirting birds, yet sleeping houses remain blissfully unaware that nature's instinct has taken over with the change in day length. Climate change has disturbed the delicate choreography that synchronizes the bloom of trees and flowers with the emergence of new wildlife and native bees. "Birds are being activated to sing by virtue of the sunlight right now," said Douglas Gill, professor emeritus in the biology department at the University of Maryland.
Mon, 27 Apr 2015 12:22:13 -0400
SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket Launches Turkmenistan's First-Ever Satellite
The private spaceflight company SpaceX launched the first-ever satellite for Turkmenistan into orbit Monday evening (April 27), marking the second space mission in less than two weeks for the firm's Falcon 9 rocket. The SpaceXFalcon 9 rocket blasted offfrom Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 7:03 p.m. EDT (2303 GMT) to deliver the Turkmenlem52E/MonacoSat communications satellite into orbit, after a 49-minute delay caused by cloudy conditions. The satellite, which was built by France-based aerospace firm Thales Alenia Space, weighs about 9,920 lbs. (4,500 kilograms) and has a design lifetime of 15 years, according to a mission description. "Once operational in orbit, Turkmenlem52E/MonacoSAT will allow Turkmenistan to operate its first national satellite telecommunications system, ensuring enhanced, secure telecommunications for the country," SpaceX representatives wrote in a mission fact sheet.
Mon, 27 Apr 2015 19:56:32 -0400
Citizen Scientists Discover Five New Supernovas
More than 40,000 citizen stargazers have helped to classify over 2 million celestial objects and identify five never-before-seen supernovas, in a massive example of citizen science at work. An amateur astronomy project of cosmic proportions, established by scientists at the Australian National University, asked volunteers to look through images taken by the SkyMapper telescope and search for new objects, with a particular focus on finding new supernovas. The project was set up using the Zooniverse platform (run by the University of Oxford), which hosts many other citizen science projects, and which was promoted on the BBC2 TV series "Stargazing Live," from March 18 to March 20. The participants were asked to look at star-filled patches of the night sky, taken by the SkyMapper telescope.
Mon, 27 Apr 2015 15:37:12 -0400
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