Biology, Discoveries, Health & Medicine, Science

Your microbial cloud is your “signature”

New research focused on the personal microbial cloud. (Credit: Viputheshwar Sitaraman, of Draw Science)

Humans are walking ecosystems. Each of us carries around about 100 trillion microbes in and on our bodies, which make up our microbiome. The quality of this bacterial community has a lot to say about our health and well-being. The blend of microbes is also surprisingly unique, which says a lot about who we are as individuals. New research published

Astronomy, Discoveries, Science

Binary black hole discovery may hint at genesis of quasars

OU astrophysicist and his Chinese collaborator used observations from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope to find two supermassive black holes in Markarian 231. Credit: Space Telescope Science Institute,
Baltimore, Maryland

An international astronomy team has detected two supermassive black holes that appear to be orbiting each other in a nearby galaxy. The discovery of a likely binary black hole system suggests that supermassive black holes assemble their masses through violent unions.

Archaeology, Discoveries

A Second Look at the Iceman – New discoveries motivate new analyses

Ötzi Reconstruction (© South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology –

Hikers discovered Ötzi the Iceman in the Ötztal Alps of Tyrol, Austria in 1991. Forensic analysis showed that he died around 5,300 years ago, making his the oldest intact human body every found. Ötzi had been preserved by glacier ice and was found with his tools, clothes, and weapons – a time capsule of Copper Age life. While years of


World’s oldest pair of pants, found in a tomb in China


If you’ve ever wondered when was the first time that ancient people decided to wear pants like we do today instead of large pieces of coatings to cover their nudity, the scientists found the answer to that one. It seems that it’s somewhere between 3,000 and 3,300 years ago, somewhere around the 13th to 10th century B.C. that ancient nomadic

Archaeology, Discoveries

Mesopotamian urban crisis after the fall of the Akkadian Empire mirrors modern Syrian one

In 2300s BC Sargon conquered Sumer as well as all of Mesopotamia establishing the world's first empire, the Akkadian Empire. An empire is a land with different territories and peoples under a single rule. The Akkadian Empire stretched from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean Sea. Sargon was emperor for 50 years, but after his death the empire only lasted a century before it fell. (c) Mary Harrsch

Archaeologists used innovative techniques gain new insights about the third-millennium urban crisis in Mesopotamia some 4,000 years ago. This marked the fall of the Akkadian Empire – the very first empire in the world. The researchers also drew a comparison to modern day Syria where current events in the wake of climate change and a violent revolution seem to mirror those in ancient times.

Biology, Discoveries, News

Earth-loving Hades: meet the centipede from Hell

The entrance of cave Munižaba. Photo: D. Bakšić.

Deep below ground level, 3,500 feet (1000 meters) down a Croatian cave, scientists have discovered a new species of centipede. They named this incredibly resilient creature Geophilus hadesi – earth loving Hades – in honor of Hades, the Greek God of the underworld and ruler of Hell. Centipedes are elongated arthropods with one pair of legs per body segment. Despite the name, centipedes

Discoveries, Genetics, Science

Study shakes answers out of the shaking disease: human prion immunity gene isolated

Image via:

A recent study involving a Papua New Guinea tribe that practiced cannibalistic funeral customs sheds new light on prion-related conditions such as mad cow disease.

Discoveries, Materials, Tech

A New Class of Magnet Could Mean New Tech Capabilities

Magnified image of a non-Joulian iron-gallium alloy, showing the periodic magnetic “cells”
(Harsh Deep Chopra – Temple University)

Researchers have discovered a new class of magnet that increases in volume when placed in a magnetic field and generates only negligible amounts of heat in the process. These properties could transform many existing technologies and enable a few new ones. Harsh Deep Chopra, Professor and Chair of Mechanical Engineering at Temple University, and Manfred Wuttig, Professor of Materials Science

Discoveries, News

Newly discovered dinosaur had bat-like wings… but could it fly?

Artist’s impression of the new dinosaur Yi qi. Credit: Dinostar Co. Ltd

Each year, hundreds of millions people fly by plane to meet family, do business or travel for leisure. Quite a feat, considering humans don’t have any wings. Like all advanced technology we have at our disposal today, flying is also taken for granted. In the early days, however, just getting a few feet off the ground for a couple of seconds was considered a triumph. Like human pioneering flight, nature also had to experiment a lot before flying creatures could evolve. One newly discovered dinosaur species fits well into this story. Unearthed in 160 million year old sediments in China, this queer dinosaur strangely had bat-like wings. It’s uncertain however if it was able to fly or even glide, owing to the degraded state of the fossil records. One thing’s for sure, it makes the evolution of flight much more interesting to study.

Discoveries, News

Darwin’s ‘strangest animals’ finally classified thanks to protein sequencing

Macrauchenia ("long llama"). Image: Wikimedia Commons

While in South American during his 1830 expedition with the HMS Beagle, Charles Darwin came across the fossils of two peculiar hoofed species which he was unable to classify properly. One was Macrauchenia, which looked like a camel with the head of an ant eater, and the other was Toxodon which had the body of rhino, the head of a hippo and the teeth of a rodent. So, was the Macrauchenia related to the camel or the ant eater? Who was Toxodon’s closet cousin, the hippo or the rhino? Darwin was puzzled and to no avail concluded these were “perhaps one of the strangest animals ever discovered”. But Darwin didn’t have the tools we have today. Now, using a ground breaking technique researchers have sequenced the collagen of a myriad of South American mammals, including Darwin’s ‘strangest animals’ and finally found their real taxonomy.