Biology, Geology, News

Dinosaurs were warm-blooded, new study finds

Image via Science Daily.

New controversial research concluded that dinosaurs weren’t the cold blooded lizards we tend to see them today – instead, they had much in common with mammals, and were warm blooded.

Biology, Geology, News

Creationist finds Paleocene fossils in his basement, claims they’re 4,500 years old

Darla Zelenitsky, palaeontologist and assistant professor at the University of Calgary, left and Edgar Nernberg, look over some of the fish fossils.

An Alberta citizen discovered a trove of rare fossilized fish while digging up his basement. But Edgar Nernberg isn’t a man who “believes” in science – instead, he claims that the fish are 4,500 years old, from Noah’s flood.

Biology, News, Science, Space

Mice in space grow thinner skin and more hair, but how safe is micro-g for humans?

space mice

Six mice were spent 91 days on board the Internationals Space Station in 2009, or seven years in the life of a mouse. Comparing their tissue characteristics with mice living in the same conditions, only on Earth, researchers found micro-gravity induces some peculiar biological changes. For instance, the mice’s skin was thinner and their hair grew more. Like humans, mice too suffer from muscle and bone atrophy in micro-gravity, which prompted scientists to consider them as reliable models for studying the effect of living in space for extended periods of time. Previously, human astronauts have complained about skin dryness and irritation and these latest findings seems to suggest that these may indeed be caused by micro-gravity.

Animals, Biology, News

Last ditch effort gives endangered turtles another chance

one of the four surviving Yangtze Turtles.

A female Yangtze giant softshell turtle (quite possibly the last female of her species) has been given another chance to breed. She has been artificially inseminated at the Suzhou Zoo in China, in a last ditch effort to attempt to preserve her species.

Biology, News, Technology

Scientists 3D print eggs, trick birds into thinking they’re real

Image via 3D print.

It’s more than just a nasty trick – scientists have actually 3D printed eggs to help them better understand bird behaviour. They were especially interested in bird perception and what particular characteristics make them identify real eggs from fake ones.

Biology, News

Sturdy virus might help us treat infectious diseases

Electron micrograph of Sulfolobus infected with Sulfolobus virus STSV1. Bar = 1 μm. Image via Wikipedia.

Scientists are studying a virus that survives in extremely hot environments in the hope that it will give us better ways of fighting infectious diseases.

Biology, News

Panther chameleon is a biological ninja

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Scientists have discovered what they thought to a different species of chameleon – but DNA analysis revealed that they were in fact dealing with 11 different species, hiding in plain sight.

Biology, News, Oceanography

Ocean trek reveals the massive diversity of the oceanic plankton [with photos]

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In what’s perhaps one of the most amazing marine science study, a team of researchers scoured the world’s oceans fishing for microbes, viruses and other tiny life during a three and a half year trip aboard a schooner. The trip was long and arduous for sure, but ultimately it paid out – big time! The team collected 35,000 samples at 210 stations over the voyage, and found 35,000 species of bacteria, 5,000 new viruses and 150,000 single-celled plants and creatures. Most of these are new to science. Only a small fraction of the newly discovered and known species alike had been genetically sequenced, but results so far show just how interconnected and symbiotic marine life is. It also means it’s also vulnerable in the face of environmental changes, particularly climate change.

Biology, News

More than meets the eye: Octopus can perceive light directly through its skin

Image: Square Space

Biologists have long suspected that cephalopods like the squid and cuttlefish have specialized proteins embedded in their skin, very similar to those found in the eye, which they can use to perceive light, and maybe even colour. Where previously attempts failed, a team at University of California at Santa Barbara now offers conclusive evidence that octopuses can ‘see’ with their skin. Namely, they can definitely perceive light characteristics like wavelengths, brightness and such, but not edges or contrast. So, you might as well add full body vision to the list of awesome octopus features: master of disguise, elegance in chaos, survival in sub-freezing Antarctic temperatures or special untangling switches. But hey, who’s counting anymore. As much as octopuses are weird, they’re just as fascinating!

Biology, News

Snakes evolved on land, possibly with toes and feet

Image via Smithsonian.

A new analysis conducted by Yale researchers revealed that the first snakes may have actually evolved on land, not in water. These proto-snakes were likely night hunters that might have had hind legs and even toes. “We generated the first comprehensive reconstruction of what the ancestral snake was like,” said Allison Hsiang, lead author the study published online May 19