Iran launches monkey into space, but it means no monkey business

Presumably, of course, since this news piece has only been delivered by an Iranian state-owned and controlled news outlet, and has yet to be confirmed by an independent source. Apparently, the Iranian space program successfully launched a live monkey into space, after the capsule in which the animal was housed reached an altitude of 75 miles, or 120 kilometers. The capsule

Dung Beetles navigate using the Milky Way

Dung beetles just climbed another ladder on the animal coolness scale – they are the only known species to navigate via the Milky Way. The tiny insects can orient themselves to the bright stripe of light generated by our galaxy, and move in a line relative to it, according to experiments conducted in South Africa. A hard life “This is

Starchy genes made wolves man’s best friend

A genetic change allowed wolves to make the transition from wild beasts to domesticated animals, with a starch-rich diet and less meat. Researchers from Sweden, Norway and the United States compared the DNA code of wolves to that of domesticated dogs. “Our findings show that the digestive system of dogs have adapted to be able to live on a diet

NIH to retire most of its research chimps, report says

Clear and solid steps have been taken in the past few years to cancel research, experiments and drug testing on chimps, a practice which is still legal in only two countries in the world: the US and Ghana. Recently, the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) was advised to retire its decade-old, 360 chimpanzee-strong colony to a national sanctuary. Some 50 chimpanzees

Newly imaged nebula looks like a manatee in space

The Very Large Array radio telescope network in New Mexico recently captured this amazing view of a 20,000 year old nebula that intriguing enough is shaped like a manatee – the famous and adorable sea cow native to the greater Gulf of Mexico – in its favorite position: floating on its back with its fins across its belly. The nebula, initially

Crabs and other shellfish feel pain. Opens ethical discussion

A new study from researchers at Queen’s University Belfast, UK, found that indeed shellfish, like crabs or lobsters that are typically cooked alive in horrid conditions, feel pain as well. The findings raise significant ethical discussions, warning the food and fish industry of its ill ways of killing live seafood. “On a philosophical point, it is impossible to demonstrate absolutely

Fantastic frog found flying in Vietnamese forests

Scientists have stumbled upon a new species of flying frog – on the ground. While hiking in 2009, not far from Ho Chi Minh City, the capital of Vietnam, “we came across a huge green frog, sitting on a log,” said Jodi Rowley, an amphibian biologist at the Australian Museum in Sydney. Upon further inspection, she found that the 9

Chimpanzees have a sense of fairness

Chimpanzees have the same sense of fair-play as humans do, explain researchers who played the Ultimatum game with them – it’s the first time such a trait was observed in a non-human species. Playing a fair game The Ultimatum game is a simple game often used in economy game theory in which the two players involved interact to decide how

First four legged land animals moved about like seals

Researchers who had performed the first high detail 3-D reconstruction of early tetrapod (four-legged animals) backbones claim the first land based animals moved by dragging themselves around the ground much in the same way modern day seals behave. The scientists used the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) in Grenoble to bombard 360-million year old fossils with high energy X-rays, which enabled them

Shark embryos stay still to avoid predators

Sharks are the ultimate predators, comfortably sitting at the very top of the food chain; but even they have their enemies (the biggest one being us, of course), especially when they’re small – nobody fears a small shark. But even in their defenseless period, sharks have managed to find a way to adapt. Australian researchers found that the embryos know

Natural brightness: fireflies inspire LEDs with 55% more efficiency

We’ve featured countless research here on ZME Science where important scientific and technological advancements were made after scientists sought inspiration from nature, be them  high-tech surfaces (butterfly) or robots (leaping lizard). Recently, researchers at Canada’s University of Sherbrooke managed to improve LED efficiency by 55% after they applied a coating etched with a profile similar to that of firefly scales. Fireflies emit

Giant squids filmed by Japanese researchers – for the first time in their own habitat

Scientists and broadcasters announced for the first time that they have captured footage of the extremely elusive giant squid in its own habitat. Japan’s National Science Museum succeeded in filming the deep-sea creature at a depth of more than half a kilometer, but so far, the footage hasn’t been made public. In order to accomplish this remarkable feat, they teamed

Amazing wildlife crossings that go a long way

Just like we build crossings to enable us to pass natural obstacles, wildlife crossings allow animals to pass human-made barriers. They’re useful not just because they protect wildlife from being hit by cars, but also because they connect habitats fragmented by human activity. Wildlife crossings are not new practice in habitat conservation, but so far there aren’t nearly enough. Europe and

Amazing animal of the week: Leptocephalus

The Leptocephalus (which means slim head) is actually a the flat and transparent larva of the eel, marine eels, and other members of the Superorder Elopomorpha. The group evolved in the Cretaceous, 140 million years ago, and they all have laterally compressed bodies that contain transparent jelly-like substances on the inside of the body and a thin layer of muscle

Spider creates its own larger decoys

Spiders are truly remarkable creatures, but some of them are absolutely unique! This time, biologists working in the Amazon have found a spider that builds elaborate replicas of himself from leaves, debris and insects to confuse predators. The art of deceit From afar, it could mislead even the most experienced eye, hanging in the center of a spider web along

Why is Rudolph’s nose red? Scientists explain

Labelled as an outcast by the rest of Santa’s sleigh pulling reindeer, Rudolph the red-nose reindeer, though mocked off, is indispensable and without him Christmas might not make it to every house from all corners of the globe. With his very shiny nose, Rudolph guides Santa’s sleigh even through the harshest of weather, but exactly why is his nose so red?

Dogs can be trained to detect extremely dangerous superbug

Researchers had already known that dogs can sniff out hospital superbug Clostridium defficile from stool samples of patients, but now, a really cute beagle has been trained to sniff out the bacteria from the air in the hospital. C. difficile infection generally occurs in patients who have been recently admitted in hospitals and were previously on antibiotics. In this research,

New slow loris species discovered in Borneo is already threatened

Biologists have identified a new species of small nocturnal primates, part of the slow loris family, in Borneo’s forests. Don’t be fooled by its cute grim though, this tiny critter packs a punch, as its bite is poisonous and can cause harm to humans. Nevertheless, barely as it was discovered, scientists issued a warning to environmental agencies that the new slow loris

First results from James Cameron’s trip to the abyss

It may not be the Pandora, but James Cameron dove into one of the most fascinating environments from our planet: the Mariana trench, the deepest point on the face of the Earth. The scientists involved in the project presented the first results at the American Geophysical Union meeting (where else?) in San Francisco. They explained that at those depths, microbial

This week’s amazing animal: the Regal ringneck snake

Diadophis punctatus regalis, or the regal ringneck snake, as it is most commonly referred to, is a species endemic to the US and Mexico. The snake is typically grey, with a dark-speckled white or cream underside, which becomes bright red or orange near and under the tail. However, sometimes, it looks like this.