‘Penis worm’ pokes holes in 100 year-old theory

The largest branch of animals in the tree of lifes are the protostomes – historically defined by the order in which they develop a mouth and an anus as embryos. But new gene-expression data conducted on “penis worms” suggests otherwise. The mouth and the anus Biologists will have to rename and rethink the protostomes, explains Andreas Hejnol, an evolutionary developmental

Aging satellite fleet could leave weather forecast in the dark

In the wake of the Sandy hurricane, which is currently still sweeping through North America’s east coast, weather forecasting has suddenly become a subject of major interest. It shouldn’t take natural disasters, which are getting more and more frequent unfortunately, to spark interest in this matter of grave importance. Despite this, funding for space geosciences, mainly responsible for launching and

9 colorful, tree dwelling, extremely small tarantulas found in Brazil

Biologists working in Brazil have discovered nine new species of orange, purple and pink tarantulas lurking around in the trees. The haul of new spider species came from a lengthy study conducted in the Amazon by tarantula specialist Dr Rogerio Bertani of the Instituto Butantan in Sao Paulo. He described these new findings in the ZooKeys magazine. “These are the

Bees can bite too, not only sting

Honeybees are among the most well armed insects, remarkably enough however it seems that we’ve only seen one side of their undercoat. Apparently, according to a recent discovery by Greek scientists, honeybees use a biting attack to ward off intruders. The bite delivers a toxin that paralyzes their victims, don’t worry though, they can’t bite humans. Actually, researchers are considering

Talk about hurricanes, ignore climate change

Hurricane Sandy continues to ravage North America, going strong at 150 km/h winds, and is expected make landfall near the New Jersey-Delaware border Monday night, threatening the entire Eastern Seaboard, with numerous people already being evacuated or preparing for this dire event. Before discussing matters further, I’d just like to express my entire sympathy to all the people in danger

Hermit crabs socialize in order to back stab their neighbor and steal their ‘homes’

There are around 800 hermit crab species living in the ocean. These crustaceans like to mind their own business and are rarely seen alongside one another, hence their species’ name. The dozen or so terrestrial hermit crab species, however, are forced to engage socially in order to survive. Their social pattern reveals a selfish agenda, though, after a recent study

Huge methane deposits trapped in seabed sediments might get released due to warmer waters

Scientists have found hints that methane deposits, tucked away in seabed sediments, have began to breakdown from their frozen state. The shifting of the Gulf Stream from colder to warmer waters is to blame, the researchers note. While a significant greenhouse gas influx into the atmosphere might occur, the researchers conclude, based on their models and experimental data, that it would

Architects reveal plan for China’s first self sufficient, carless city

Most people perceive China as a greatly polluted, overcrowded country, with little to no interest in renewable energy and a sustainable future. But that legacy is changing. Chicago-based architects Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill have unveiled plans for Chengdu Tianfu District Great City, a self sustainable satellite city which offers insightful solutions to the crowded infrastructure, murky traffic and great

Antarctic ozone hole shows big improvement – not all good

The hole in the ozone layer is the second smallest in twenty years, data from NASA and NOAA shows, but it’s not all good news. In fact, it could signal things taking a turn for the worst. Warmer air temperatures high above the Antarctic led to the hole shrinking, now covering an area of about 17.9 million square kilometers. The

Ornithologists remotely tracks endangered Yosemite Great Gray Owls with sound tech

The Great Gray Owls of Yosemite are a unique species, after they separated from their cousins some 30,000 years ago when an ice age forced them into isolation. Though similar to the Great Gray Owls, commonly encountered through out North America and the Asian taiga forests, the Yosemite branch is genetically distinct, but unfortunately also endangered with only 200 specimens

Dung beetle uses poop ball cargo as air conditioning

The dung beetle is an extreme survivor. Not only does it feed on poop, but it also fashions a hefty ball out of it, up to 50 times its own mass, that it rolls through the scorching desert. We’re talking 60 degrees Celsius here. A new study that has closely followed this truly remarkable creature has found that the dung

Beluga whale makes human-like sounds: tells diver to get out

US researchers were shocked to discover a beluga whale that spontaneously emits sounds very similar to those we humans produce. Scientists have known for quite a while that dolphins can be taught to mimic human voices, but no animal has ever tried to do that spontaneously – until now, that is. It all started when the nine-year old whale called

‘Archaeologist’ stray cat finds ancient catacomb in Rome

Fusing ancient, medieval, renascent and modern influences, the city of Rome is truly relic of time. It’s actually so old, that many construction projects in Rome have to go through a tiresome process before they can even start work, since there’s always the chance some forgotten tomb or catacomb of some sort might lie  underneath.  If you’re wondering what are the chances of finding a new

Solar geoengineering might hold the key to drastically reducing global warming

As the topic of climate change is frantically being discussed in every government office nowadays, a burst of solutions, some contradictory, are being constantly proposed. Sitting on the desk for a while is the solar geoengineering proposition – hailed by many, heavily criticized by others. A new study claims that solar engineering could be undertaken more effectively than previously thought, by

Oil barons and hunters threaten polar bear protection

As the global oil supply is starting to grow thin, the Arctic area seems to be more and more interesting to oil barons, but of course, there’s the problem of those pesky protected animals – so what do we do? Get rid of that, of course. A group of plaintiffs including the state of Alaska (who has already said they

Evolution dictated by brawn instead of brain

For scientists, the most common method of assessing an animal’s intelligence is by looking at its relative brain size, with respect to its body size. The human brain, for instance, is small compared to other animal’s brain, however it’s exceptionally large when considering our body mass. A new study, which analyzed the relative brain size of a myriad of species

7 Charts that make it clear the planet is warming fast

We are living in a period with a significant trend of global warming – not natural at all, despite what many people would have you believe. Global warming and cooling are indeed natural phenomena, but when they happen either in geologic time (by far the most common), or due to some catastrophic event (say a volcano spewing ash into the

During the greatest mass extinction in Earth’s history the world’s oceans reached 40°C – lethally hot

Between 247 to 252 million years ago, Earth life was going through quite possibly its most dire time. During this period some 90% of world’s species were wiped out, but what puzzled scientists for so long is the fact that it took five million years for life to recover after this apocalypse. A new study conducted by an international team

Frog has false thumb which actually hides a retractable spike used for fighting

The ‘Otton frog’ was just discovered in the Amami islands of Southern Japan, but unlike other frogs, which rely on camouflage or venom, this frog can put up quite a fight. Most frogs possess four digits, but at a first glance, the Otton seemed to have five ones; the only other frogs with this feature are the five-fingered Hypsiboas rosenbergi

People, planet, profit or politics? Japan’s energy debate hots up

While the world is absorbed in the raging solar storm between America and China, with Europe deciding whether or not to join in the fray, a quiet revolution is happening. It has the potential for real positive impact on the planet and the struggling solar industry at large. In the last few months, Japan has been proving it really is