Jumat, 22 Mei 2015

ScienceDaily: Top Science News

ScienceDaily: Top Science News


Lowly 'new girl' chimps form stronger female bonds

Posted: 21 May 2015 12:18 PM PDT

Low-ranking 'new girl' chimpanzees seek out other gal pals with similar status, finds a new study. The results are based on 38 years' worth of daily records for 53 adult females in Gombe National Park, Tanzania, where Jane Goodall first started studying chimpanzees in the 1960s. The researchers are still working out whether the low-ranking pairs are true buddies, friends of convenience, or merely acquaintances.

Savannahs slow climate change, experts say

Posted: 21 May 2015 11:41 AM PDT

Tropical rainforests have long been considered the Earth's lungs, sequestering large amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and thereby slowing down the increasing greenhouse effect and associated human-made climate change. Scientists in a global research project now show that the vast extensions of semi-arid landscapes occupying the transition zone between rainforest and desert dominate the ongoing increase in carbon sequestration by ecosystems globally, as well as large fluctuations between wet and dry years. This is a major rearrangement of planetary functions.

Intuitive control of robotic arm using thoughts alone

Posted: 21 May 2015 11:40 AM PDT

Through a clinical collaboration between Caltech, Keck Medicine of USC and Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center, a 34-year-old paralyzed man is the first person in the world to have a neural prosthetic device implanted in a region of the brain where intentions are made, giving him the ability to perform a fluid hand-shaking gesture, drink a beverage, and even play 'rock, paper, scissors,' using a robotic arm.

New insights into global ocean microbe-virus interactions, drivers of Earth's ecosystems

Posted: 21 May 2015 11:39 AM PDT

Ocean microbes are vital to the Earth's ecosystems, and their interactions with ocean viruses can have dramatic effects on processes ranging from oxygen production to food supply. Marine biologists have now uncovered new information about the way marine viruses and microbes interact on a global scale, which may allow researchers to predictively model their complex interactions.

Sudden onset of ice loss in Antarctica so large it affects Earth's gravity field

Posted: 21 May 2015 11:39 AM PDT

Scientists have observed a sudden increase of ice loss in a previously stable region of Antarctica. The ice loss in the region is so large that it causes small changes in the gravity field of the Earth.

Partly human yeast show a common ancestor's lasting legacy

Posted: 21 May 2015 11:39 AM PDT

Despite a billion years of evolution separating humans from the baker's yeast in their refrigerators, hundreds of genes from an ancestor that the two species have in common live on nearly unchanged in them both, say biologists. The team created thriving strains of genetically engineered yeast using human genes and found that certain groups of genes are surprisingly stable over evolutionary time.

Genetic maps help conservation managers maintain healthy bears

Posted: 21 May 2015 10:37 AM PDT

A comprehensive genetic study of American black bears throughout North America has been completed by scientists. They discovered that black bears in Alaska are more closely related to bears in the eastern regions of the US and Canada than those located in western regions. The study revealed ancient movement patterns of black bears and provide detailed 'genetic maps' that could help conservation management officials maintain healthy bear populations throughout North America.

Bacteria cooperate to repair damaged siblings

Posted: 21 May 2015 10:37 AM PDT

A certain type of soil bacteria can use their social behavior of outer membrane exchange to repair damaged cells and improve the fitness of the bacteria population as a whole, new research demonstrates. This is the first evidence that a bacterium can use cell-content sharing to repair damaged siblings, the authors say.

Fossil of 425-million-year-old parasite with host discovered in England

Posted: 21 May 2015 10:36 AM PDT

Scientists have discovered a new species of fossil in England -- and identified it as an ancient parasitic intruder. The fossil species -- a 'tongue worm', which has a worm-like body and a head and two pairs of limbs -- is actually a parasite whose representatives today live internally in the respiratory system of a host, which it enters when it is eaten.

Our bond with dogs may go back more than 27,000 years

Posted: 21 May 2015 10:36 AM PDT

Dogs' special relationship to humans may go back 27,000 to 40,000 years, according to genomic analysis of an ancient Taimyr wolf bone. Earlier genome-based estimates have suggested that the ancestors of modern-day dogs diverged from wolves no more than 16,000 years ago, after the last Ice Age.

Most luminous galaxy in universe discovered

Posted: 21 May 2015 10:35 AM PDT

A remote galaxy shining brightly with infrared light equal to more than 300 trillion suns has been discovered using data from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE. The galaxy, which belongs to a new class of objects recently discovered by WISE -- nicknamed extremely luminous infrared galaxies, or ELIRGs -- is the most luminous galaxy found to date.

One-of-a-kind star discovered, nicknamed 'Nasty'

Posted: 21 May 2015 10:35 AM PDT

Astronomers have spent decades trying to determine the oddball behavior of an aging star nicknamed "Nasty 1" residing in our Milky Way galaxy. Looking at the star using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers had expected to see a bipolar outflow of twin lobes of gas from the star. The astronomers were surprised, however, to find a pancake-shaped disk of gas encircling the star. The vast disk is nearly 1,000 times the diameter of our solar system.

Fine particulate air pollution linked to risk of childhood autism

Posted: 21 May 2015 09:10 AM PDT

Exposure to fine particulate air pollution during pregnancy through the first two years of the child's life may be associated with an increased risk of a child developing autism spectrum disorder, a condition that affects one in 68 children, according to an investigation of children in southwestern Pennsylvania.

Blood to feeling: Scientists turn adult human blood cells into neurons

Posted: 21 May 2015 09:09 AM PDT

Stem cell scientists can now directly convert adult human blood cells to both central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) neurons as well as neurons in the peripheral nervous system (rest of the body) that are responsible for pain, temperature and itch perception. This means that how a person's nervous system cells react and respond to stimuli, can be determined from his blood.

Hiding your true colors may make you feel morally tainted

Posted: 21 May 2015 07:49 AM PDT

The advice, whether from Shakespeare or a modern self-help guru, is common: Be true to yourself. New research suggests that this drive for authenticity -- living in accordance with our sense of self, emotions, and values -- may be so fundamental that we actually feel immoral and impure when we violate our true sense of self. This sense of impurity, in turn, may lead us to engage in cleansing or charitable behaviors as a way of clearing our conscience.

Field study shows how a GM crop can have diminishing success at fighting off insect pest

Posted: 21 May 2015 07:49 AM PDT

A new study finds the toxin in a widely used genetically modified (GM) crop is having little impact on the crop pest corn earworm -- which is consistent with predictions made almost 20 years ago that were largely ignored. The study may be a signal to pay closer attention to warning signs about the development of resistance in agricultural pests to GM crops.

Infections can affect your IQ

Posted: 21 May 2015 06:50 AM PDT

New research shows that infections can impair your cognitive ability measured on an IQ scale. The study is the largest of its kind to date, and it shows a clear correlation between infection levels and impaired cognition.

Storms and microbes are behind the mystery of the wandering stones

Posted: 21 May 2015 06:18 AM PDT

The 'sailing' stones of Death Valley in California are famous for apparently moving by themselves, with the phenomenon not being exclusive to this North American desert but also occurring in Spain, in the Manchego lagoon Altillo Chica. Researchers have observed that wind from winter storms generates currents that can push the stones over a surface colonized by microbes. Then once the water has vanished, the mysterious trail is left on the dry bottom of the lagoon.

The Bronze Age Egtved Girl was not from Denmark

Posted: 21 May 2015 05:24 AM PDT

One of the best-known Danish Bronze Age finds, the Egtved Girl from 1370 BC, was not born in Egtved, Denmark, reveals new research. Strontium isotope analyses of the girl's hair, teeth and nails show that she was born and raised hundreds of miles from Egtved, most probably in Southern Germany, and that she arrived in Egtved shortly before she died.

What would it take to limit climate change to 1.5°C by 2100?

Posted: 21 May 2015 05:24 AM PDT

A new study analyzes the required climate policy actions and targets in order to limit future global temperature rise to less than 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2100. This level is supported by more than 100 countries worldwide, including those most vulnerable to climate change, as a safer goal than the currently agreed international aim of 2 degrees Celsius -- an aim which would already imply substantial greenhouse-gas reductions. Hence the interest for scrutinizing the very low end of greenhouse-gas stabilization scenarios.

Modern alchemy: Chemists devise synthesis of valuable exotic compounds

Posted: 21 May 2015 05:22 AM PDT

A broad and strikingly inexpensive method for synthesizing "amines," a class of organic compounds prominent in drugs and other modern products, has been discovered by a group of chemists. The new reaction is particularly useful for synthesizing complex amines that would be highly valuable in pharmaceuticals, but are impractical -- or impossible -- to make with standard methods.

Top 10 new species for 2015

Posted: 21 May 2015 05:16 AM PDT

A cartwheeling spider, a bird-like dinosaur and a fish that wriggles around on the sea floor to create a circular nesting site are among the species identified as the Top 10 New Species for 2015. Two animals -- a frog that gives birth to tadpoles and a wasp that uses dead ants to protect its nest -- are unusual because of their parenting practices. Also on the list are an animal that might surpass the new species distinction to be an entirely new phylum, a 9-inch walking stick and a photogenic sea slug. Rounding out the top 10 are a coral plant described as endangered almost as soon as it was discovered and a red-and-green plant used during Christmas celebrations in Mexico.
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