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Hiding in Plain Sight, New Frog Species Found in New York City PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 17 March 2012 19:38
Photo of the newly discovered frog species found in the New York City area.

A new frog species has been discovered--in the midst of New York City's urban area.
Credit and Larger Version

Leopard frog's habitat covers very small region, likely went extinct in larger territory.

In the wilds of New York City--or as wild as you can get that close to skyscrapers--scientists have found a new leopard frog species.

For years, biologists mistook it for a more widespread variety of leopard frog.

The clock, the spool, and the snake PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 17 October 2011 16:59

From blue whales to earthworms, a common mechanism gives shape to living beings

Why don't our arms grow from the middle of our bodies? The question isn't as trivial as it appears. Vertebrae, limbs, ribs, tailbone ... in only two days, all these elements take their place in the embryo, in the right spot and with the precision of a Swiss watch. Intrigued by the extraordinary reliability of this mechanism, biologists have long wondered how it works.

100,000-Year-Old Ochre Toolkit and Workshop Discovered in South Africa PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 17 October 2011 16:54
An ochre-rich mixture, possibly used for decoration, painting and skin protection 100,000 years ago, and stored in two abalone shells, was discovered at Blombos Cave in Cape Town, South Africa.

"Ochre may have been applied with symbolic intent as decoration on bodies and clothing during the Middle Stone Age," says Professor Christopher Henshilwood from the Institute for Human Evolution at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, who together with his international team discovered a processing workshop in 2008 where a liquefied ochre-rich mixture was produced.

'Ghostwriting' the Torah? New Algorithm Distinguishes Contributors to the Old Testament With High Accuracy PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 15 October 2011 07:31
In both Jewish and Christian traditions, Moses is considered the author of the Torah, the first five books of the Bible. Scholars have furnished evidence that multiple writers had a hand in composing the text of the Torah. Other books of the Hebrew Bible and of the New Testament are also thought to be composites. However, delineating these multiple sources has been a laborious task.
Most Vertebrates -- Including Humans -- Descended from Ancestor With Sixth Sense PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 15 October 2011 07:25
People experience the world through five senses but sharks, paddlefishes and certain other aquatic vertebrates have a sixth sense: They can detect weak electrical fields in the water and use this information to detect prey, communicate and orient themselves.

A study in the Oct. 11 issue of Nature Communications that caps more than 25 years of work finds that the vast majority of vertebrates -- some 30,000 species of land animals (including humans) and a roughly equal number of ray-finned fishes -- descended from a common ancestor that had a well-developed electroreceptive system.

Oldest Fossil Rodents in South America Discovered; Find Is 10 Million Years Older and Confirms Animals from Africa PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 12 October 2011 18:05
In a literal walk through time along the Ucayali River near Contamana, Peru, a team of researchers found rodent fossils at least 41 million years old -- by far the oldest on the South American continent.

The remains -- teeth -- showed these mouse- and rat-size animals are most closely related to African rodents, confirming the hypothesis that early rodents of South America had origins in Africa, said Darin Croft, an anatomy professor at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and member of the research team.

New Technique Unlocks Secrets of Ancient Ocean PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 12 October 2011 18:02
Earth's largest mass extinction event, the end-Permian mass extinction, occurred some 252 million years ago. An estimated 90 percent of Earth's marine life was eradicated. To better understand the cause of this "mother of all mass extinctions," researchers from Arizona State University and the University of Cincinnati used a new geochemical technique. The team measured uranium isotopes in ancient carbonate rocks and found that a large, rapid shift in the chemistry of the world's ancient oceans occurred around the extinction event.
Documentary Brings World's Oldest Underwater City Back to Life PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 11 October 2011 07:11
Movie industry computer graphics and the very latest digital marine technology have brought the world's oldest submerged city back to life in a BBC Two documentary due to be shown this Sunday (October 9) at 8 pm.

Just a few metres under the sea, off the southern coast of Greece, lies Pavlopetri -- the oldest submerged city in the world. A team of archaeologists from The University of Nottingham, working with the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture, has spent the last three years surveying the site which was first discovered in the late 1960's.

Pumice Proposed as Home to the First Life Forms PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 11 October 2011 07:04
The glassy, porous, and once gas-rich rock called pumice may have given rise to early life forms, according to a provocative new hypothesis on the origin of life published in Astrobiology.

Martin Brasier, Richard Matthewman, and Sean McMahon, University of Oxford (U.K.), and David Wacey, University of Western Australia (Crawley), contend that pumice has "four remarkable properties" that would enable it to have had "a significant role in the origin of life and provided an important habitat for the earliest communities of microorganisms." They describe those four properties in detail in the article "Pumice as a Remarkable Substrate for the Origin of Life."

Archaeologist Argues World's Oldest Temples Were Not Temples at All PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 08 October 2011 06:15
Ancient structures uncovered in Turkey and thought to be the world's oldest temples may not have been strictly religious buildings after all, according to an article in the October issue of Current Anthropology. Archaeologist Ted Banning of the University of Toronto argues that the buildings found at Göbekli Tepe may have been houses for people, not the gods.

The buildings at Göbekli, a hilltop just outside of the Turkish city of Urfa, were found in 1995 by Klaus Schmidt of the German Archaeological Institute and colleagues from the Şanlıurfa Museum in Turkey.

They call it 'guppy love': UCLA biologists solve an evolution mystery PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 24 November 2011 03:55 in the wild have evolved over at least half-a-million years — long enough for the males' coloration to have changed dramatically. Yet a characteristic orange patch on male guppies has remained remarkably stable, though it could have become redder or more yellow. Why has it stayed the same hue of orange over such a long period of time?
T. Rex Was Bigger and Grew Faster Than Previously Thought, Computational Analysis Reveals PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 17 October 2011 16:56
A new study reveals that T. rex grew more quickly and reached significantly greater masses than previously estimated. In a departure from earlier methods, the new study uses mounted skeletons to generate body mass estimates.

In a new study just published in the online journal PLoS ONE, a team of scientists led by Professor John R. Hutchinson of The Royal Veterinary College, London, and Peter Makovicky, PhD, curator of dinosaurs at The Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago applied cutting edge technology and computer modeling to "weigh" five Tyrannosaurus rex specimens, including The Field Museum's iconic SUE skeleton.

Worms Among First Animals to Surface After K-T Extinction Event, Study Finds PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 17 October 2011 16:52
A new study of sediments laid down shortly after an asteroid plowed into the Gulf of Mexico 65.5 million years ago, an event that is linked to widespread global extinctions including the demise of big dinosaurs, suggests that lowly worms may have been the first fauna to show themselves following the global catastrophe.
Early Celtic 'Stonehenge' Discovered in Germany's Black Forest PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 15 October 2011 07:28
A huge early Celtic calendar construction has been discovered in the royal tomb of Magdalenenberg, nearby Villingen-Schwenningen in Germany's Black Forest. This discovery was made by researchers at the Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum at Mainz in Germany when they evaluated old excavation plans. The order of the burials around the central royal tomb fits exactly with the sky constellations of the Northern hemisphere.

Whereas Stonehenge was oriented towards the sun, the more than 100 meter width burial mound of Magdalenenberg was focused towards the moon.

Sexual Selection by Sugar Molecule Helped Determine Human Origins, Researchers Say PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 15 October 2011 07:22
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine say that losing the ability to make a particular kind of sugar molecule boosted disease protection in early hominids, and may have directed the evolutionary emergence of our ancestors, the genus Homo.

The findings, published in this week's early online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, are among the first evidence of a novel link between cell surface sugars, Darwinian sexual selection, and immune function in the context of human origins

Terrestrial Biodiversity Recovered Faster After Permo-Triassic Extinction Than Previously Believed PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 12 October 2011 18:04
While the cause of the mass extinction that occurred between the Permian and Triassic periods is still uncertain, two University of Rhode Island researchers collected data that show that terrestrial biodiversity recovered much faster than previously thought, potentially contradicting several theories for the cause of the extinction.

David Fastovsky, URI professor of geosciences, and graduate student David Tarailo found that terrestrial biodiversity recovered in about 5 million years, compared to the 15- to 30-million year recovery period that earlier studies had estimated.

How Life Might Have Survived 'Snowball Earth' PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 12 October 2011 18:00
Global glaciation likely put a chill on life on Earth hundreds of millions of years ago, but new research indicates that simple life in the form of photosynthetic algae could have survived in a narrow body of water with characteristics similar to today's Red Sea.

"Under those frigid conditions, there are not a lot of places where you would expect liquid water and light to occur in the same area, and you need both of those things for photosynthetic algae to survive," said Adam Campbell, a University of Washington doctoral student in Earth and space sciences.

First Comet Found With Ocean-Like Water PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 11 October 2011 07:07
New evidence supports the theory that comets delivered a significant portion of Earth's oceans, which scientists believe formed about 8 million years after the planet itself.

The findings, which involve a University of Michigan astronomer, are published Oct. 5 online in Nature.

"Life would not exist on Earth without liquid water, and so the questions of how and when the oceans got here is a fundamental one," said U-M astronomy professor Ted Bergin, "It's a big puzzle and these new findings are an important piece."

Giant 'Kraken' Lair Discovered: Cunning Sea Monster That Preyed on Ichthyosaurs PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 11 October 2011 06:59
Long before whales, the oceans of Earth were roamed by a very different kind of air-breathing leviathan. Snaggle-toothed ichthyosaurs larger than school buses swam at the top of the Triassic Period ocean food chain, or so it seemed before Mount Holyoke College paleontologist Mark McMenamin took a look at some of their remains in Nevada. Now he thinks there was an even larger and more cunning sea monster that preyed on ichthyosaurs: a 'kraken' of such mythological proportions it would have sent Captain Nemo running for dry land.
Ancient Road Found at Maya Village Buried by Volcanic Ash 1,400 Years Ago PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 08 October 2011 03:23
A University of Colorado Boulder-led team excavating a Maya village in El Salvador buried by a volcanic eruption 1,400 years ago has unexpectedly hit an ancient white road that appears to lead to and from the town, which was frozen in time by a blanket of ash.

The road, known as a "sacbe," is roughly 6 feet across and is made from white volcanic ash from a previous eruption that was packed down and shored up along its edges by residents living there in roughly A.D. 600, said CU-Boulder Professor Payson Sheets, who discovered the buried village known as Ceren near the city of San Salvador in 1978.

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