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November 1 2014

Seeing Dinosaur Feathers in a New Light


Why were dinosaurs covered in a cloak such a long time before the early bird species Archaeopteryx first took flight?

The idea that birds and dinosaurs are close relatives dates back to the 19th century, when the father of evolutionary theory, Charles Darwin, was hard at work. However, it took more than 130 years for the first real proof to come to light with numerous discoveries of the remains of feathered dinosaurs, primarily in fossil sites in China. Thanks to these fossil discoveries, we now know that birds descend from a branch of medium-sized predatory dinosaurs, the so-called theropods.

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November 1 2014

Why bird divorces are good news for the females


AS THE song would have it, birds, bees and even educated fleas fall in love. For some birds, however, the love turns sour – they get divorced.

Many birds may seem like model parents, with males and females investing more equally in caring for their young than the average mammal. While 85 per cent of bird species are socially monogamous – they form pair bonds and share the workload – divorce is common, occurring in 92 per cent of these species.


Related: Birds large and small hop over obstacles in similar ways

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November 1 2014

Monster shark 'kept whales in check'


The extinction of the biggest shark known to science may have triggered whales to grow to their current hefty sizes, a study suggests.

Megalodon, an ancient 14-18m-long predator that resembled a super-sized Great White, may have preyed on primitive baleen whales.

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November 1 2014

Bigfoot: If it exists, here's where to find it


The Gulf Coast Bigfoot Research Organization (GCBRO) is convinced that not only is there a Bigfoot, but there are in fact bigfeet scattered across the countryside, even as many as 30,000 creatures (a number they admit is a "wild guess") from the Pacific Northwest and across the South from Texas to Georgia.


Related: Bigfoot leaves an impression at expo

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November 1 2014

Study: Americans are as likely to believe in Bigfoot as in the big bang theory


Human beings are, in general, a superstitious lot. Our tendency to see patterns where they don't exist, and to falsely apply cause to effect, may have helped keep us alive back when we were little more than a band of frightened critters scurrying about the savanna. Those tendencies linger to the present day, reflected in our stubborn belief in completely irrational things: Rabbit's feet. Horoscopes. A return to the gold standard.


Related: More People Believe in Aliens and Ghosts Than God

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November 1 2014

Pope declares evolution and Big Bang theory are real and God is not 'a magician with a magic wand'


The theories of evolution and the Big Bang are real and God is not “a magician with a magic wand”, Pope Francis has declared.

Speaking at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, the Pope made comments which experts said put an end to the “pseudo theories” of creationism and intelligent design that some argue were encouraged by his predecessor, Benedict XVI.


Related: Pope Francis Loves Exorcists

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November 1 2014

Scientists propose existence of parallel worlds: challenges foundations of quantum science


Academics are challenging the foundations of quantum science with a radical new theory on parallel universes. Scientists now propose that parallel universes really exist, and that they interact. They show that such an interaction could explain everything that is bizarre about quantum mechanics.

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November 1 2014

Physicists Closer To Understanding What Happened After The Big Bang


Physicists in the College of Arts and Sciences have made important discoveries regarding Bs meson particles—something that may explain why the universe contains more matter than antimatter.

Distinguished Professor Sheldon Stone and his colleagues recently announced their findings at a workshop at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland. Titled “Implications of LHCb Measurements and Their Future Prospects,” the workshop enabled him and other members of the Large Hadron Collider beauty (LHCb) Collaboration to share recent data results.

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November 1 2014

Earth's Water Existed 135 Million Years Earlier than Thought


The water that supports life on Earth may have been on the planet much earlier than scientists previously thought, new research suggests.

While the environmental conditions in Earth's early years made it impossible for water to remain on the planet's surface, scientists have found evidence that the ingredients for water were protectively stored inside rocky bodies near our planet — and maybe inside Earth itself.


Alt: Oceans arrived early to Earth; Primitive meteorites were a likely source of water, study finds

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November 1 2014

Oxygen levels were only 0.1% of today's levels for roughly billion years before rise of animals


Geologists are letting the air out of a nagging mystery about the development of animal life on Earth.

Scientists have long speculated as to why animal species didn't flourish sooner, once sufficient oxygen covered the Earth's surface. Animals first appeared and began to prosper at the end of the Proterozoic period, about 600 to 700 million years ago—but what about the billion-year stretch before that, when most researchers think there was also plenty of oxygen?


Alt: Lack of oxygen delayed the rise of animals on Earth

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November 1 2014

Did Deforestation Pave the Way for Ebola Outbreak?


Deforestation is a huge global problem, because it destroys animal habitats, deprives indigenous peoples of their traditional livelihoods and contributes to climate change. But if that doesn’t tip the scale for you, here’s yet another downside to be concerned about. Deforestation might have a role in this year’s outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, which already has killed 4,500 people there. The often-fatal disease now is raising anxiety in the United States, after two Dallas nurses caught Ebola while treating a Liberian refugee who eventually died.

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November 1 2014

Our Ancestors Fought Ebola’s Ancestors


Ebola is new, and humans are new, but as far back as 23 million years ago our mammal ancestors fought, and collectively survived, an aggressive attack by archaic filoviruses whose successors would ultimately evolve to become the Ebola Virus. This is huge news, as scientists had previously believed that filoviruses first began to emerge a mere 10,000 years ago.


Alt: Ebola’s evolutionary roots more ancient than previously thought, study finds

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November 1 2014

Massive geographic change may have triggered explosion of animal life


A new analysis of geologic history may help solve the riddle of the "Cambrian explosion," the rapid diversification of animal life in the fossil record 530 million years ago that has puzzled scientists since the time of Charles Darwin.

A paper by Ian Dalziel of The University of Texas at Austin's Jackson School of Geosciences, published in the November issue of Geology, a journal of the Geological Society of America, suggests a major tectonic event may have triggered the rise in sea level and other environmental changes that accompanied the apparent burst of life.

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November 1 2014

Ice Age Extinctions Could Predict Modern Die-Offs


During the last Ice Age, huge mammals roamed North America. Those mammoths, saber-toothed cats and giant sloths disappeared about 12,000 years ago — the same time as humans arrived and Earth's climate warmed from its glacial chill.

Scientists have long debated the cause of the mass extinction, whether humans or climate change. But now, researchers are beginning to turn from investigating the cause to better understanding its impact. The loss of so many of those large species, or megafauna, could help researchers predict what will happen as modern-day mammals such as elephants, rhinoceroses and tigers disappear.

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November 1 2014

Scientists make enzyme that could help explain origins of life


Mimicking natural evolution in a test tube, scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have devised an enzyme with a unique property that might have been crucial to the origin of life on Earth.

Aside from illuminating one possible path for life's beginnings, the achievement is likely to yield a powerful tool for evolving new and useful molecules.

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November 1 2014

Fragment of ancient Australia found under Vanuatu


A fragment of ancient Australia has been found under Vanuatu in the South Pacific, raising questions about how continents are formed, researchers say.

Experts had believed that the volcanic islands, east of Australia, were isolated from continental influence.

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October 31 2014

Ancient Stone Circles in Mideast Baffle Archaeologists


Huge stone circles in the Middle East have been imaged from above, revealing details of structures that have been shrouded in mystery for decades.

Archaeologists in Jordan have taken high-resolution aerial images of 11 ancient "Big Circles," all but one of which are around 400 meters (1,312 feet) in diameter. Why they are so similar is unknown but the similarity seems “too close to be a coincidence" said researcher David Kennedy.

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