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February 25 2015

Pregnancy Has an Odor that Reveals Unborn Baby's Sex


It’s long been suspected that males of many species, including humans, can sniff out whether a female is pregnant, and now new research suggests that some — if not all — female primates release a natural “pregnancy perfume” that males can probably detect.

What’s more, such scents appear to broadcast whether the mom-to-be is carrying a boy or a girl.

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February 25 2015

Three-parent babies: Britain becomes first country to allow technique


The UK has become the first country in the world to legalise so-called three-parent babies after the House of Lords backed the idea despite objections from church leaders and pro-life groups.

Opponents had warned that the change has been brought about too hastily and marked the start of a “slippery slope” towards designer babies and eugenics.

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February 24 2015

I’ve Just Seen a (DNA-Generated) Face


The faces here, which look a bit like video game avatars, are actually portraits drawn from DNA.

Each rendering was created by plugging an individual genetic profile into a predictive tool created by Mark D. Shriver, a professor of anthropology and genetics at Penn State University. Dr. Shriver and his colleagues have studied the ways that genes influence facial development.

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February 24 2015

Dogs Can Spot People Who Are Trying To Fool Them, Study Shows


Dogs are certainly no dummies when it comes to understanding humans. Now a study from Japan suggests that dogs can tell when a human is trying to dupe them.


Related: What is this dog thinking? Scientists now have some fascinating answers
Related: Dog Escapes From Home, Sneaks Into Hospital 20 Blocks Away To Comfort Sick Owner

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February 24 2015

Rarest Big Cat on Earth Starting to Make a Comeback


Things are starting to look up for the rarest big cat on the planet: The critically endangered Amur leopard, which is indigenous to southeastern Russia and parts of northeastern China, has doubled in population since 2007, according to a new report by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

Census data from Russia's Land of the Leopard National Park, which covers about 60 percent of the Amur leopard's habitat, puts the number of these wild cats at 57. That's up from the 30 leopards counted in the area in 2007.

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February 24 2015

Plants found to alter soil types


Exciting research has revealed some plants have the ability to alter soil types, suggesting opportunities may exist to re-engineer WA's hostile soils to better suit agricultural purposes.

The study is at odds with previous scientific research advocating that vegetation occurs in certain environments only as a direct result of soil type.


Related: Huge, hollow baobab trees are actually multiple fused stems

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February 24 2015

British 'chocolate greenhouse' saving the world's cocoa


Chocolate lovers take heart: a steamy greenhouse near London is helping to ensure that cocoa crops globally remain disease-free and bountiful to cope with the growing appetite for sweet treats.

The centre's aim is to reduce the amount of disease affecting cocoa plants by quarantining them before sharing them with different countries to produce new, more resistant varieties.


Related: New Anti-Aging Chocolate May Make Skin Look 30 Years Younger

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February 24 2015

Mummy Hair Reveals Ancient South American Diet


The hair of 2,000-year-old mummies, long locks adorned with embroidered textiles, is helping researchers determine what these ancient people ate in the weeks and months before their deaths, a new study finds.

A chemical analysis of the mummies' hair suggests these ancient individuals, who once lived on the southern coast of modern-day Peru, likely ate corn, beans, and marine plants and animals, the researchers found.


Related: Healers Once Prescribed Chocolate Like Aspirin

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February 24 2015

Marijuana may be even safer than previously thought, researchers say


Compared with other recreational drugs — including alcohol — marijuana may be even safer than previously thought. And researchers may be systematically underestimating risks associated with alcohol use.

Those are the top-line findings of recent research published in the journal Scientific Reports, a subsidiary of Nature. Researchers sought to quantify the risk of death associated with the use of a variety of commonly used substances. They found that at the level of individual use, alcohol was the deadliest substance, followed by heroin and cocaine.


Alt: No, smoking pot will likely NOT make you psychotic

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February 24 2015

Feeding Babies Foods With Peanuts Appears To Prevent Allergies


Babies at high risk for becoming allergic to peanuts are much less likely to develop the allergy if they are regularly fed foods containing the legumes starting in their first year of life.

That's according to a big new study released Monday involving hundreds of British babies. The researchers found that those who consumed the equivalent of about 4 heaping teaspoons of peanut butter each week, starting when they were between 4 and 11 months old, were about 80 percent less likely to develop a peanut allergy by their fifth birthday.

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February 24 2015

How hand-washing dishes may prevent kids from getting allergies


Moms and dads -- grab a sponge and step away from the dishwasher.

A new study suggests that hand-washing dishes (and leaving some microbes on a fork, bowl, or plate in the process) may help reduce the risk of allergy development in young children.

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February 24 2015

Saunas May Help You Live Longer


Sweating it out on a regular basis in saunas is something that the Finns, Russians and many other people particularly of cold climate cultures have sworn by for centuries. And now science has proven there may in fact be some life-extending benefits to the temperature extremes of the sauna.

For the study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers from the University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, followed a group of 2,315 middle-aged men (42 to 60 years old) from eastern Finland. They then checked in on the men after 21 years to learn how many had died and from what causes.

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February 24 2015

Fluoride in drinking water may trigger depression and weight gain, warn scientists


Fluoride could be causing depression and weight gain and councils should stop adding it to drinking water to prevent tooth decay, scientists have warned.

A study of 98 per cent of GP practices in England found that high rates of underactive thyroid were 30 per cent more likely in areas of the greatest fluoridation.


Alt: Water fluoridation in England linked to higher rates of underactive thyroid

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February 24 2015

Deepest Ocean Water Teems With Life


A few years ago, film director James Cameron spent hours scouring the world's deepest ocean canyon for any sign of life. He found a few bizarre animals, but it turns out the real action in the Mariana Trench happens beyond the reach of a submersible's camera.

Researchers from Japan discovered microscopic bacteria thrive in the canyon called Challenger Deep, which is the lowest point on Earth's surface and the deepest part of the Mariana Trench, the team reports today (Feb. 23) in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In particular, they found an unusual community of bacteria there called heterotrophs, or microbes that cannot produce their own food and must eat what they find in the water.

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February 24 2015

After Thousands of Years, Earth's Frozen Life Forms Are Waking Up


What's happening in Siberia's thawing permafrost and Greenland's melting glaciers sounds borderline supernatural. Ancient viruses, bacteria, plants, and even animals have been cryogenically frozen there for millennia—and now, they are waking up.

Cryofreezing is best known for its appearances in science fiction, but self-styled "resurrection ecologists" are now showing the world just how real it is.

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February 24 2015

Spots, Stripes and Spreading Hooves in the Horses of the Ice Age


During the upper Palaeolithic (that is, between 40,000 and 10,000 years ago), prehistoric people in Europe and Asia (and elsewhere) depicted the animals they saw in thousands of piece of cave art. They drew, sculpted and painted rhinos, mammoths, giant deer and lions, but they also produced illustrations of less exotic beasts, like owls, mustelids and rabbits. Comparisons made with living animals and fossils reveal that these depictions are, on the whole, biologically accurate and often result from informed observation. The greatest concentration of cave art occurs in southern France and northern Spain where horses and bison are the most frequently depicted animal.

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February 24 2015

Are Siberia's mysterious craters caused by climate change? 4 new enormous holes in northern Russia


Four new mysterious giant craters have appeared in the Siberian permafrost in northern Russia, sparking fears that global warming may be causing gas to erupt from underground.

Scientists spotted the new holes, along with dozens of other smaller ones, in the same area as three other enormous craters that were spotted on the Yamal Peninsula last year.

The craters are thought to be caused by eruptions of methane gas from the permafrost as rising rising temperatures causes the frozen soil to melt.

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