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December 21 2014

New research unlocks a mystery of albinism


Newly published research provides the first demonstration of how a genetic mutation associated with a common form of albinism leads to the lack of melanin pigments that characterizes the condition.

About 1 in 40,000 people worldwide have type 2 oculocutaneous albinism, which has symptoms of unsually light hair and skin coloration, vision problems, and reduced protection from sunlight-related skin or eye cancers. Scientists have known for about 20 years that the condition is linked to mutations in the gene that produces the OCA2 protein, but they hadn't yet understood how the mutations lead to a melanin deficit.

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December 21 2014

Weird sea ghost breaks record for deepest living fish


A ghostly never-before-seen fish with wing-like fins has set a new depth record for fish. During a recent trip to the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean, the deepest place on Earth, the previously-unknown snailfish was filmed several times floating along the dark sea floor, reaching a record low of 8143 metres below the surface.

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December 21 2014

A vegetarian carnivorous plant


Carnivorous plants catch and digest tiny animals in order and derive benefits for their nutrition. Interestingly the trend towards vegetarianism seems to overcome carnivorous plants as well. The aquatic carnivorous bladderwort, which can be found in many lakes and ponds worldwide, does not only gain profit from eating little animals but also by consuming algae and pollen grains.

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December 21 2014

Legume has potential to turn sandy soils into productive land


After a decade of research, scientists from Murdoch University are excited by a perennial legume that has the potential to turn poor soils into profitable areas suitable for farming.

Professor John Howieson from the Centre of Rhizobium Studies at Murdoch University said scientists had been searching for a something to treat deep sandy soils for 20 years and that Lebeckia, a shrub legume, has had the most exciting results to date.

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December 21 2014

Thermoelectric power plants could offer economically competitive renewable energy


A new study predicts that large-scale power plants based on thermoelectric effects, such as small temperature differences in ocean water, could generate electricity at a lower cost than photovoltaic power plants.


Related: Switching to vehicles powered by electricity from renewables could save lives
Related: The Scoop on the Poop Bus: How Human and Animal Waste Might Fuel Our Future

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December 21 2014

6,000-year-old encampment discovered next to Stonehenge


The earliest Mesolithic encampment at Stonehenge has been discovered and it will reveal how Britainís oldest ancestors lived Ė but it could be damaged if Government plans for a tunnel at Stonehenge go ahead.

A 1.8 mile tunnel is part of a £2bn plan to make the nearby A303 a dual carriageway.


Alt: Stonehenge discovery could rewrite British pre-history

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December 21 2014

Greek Mystery Tomb Occupant to Be Revealed Soon


The identity of the skeleton found in the mysterious, richly decorated tomb in Amphipolis in northern Greece will be revealed next month, the Greek Ministry of Culture said.

According to the statement, macroscopic study of the bones, conducted by universities in Thessaloniki and Thrace, will provide answers on the individualís sex, age and height.


Related: Rumor that Amphipolis Dead is Mother of Alexander Not Substantiated

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December 21 2014

8,000-Year-Old Olive Oil Found in Ancient Clay Pots


Ancient people pressed olive oil as far back as 8,000 years ago in Israel, a new study finds.

Researchers found residues of the Mediterranean-diet staple on ancient clay pots dating back to the 6th millennium B.C.

"This is the earliest evidence of the use of olive oil in the country, and perhaps the entire Mediterranean basin.

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December 21 2014

What was the 'Paleo diet'? There was far more than one, study suggests


The Paleolithic diet, or caveman diet, a weight-loss craze in which people emulate the diet of plants and animals eaten by early humans during the Stone Age, gives modern calorie-counters great freedom because those ancestral diets likely differed substantially over time and space, according to researchers at Georgia State University and Kent State University.

"Based on evidence that's been gathered over many decades, there's very little evidence that any early hominids had very specialized diets or there were specific food categories that seemed particularly important.

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December 21 2014

The mystery of the magical 'Ulfberht' Viking sword - Researchers close in on the German 'supermonks'


It was the sword of choice for the discerning Viking - superstrong, and almost unbeatable in battle.

Yet mystery surrounds a small number of Viking swords researchers have uncovered.

They are all inscribed with a single word - 'Ulfberht', which experts believe may reveal their maker.

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December 21 2014

Medieval City's Underground Ruins Discovered in England


Archaeologists have uncovered the network of a medieval city in England that dates back to the late 11th century.

The settlement, which includes a cathedral and a castle, is located at the historic site of Old Sarum, near Salisbury. In its heyday, the city thrived for about 300 years, but eventually declined in the 13th century, with the Roman conquest and the rise of New Sarum, the researchers said. Archaeologists have long known that the medieval city existed in Old Sarum, but this is the first detailed layout of the city ever created.

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December 20 2014

Archaeologists Discover 13,800-Year-Old Underwater Site at Haida Gwaii


An archaeological discovery from this past September could put the earliest inhabitation in Canada at around 13,800 years ago, reported CBC News. Right now itís all on sonar images captured by an underwater robotic vehicle. Archaeologist Quentin Mackie from the University of Victoria (UVIC) and his team returned from a research trip to the Haida Gwaii archipelago in August, where they used an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) to scan the sea floor in search of evidence of ancient human inhabitation.

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December 20 2014

Digging up the 'Spanish Vikings'


The fearsome reputation of the Vikings has made them the subject of countless exhibitions, books and films - however, surprisingly little is known about their more southerly exploits in Spain.

No comprehensive archaeological study of Viking sites in Spain has ever been carried out and now a University of Aberdeen researcher plans to dig up the 'Spanish Vikings' for the first time.

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December 20 2014

Fool's Gold Preserves Some of Earth's Oldest Fossils


Fool's gold helps explain why many fossils of soft-bodied animals that lived more than 540 million years ago still survive, a new study finds.

The bacterial breakdown of ancient, wormlike animals after their deaths led to the formation of pyrite, the shiny, yellow mineral sometimes mistaken for gold. This pyrite helped preserve the fossils in three dimensions, according to research published Wednesday (Dec. 17) in the journal Nature Communications.

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December 20 2014

Prehistoric platypus-like reptile uncovered


A bizarre prehistoric platypus-like species of marine reptile with a short neck and duck-like beak has been discovered by palaeontologists in China.

The 248-million-year-old fossil, which has been named Eohupehsuchus brevicollis, belongs to a group of mysterious early Triassic marine reptiles called hupehsuchians, which have so far only been unearthed in two counties in Hubei Province.

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December 20 2014

Researchers learn more about the possible role of gamma ray bursts on life extinction in the univers


A pair of astrophysicists studying gamma ray bursts has found that such events might play a much larger role in the existence of life on Earth and other planets than has been thought. In their paper published in the journal Physical Review Letters, Tsvi Piran with the Hebrew University in Israel and Raul Jimenez from the University of Barcelona in Spain, suggest that gamma ray bursts might be responsible for past extinctions on Earth, and for limiting the possibility of life on planets near the center of galaxies.

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December 20 2014

Simulations back up theory that Universe is a hologram


A team of physicists has provided some of the clearest evidence yet that our Universe could be just one big projection.

In 1997, theoretical physicist Juan Maldacena proposed1 that an audacious model of the Universe in which gravity arises from infinitesimally thin, vibrating strings could be reinterpreted in terms of well-established physics. The mathematically intricate world of strings, which exist in nine dimensions of space plus one of time, would be merely a hologram: the real action would play out in a simpler, flatter cosmos where there is no gravity.

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