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June 18 2014

Were dinosaurs all at sea?


In the early days of palaeontology, the dinosaurs were a clear anomaly compared to other known animals (both alive and extinct). Just how could such huge creatures have found enough to eat, or even supported themselves when on land? Misunderstanding about their limbs (many people had them as lizard-like sprawlers, rather than the upright posture we now know they possessed) didn’t help, but discoveries of giants such as Diplodocus and Apatosaurus led to speculative ideas on what such bulk would mean for their biology.

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June 17 2014

Marine Animal Thought to be Extinct for 4 Million Years Found Alive


Protulophila, a microscopic marine animal thought to have been extinct for 4 million years, has been found living in seas around New Zealand.

First described by Italian biologist G. Rovereto in 1901, Protulophila is a genus of symbiotic hydrozoans. This small, predatory relative of corals and sea anemones was previously known only from marine deposits in Europe and the Middle East.

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June 17 2014

Climate Change Prompted Migrations in Ancient Peru, Says Genetic Study


"The weather made me do it," as the saying might have gone for many, long-deceased and unnamed ancient Peruvians. Like some other populations throughout history, they were refugees of climate change who then flourished in their newly found home.

This is the story told by a recent genetic study that suggests that the evidence indicates periods of migration in pre-Columbian Andean societies in Peru, spurred on by local climate changes. It supports the archaeologists, who for years have been saying that the excavated evidence hints of such shifts by the Nasca, Wari and Tiwanaku peoples.

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June 17 2014

Humans not entirely at fault for passenger pigeon extinction


The story of this extraordinary bird might be more complicated than we thought.

Once the most numerous bird species in North America, passenger pigeons went from numbering in the billions to being extinct in less than a century. Their decline has been mostly blamed on intensive hunting. But new research suggests that the human impact coincided with a natural decrease in population size, resulting in Martha, the last passenger pigeon, dying in 1914.

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June 17 2014

Pacific Nation Bans Fishing in One of World's Largest Marine Parks


A tiny island nation that controls a vast area of the Pacific Ocean has announced it will ban all commercial fishing in a massive marine park that is the size of California.

Anote Tong, the president of Kiribati—a chain of islands about halfway between Hawaii and Fiji—announced Monday that commercial fishing will end in the country's Phoenix Islands Protected Area on January 1, 2015.

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June 17 2014

A Scientist Is Growing Asparagus In Meteorites to Prepare Us for Space Farming


For those of us without a green thumb, growing even the most hardy plants in perfect conditions can seem impossible. How about trying to grow plants on a meteorite? Well, at least one scientist is doing it, with moderate levels of success.

The thinking goes—if we're going to have space colonies, we're going to need some way to eat. Transporting all food from Earth isn't realistic, and neither is bringing tons of bags of topsoil. Photos of asteroids, meteors, and other planets in our solar system look incredibly desolate, but, in fact, some of them contain many of the nutrients necessary to grow plants.

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June 17 2014

Starwatch: A sister for the Sun?


A star has been found that may be a sister of our Sun, born in the same cloud of gas and dust in our galaxy, the Milky Way. The Sun, the Earth and the other planets coalesced some 4.54 billion years ago within a such a cloud, probably with thousands of other stars. This age comes from radiometric measures of radioactive isotopes and their decay products in meteorites, the oldest rocks we can handle, while there is plenty of observational evidence for ongoing star formation elsewhere in the galaxy.

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June 17 2014

Moon Bumps: Earth's Gravity Creates Lunar Bulges


Earth's gravitational pull is so powerful that it creates a small bulge on the surface of the moon. For the first time, scientists have observed this bump from orbit, using NASA satellites.

The gravitational tug-of-war between Earth and the moon is enough to stretch both celestial bodies, so they each end up having a slight oval shape, with the tapered ends facing each other.

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June 17 2014

Opportunity peers out from 'Pillinger Point'


NASA's decade old Opportunity rover has reached a long sought after region of aluminum-rich clay mineral outcrops at a new Endeavour crater ridge now "named 'Pillinger Point' after Colin Pillinger the Principal Investigator for the [British] Beagle 2 Mars lander", Prof. Ray Arvidson, Deputy Principal Investigator for the rover, told Universe Today exclusively. See above the spectacular panoramic view from 'Pillinger Point'...

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June 17 2014

Quantum theory reveals puzzling pattern in how people respond to some surveys


Researchers used quantum theory – usually invoked to describe the actions of subatomic particles – to identify an unexpected and strange pattern in how people respond to survey questions.

By conventional standards, the results are surprising: The scientists found the exact same pattern in 70 nationally representative surveys from Gallup and the Pew Research center taken from 2001 to 2011, as well as in two laboratory experiments. Most of the national surveys included more than 1,000 respondents in the United States.

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June 17 2014

Does the moon affect our sleep?


Popular beliefs about the influence of the moon on humans widely exist. Many people report sleeplessness around the time of full moon. In contrast to earlier studies, scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry in Munich did not observe any correlation between human sleep and the lunar phases. The researchers analyzed preexisting data of a large cohort of volunteers and their sleep nights.

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June 17 2014

The Mysterious Dolmens of the Caucasus


The Western Caucasus, extending over 275,000 ha of the extreme western end of the Caucasus mountains and located 50 km north-east of the Black Sea, is one of the few large mountain areas of Europe that has not experienced significant human impact. Yet dotted within the pristine landscape are thousands of ancient megalithic structures built many millennia ago.

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June 17 2014

Climate Change Prompted Migrations in Ancient Peru, Says Genetic Study


The weather made me do it," as the saying might have gone for many, long-deceased and unnamed ancient Peruvians. Like some other populations throughout history, they were refugees of climate change who then flourished in their newly found home.

This is the story told by a recent genetic study that suggests that the evidence indicates periods of migration in pre-Columbian Andean societies in Peru, spurred on by local climate changes.

[View as single article...] [Follow article link...]
June 17 2014

Archaeologists Return to Excavate Ancient Jaffa


Teams of archaeologists, students and volunteers will return this month to the site of ancient Jaffa on the central coast of Israel to pick up where they left off in 2013, when they uncovered more of the sensational evidence of a fiery destruction at the site's ancient Amarna period New Kingdom Egyptian fortress gate.

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June 17 2014

Archaeological cave dig unearths artefacts from 45,000 years ago


An archeological dig has revealed artefacts of early occupation so old they rival the dates of those found at sites of the earliest human settlement in Australia.

The discovery of the artefacts of animal bone and charcoal at the Ganga Maya Cave (named by traditional owners meaning 'house on the hill') in the Pilbara region of Western Australia are the subject of a scientific paper not yet submitted to archaeological journals.

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June 17 2014

2,000-Year-Old 'Shroud of Gothenburg' Goes on Display in Peru


A rare, 2000-year-old funeral shroud went on display at a museum in Lima, Peru. The pre-Incan, fragile textile is part of Paracas textiles that Sweden is returning to Peru.

The Shroud of Gothenburg has over 80 hues of blue, green, yellow and red - which are woven in a pattern of 32 frames, according to BBC.

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June 17 2014

US lifts restrictions on more detailed satellite images


Sites like Google and Bing Maps will be able to use higher-quality satellite images, thanks to US government restrictions being lifted.

Companies had not been allowed to make use of images where features smaller than 50cm were visible.

But one imaging firm, Digital Globe, said it would be able to sell images that showed features as small as 31cm.

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