New Horned Dinosaur, Cousin of Triceratops, Discovered

By Jon Tennant | July 8, 2015 1:01 pm

A reconstruction of Wendiceratops. Credit: Danielle Dufault

Triceratops is one of the most iconic dinosaur species we know, in part because of its distinctive looks: a large head frill, two huge brow horns, and another horn on its nose.

And now it’s got a new cousin. Researchers have discovered a remarkable new species of ceratopsian called Wendiceratops pinhornensis that lived 79 million years ago.

As one of the oldest specimens of the horned dinosaur family, Wendiceratops might help answer why, precisely, these horns and frills evolved.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts
MORE ABOUT: dinosaurs

On-Demand Meteor Showers Could Soon Be For Sale in Japan

By Carl Engelking | July 7, 2015 2:01 pm

shutterstock_287159366

Forget fireworks: on-demand shooting stars are the future of sky-high pyrotechnics.

It sounds far-fetched, but a Japanese start-up company, called ALE, believes it has the technological muscle to manufacture artificial “meteor showers” that light up the night sky. ALE plans to pull off this feat by sending a tiny satellite into orbit that would eject a stream of 1-inch balls that glow as they burn up in Earth’s atmosphere. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, Technology, top posts

New Horizons Spacecraft Temporarily Loses Communication With Earth

By Carl Engelking | July 6, 2015 12:36 pm

(Credit: NASA)

While people throughout the U.S. were enjoying a holiday weekend, NASA scientists were battling an eleventh-hour glitch in the New Horizons mission.

The spacecraft, now nine years into its journey, is just days from giving mankind its closest look at Pluto ever. But on July 4, NASA scientists lost contact with the spacecraft for over an hour, due to a timing glitch that overloaded the spacecraft’s computer systems. The mission team, working around the clock, has since restored communications and says the July 14 flyby hasn’t been endangered by the glitch. New Horizons is expected to begin gathering data once again when its approach sequence begins tomorrow. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts

Scientists ‘Resurrect’ Woolly Mammoth Gene in Human Cell

By Carl Engelking | July 2, 2015 3:33 pm

shutterstock_235371946

We all know that woolly mammoths are modern-day elephants’ distant shaggier cousins, but why, exactly, were mammoths so different?

That’s a tough question, but scientists believe they have some answers after performing the first comprehensive analysis of the woolly mammoth genome. Not only did scientists uncover the genetic changes that allowed mammoths to thrive in the Arctic, they also resurrected a mammoth gene by transplanting it into a human cell. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts
MORE ABOUT: animals, genetics

The Secret to Making Sweeter-Smelling Roses

By Kiona Smith-Strickland | July 2, 2015 1:00 pm

rose

It’s harder to stop and smell the roses these days, and not just because modern life is hectic. Thanks to generations of breeding for looks, roses’ scents have faded.

Now, a team of geneticists say they’ve found the gene that gives roses their scent, and that discovery may help rose breeders produce sweeter-smelling roses again.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts
MORE ABOUT: genetics

VIDEO: A Sea Turtle’s Perspective of the Great Barrier Reef

By Carl Engelking | July 1, 2015 2:30 pm
    (Screengrab from YouTube/WWF)

(Screengrab from YouTube/WWF)

If you ever wondered what it would be like to cruise with those ultra-chill turtles from “Finding Nemo,” here’s your chance.

Thanks to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and a GoPro, we can get a turtle’s-eye view of what it’s like to swim under the sea. And this turtle isn’t swimming through some nondescript stretch of the ocean; it’s gliding through Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, a landscape that’s equally beautiful as it is threatened. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Environment, Living World, top posts

Google’s Driverless Cars Are Cruising the Streets of California

By Carl Engelking | June 30, 2015 11:52 am
(Credit: Google Self-Driving Car Project)

(Credit: Google Self-Driving Car Project)

Some say they look like koalas. Others say they’re the smiling face of the future. And if you live in California, you’re already sharing the road with them.

Google had told the world that its line of itty-bitty self-driving vehicles was poised to hit the roads in summer. Well, they’re here. Last week, a few prototype vehicles started cruising around Mountain View, Calif., and the folks at Google are eager to see how the public receives them. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology, top posts
MORE ABOUT: transportation

Fingerprints Change Over the Course of a Person’s Life

By Carl Engelking | June 29, 2015 3:13 pm

shutterstock_235287226

Fingerprints may not be the permanent biological signatures we’ve built them up to be.

Since the 1920s, fingerprints have been accepted as evidence in courtrooms due to their uniqueness and permanence. And their uniqueness has been scientifically validated. But what of their permanence? Do those ridges and swirls remain the same from birth to death? According to a new study, our fingerprints do slightly change as time progresses — which could have implications for everything from law enforcement to unlocking your iPhone. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine, top posts
MORE ABOUT: aging

DARPA Is Supposedly Engineering Organisms to Make Mars Livable

By Carl Engelking | June 26, 2015 1:08 pm

mars

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency wants to create organisms that will turn the Red Planet a shade of green, at least according to a reporter who had access to their recent conference. As with most things DARPA does, there’s not a lot of publicly available details about the plan. DARPA denies that terraforming Mars in anywhere in their sights. But comments made by Alicia Jackson, deputy director of DARPA’s Biological Technologies Office, seem to indicate that it is at least a hypothetical possibility. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, Technology, top posts

Rats Dream About the Places They Want to Explore

By Kiona Smith-Strickland | June 26, 2015 12:02 pm

rat sleeping

Rats, like humans, have dreams about the future.

When they see a treat they can’t reach, rats’ later dreams depict them walking toward it, researchers have found. The discovery may one day provide some insight into what happens in the human mind during sleep.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, Mind & Brain, top posts
MORE ABOUT: animals
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