Gravity measurements confirm subsurface ocean on Enceladus

In 2005, NASA's Cassini spacecraft sent pictures back to Earth depicting an icy Saturnian moon spewing water vapor and ice from fractures, known as "tiger stripes," in its frozen surface. It was big news that tiny Enceladus -- a mere...

New research finds 'geologic clock' that helps determine moon's age

An international team of planetary scientists determined that the Moon formed nearly 100 million years after the start of the solar system, according to a paper to be published April...

Ancient whodunit may be solved: The microbes did it!

Evidence left at the crime scene is abundant and global: Fossil remains show that sometime around 252 million years ago, about 90 percent of all species on Earth were suddenly...

Computer maps 21 distinct emotional expressions -- even 'happily disgusted'

Researchers at the Ohio State University have found a way for computers to recognize 21 distinct facial expressions -- even expressions for complex or seemingly contradictory emotions such as "happily disgusted" or "sadly angry." Here, a study participant makes three faces: happy (left), disgusted (center), and happily disgusted (right). Researcher Aleix Martinez described "happily disgusted" as "how you feel when you watch one of those funny 'gross-out' movies and something happens that's really disgusting, but you just have to laugh because it's so incredibly funny." The study gives cognitive scientists more tools to study the origins of emotion in the brain.Researchers at The Ohio State University have found a way for computers to recognize 21 distinct facial expressions -- even expressions for complex or seemingly contradictory emotions such as "happily...

Loblolly pine genome is largest ever sequenced

Conifers are the predominant members of the 300 million year old Gymnosperm clade.  Conifers are also distinguished by their leviathan genomes. The reference genome sequence of Loblolly pine is published in the March issue of the journal <i>GENETICS</i>, published by the Genetics Society of America. Its 22-Gb genome size, makes it the largest genome sequenced and assembled to date.The massive genome of the loblolly pine -- around seven times bigger than the human genome -- is the largest genome sequenced to date and the most complete conifer genome...

Crows complete basic 'Aesop's fable' task

Crows understand water displacement at the level of a small child.New Caledonian crows may understand how to displace water to receive a reward, with the causal understanding level of a 5-7 year-old child, according to results published March 26, 2014,...

Fossils of earliest stick insect to mimic plants discovered

At left: <I>Cretophasmomima melanogramma</I> at right: <I>Membranifolia admirabilis</I>.An ancient stick insect species may have mimicked plant leaves for defense, according to a paper published in the open-access journal PLOS ONE on March 19, 2014 by Maomin Wang,...

Ancient shark fossil reveals new insights into jaw evolution

This image shows a 3-D reconstruction of the skull of <i>Ozarcus mapesae</i>. The braincase is shown in light gray, the jaw is shown in red, the hyoid arch is shown in blue, and the gill arches are shown in yellow.The skull of a newly discovered 325-million-year-old shark-like species suggests that early cartilaginous and bony fishes have more to tell us about the early evolution of jawed vertebrates -- including...

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Brain changes are associated with casual marijuana use in young adults

The size and shape of two brain regions involved in emotion and motivation may differ in young adults who smoke marijuana at least once a week, according to a study...

Engineered bacteria produce biofuel alternative for high-energy rocket fuel

Georgia Tech researchers examine the production of the hydrocarbon pinene in a series of laboratory test tubes. Shown are (l-r) Pamela Peralta-Yahya, an assistant professor in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry and the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, and Stephen Sarria, a graduate student in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry.Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Joint BioEnergy Institute have engineered a bacterium to synthesize pinene, a hydrocarbon produced by trees that could potentially replace high-energy fuels,...

Chimpanzees prefer firm, stable beds

"Charles" (an adult male chimp) is sitting in a <i>C. alexandri</i> tree.Chimpanzees may select a certain type of wood, Ugandan Ironwood, over other options for its firm, stable, and resilient properties to make their bed, according to a study published April...

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Humans can distinguish at least 1 trillion different odors

In a world perfumed by freshly popped popcorn and exhaust fumes, where sea breezes can mingle with the scents of sweet flowers or wet paint, new research shows that humans are capable of discriminating at least one trillion different odors....

Dinosaur chase reconstructed 70 years after excavation

To digitally reconstruct the site as it was pre- excavation, scientists scanned 17 photos, developed a model and compared the model to maps drawn by Roland Bird.Scientists digitally reconstructed a model of a dinosaur chase using photos of theropod and sauropod footprints excavated 70 years ago, according to results published April 2, 2014, in the open...

Cuvier's beaked whales set new breath-hold diving records

Scientists monitored Cuvier's beaked whales' record-breaking dives to depths of nearly two miles below the ocean surface and some dives lasted for over two hours, according to results published March...

Earliest ancestor of land herbivores discovered

The smallest and largest caseid: this is a reconstruction of 300-million-year-old tiny carnivorous <i>Eocasea</i>  in the footprint of 270-million-year-old largest known herbivore of its time,  <i>Cotylorhynchus</i>.New research from the University of Toronto Mississauga demonstrates how carnivores transitioned into herbivores for the first time on land.

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Laboratory-grown vaginas implanted in patients, scientists report

Scientists reported today the first human recipients of laboratory-grown vaginal organs. A research team led by Anthony Atala, M.D., director of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center's Institute for Regenerative Medicine,...

Ancient 'spider' images reveal eye-opening secrets

This is the 305-million-year-old harvestman fossil.Stunning images of a 305-million-year-old harvestman fossil reveal ancestors of the modern-day arachnids had two sets of eyes rather than one.

Patches of cortical layers disrupted during early brain development in autism

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and the Allen Institute for Brain Science have published a study that gives clear and direct new evidence that...

Scientists solve the riddle of zebras' stripes

UC Davis scientists have learned why zebras, like these plains zebras in Katavi National Park, Tanzania, have stripes.Why zebras have black and white stripes is a question that has intrigued scientists and spectators for centuries. A research team led by the University of California, Davis, has now...

Hummingbirds' 22-million-year-old history of remarkable change is far from complete

The first comprehensive map of hummingbirds' 22-million-year-old family tree -- reconstructed based on careful analysis of 284 of the world's 338 known species -- tells a story of rapid and...

In sex-reversed cave insects, females have the penises

This shows the female penis of <I>N. aurora</I>.Researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on April 17 have discovered little-known cave insects with rather novel sex lives. The Brazilian insects, which represent four distinct but...

World ranking tracks evoluntionary distinctness of birds

A team of international scientists, including a trio from Simon Fraser University, has published the world's first ranking of evolutionary distinct birds under threat of extinction. These include a cave-dwelling...

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