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  • When the dinosaurs died, so did forests -- and tree-dwelling birds
    Sixty-six million years ago, the world burned. An asteroid crashed to Earth with a force one million times larger than the largest atomic bomb, causing the extinction of the dinosaurs. But dinosaurs weren't the only ones that got hit hard -- in a new study, scientists learned that the planet's forests were decimated, leading to the extinction of tree-dwelling birds.
  • Imminent extinction of northern white rhinoceros motivates genetic recovery efforts
    Earlier this year, the last remaining male northern white rhinoceros (NWR) died in captivity, nearly cementing the fate of this subspecies for extinction. In the wild, continuing threats of poaching, habitat destruction, and small population size have contributed to the rhinos' status as critically endangered. Yet, novel conservation efforts that make use of cryopreserved genetic material could save the NWR, and other threatened species, from extinction.
  • Ingestible 'bacteria on a chip' could help diagnose disease
    Researchers have built an ingestible sensor equipped with genetically engineered bacteria that can diagnose bleeding in the stomach or other gastrointestinal problems.
  • Scientists can predict which storks will migrate to Africa in autumn and which will remain in Europe
    Scientists can predict which storks will migrate to Africa in autumn and which will remain in Europe.
  • New theory finds 'traffic jams' in jet stream cause abnormal weather patterns
    A study offers an explanation for a mysterious and sometimes deadly weather pattern in which the jet stream, the global air currents that circle the Earth, stalls out over a region. Much like highways, the jet stream has a capacity, researchers said, and when it's exceeded, blockages form that are remarkably similar to traffic jams -- and climate forecasters can use the same math to model them both.
  • Bold lizards of all sizes have higher mating success
    Boldness correlates with the mating success, but not body size or sex, of yellow-spotted monitor lizards roaming the remote Oombulgurri floodplains of tropical Western Australia, ecologists report. Bold individuals expose themselves to much higher risk of being eaten by predators during the dangerous wet season. The researchers demonstrated quantifiable behavioral syndromes in the large lizards, with an intriguing relationship to the lizards' seasonal hunting strategies.
  • Cold production of new seafloor
    Magma steadily emerges between oceanic plates. It pushes the plates apart, builds large underwater mountains and forms new seafloor. This is one of the fundamental processes that constantly change the face of the Earth. But there are also times when new seabed is created without any volcanism, by un-roofing mantle material directly at the seafloor. Scientists have now published the first estimation based on seismic data on how much seafloor is produced this way.
  • Cheap, small carbon nanotubes
    Carbon nanotubes are supermaterials that can be stronger than steel and more conductive than copper, but they're rare because, until now, they've been incredibly expensive.
  • Fleet of autonomous boats could service cities to reduce road traffic
    Researchers have designed a fleet of autonomous boats that offer high maneuverability and precise control. The boats can also be rapidly 3-D printed using a low-cost printer, making mass manufacturing more feasible.
  • A first look at the earliest decisions that shape a human embryo
    For the first time, scientists have shown that a small cluster of cells in the human embryo dictates the fate of other embryonic cells. The discovery of this developmental 'organizer' could advance research into any human diseases, and it suggests we have more in common with birds than meets the eye.
  • Chimpanzee calls differ according to context
    An important question in the evolution of language is what caused animal calls to diversify and to encode different information. A team of scientists has found that chimpanzees use the quiet 'hoo' call in three different behavioral contexts -- alert, travel and rest. The need to stay together in low visibility habitat may have facilitated the evolution of call subtypes.
  • Unprecedented detail in pulsar 6,500 light-years from Earth
    A team of astronomers has performed one of the highest resolution observations in astronomical history by observing two intense regions of radiation, 20 kilometers apart, around a star 6,500 light-years away. The observation is equivalent to using a telescope on Earth to see a flea on the surface of Pluto.
  • Nuclear physicists leap into quantum computing with first simulations of atomic nucleus
    Scientists have now simulated an atomic nucleus using a quantum computer. The results demonstrate the ability of quantum systems to compute nuclear physics problems and serve as a benchmark for future calculations.
  • Researchers squeeze light into nanoscale devices and circuits
    Investigators have made a major breakthrough in nanophotonics research, with their invention of a novel 'home-built' cryogenic near-field optical microscope that has enabled them to directly image, for the first time, the propagation and dynamics of graphene plasmons at variable temperatures down to negative 250 degrees Celsius. If researchers can harness this nanolight, they will be able to improve sensing, subwavelength waveguiding, and optical transmission of signals.
  • Utah fossil reveals global exodus of mammals' near relatives to major continents
    A nearly 130-million-year-old fossilized skull found in Utah is an Earth-shattering discovery in one respect. The small fossil is evidence that the super-continental split likely occurred more recently than scientists previously thought and that a group of reptile-like mammals that bridge the reptile and mammal transition experienced an unsuspected burst of evolution across several continents.
  • Orphaned elephants change where they live, in response to poaching and the need for food
    Young elephants who have lost either their mothers or the matriarchs of the herd are affected dramatically, and change where they live, according to new research.
  • Study casts doubt on traditional view of pterosaur flight
    A new study of how ligaments restrict joint movement suggests that pterosaurs and 'four-winged' dinosaurs couldn't have flown in the same way that bats do.
  • New tech may make prosthetic hands easier for patients to use
    Researchers have developed new technology for decoding neuromuscular signals to control powered, prosthetic wrists and hands. The work relies on computer models that closely mimic the behavior of the natural structures in the forearm, wrist and hand. The technology could also be used to develop new computer interface devices for applications such as gaming and computer-aided design.
  • First record of large-antlered muntjac in Vietnam
    In November 2017 -- under a biodiversity monitoring and assessment activity supported by the US Agency for International Development -- scientists and conservationists captured photographs of one of the rarest and most threatened mammal species of Southeast Asia, the large-antlered muntjac, in Quang Nam province, central Vietnam.
  • Daily egg consumption may reduce cardiovascular disease
    People who consume an egg a day could significantly reduce their risk of cardiovascular diseases compared with eating no eggs, suggests a new study.
  • Major fossil study sheds new light on emergence of early animal life 540 million years ago
    All the major groups of animals appear in the fossil record for the first time around 540-500 million years ago -- an event known as the Cambrian Explosion -- but new research suggests that for most animals this 'explosion' was in fact a more gradual process.
  • Birds from different species recognize each other and cooperate
    Scientists show how two different species of Australian fairy-wrens not only recognize individual birds from other species, but also form long-term partnerships that help them forage and defend their shared space as a group.
  • Giant Chinese salamander is at least five distinct species, all heading toward extinction
    With individuals weighing in at more than 140 pounds, the critically endangered Chinese giant salamander is well known as the world's largest amphibian. But researchers now find that those giant salamanders aren't one species, but five, and possibly as many as eight. The bad news is that all of the salamanders now face the imminent threat of extinction in the wild, due to demand for the amphibians as luxury food.
  • Mice regrow brain tissue after stroke with bioengineered gel
    In a first-of-its-kind finding, a new stroke-healing gel helped regrow neurons and blood vessels in mice with stroke-damaged brains, researchers report.
  • Self-healing material a breakthrough for bio-inspired robotics
    Many natural organisms have the ability to repair themselves. Now, manufactured machines will be able to mimic this property. Researchers have created a self-healing material that spontaneously repairs itself under extreme mechanical damage.
  • World's biggest fisheries supported by seagrass meadows
    Scientific research has provided the first quantitative global evidence of the significant role that seagrass meadows play in supporting world fisheries productivity.
  • Hurricanes: Stronger, slower, wetter in the future?
    Scientists have developed a detailed analysis of how 22 recent hurricanes would be different if they formed under the conditions predicted for the late 21st century.
  • Lightning in the eyewall of a hurricane beamed antimatter toward the ground
    Hurricane Patricia, which battered the west coast of Mexico in 2015, was the most intense tropical cyclone ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere. Amid the extreme violence of the storm, scientists observed something new: a downward beam of positrons, the antimatter counterpart of electrons, creating a burst of powerful gamma-rays and X-rays.
  • Hotter bodies fight infections and tumors better -- researchers show how
    The hotter our body temperature, the more our bodies speed up a key defense system that fights against tumors, wounds or infections, new research has found.
  • New 3D printer can create complex biological tissues
    Scientists have developed a specially adapted 3D printer to build therapeutic biomaterials from multiple materials. The advance could be a step toward on-demand printing of complex artificial tissues for use in transplants and other surgeries.
  • First interstellar immigrant discovered in the solar system
    A new study has discovered the first known permanent immigrant to our solar system. The asteroid, currently nestling in Jupiter's orbit, is the first known asteroid to have been captured from another star system.
  • Genome structure of dinosaurs discovered by bird-turtle comparisons
    A discovery has provided significant insight into the overall genome structure of dinosaurs. By comparing the genomes of different species, chiefly birds and turtles, a research team was able to determine how the overall genome structure (i.e. the chromosomes) of many dinosaur species might have looked through a microscope.
  • E. coli tailored to convert plants into renewable chemicals
    Jet fuel, pantyhose and plastic soda bottles: all three could be made from bioengineered bacteria.
  • A new map for a birthplace of stars
    A research group has created the most detailed maps yet of a vast seedbed of stars similar to Earth's sun.
  • Giraffes surprise biologists yet again
    New research has highlighted how little we know about giraffe behavior and ecology.
  • Robotic assembly of the world's smallest house -- Even a mite doesn't fit through the door!
    A nanorobotics team has assembled a new microrobotics system that pushes forward the frontiers of optical nanotechnologies. Combining several existing technologies, the newly developed nanofactory builds microstructures in a large vacuum chamber and fixes components onto optical fiber tips with nanometer accuracy. The microhouse construction demonstrates how researchers can advance optical sensing technologies when they manipulate ion guns, electron beams and finely controlled robotic piloting.
  • 3D-printed smart gel that walks underwater, moves objects
    Engineers have created a 3D-printed smart gel that walks underwater and grabs objects and moves them. The watery creation could lead to soft robots that mimic sea animals like the octopus, which can walk underwater and bump into things without damaging them. It may also lead to artificial heart, stomach and other muscles, along with devices for diagnosing diseases, detecting and delivering drugs and performing underwater inspections.
  • Shocking study shows one third of world's protected areas degraded by human activities
    A shocking study confirms that one third of the world's protected areas -- an astonishing 2.3 million square miles or twice the size of the state of Alaska -- are now under intense human pressure including road building, grazing, and urbanization.
  • Limiting warming to 1.5 degree C would save majority of global species from climate change
    New research finds that limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees C would save the majority of the world's plant and animal species from climate change. Species across the globe would benefit -- particularly those in Southern Africa, the Amazon, Europe and Australia. Examples of animals to benefit include the critically endangered black rhinoceros. Reducing the risk to insects is important because they are vital for 'ecosystem services' such as pollinating crops and being part of the food chain.
  • More than a living syringe: Mosquito saliva alone triggers unexpected immune response
    Mosquito saliva alone can trigger an unexpected variety of immune responses in an animal model of the human immune system.
  • New catalyst upgrades greenhouse gas into renewable hydrocarbons
    Engineers have designed a most efficient and stable process for converting climate-warming carbon dioxide into a key chemical building block for plastics -- all powered using renewable electricity.
  • Pesticides: What happens if we run out of options?
    What happens when pests resist all forms of herbicides and pesticides? To slow the evolutionary progression of weeds and insect pests gaining resistance to herbicides and pesticides, policymakers should provide resources for large-scale, landscape-level studies of a number of promising but untested approaches for slowing pest evolution.
  • Scientists analyze first ancient human DNA from Southeast Asia
    Researchers have completed the first whole-genome analysis of ancient human DNA from Southeast Asia Study identifies at least three major waves of human migration into the region over the last 50,000 years, each shaping the genetics of Southeast Asia.
  • Keep the light off: A material with improved mechanical performance in the dark
    Researchers found that zinc sulfide crystals were brittle under normal lighting conditions at room temperature, but highly plastic when deformed in complete darkness. Deformation of zinc sulfide crystals in the dark also narrowed their band gap, which controls electrical conductivity. The team's findings showed the mechanical and electronic properties of inorganic semiconductors are sensitive to light, revealing a possible route to engineer the performance of inorganic semiconductors, which are important in electronics.
  • Astronomers release most complete ultraviolet-light survey of nearby galaxies
    Capitalizing on the unparalleled sharpness and spectral range of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, an international team of astronomers is releasing the most comprehensive, high-resolution ultraviolet-light survey of nearby star-forming galaxies.
  • Self-assembling 3D battery would charge in seconds
    The world is a big place, but it's gotten smaller with the advent of technologies that put people from across the globe in the palm of one's hand. And as the world has shrunk, it has also demanded that things happen ever faster -- including the time it takes to charge an electronic device.
  • Robots grow mini-organs from human stem cells
    A robotic system has been developed to automate the production of human mini-organs derived from stem cells. The ability to rapidly, mass produce organoids promises to expand the use of mini-organs in basic research and drug discovery. The system was tested in producing kidney organoids, including models of polycystic kidney disease. The robots were also programmed to analyze the organoids they produced.
  • Autonomous glider can fly like an albatross, cruise like a sailboat
    Engineers have designed a robotic glider that can skim along the water's surface, riding the wind like an albatross while also surfing the waves like a sailboat.
  • Feeding habits of ancient elephants uncovered from grass fragments stuck in their teeth
    A new study examined the feeding habits of ancient elephant relatives that inhabited Central Asia some 17 million years ago.
  • Breakthrough in understanding rare lightning-triggered gamma-rays
    The Telescope Array detected 10 bursts of downward terrestrial gamma-ray flashes (TGFs) between 2014 and 2016, more events than have been observed in rest of the world combined. They are the first to detect downward TGFs at the beginning of cloud-to-ground lightning, and to show where they originated inside thunderstorms. The array is by far the only facility capable of documenting the full TGF 'footprint' on the ground.
  • Smarter brains run on sparsely connected neurons
    The more intelligent a person, the fewer connections there are between the neurons in his or her cerebral cortex, according to a new study performed using a specific neuroimaging technique that provides insights into the wiring of the brain on a microstructural level.
  • The ultrafast dance of liquid water
    Typically we consider that water molecules in the liquid state move randomly on ultrafast timescales due to thermal fluctuations. Now, scientists have discovered correlated motion in water dynamics on a sub-100 femtoseconds timescale. This appears as 'caging effects' due to buildup of tetrahedral structures upon supercooling. The results are based on a combination of experimental studies using x-ray lasers and theoretical simulations.
  • Major shift in marine life occurred 33 million years later in the South
    A new study of marine fossils from Antarctica, Australia, New Zealand and South America reveals that one of the greatest changes to the evolution of life in our oceans occurred more recently in the Southern Hemisphere than previously thought.
  • Critically endangered South American forests were planted by ancient peoples
    Critically endangered South American forests thought to be the result of climate change were actually spread by ancient communities, archaeologists have found.
  • Climate change in Quebec equals a much greater diversity of species?
    A team of researchers believe that, paradoxically, climate change may result in Quebec's national and provincial parks becoming biodiversity refuges of continental importance as the variety of species present there increases.
  • Major shifts in global freshwater
    A new global, satellite-based study of Earth's freshwater found that Earth's wet areas are getting wetter, while dry areas are getting drier. The data suggest this pattern is due to many factors, including human water management practices, human-caused climate change and natural climate cycles.
  • Rising emissions of ozone-destroying chemical banned by Montreal Protocol
    Emissions of one of the chemicals most responsible for the Antarctic ozone hole are on the rise, despite an international treaty that required an end to its production in 2010, a new study shows.
  • Researchers identify gene that helps prevent brain disease
    Scientists have identified a gene that helps prevent the harmful buildup of proteins that can lead to neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. The researchers found that the 'Ankrd16' gene acts like a failsafe in proofreading and correcting errors to avoid the abnormal production of improper proteins.
  • Early evidence of use of a bit on domestic donkeys found in the Near East
    Donkeys may have worn bits as early as the third millennium BCE, long before the introduction of horses in the ancient Near East, according to a study published May 16, 2018 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Haskel Greenfield from University of Manitoba, Canada, Aren Maeir from Bar-Ilan University, and colleagues.
  • Vast ionized hydrogen cloud in the Whirlpool Galaxy revealed by ultra-sensitive telescope
    No one has ever seen what astronomers first observed using a refurbished 75-year-old telescope in the Arizona mountains. What it was turned out to be a massive cloud of ionized hydrogen gas spewed from a nearby galaxy and then essentially 'cooked' by radiation from the galaxy's central black hole.
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