It had a graceful, swan-like neck but bizarre "killer claws" that could tear prey to shreds: The fossil of a new, 75-million-year-old species of "duck dinosaur" has been discovered in Mongolia. The fossil represents a new species of amphibious dinosaur, one that walked on two legs on land like ducks, but also used its flipper-like forelimbs to manœuver in water like penguins. It also relied on its long neck for foraging and ambush hunting. The scientific name of the creature is Halszkaraptor escuillie.
Thursday, 7 December 2017
Wednesday, 6 December 2017
Tuesday, 5 December 2017
Monday, 4 December 2017
A cache of hundreds of eggs discovered in China sheds new light on the development and nesting behaviour of prehistoric, winged reptiles called pterosaurs. A single sandstone block held at least 215 well-preserved eggs that have mostly kept their shape. Sixteen of those eggs have embryonic remains of the pterosaur species Hamipterus tianshanensis.
Wednesday, 29 November 2017
Astronomers have detected a planet orbiting an elderly star in our galactic neighbourhood. The new planet, known as HD76920b, is four times the size of Jupiter and orbits a star much larger than the Sun, nearly 600 light years away in the constellation of Volans — also known as the flying fish. It has the most eccentric orbit yet detected around any giant star.
Wednesday, 22 November 2017
Wednesday, 15 November 2017
Humans have made and quaffed wine for at least 8,000 years, with the earliest evidence for the grape drink found in what is now Georgia. Archaeologists found telltale chemical traces of the fermented drop in pieces of pottery dug from ancient villages.
Thursday, 2 November 2017
A small feathered dinosaur called Sinosauropteryx sported a stripy tail, "bandit mask" across its eyes and a pale belly to help it blend into the background, according to new research. The researchers suggest the bird-like dinosaur that lived 130 million years ago had camouflaging patterns in order* to escape being eaten.
* This misrepresents evolutionary theory. Adaptations arise 'because of' ('as a result of'), not 'in order to'. That is, this wording falsely ascribes purpose to evolution instead of reason and result.
Wednesday, 1 November 2017
Scientists have detected a powerful X-ray aurora hotspot near Jupiter's south pole and it does not behave how they expected. Rather than pulsing in sync with the northern aurora, the southern hotspot runs to its own regular beat.
Thursday, 26 October 2017
Researchers have shown what parents everywhere already know: babies can recognise a range of emotional reactions such as "mmm!" and "aww!" and connect them to their probable cause, such as a dessert or another cute baby.
Friday, 20 October 2017
Thursday, 19 October 2017
Thursday, 5 October 2017
The largest marsupial to have ever lived, Diprotodon optatum, a 3,000-kilogram herbivore that stood 1.8 metres tall at the shoulder, may have been a migratory species, an analysis of a fossil tooth suggests.
Wednesday, 4 October 2017
Scientists have detected gravitational waves — tiny ripples in the fabric of space-time — for the fourth time. Just like the first three detections, these ripples were caused by the merging of two black holes.
Thursday, 28 September 2017
Using fossils and a large comparative analysis of modern animals, a team of evolutionary biologists has found that the loss of teeth and the emergence of beaks are connected processes in theropods. As the beak grew across the dinosaur’s face, it also inhibited the growth of teeth. On an evolutionary scale this transition happened until theropods developed mouths that resembled the bird beaks seen today.
Wednesday, 27 September 2017
Thursday, 21 September 2017
Wednesday, 30 August 2017
Monday, 14 August 2017
Thursday, 3 August 2017
Wednesday, 2 August 2017
The ancient Canaanites, who the Bible says were commanded to be exterminated, did not die out, but lived on to become modern-day Lebanese, according to the first study to analyse their DNA.
Monday, 31 July 2017
NASA’s Kepler space telescope has received signal of what could potentially be the first discovered “exomoon,” a moon orbiting a planet beyond our solar system. Astronomers believe the candidate moon, which lies some 4000 light-years from Earth, is about the size and mass of Neptune, and is orbiting a planet the size of Jupiter but with 10 times the mass. Further observations of the exomoon using the Hubble Space Telescope will take place in October.
Friday, 28 July 2017
New excavations of a rock shelter near Kakadu National Park indicate humans reached Australia at least 65,000 years ago — up to 18,000 years earlier than archæologists previously thought.
Thursday, 27 July 2017
Thursday, 20 July 2017
Tuesday, 11 July 2017
The fastest-moving stars in our galaxy may have been shot off the bow of a passing smaller galaxy. These so-called "galactic hypervelocity stars" are large and short-lived but travel up to 1,000 kilometres per second. Strangely, most of them appear to be in an unusual cluster in the northern hemisphere sky, and the origin of these huge speedsters has been a bit of a puzzle. But now, researchers from the University of Cambridge argue these stars may have been flung off the front of the Large Magellanic Cloud, a dwarf galaxy travelling at high speed past the edge of the Milky Way galaxy.
Sunday, 9 July 2017
Scientists investigating how bees see colours say the insect's highly efficient visual system could revolutionise the way robots and drones view the world. The way humans see colour is heavily affected by the changing light around them, such as during a sunset or in the middle of the night, but bees see the same colour regardless. The Melbourne-based team has studied how bees solve this problem, by using three special eyes on top of their head, in addition to two main eyes at the front. The three eyes point skyward, and they directly sample the colour of the light above us.
Friday, 7 July 2017
Scientists have discovered the reason why some deep-sea coral reefs glow in the dark. Researchers from the University of Southampton found corals in deep water survived by making a special type of fluorescent protein. The research found the proteins responsible for acting as sunblock in corals in shallow waters worked differently in deep-sea reefs. The protein absorbs blue light and converts it, to help improve the photosynthetic capacity of algae living in the coral.
Wednesday, 5 July 2017
Just like a human drummer, male palm cockatoos (Probosciger aterrimus) use drumsticks from branches and seed pods to beat out a steady rhythm. And it appears they use their drumming, along with a complex array of calls and wing-flapping, to attract female birds.
Wednesday, 21 June 2017
Scientists have used satellite technology for the first time to generate and transmit entangled photons — particles of light — across a record distance of 1,200 kilometres on Earth.
Tuesday, 20 June 2017
The NASA Kepler mission has discovered 219 more exoplanets, including 10 Earth-size planets. Ten of the planets are potentially rocky, close to the size of Earth and within the habitable zone of the stars they orbit — meaning they could support liquid water on their surface.
Thursday, 15 June 2017
Sunday, 11 June 2017
Fossils discovered in Morocco are the oldest known remains of Homo sapiens, scientists reported on Wednesday, a finding that rewrites the story of mankind’s origins and suggests that our species evolved in multiple locations across the African continent.
Friday, 9 June 2017
A hellish alien Jupiter-like world that is hotter than most stars and glows like a comet has been discovered by an international team of astronomers. The most extreme world ever discovered is so hot it's likely that molecules break apart and atmosphere evaporates.
Wednesday, 7 June 2017
For the third time, physicists have detected a gravitational wave: a tiny ripple in the fabric of space-time. Like the two previous detections, it came from two colliding black holes, but this pair was much further away and may have been spinning in different directions.
Wednesday, 31 May 2017
Mummies from ancient Egypt have revealed that some of them share very little of the sub-Saharan African ancestry that dominates the genetic heritage of modern Egyptians. Their DNA more closely resembles the genetic heritage of people from the Near East and Levant.
Saturday, 27 May 2017
The first close-up glimpse of Jupiter's poles reveals massive cyclonic storms, some as large as 1,400 kilometres in diameter, and powerful aurorae — the planet has a magnetic fields 10 times that of Earth.
Wednesday, 10 May 2017
Ancient red rocks in Western Australia's Pilbara contain traces of a hot spring that hosted the earliest-known life on land 3.5 billion years ago. A team of researchers discovered evidence of fossil stromatolites — structures formed by layers of cyanobacteria — in what appears to be an ancient freshwater hot spring.
Saturday, 29 April 2017
Some 130,000 years ago, scientists say, a mysterious group of ancient people visited the coastline of what is now Southern California. More than 100,000 years before they were supposed to have arrived in the Americas, these unknown people used five heavy stones to break the bones of a mastodon.
Wednesday, 19 April 2017
The likelihood of one of Saturn's moons harbouring life has received a huge boost, thanks to a new discovery made by NASA's Cassini spacecraft. The probe has detected traces of molecular hydrogen (H2) in icy plumes spewing from fissures on the surface of Enceladus.
Thursday, 13 April 2017
Astronomers have discovered the faintest galaxy ever detected in the early universe. No more than a few pixels in Hubble images, the galaxy appears as it did 13.1 billion years ago — just 700 million years after the big bang.
Wednesday, 12 April 2017
A new study has found a so-called "hot zone" near the back of the brain that is always active during dreaming. The study also confirmed that dreaming does not just happen in the rapid eye movement (REM) phase, associated with fast rhythms of brain activity, but can also take place in non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep, when brain activity is slower.
Friday, 17 March 2017
DNA from prehistoric dental plaque shows some Neanderthals were vegetarians who used plant-based medicines. Reconstruction of the oldest microbe genome yet, sequenced from the plaque, also suggests Neanderthals may have kissed or swapped food with other humans at least 120,000 years ago.
Thursday, 16 March 2017
New scanning technology has given scientists an extraordinary view inside the cells of what may be the oldest plant-like fossils ever found. The find pushes back the date of the oldest-known identifiable complex plant-like fossil — also red algae — by 400 million years.
Wednesday, 8 March 2017
Wednesday, 1 March 2017
Thursday, 23 February 2017
NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has revealed the first known system of seven Earth-size planets around a single star. Three of these planets are firmly located in the habitable zone, the area around the parent star where a rocky planet is most likely to have liquid water. The discovery sets a new record for greatest number of habitable-zone planets found around a single star outside our solar system. All of these seven planets could have liquid water – key to life as we know it – under the right atmospheric conditions, but the chances are highest with the three in the habitable zone.
Wednesday, 22 February 2017
Simple organic molecules have been detected on the dwarf planet Ceres, adding to evidence it contains key ingredients essential for life. The substances most likely evolved within Ceres, which is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, rather than being delivered by a cosmic collision.
Wednesday, 15 February 2017
The discovery of a fossil of a pregnant marine reptile, Dinocephalosaurus, has provided the first evidence that an ancestor of modern-day birds and crocodiles gave birth to live young.
Wednesday, 8 February 2017
Carnivorous plants around the world all developed their killer habit in surprisingly similar fashion, according to a genetic study of distantly related pitcher plants from Australia, Asia and America.