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.
Wednesday, 19 April 2017
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.
Thursday, 2 February 2017
The bacterium Gemmata obscuriglobus has been described as the "platypus of microbiology" because it appears to contain features associated with eukaryotes. These include a membrane-bounded nucleus, the ability to transport molecules such as proteins into the cell, and its ability to reproduce by a unique way of budding.
|Electron microscope image of Gemmata obscuriglobus bacterium reveals several pore-like structures that resemble those found in the membrane of the nucleus in complex cells.|
Tuesday, 31 January 2017
Thursday, 26 January 2017
Scientists have unearthed fossils of an intriguingly large otter as big as a wolf that frolicked in rivers and lakes in a lush, warm and humid wetlands region in south-western China about 6.2 million years ago. Researchers say the outsized otter, called Siamogale melilutra, weighed about 50 kilograms and measured up to two metres long, making it bigger than any of its cousins alive today.
Sunday, 8 January 2017
Ants have been shown to experiment with tools and choose those that were easiest to handle and could soak up plenty of liquid, such as bits of sponge or paper, despite them not being found in the insects’ natural environment. This suggests that ants can take into account the properties of both the tool and the liquid they are transporting. It also indicates they can learn to use new tools. Some ant species are known to use tools, such as mud or sand grains, to collect and transport liquid to their nests. But this is the first time they are shown to select the most suitable ones.
Friday, 30 December 2016
Thursday, 22 December 2016
Deep below our planet’s surface a molten jet of iron nearly as hot as the surface of the sun is picking up speed. This stream of liquid has been discovered for the first time by telltale magnetic field readings 3000 kilometres below North America and Russia taken from space.
Wednesday, 21 December 2016
Antihydrogen atoms are made of a positron (a positively charged version of the electron) orbiting a negatively charged antiproton. According to the standard model of particle physics, these anti-atoms should absorb and emit light at the same wavelengths as hydrogen. Now antihydrogen’s spectrum has been measured at last, and it confirms the prediction.
Thursday, 15 December 2016
A weather system — including strong winds and changing cloud cover — has been observed in the atmosphere of a giant gas planet outside our solar system for the first time. HAT-P-7b is 16 times the size of Earth and lies more than 1,000 light years away in the Cygnus constellation.
Wednesday, 14 December 2016
Exquisitely preserved bones and feathers from the tip of a dinosaur tail have been discovered in a piece of 99-million-year-old amber. The "astonishing" fossil contains the first skeletal remains of a dinosaur ever found preserved in amber.
Thursday, 8 December 2016
Wednesday, 7 December 2016
Wednesday, 9 November 2016
Oldest known evidence of Aboriginal settlement in arid Australia found in Flinders Ranges rock shelter
The chance discovery of a rock shelter in the Flinders Ranges has unearthed one of the most important prehistoric sites in Australia. The site, known as Warratyi, shows Aboriginal Australians settled the arid interior of the country around 49,000 years ago — some 10,000 years earlier than previously thought. The shelter, about 550 kilometres north of Adelaide, also contains the first reliably dated evidence of human interaction with megafauna. Artefacts excavated at the site also push back the earliest-known dates on the development of key bone and stone axe technologies and the use of ochre in Australia.
Thursday, 3 November 2016
A brown bit of rock picked up in the UK by a professional fossil hunter a decade ago is the first piece of fossilised dinosaur brain tissue ever to be found. The roughly 133-million-year-old tissue comes from a species of dinosaur known as Iguanodon, and comes from a brain that is similar in structure, although larger, to that of modern-day crocodiles and birds.
Wednesday, 2 November 2016
A group of MIT engineers has converted ordinary spinach plants into biological bomb detectors. The engineers implanted customised carbon nanotubes into the leaves of living plants to turn them into a real-time monitoring system for explosive molecules.
Wednesday, 26 October 2016
Wednesday, 19 October 2016
CAT scans of fossils from a bird called Vegavis iaai that lived in Antarctica 66 million years ago, reveal the presence of a syrinx, an organ unique to birds, which enables birds to produce their amazing array of sounds.
Thursday, 6 October 2016
The earliest seafaring ancestors of people living in South Pacific islands such as Vanuatu and Tonga arrived from Asia, an analysis of ancient DNA from four skeletons reveals.
Sunday, 2 October 2016
A fossilised bee’s nest provides an insight into the local habitat in which the 'Taung child' Australopithecus lived almost 3 million years ago – and hints that more fossils could be waiting to be discovered.
Thursday, 29 September 2016
The most comprehensive genomic study of Indigenous Australians to date has revealed modern humans are all descendants of a single wave of migrants who left Africa about 72,000 years ago. It confirms modern Aboriginal Australians are the descendants of the first people to inhabit Australia.
- Some modern humans never left Africa, so they are not descended from those who left.
- The humans that left Africa interbred with descendants of those humans who had left Africa earlier than them.
- Those descended from these latest emigrants are therefore also descended from the earlier waves of emigrants.
Wednesday, 28 September 2016
Saturday, 24 September 2016
Friday, 23 September 2016
Thursday, 22 September 2016
Wednesday, 21 September 2016
Wednesday, 14 September 2016
An unusual cluster of stars is a "living fossil" from the early Milky Way. The cluster, known as Terzan 5, contains two distinct types of stars with an age gap of up to 7 billion years. The discovery has important implications for our understanding of how galaxies formed in the early universe.
Wednesday, 7 September 2016
Wednesday, 31 August 2016
Friday, 26 August 2016
Wednesday, 10 August 2016
Thursday, 4 August 2016
Wednesday, 3 August 2016
Saturday, 30 July 2016
Friday, 29 July 2016
Thursday, 28 July 2016
Wednesday, 27 July 2016
Researchers have developed hierarchical metallic metamaterial with multi-layered, fractal-like 3-D architectures to create structures at centimetre scales incorporating nanoscale features.
Tuesday, 26 July 2016
Monday, 25 July 2016
Sunday, 24 July 2016
When honeybee hives get too hot, thirsty bees beg their specialised, water-foraging sisters for more liquid, which ends up cooling the colony. Honeybees have a few strategies for chilling out: some fan the nest, others leave the hive to increase air flow, and a few zip off looking for ponds or puddles. These “water collector” bees fill their bellies with water, fly back home, then regurgitate the liquid. Other bees slurp it up and spit it out around the hive, allowing the colony to cool as the water evaporates.
Thursday, 21 July 2016
Wednesday, 20 July 2016
Wednesday, 6 July 2016
Early Polynesian sailors criss-crossed the Pacific for hundreds of years, travelling as far as 2,500 kilometres, according to a new chemical analysis of centuries-old stone tools. The findings suggest there was ongoing, post-colonisation contact between the communities of the eastern Pacific from about AD1300 to the 1600s.