21 Oct 2016

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Monkeys Break Rocks, Show Humans Aren't So Special

Monkeys Break Rocks, Show Humans Aren't So SpecialIt's said that an infinite number of monkeys sitting at an infinite number of typewriters would eventually produce the works of Shakespeare. New research finds that a noninfinite number of monkeys holding a noninfinite number of rocks might at least produce something like stone tools. Capuchin monkeys banging rocks against one another can accidentally make stones once thought to bear the telltale marks of a toolmaking human ancestor, researchers reported today (Oct. 19) in the journal Nature.

21 Oct 2016 11:47am GMT

Denali Dinos: Ancient Bones Are First of Their Kind in National Park

Denali Dinos: Ancient Bones Are First of Their Kind in National ParkAlaska's majestic Denali National Park is home to North America's tallest mountain and a wide array of wild animals, including moose, wolves and grizzly bears. Researchers found the fossilized bones of what they think are dinosaurs during a July 2016 expedition that included paleontologists from the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) and the National Park Service, according to an online announcement that was made Tuesday (Oct. 18). The group also discovered several new dinosaur trackways - fossilized impressions of footprints left by dinosaurs that once walked though mud that later turned into rock.

21 Oct 2016 11:45am GMT

500 'Champagne' Methane Seeps Discovered Off Pacific Coast

500 'Champagne' Methane Seeps Discovered Off Pacific CoastAbout 500 new streams of shimmering methane bubbles have been discovered off the Pacific Northwest coast. The discovery, which took place in June, will be a major topic for discussion at the 2016 National Ocean Exploration Forum, a congressionally mandated meeting about ocean exploration priorities that is taking place in New York and New Jersey on Oct. 20 and 21. The meeting, organized by Rockefeller University and Monmouth University, is half celebration of a year's worth of ocean discoveries and half planning committee for the years 2020 to 2025, said organizer Jesse Ausubel, the director of the Program for the Human Environment at Rockefeller.

21 Oct 2016 11:44am GMT

Spaceship carrying three-man crew docks with ISS, NASA TV reports

The Soyuz MS-02 spacecraft carrying the crew of Shane Kimbrough of the U.S., Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko of Russia blasts off to the ISS from the launchpad at the Baikonur cosmodrome(Reuters) - A Russian Soyuz spacecraft carrying an American astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts docked with the International Space Station on Friday, NASA TV reported, two days after blasting off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The spaceship with NASA's Shane Kimbrough and Russians Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko on board completed the docking maneuver at 0952 GMT. ...

21 Oct 2016 10:44am GMT

20 Oct 2016

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Smart mouth: Chinese fish fossil sheds light on jaw evolution

An illustration shows the fish called Qilinyu that lived 423 million years ago during the Silurian PeriodBy Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A bottom-dwelling, mud-grubbing, armored fish that swam in tropical seas 423 million years ago is fundamentally changing the understanding of the evolution of an indisputably indispensable anatomical feature: the jaw. "Now we know that one branch of placoderms evolved into modern jawed vertebrates," said study co-leader Zhu Min, a paleontologist at Chinese Academy of Sciences' Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology.

20 Oct 2016 9:03pm GMT

Scientists in Europe downplay likely loss of Mars lander

An employee stands in the control center of the European Space Agency (ESA) in Darmstadt, Germany, Wednesday Oct. 19, 2016. ESA and its Russian partner Roskosmos hope for the first successful landing on Mars. Their landing modul Schiaparelli will enter the martian atmosphere at an altitude of about 121 km and a speed of nearly 21 000 km/h. Less than six minutes later it will have landed on Mars. The probe will take images of Mars and conduct scientific measurements on the surface, but its main purpose is to test technology for a future European Mars rover. Schiaparelli's mother ship ,TGO, will remain in orbit to analyze gases in the Martian atmosphere to help answer whether there is or was life on Mars, (Uwe Anspach/dpa via AP)BERLIN (AP) - Scientists at the European Space Agency downplayed the likely loss of its Mars lander, saying Thursday that a wealth of data sent back by the experimental probe would help them prepare for a future mission to the red planet.

20 Oct 2016 3:30pm GMT

Spiders can 'tune' webs for good vibrations, researchers say

Dr. Beth Mortimer from the Zoology Department at the University of Oxford tests the web of the garden cross spiderSpiders can control the tension and stiffness of their webs to optimize their sensory powers, helping them locate and identify prey as well as partners, according to researchers at Oxford University. "Spiders use vibrations not only from prey which is caught in their web, where obviously it's important that they know ...where it is and what it might be," researcher Beth Mortimer told Reuters. "But vibrations are also important in courtship ... A lot of males will actually generate a very specific kind of musical pattern which the females can use to determine not only that they're a male but they're the right species and whether she might want to mate with them as well." Spiders can also use the information to assess their web's condition, she said.

20 Oct 2016 1:45pm GMT

Crash landing feared as Europe's Mars lander still silent

An illustration released by the European Space Agency (ESA) shows the Schiaparelli EDM landerFRANKFURT/BERLIN (Reuters) - Thrusters intended to slow a European lander as it neared Mars on Wednesday fired for less time than expected before contact with the vehicle was lost, leaving scientists uncertain whether it touched down safely or broke apart. The Schiaparelli probe, part of a broader mission to search for evidence of life on the Red Planet, was to test technologies during the descent and on the surface for a rover scientists hope to send to Mars in 2020. "We've had two over flights (by Mars orbiters) and there was no signal," the European Space Agency's (ESA) Spacecraft Operations Manager Andrea Accomazzo told journalists on Thursday.

20 Oct 2016 12:58pm GMT

'Planet Nine' Can't Hide Much Longer, Scientists Say

'Planet Nine' Can't Hide Much Longer, Scientists SayPlanet Nine's days of lurking unseen in the dark depths of the outer solar system may be numbered. The hypothetical giant planet, which is thought to be about 10 times more massive than Earth, will be discovered within 16 months or so, astronomer Mike Brown predicted. "I'm pretty sure, I think, that by the end of next winter - not this winter, next winter - I think that there'll be enough people looking for it that … somebody's actually going to track this down," Brown said during a news conference Wednesday (Oct. 19) at a joint meeting of the American Astronomical Society's Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS) and the European Planetary Science Congress (EPSC) in Pasadena, California.

20 Oct 2016 12:55pm GMT

Scientists find 500 U.S. seabed vents of powerful greenhouse gas

Scientists have found 500 seabed vents bubbling methane into the Pacific Ocean off the United States, roughly doubling the number of known U.S. seeps of the powerful greenhouse gas, a study showed on Wednesday. "It appears that the entire coast off Washington, Oregon and California is a giant methane seep," Robert Ballard, who is famed for finding the wreck of the Titanic and has now discovered the 500 new seeps, said in a statement. Nicole Raineault, Director of Science Operations with Ballard's Ocean Exploration Trust, said it was unknown how long the seeps had been active, what triggered them and how much, if any, of the gas reached the atmosphere.

20 Oct 2016 3:33am GMT

NASA spacecraft loses computer before close encounter with Jupiter

File photo of artist's rendering depicts NASA's Juno spacecraft above Jupiter's north pole in this undated handout imageBy Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - NASA's Juno spacecraft lost its main computer and science instruments shortly before it was due to make an orbital pass near Jupiter on Wednesday, scuttling highly anticipated close-up observations of the largest planet in the solar system. The U.S. space agency said the glitch followed an unrelated problem last week that prompted it to skip firing Juno's braking engine, to steer the probe into a tighter regular orbit around Jupiter. Juno's computer restarted after Wednesday's shutdown and the spacecraft was "healthy," NASA said in a statement.

20 Oct 2016 12:09am GMT

19 Oct 2016

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Chambers Hidden in Great Pyramid? Scientists Cast Doubt

Chambers Hidden in Great Pyramid? Scientists Cast DoubtA group of scientists has just claimed to have discovered two unknown voids or cavities within the Great Pyramid of Giza, the largest pyramid ever constructed in Egypt. Such cavities can be signs of hidden burials or rooms and as such, media outlets across the world immediately ran headlines touting this "discovery." One outlet even went so far as to proclaim that "secret rooms" had been found in the Great Pyramid. However, Live Science has learned that the results are more ambiguous.

19 Oct 2016 11:10am GMT

UNICEF clinches vaccine deal to protect children from five diseases

The UNICEF logo is pictured on a building in GenevaThe United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) said on Wednesday it had reached an agreement with six vaccine suppliers to provide a combined vaccine against five deadly childhood diseases for half the price it currently pays. "We will be able to procure pentavalent vaccine to protect children ... for less than $1 a dose," Shanelle Hall, director of UNICEF's supply and procurement division, told a news briefing. The six suppliers were named as: Biology E, Jenssen, LG Life Sciences , Panacea Biotec Ltd , Serum Institute of India, and Shantha Biotechs.

19 Oct 2016 10:17am GMT

18 Oct 2016

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Bloomberg to make $50M gift to Boston science museum

BOSTON (AP) - Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's charitable foundation has made the largest gift ever to Boston's Museum of Science.

18 Oct 2016 3:51pm GMT

The New Science of Willpower: Can Self-Control Really Get Used Up?

The New Science of Willpower: Can Self-Control Really Get Used Up?Does willpower have a limit? Indeed, a whole line of research, based on a seminal study published in 1998, suggested that not only is human willpower a depletable resource, but it's also drawn from a singular source in the brain. Many psychologists now think this phenomenon, dubbed "ego depletion," doesn't exist at all.

18 Oct 2016 2:33pm GMT

Birthplace of Rosetta Probe's Comet Pinned Down

Birthplace of Rosetta Probe's Comet Pinned DownThe comet that Europe's Rosetta spacecraft orbited for more than two years was probably born in the realm of icy bodies beyond Neptune, a new study suggests. New analyses of the orbit of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko - on which Rosetta intentionally crash-landed on Sept. 30, ending the probe's historic mission - trace the object's origins back to the Kuiper Belt, whose most famous denizen is Pluto. "These results come from computations of the comet's orbit from the present to the past, which is computationally difficult due to the chaosity of the orbit caused by close encounters with Jupiter," Mattia Galiazzo, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Western University in Ontario, Canada, said in a statement.

18 Oct 2016 11:00am GMT