April 17, 2013 |
They're big, they're furtive, they're weird-looking. You almost certainly wouldn't want to dine on one, since they're endangered and are said to cause digestive distress in people who eat them. But the African coelacanth is extremely useful in at least one way, said Jessica Alfoldi, a research scientist at the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Mass. Because it resembles ancient marine ancestors, it's a beloved subject for biologists trying to figure out how land vertebrates' fish forebears first climbed out from oceans, some 400 million years ago. On Wednesday the fish became even more valuable for researchers, as Alfoldi and an international team of collaborators published a draft of the coelocanth's genome in the journal Nature . The genome, a record of the 2.86 billion DNA letter pairs that make up the strange beast's genetic blueprint, could help scientists answer a host of questions about land creatures' evolution -- for instance, how fins became limbs, or how animals developed placentas.
April 10, 2013 |
Scientists have discovered some of the oldest dinosaur embryos ever found - a rare collection of delicate fossils that offer an unprecedented look into the remarkably speedy early development of these enormous animals. The bed of Lufengosaurus bones and smashed eggshell, described in Thursday's edition of the journal Nature , may also provide some insight into the growth of birds and other dinosaur relatives. “There's nothing like this that has been discovered before,” said Luis Chiappe, a dinosaur paleontologist at the Natural History Museum of L.A. County, who was not involved in the study.
April 5, 2013 |
Like the offset eyes on a Picasso portrait, the volcanoes on Jupiter's moon Io seem to be strangely shifted, according to a study by NASA and ESA scientists. Io's clustered volcanoes seem to be lying 30 to 60 degrees eastward of where they were expected, according to a paper published this year in Earth and Planetary Science Letters. The study could shed light on the internal dynamics of Jupiter's volcano-pocked moon. Io's internal heat comes from the kneading it gets from Jupiter and its fellow moons.
March 26, 2013 |
Will scientists soon be able to revive the long-extinct woolly mammoth? What about the dodo, the Chinese river dolphin or the saber-toothed cat? With the great technological leaps forward over the past decade, bringing back dead-and-gone species using DNA preserved in fossils might be possible in the near future, researchers said this month at a TEDx event in Washington, D.C. That doesn't mean Jurassic Park will ever become a reality; ...
March 19, 2013 |
A new National Research Council report says the U.S. may be able to reduce fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050 in light-duty cars and trucks. The highly ambitious goal could be reached, the report says, through a combination of more efficient vehicles and the use of gasoline and diesel alternatives such as bio-fuels, electricity and hydrogen. "To reach the 2050 goals for reducing petroleum use and greenhouse gases, vehicles must become dramatically more efficient, regardless of how they are powered," said Douglas M. Chapin, principal of MPR Associates and chairman of the committee that wrote the report.
March 7, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - President Obama's nominee to steer the Interior Department, REI Chief Executive Sally Jewell, vowed Thursday to balance competing demands on public lands for conservation and resource exploitation. But several senators of both parties expressed wariness of Jewell's involvement in conservation groups, suggesting that she might not adequately support fossil fuel development on federal acreage. Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) has focused on Jewell's tenure on the board of the National Parks Conservation Assn., an advocacy group for the nation's parks, as a possible barrier to her fairness.
February 27, 2013 |
Karl Lagerfeld's highly anticipated collection of watches for Fossil is scheduled to launch Thursday. The collection includes seven styles for men and women, priced at $150 to $595. One style, the Zip, has a wristband that can be widened by adding zip-on sections. Other styles include studs, metallic leather, chains and other embellishments. Locally, the collection is available at Gregory's , 147 N. Robertson Blvd., Beverly Hills. Other launches Los Angeles-based sportswear label Feel the Piece has launched a new line, Tyler Jacobs for Feel the Piece, that is designed to showcase work by up-and-coming street artists.
February 8, 2013 |
What's cute and furry and has a name only a paleontologist could love? A tiny theoretical creature dubbed the "hypothetical placental mammal ancestor" is stealing the hearts of some evolutionary biologists - and annoying others - as it raises new debate over just when our early mammal ancestors began diversifying across the globe. In a paper published this week in the journal Science, an international team of researchers described how they used a vast database of fossil and anatomical data, as well as DNA evidence, to reverse-engineer an ancestor to the largest group of living mammals.
January 29, 2013 |
The cracks in Mars' surface may be the fossilized remains of a web of water, according to new research released Tuesday. The findings, accepted for publication in Geophysical Research Letters, may explain a mysterious network of ridges that vein across the Red Planet's subsurface -- describing a watery underground that may be an ideal spot to search for evidence of past life. Researchers from Brown University used data from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to examine more than 4,000 of these strange ridges across two crater-pocked areas, the Nilosyrtis highlands and the Nili fossae area, studying the ridges' orientations and the composition of the rocks.
January 14, 2013 |
The urgent message went well beyond Robert Painter's usual areas of legal expertise - personal injury, commercial disputes, medical malpractice. In less than 48 hours, the skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus bataar , a fierce cousin of Tyrannosaurus rex , would be up for auction. "Sorry for the late notice," the email said. "Is there anything we can do to legally stop this?" The president of Mongolia, whom Painter had met 10 years before at a public policy conference, was now asking the Houston lawyer to block the sale of a fossil that scientists believed had been looted from the Gobi Desert.