Tag Archives | discovery

New Language Discovered In India

Cultures about to be lost, are still being found. The new language discovered in India, Koro, leaves more questions than answers. From Discovery News:

A team of linguists announced Tuesday that they have discovered a new and unique language, called Koro, in northeastern India, but immediately warned that it was highly endangered.

Only around 800 people are believed to speak the Tibeto-Burman language, and few of them are under the age of 20, according to the researchers who discovered Koro during an expedition as part of National Geographic’s “Enduring Voices” project.

The language, they said, has never been written down.

Continues at Discovery News

From National Geographic:

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Two New Dinosaurs Discovered in Utah

new-horned-dinosaurs-utah_26352_600x450

Illustration from Utah Museum of Natural History

The two new dinosaurs found in Southern Utah are said to have more horns on their head than any known dino. Now the only question is whether they were functional or just fashionable? From National Geographic:

Two newly discovered horned dinosaur species from an ancient “lost continent” are some of the most surprising and ornate yet found, paleontologists say.

The new dinosaurs are members of the ceratopsids, the group of dinosaurs that includes Triceratops. The animals were generally four-legged herbivores with horns and bony frills rising from the backs of their heads.

The larger of the two dinosaurs, Utahceratops gettyi, had a 7-foot-long (2.3-meter-long) skull, prompting study co-author Mark Loewen of the University of Utah to compare the animal to “a giant rhino with a ridiculously supersized head.”

The other new dinosaur, Kosmoceratops richardsoni, is “one of the most amazing animals known, with a huge skull decorated with an assortment of bony bells and whistles,” study leader Scott Sampson, also of the University of Utah, said in a statement.

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Kepler Discovers Two Saturn-Sized Exo-Planets

Artist concept of Kepler 9b & 9c

Artist concept of Kepler 9b & 9c

The more objects we discover in space, the more we discover just how small we are. From BBC:

The US space agency’s Kepler planet-hunter has spied a star that has two Saturn-sized objects circling it.

Astronomers say they cannot be sure just yet but there may be a third, more Earth-sized planet present as well.

Follow-up studies were now trying to confirm this suspicion, Matthew Holman and colleagues told Science magazine.

The Kepler telescope was launched last year to identify planets by looking for periodic dips in light as objects pass in front of stars. It is equipped with the largest camera ever put in space.

The mission has so far amassed hundreds of these transit events but definitive statements about the discovery of new planets beyond our Solar System – so-called exoplanets – can only be made after many careful repeat observations.

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Zombie Ants!

The zombies have come, but it’s not exactly the apocalypse. Carpenter ants being taken over by fungi sounds like the beginning of a Science-Fiction film, but this time it’s just Science. From Discovery Magazine:

A parasitic fungus called Ophiocordyceps unilateralis that infects a plain old carpenter ant and takes over its brain, leading the ant to bite into the vein that runs down the center of a leaf on the underside. The ant dies shortly thereafter, but the fungus gains the nutrients it needs to grow this crazy stalk out of the ant’s body and release spores to create the next generation of ant-controlling fungi.

This cryptic cycle has been going on for at least 48 million years.

In a study forthcoming in Biology Letters, Harvard’s David Hughes argues that a fossilized leaf found in a fossil-rich part of Germany’s Rhine Rift Valley bears the scars of the ant’s trademark death bite.

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Star Found 265 Times Heavier Than Our Sun

A cluster of stars recently photographed at the European Southern Observatory is found to be much larger, brighter and hotter than our humble Sun. R136a1 is said to be the largest star ever recorded.  The New York Times details:

A huge ball of brightly burning gas drifting through a neighboring galaxy may be the heaviest star ever discovered — hundreds of times more massive than the sun, scientists said Wednesday after working out its weight for the first time.

Those behind the find say the star, called R136a1, may once have weighed as much as 320 solar masses. Astrophysicist Paul Crowther said the obese star — twice as heavy as any previously discovered — has already slimmed down considerably over its lifetime.

In fact, it’s burning itself off with such intensity that it shines at nearly 10 million times the luminosity of the sun.

“Unlike humans, these stars are born heavy and lose weight as they age,” said Crowther, an astrophysicist at the University of Sheffield in northern England.

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