Tag Archives | discovery

34,000 Year-Old Bacteria Discovered Alive

Photo: Magnified microscopic view of large algae and prokayotes (Brian Schubert)

Photo: Magnified microscopic view of large algae and prokayotes (Brian Schubert)

Can this ancient discovery help us understand future discoveries of bacteria on other planets? Via The Epoch Times:

Scientists have found prokaryotes believed to have been alive when trapped in salt crystals 34,000 years ago, according to a study published this month in The Geological Society of America’s open-access journal GSA Today.

“Microbes are known to exist in subsurface habitats, such as sub-seafloor sediments and continental and oceanic crust, to depths of up to 3 km,” the paper reads.

“Prokaryotes (single-celled organisms lacking a nucleus and other membrane-bound specialized structures) in these subsurface environments live in water within sediment pores and rock fractures.”

Organisms have also been found in glaciers up to 8 million years old, according to the paper.

[Continues at The Epoch Times]

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Discovering The Secrets Of Stonehenge

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Photo: University of Exeter

The construction of megalithic structures, such as the pyramids and Stonehenge, have long since been a mystery to modern civilization. An archaeology student at the University of Exeter thinks he has found a key component in the movement of the rocks of Stonehenge. Science Daily reports:

A revolutionary new idea on the movement of big monument stones like those at Stonehenge has been put forward by an archaeology student at the University of Exeter.

Whilst an undergraduate, Andrew Young saw a correlation between standing stone circles in Aberdeenshire, Scotland and a concentration of carved stone balls, which may have been used to help transport the big stones by functioning like ball bearings.

Young discovered that many of the late Neolithic stone balls had a diameter within a millimetre of each other, which he felt indicated they would have been used together in some way rather than individually.

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Scientists Discover New Lizard Species – On The Menu

There are a lot of strange animals on the menu in Vietnam, but usually you can tell what they are. This entree wasn’t even documented until recently. From CNN:

It may be an old menu standby to Vietnamese diners, but it’s turned into a smorgasbord of discovery for scientists.

Researchers have identified a previously undocumented species of all-female lizard in the Mekong River delta that can reproduce itself by cloning, and the story of how it was discovered is almost as exotic as the animal itself.

Leiolepis ngovantrii is a small lizard found only in southern Vietnam. A Vietnamese reptile scientist who came across tanks full of the remarkably similar looking reptiles at small diners in rural villages in Ba Ria-Vung Tau province became intrigued when he noticed that all of the lizards appeared to be female.

So the scientist, Ngo Van Tri of the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology, contacted an American colleague about what he was seeing.

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Astronomers Discover Oldest Galaxy Yet

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European Southern Observatory

What’s the farthest we can see from Earth? Galaxy UDFy_38135539, 13.1 billion light years away, thanks to Europe’s Very Large telescope. Daily Mail reports:

Astronomers have discovered the oldest and most distant object in the universe – a galaxy so far away that its light has taken 13.1 billion years to reach the Earth.

The galaxy, which was spotted by Europe’s Very Large telescope in Chile, is the most remote cluster of stars, gas and dust ever measured.

It is so distant, scientists are observing it when the universe was in its infancy – aged just 00 million years old, or four per cent of its present age.

Dr. Nicole Nesvadba of the Institute of Space Astrophysics in Paris said: ‘Measuring the most distant galaxy so far is very exciting in itself, but the astrophysical implication of this detection are even more important.

Continues at Daily Mail

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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

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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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