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Average numbers for the latest posts (max. 50 posts, posted within the last 4 weeks)

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Top posts in the last 50 posts

Most comments: 2

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2015-07-01 14:55:08 (2 comments, 2 reshares, 18 +1s)Open 

"The role of plant traits might be overestimated by biologists in studies on plant invasiveness. Anthropogenic factors such as whether the species was being cultivated proved to be more important. These conclusions were made from a study on Central European plants that were introduced by humans to North America and over time became naturalized in this continent".

Most reshares: 6

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2015-06-27 13:34:12 (2 comments, 6 reshares, 20 +1s)Open 

"Vast quantities of ocean water circulate through the seafloor, flowing through the volcanic rock of the upper oceanic crust. A new study explains what drives this global process and how the flow is sustained. About 25 percent of the heat that flows out of Earth's interior is transferred to the oceans through this process".

Most plusones: 23

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2015-06-24 14:49:57 (1 comments, 4 reshares, 23 +1s)Open 

"A few years ago biologists found that a prominent change in pigeon plumage, head crests, could be traced to a mutation in a single gene. Now the research team has found an almost exact repeat in the evolutionary playbook in distantly related doves".

Latest 50 posts

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2015-07-02 14:51:42 (0 comments, 3 reshares, 7 +1s)Open 

"That's the sound of a caterpillar chewing on a leaf. But the real surprise is what happens next: the plant reacts to the noise by churning out chemicals that repel predators.

The discovery was made in 2014, by researchers Heidi Appel and Rex Cocroft from the University of Missouri.
It's been known for a while that sounds can affect the way plants germinate, and the expression of some of their genes, says Appel. "But just why plants were sensitive to airborne sound was a mystery".
Self-preservation is as good an evolutionary strategy as you get, so the pair set out to test whether plants were able to respond to the miniscule vibrations caused by having their leaves chewed.
With the help of a laser and some reflective tape, Cocroft -- an expert in bioacoustics -- recorded the vibrations made by a caterpillar chewing on leaves of a mustard plant, and then... more »

"That's the sound of a caterpillar chewing on a leaf. But the real surprise is what happens next: the plant reacts to the noise by churning out chemicals that repel predators.

The discovery was made in 2014, by researchers Heidi Appel and Rex Cocroft from the University of Missouri.
It's been known for a while that sounds can affect the way plants germinate, and the expression of some of their genes, says Appel. "But just why plants were sensitive to airborne sound was a mystery".
Self-preservation is as good an evolutionary strategy as you get, so the pair set out to test whether plants were able to respond to the miniscule vibrations caused by having their leaves chewed.
With the help of a laser and some reflective tape, Cocroft -- an expert in bioacoustics -- recorded the vibrations made by a caterpillar chewing on leaves of a mustard plant, and then played the soundtrack to other plants of the same type. Control plants were played two hours of silence, in a kind of botanical John Cage tribute.
Appel then measured the levels of bad-tasting chemicals that the plants produce to deter predators, like glucosinolates, which gives mustard its sharp flavour. Sure enough, the plants that 'heard' the chewing sound had higher levels of those compounds when they were later grazed upon. So the feeding vibrations had primed the plants for later attack.
Appel says priming defence systems like this are very common: "[It] provides a way for plants to avoid the cost of producing chemical defenses until they're actually needed".
And to make sure the plants don't just react to any old vibrations, the team did the same test with harmless wind noise and insect song, and the plants didn't react at all".___

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2015-07-02 14:42:49 (0 comments, 2 reshares, 5 +1s)Open 

"As fireflies are delighting children across the country with their nighttime displays, scientists are closing in on a better understanding of how the insects produce their enchanting glow".

"As fireflies are delighting children across the country with their nighttime displays, scientists are closing in on a better understanding of how the insects produce their enchanting glow".___

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2015-07-02 14:40:49 (0 comments, 3 reshares, 7 +1s)Open 

"Birds that molt at the wrong time of the year could be disadvantaged, according to a new study. Birds depend on a full set of feathers for maximum efficiency when flying long distances, but the study shows that moulting has a detrimental effect on their flight performance".

"Birds that molt at the wrong time of the year could be disadvantaged, according to a new study. Birds depend on a full set of feathers for maximum efficiency when flying long distances, but the study shows that moulting has a detrimental effect on their flight performance".___

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2015-07-02 14:37:31 (0 comments, 2 reshares, 4 +1s)Open 

"A newly discovered, 48-million-year-old fossil, known as a 'Jesus lizard' for its ability to walk on water, may provide insight into how climate change may affect tropical species".

"A newly discovered, 48-million-year-old fossil, known as a 'Jesus lizard' for its ability to walk on water, may provide insight into how climate change may affect tropical species".___

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2015-07-02 14:31:41 (1 comments, 4 reshares, 10 +1s)Open 

"The fearsome teeth of the saber-toothed cat Smilodon fatalis fully emerged at a later age than those of modern big cats, but grew at a rate about double that of their living relatives. The findings, for the first time, provide specific ages for developmental dental events in Smilodon. The eruption rate of the cat's permanent upper canines was a speedy six millimeters per month, but the teeth weren't fully developed until three years of age".

"The fearsome teeth of the saber-toothed cat Smilodon fatalis fully emerged at a later age than those of modern big cats, but grew at a rate about double that of their living relatives. The findings, for the first time, provide specific ages for developmental dental events in Smilodon. The eruption rate of the cat's permanent upper canines was a speedy six millimeters per month, but the teeth weren't fully developed until three years of age".___

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2015-07-01 15:28:44 (0 comments, 2 reshares, 9 +1s)Open 

"A pair of paleobiologists have determined that the world's most numerous and diverse vertebrates -- ray-finned fishes -- began their ecological dominance of the oceans 66 million years ago, aided by the mass extinction event that killed off dinosaurs".

"A pair of paleobiologists have determined that the world's most numerous and diverse vertebrates -- ray-finned fishes -- began their ecological dominance of the oceans 66 million years ago, aided by the mass extinction event that killed off dinosaurs".___

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2015-07-01 15:26:29 (0 comments, 2 reshares, 16 +1s)Open 

"Using the nation's weather radar network, two doctoral students have developed a technique for forecasting something other than the weather: the orientation behavior of birds as they migrate through the atmosphere at night. The students have discovered a way to use the latest dual-polarization radar upgrade to measure broad-scale flight orientation of nocturnal migrant birds -- a promising development for biologists and bird enthusiasts".

"Using the nation's weather radar network, two doctoral students have developed a technique for forecasting something other than the weather: the orientation behavior of birds as they migrate through the atmosphere at night. The students have discovered a way to use the latest dual-polarization radar upgrade to measure broad-scale flight orientation of nocturnal migrant birds -- a promising development for biologists and bird enthusiasts".___

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2015-07-01 15:21:59 (0 comments, 1 reshares, 3 +1s)Open 

"High-precision atomic clocks can be used to monitor volcanoes and potentially improve predictions of future eruptions, researchers report. In addition, a ground-based network of atomic clocks could monitor the reaction of Earth’s crust to solid Earth tides".

"High-precision atomic clocks can be used to monitor volcanoes and potentially improve predictions of future eruptions, researchers report. In addition, a ground-based network of atomic clocks could monitor the reaction of Earth’s crust to solid Earth tides".___

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2015-07-01 15:19:15 (0 comments, 3 reshares, 9 +1s)Open 

"Researchers have calculated the number of undiscovered meteorite impact sites on Earth's surface. Geologists say a total of 188 have been confirmed so far, and 340 are still awaiting discovery. Meteorite impacts have shaped the development of the Earth and life repeatedly in the past. The extinction of the dinosaurs, for instance, is thought to have been brought on by a mega-collision at the end of the Cretaceous period. But how many traces of large and small impacts have survived the test of time?".

"Researchers have calculated the number of undiscovered meteorite impact sites on Earth's surface. Geologists say a total of 188 have been confirmed so far, and 340 are still awaiting discovery. Meteorite impacts have shaped the development of the Earth and life repeatedly in the past. The extinction of the dinosaurs, for instance, is thought to have been brought on by a mega-collision at the end of the Cretaceous period. But how many traces of large and small impacts have survived the test of time?".___

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2015-07-01 15:15:43 (0 comments, 2 reshares, 3 +1s)Open 

"20,000 Sounds under the Sea is a project that aims to study ocean sounds. The Swiss ship Fleur de Passion will go around the world in four years with the aim of measuring human impact on oceans and contributing to the debate surrounding the role of humankind at sea".

"20,000 Sounds under the Sea is a project that aims to study ocean sounds. The Swiss ship Fleur de Passion will go around the world in four years with the aim of measuring human impact on oceans and contributing to the debate surrounding the role of humankind at sea".___

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2015-07-01 15:08:28 (0 comments, 1 reshares, 7 +1s)Open 

"The number of plant species growing just next to restored streams can take up to 25 years to increase above those channelized during the timber floating era, research concludes".

"The number of plant species growing just next to restored streams can take up to 25 years to increase above those channelized during the timber floating era, research concludes".___

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2015-07-01 15:03:00 (0 comments, 1 reshares, 2 +1s)Open 

"A new discovery in the study of fault slip seeks to redefine our understanding of how melt-bearing faults behave, say scientists. Fault slip occurs in many natural environments -- including during earthquakes -- when large stress build-ups are rapidly released as two sliding tectonic plates grinds together. In this process a large amount of the energy released can be converted to heat, that leads to frictional melting".

"A new discovery in the study of fault slip seeks to redefine our understanding of how melt-bearing faults behave, say scientists. Fault slip occurs in many natural environments -- including during earthquakes -- when large stress build-ups are rapidly released as two sliding tectonic plates grinds together. In this process a large amount of the energy released can be converted to heat, that leads to frictional melting".___

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2015-07-01 14:55:08 (2 comments, 2 reshares, 18 +1s)Open 

"The role of plant traits might be overestimated by biologists in studies on plant invasiveness. Anthropogenic factors such as whether the species was being cultivated proved to be more important. These conclusions were made from a study on Central European plants that were introduced by humans to North America and over time became naturalized in this continent".

"The role of plant traits might be overestimated by biologists in studies on plant invasiveness. Anthropogenic factors such as whether the species was being cultivated proved to be more important. These conclusions were made from a study on Central European plants that were introduced by humans to North America and over time became naturalized in this continent".___

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2015-07-01 14:28:55 (0 comments, 5 reshares, 13 +1s)Open 

"Scientists have discovered a milk-and ochre-based paint dating to 49,000 years ago that inhabitants may have used to adorn themselves with or to decorate stone or wooden slabs".

"Scientists have discovered a milk-and ochre-based paint dating to 49,000 years ago that inhabitants may have used to adorn themselves with or to decorate stone or wooden slabs".___

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2015-06-30 13:57:08 (0 comments, 1 reshares, 5 +1s)Open 

"Rocks store information about the temperatures that they have experienced. Now, for the first time, researchers have developed a method that reveals low-temperature information (from 35 °C and higher) on a relatively short timescale of thousands of years. The new method might find application in locating geothermal reservoirs and in maintaining underground tunnels".

"Rocks store information about the temperatures that they have experienced. Now, for the first time, researchers have developed a method that reveals low-temperature information (from 35 °C and higher) on a relatively short timescale of thousands of years. The new method might find application in locating geothermal reservoirs and in maintaining underground tunnels".___

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2015-06-30 13:53:41 (0 comments, 2 reshares, 9 +1s)Open 

"New research hopes to close the debate on whether a major mud volcano disaster in Indonesia was triggered by an earthquake or had human-made origins".

"New research hopes to close the debate on whether a major mud volcano disaster in Indonesia was triggered by an earthquake or had human-made origins".___

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2015-06-30 13:45:05 (1 comments, 1 reshares, 8 +1s)Open 

"Tiny microscopic animals called zooplankton are ingesting plastic particles at an alarming rate, according to a new study. That could not only pose a risk to salmon but also spell trouble for the entire aquatic food web -- from zooplankton to humpback whales".

"Tiny microscopic animals called zooplankton are ingesting plastic particles at an alarming rate, according to a new study. That could not only pose a risk to salmon but also spell trouble for the entire aquatic food web -- from zooplankton to humpback whales".___

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2015-06-30 13:34:50 (0 comments, 2 reshares, 3 +1s)Open 

"A newly-identified species of spike-covered worm with legs, which lived 500 million years ago, was one of the first animals on Earth to develop armor for protection".

"A newly-identified species of spike-covered worm with legs, which lived 500 million years ago, was one of the first animals on Earth to develop armor for protection".___

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2015-06-30 13:32:44 (0 comments, 1 reshares, 3 +1s)Open 

"Geologists have found evidence of helium leakage from Earth's mantle along a 30-mile stretch of the Newport-Inglewood Fault Zone in the Los Angeles Basin. Using samples of casing gas from two dozen oil wells ranging from LA's Westside to Newport Beach in Orange County, researchers discovered that more than one-third of the sites -- some of the deepest ones -- show evidence of high levels of helium-3 (3He)".

"Geologists have found evidence of helium leakage from Earth's mantle along a 30-mile stretch of the Newport-Inglewood Fault Zone in the Los Angeles Basin. Using samples of casing gas from two dozen oil wells ranging from LA's Westside to Newport Beach in Orange County, researchers discovered that more than one-third of the sites -- some of the deepest ones -- show evidence of high levels of helium-3 (3He)".___

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2015-06-30 13:29:42 (0 comments, 2 reshares, 6 +1s)Open 

"It's been difficult to explain patterns of toxic mercury in some parts of the world, such as why there's so much of the toxin deposited into ecosystems from the air in the southeastern United States, even upwind of usual sources. Now, a new analysis shows that one key to understanding mercury's strange behavior may be the unexpected reactivity of naturally occurring halogen compounds from the ocean".

"It's been difficult to explain patterns of toxic mercury in some parts of the world, such as why there's so much of the toxin deposited into ecosystems from the air in the southeastern United States, even upwind of usual sources. Now, a new analysis shows that one key to understanding mercury's strange behavior may be the unexpected reactivity of naturally occurring halogen compounds from the ocean".___

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2015-06-30 13:26:10 (0 comments, 1 reshares, 4 +1s)Open 

"The brown marmorated stink bug has a bad reputation. Every summer, this pest attacks crops and invades homes, causing both sizable economic losses and a messy, smelly nuisance. A new study by entomologists shows that these pests, known simply as stink bugs, have a strong preference for ripe fruit. Moreover, stink bugs track their favorite fruits throughout the growing season in an effort to maximize their access to food".

"The brown marmorated stink bug has a bad reputation. Every summer, this pest attacks crops and invades homes, causing both sizable economic losses and a messy, smelly nuisance. A new study by entomologists shows that these pests, known simply as stink bugs, have a strong preference for ripe fruit. Moreover, stink bugs track their favorite fruits throughout the growing season in an effort to maximize their access to food".___

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2015-06-30 13:23:49 (0 comments, 3 reshares, 16 +1s)Open 

"Researchers used satellite images to map abandoned shore lines around Palaeolake Mega-Chad, and analyzed sediments to calculate the age of these shore lines, producing a lake level history spanning the last 15,000 years".

"Researchers used satellite images to map abandoned shore lines around Palaeolake Mega-Chad, and analyzed sediments to calculate the age of these shore lines, producing a lake level history spanning the last 15,000 years".___

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2015-06-29 15:34:27 (0 comments, 3 reshares, 7 +1s)Open 

"One of the world’s rarest big cat species has received some much-needed good news this month. According to newly published surveys, the population of endangered Asiatic lions (Panthera leo persica) has experienced a population boom to a modern-day high of 523. That’s a 27 percent increase over the population of 411 cats during the previous survey five years ago.
Asiatic lions—also known as Gir lions because they live only in and around the Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary in Gujarat, India—were hunted to near-extinction in the 19th century. All of today’s Asiatic lions are descended from just 13 cats, which were protected at the last minute in 1907 by an Indian prince. The cats are the only lion subspecies that lives outside of Africa.
Gir lions continue to face multiple threats despite more than a century of protection. Millions of people live in and around the nationalpark, and... more »

"One of the world’s rarest big cat species has received some much-needed good news this month. According to newly published surveys, the population of endangered Asiatic lions (Panthera leo persica) has experienced a population boom to a modern-day high of 523. That’s a 27 percent increase over the population of 411 cats during the previous survey five years ago.
Asiatic lions—also known as Gir lions because they live only in and around the Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary in Gujarat, India—were hunted to near-extinction in the 19th century. All of today’s Asiatic lions are descended from just 13 cats, which were protected at the last minute in 1907 by an Indian prince. The cats are the only lion subspecies that lives outside of Africa.
Gir lions continue to face multiple threats despite more than a century of protection. Millions of people live in and around the national park, and the lions often end up in conflict with humans and livestock. They also have been known to fall into wells or get electrocuted on bare-wire, high-power fences. Young lions are also wandering farther out of the park to find their own territories. This dispersal puts the cats outside of the sanctuary’s protection, and they increasingly find themselves being hit by passing cars, trucks or trains. During the past year some have even been observed 100 kilometers outside the park in densely populated human neighborhoods".___

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2015-06-29 15:01:58 (0 comments, 5 reshares, 7 +1s)Open 

"In the human body, small wounds are easily treated by the body itself, requiring no further care. For bigger wounds to be healed, the body may need outside assistance. Concrete is like a living body, in that it can self-heal its own small wounds (cracks) as an intrinsic characteristic".

"In the human body, small wounds are easily treated by the body itself, requiring no further care. For bigger wounds to be healed, the body may need outside assistance. Concrete is like a living body, in that it can self-heal its own small wounds (cracks) as an intrinsic characteristic".___

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2015-06-29 14:59:12 (0 comments, 1 reshares, 2 +1s)Open 

"The amounts of plastic debris in the Mediterranean are comparable to those reported for the great accumulation areas located in the centers of the oceans, a new study has concluded".

"The amounts of plastic debris in the Mediterranean are comparable to those reported for the great accumulation areas located in the centers of the oceans, a new study has concluded".___

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2015-06-28 14:39:01 (0 comments, 1 reshares, 4 +1s)Open 

"New scientific research could help to protect tigers (Panthera tigris) from extinction. The findings indicate that tigers should be classified as only two subspecies – up to now nine subspecies were previously recognized. This will have a significant impact on species conservation since management efforts and breeding programs can now be organized in a simpler, more flexible and effective way".

"New scientific research could help to protect tigers (Panthera tigris) from extinction. The findings indicate that tigers should be classified as only two subspecies – up to now nine subspecies were previously recognized. This will have a significant impact on species conservation since management efforts and breeding programs can now be organized in a simpler, more flexible and effective way".___

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2015-06-28 14:36:30 (0 comments, 1 reshares, 5 +1s)Open 

"A photoprotective mechanism in cyanobacteria is triggered by an unprecedented, large-scale movement from one location to another of the carotenoid pigment within the Orange Carotenoid Protein, researchers have discovered".

"A photoprotective mechanism in cyanobacteria is triggered by an unprecedented, large-scale movement from one location to another of the carotenoid pigment within the Orange Carotenoid Protein, researchers have discovered".___

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2015-06-28 14:32:54 (1 comments, 1 reshares, 11 +1s)Open 

"Think of an object made of iron: An I-beam, a car frame, a nail. Now imagine that half of the iron in that object owes its existence to bacteria living two and a half billion years ago. That's the upshot of a new study. Its findings have meaning for fields as diverse as mining and the search for life in space".

"Think of an object made of iron: An I-beam, a car frame, a nail. Now imagine that half of the iron in that object owes its existence to bacteria living two and a half billion years ago. That's the upshot of a new study. Its findings have meaning for fields as diverse as mining and the search for life in space".___

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2015-06-27 14:13:49 (0 comments, 1 reshares, 7 +1s)Open 

"Seagrasses - the underwater plants that act as nursery grounds for young fish - need more protection, say scientists.
Monitoring of seagrass meadows off the North Wales coast found areas damaged by the likes of boat moorings, anchors and vehicles crossing at low tide had reduced value to the ecosystem.
Fewer species of fish were found where seagrass was degraded, according to research published in PeerJ journal.
The seagrass studied was near the village of Porthdinllaen, in Gwynned.
Researchers at Swansea University studied areas with both high and low cover over a 28-hectare stretch of sea bed.
They also sampled fish living in the underwater meadows of flowering plants.
There was a three-fold reduction in the diversity of fish species and invertebrates, such as prawns, shrimp, juvenile cod and juvenile plaice, in areas of low cover, said lead researcher Dr Richard... more »

"Seagrasses - the underwater plants that act as nursery grounds for young fish - need more protection, say scientists.
Monitoring of seagrass meadows off the North Wales coast found areas damaged by the likes of boat moorings, anchors and vehicles crossing at low tide had reduced value to the ecosystem.
Fewer species of fish were found where seagrass was degraded, according to research published in PeerJ journal.
The seagrass studied was near the village of Porthdinllaen, in Gwynned.
Researchers at Swansea University studied areas with both high and low cover over a 28-hectare stretch of sea bed.
They also sampled fish living in the underwater meadows of flowering plants.
There was a three-fold reduction in the diversity of fish species and invertebrates, such as prawns, shrimp, juvenile cod and juvenile plaice, in areas of low cover, said lead researcher Dr Richard Unsworth.
He said that in the areas that had become damaged, there was "a reduction in diversity of the species and in the value of the habitat for juvenile fish".
The seagrass is in a special area of conservation, which is a strictly protected site under the European Habitats Directive".___

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2015-06-27 13:37:02 (0 comments, 2 reshares, 5 +1s)Open 

"Researchers have studied human skeletal remains from the Cova do Santo collective burial cave in northwestern Spain. Remains found in the Sil river valley -- in the province of Ourense -- reveal a vegetable-based diet with little meat or fish".

"Researchers have studied human skeletal remains from the Cova do Santo collective burial cave in northwestern Spain. Remains found in the Sil river valley -- in the province of Ourense -- reveal a vegetable-based diet with little meat or fish".___

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2015-06-27 13:34:12 (2 comments, 6 reshares, 20 +1s)Open 

"Vast quantities of ocean water circulate through the seafloor, flowing through the volcanic rock of the upper oceanic crust. A new study explains what drives this global process and how the flow is sustained. About 25 percent of the heat that flows out of Earth's interior is transferred to the oceans through this process".

"Vast quantities of ocean water circulate through the seafloor, flowing through the volcanic rock of the upper oceanic crust. A new study explains what drives this global process and how the flow is sustained. About 25 percent of the heat that flows out of Earth's interior is transferred to the oceans through this process".___

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2015-06-26 15:06:52 (0 comments, 2 reshares, 9 +1s)Open 

"The relentless flow of a glacier may seem unstoppable, but a team of researchers from the United Kingdom and the U.S. has shown that during some calving events -- when an iceberg breaks off into the ocean -- the glacier moves rapidly backward and downward, causing the characteristic glacial earthquakes which until now have been poorly understood".

"The relentless flow of a glacier may seem unstoppable, but a team of researchers from the United Kingdom and the U.S. has shown that during some calving events -- when an iceberg breaks off into the ocean -- the glacier moves rapidly backward and downward, causing the characteristic glacial earthquakes which until now have been poorly understood".___

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2015-06-26 15:00:46 (0 comments, 5 reshares, 8 +1s)Open 

"Scientists have demonstrated that Earth's daily rotation period (24 hours) is encoded in the KaiC protein at the atomic level, a small, 10 nm-diameter biomolecule expressed in cyanobacterial cells.The results of this joint research will help elucidate a longstanding question in chronobiology: How is the circadian period of biological clocks determined?".

"Scientists have demonstrated that Earth's daily rotation period (24 hours) is encoded in the KaiC protein at the atomic level, a small, 10 nm-diameter biomolecule expressed in cyanobacterial cells.The results of this joint research will help elucidate a longstanding question in chronobiology: How is the circadian period of biological clocks determined?".___

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2015-06-26 14:46:36 (0 comments, 2 reshares, 6 +1s)Open 

"A new study indicates a steady population trend for blue whales and an upward population trend for fin whales in Southern California".

"A new study indicates a steady population trend for blue whales and an upward population trend for fin whales in Southern California".___

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2015-06-26 14:43:18 (0 comments, 1 reshares, 4 +1s)Open 

"Pygmy sloths wander inland in addition to inhabiting the mangrove fringes of their island refuge. A researchers now suggests that the population size of the pygmy sloth has been underestimated; a new, higher estimate for the number of sloths on Panama's Escudo de Veraguas Island points to how little is known about the species, and it underscores the need to conserve the sloths' isolated home".

"Pygmy sloths wander inland in addition to inhabiting the mangrove fringes of their island refuge. A researchers now suggests that the population size of the pygmy sloth has been underestimated; a new, higher estimate for the number of sloths on Panama's Escudo de Veraguas Island points to how little is known about the species, and it underscores the need to conserve the sloths' isolated home".___

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2015-06-25 16:06:06 (1 comments, 5 reshares, 15 +1s)Open 

"A 240-million-year-old lizard-like animal with a bulky body and only the skeletal precursor of a shell is the grandfather of all turtles, say scientists.
Unearthed in a quarry in southern Germany, the 20-centimetre Triassic Period reptile is the oldest-known turtle, combining traits of its lizard-like ancestors with a set of emerging turtle-like features.
The scientists named the reptile Pappochelys, meaning 'grandfather turtle', owing to its position at the base of the turtle family tree.
"Pappochelys indeed forms a missing link for two reasons. It is far older than all so far known turtles. And its anatomy is more primitive in many features, showing the ancestral condition of various body regions," says palaeontologist Rainer Schoch of Germany's State Museum of Natural History Stuttgart.
The origin and evolution of turtles has long been a contentious... more »

"A 240-million-year-old lizard-like animal with a bulky body and only the skeletal precursor of a shell is the grandfather of all turtles, say scientists.
Unearthed in a quarry in southern Germany, the 20-centimetre Triassic Period reptile is the oldest-known turtle, combining traits of its lizard-like ancestors with a set of emerging turtle-like features.
The scientists named the reptile Pappochelys, meaning 'grandfather turtle', owing to its position at the base of the turtle family tree.
"Pappochelys indeed forms a missing link for two reasons. It is far older than all so far known turtles. And its anatomy is more primitive in many features, showing the ancestral condition of various body regions," says palaeontologist Rainer Schoch of Germany's State Museum of Natural History Stuttgart.
The origin and evolution of turtles has long been a contentious issue.
While previous research suggests turtles were more closely related to birds and dinosaurs, the shape of the new fossil's skull supports theories that it was more closely related to snakes and lizards, the scientists report in the journal Nature.
The new fossil is 20 million years older than the previous earliest-known turtle, Odontochelys from China.
While Odontochelys boasted a rudimentary shell on its back, Pappochelys bore only the beginnings of this characteristic turtle trait that evolved in many steps over tens of millions of years.
"The belly armour is composed of thick, rib-like bones that are beginning to fuse to each other in many places," says study co-author palaeontologist Hans-Dieter Sues of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History, calling this "an important stage in the evolution of the turtle shell."
Pappochelys, known from 18 fossil skeletons, had a long tail, broad trunk, and, rather than a beak as in later turtles, a lizard-like skull with numerous peg-like teeth suitable for eating insects and small lizards.
It resided alongside a freshwater lake and may have used its tail for swimming and legs for steering in the water.
Schoch says Pappochelys, is a transitional creature between lizard-like ancestors and later turtles, provides a much clearer picture of turtle evolution".___

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2015-06-25 16:01:51 (0 comments, 2 reshares, 7 +1s)Open 

"The famous lemurs of Madagascar face such severe threats to their survival that none of them may be left in the wild within 25 years.
That stark warning comes from one of the world's leading specialists in the iconic animals.
Deforestation and hunting are taking an increasing toll, according to Professor Jonah Ratsimbazafy, director of GERP, a centre for primate research in Madagascar.
"My heart is broken," he told the BBC, "because the situation is getting worse as more forests disappear every year. That means the lemurs are in more and more trouble."
So far 106 species of lemur have been identified and nearly all of them are judged to be at risk of extinction, many of them critically endangered.
The habitats they depend on - mostly a variety of different kinds of forest - only exist in Madagascar.
"Just as fish cannot survive without water,... more »

"The famous lemurs of Madagascar face such severe threats to their survival that none of them may be left in the wild within 25 years.
That stark warning comes from one of the world's leading specialists in the iconic animals.
Deforestation and hunting are taking an increasing toll, according to Professor Jonah Ratsimbazafy, director of GERP, a centre for primate research in Madagascar.
"My heart is broken," he told the BBC, "because the situation is getting worse as more forests disappear every year. That means the lemurs are in more and more trouble."
So far 106 species of lemur have been identified and nearly all of them are judged to be at risk of extinction, many of them critically endangered.
The habitats they depend on - mostly a variety of different kinds of forest - only exist in Madagascar.
"Just as fish cannot survive without water, lemurs cannot survive without forest, but less than 10% of the original Madagascar forest is left," said Prof Ratsimbazafy, who is also a co-vice chair of the Madagascar primates section of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
(I would believe that within the next 25 years, if the speed of the deforestation is still the same, there would be no forest left, and that means no lemurs left in this island)."___

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2015-06-25 15:57:16 (0 comments, 3 reshares, 8 +1s)Open 

"A scientist unexpectedly discovered two lichen species new to science in the same week while conducting research in Boulder Colorado, near the city's eastern limits. Lichens are complex life forms composed of at least two separate organisms, primarily a fungus and an alga that form a symbiotic relationship. They can live on soil, rocks, tree bark, desert sand, animal bones and rusty metal, for example".

"A scientist unexpectedly discovered two lichen species new to science in the same week while conducting research in Boulder Colorado, near the city's eastern limits. Lichens are complex life forms composed of at least two separate organisms, primarily a fungus and an alga that form a symbiotic relationship. They can live on soil, rocks, tree bark, desert sand, animal bones and rusty metal, for example".___

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2015-06-25 15:55:56 (0 comments, 1 reshares, 11 +1s)Open 

"Glowing corals that display a surprising array of colors have been discovered in the deep water reefs of the Red Sea".

"Glowing corals that display a surprising array of colors have been discovered in the deep water reefs of the Red Sea".___

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2015-06-25 15:54:17 (0 comments, 3 reshares, 8 +1s)Open 

"The first species of yeti crab from hydrothermal vent systems of the East Scotia Ridge in the Southern Ocean, Antarctica, has been described. This Yeti Crab is famous for its body, which is densely covered by bristles -- known as setae -- and bacteria, giving it a fur-like appearance".

"The first species of yeti crab from hydrothermal vent systems of the East Scotia Ridge in the Southern Ocean, Antarctica, has been described. This Yeti Crab is famous for its body, which is densely covered by bristles -- known as setae -- and bacteria, giving it a fur-like appearance".___

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2015-06-25 15:50:32 (0 comments, 1 reshares, 14 +1s)Open 

"With all sea turtles being currently on the list of endangered species, authors now offer a critical review of what is being done towards saving injured Mediterranean loggerhead and green turtles. They also call for further development and implementation of rescue centers, first-aid stations and awareness campaigns".

"With all sea turtles being currently on the list of endangered species, authors now offer a critical review of what is being done towards saving injured Mediterranean loggerhead and green turtles. They also call for further development and implementation of rescue centers, first-aid stations and awareness campaigns".___

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2015-06-25 15:45:01 (0 comments, 2 reshares, 6 +1s)Open 

"Discoveries about the causes of stress-corrosion cracking in metal alloys could help prevent failure of critical infrastructure systems such as pipelines that transport water, fossil fuels and natural gas, as well as operating systems for nuclear power generation facilities and the framework of aircraft".

"Discoveries about the causes of stress-corrosion cracking in metal alloys could help prevent failure of critical infrastructure systems such as pipelines that transport water, fossil fuels and natural gas, as well as operating systems for nuclear power generation facilities and the framework of aircraft".___

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2015-06-25 15:25:37 (0 comments, 1 reshares, 3 +1s)Open 

"Plants need water. People need water. Unfortunately, there's only so much clean water to go around -- and so the effort begins to find a solution. One strategy is to use treated wastewater, containing salt leftover from the cleaning process, to water large areas of turf grass. Researchers have found ways to breed salt-tolerant turf that can withstand this irrigation".

"Plants need water. People need water. Unfortunately, there's only so much clean water to go around -- and so the effort begins to find a solution. One strategy is to use treated wastewater, containing salt leftover from the cleaning process, to water large areas of turf grass. Researchers have found ways to breed salt-tolerant turf that can withstand this irrigation".___

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2015-06-25 15:23:48 (0 comments, 1 reshares, 4 +1s)Open 

"A new analysis of one of the most bizarre-looking fossils ever discovered has definitively sorted its head from its tail, and turned up a previously unknown ring of teeth, which could help answer some of the questions around the early development of molting animals".

"A new analysis of one of the most bizarre-looking fossils ever discovered has definitively sorted its head from its tail, and turned up a previously unknown ring of teeth, which could help answer some of the questions around the early development of molting animals".___

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2015-06-25 15:22:20 (0 comments, 1 reshares, 3 +1s)Open 

"South African and Argentinian palaeontologists have discovered a new 200-million-year-old dinosaur from South Africa hidden for decades among the largest fossil collection in South Africa".

"South African and Argentinian palaeontologists have discovered a new 200-million-year-old dinosaur from South Africa hidden for decades among the largest fossil collection in South Africa".___

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2015-06-24 15:11:58 (0 comments, 2 reshares, 2 +1s)Open 

"Fish may seem to glide effortlessly through the water, but the tiny ripples they leave behind are evidence of a constant give-and-take of energy between the swimmer and its aqueous environment -- a momentum exchange that propels the fish forward but is devilishly tricky to quantify. Now, new research shows that a fish's propulsion can be understood by studying vortices in the surrounding water as individual units instead of examining the flow as a whole".

"Fish may seem to glide effortlessly through the water, but the tiny ripples they leave behind are evidence of a constant give-and-take of energy between the swimmer and its aqueous environment -- a momentum exchange that propels the fish forward but is devilishly tricky to quantify. Now, new research shows that a fish's propulsion can be understood by studying vortices in the surrounding water as individual units instead of examining the flow as a whole".___

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2015-06-24 15:09:34 (0 comments, 2 reshares, 7 +1s)Open 

"Six new species of cryptic, subterranean ants from the genus Prionopelta have been described from the Malagasy region. The tiny underground dwellers are part of the larger group of the Dracula ants and are fierce, social predators that hunt down prey with dagger-like teeth".

"Six new species of cryptic, subterranean ants from the genus Prionopelta have been described from the Malagasy region. The tiny underground dwellers are part of the larger group of the Dracula ants and are fierce, social predators that hunt down prey with dagger-like teeth".___

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2015-06-24 14:56:01 (0 comments, 1 reshares, 4 +1s)Open 

"The 26 December 2004 Mw ~9.2 Indian Ocean earthquake (also known as the Sumatra-Andaman or Aceh-Andaman earthquake), which generated massive, destructive tsunamis, especially along the Aceh coast of northern Sumatra, Indonesia, clearly demonstrated the need for a better understanding of how frequently subduction zone earthquakes and tsunamis occur".

"The 26 December 2004 Mw ~9.2 Indian Ocean earthquake (also known as the Sumatra-Andaman or Aceh-Andaman earthquake), which generated massive, destructive tsunamis, especially along the Aceh coast of northern Sumatra, Indonesia, clearly demonstrated the need for a better understanding of how frequently subduction zone earthquakes and tsunamis occur".___

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2015-06-24 14:52:37 (2 comments, 1 reshares, 7 +1s)Open 

"Scientists have created a new technique for resolving the orbits of multiple molecular orbitals, a previously impossible feat".

"Scientists have created a new technique for resolving the orbits of multiple molecular orbitals, a previously impossible feat".___

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2015-06-24 14:49:57 (1 comments, 4 reshares, 23 +1s)Open 

"A few years ago biologists found that a prominent change in pigeon plumage, head crests, could be traced to a mutation in a single gene. Now the research team has found an almost exact repeat in the evolutionary playbook in distantly related doves".

"A few years ago biologists found that a prominent change in pigeon plumage, head crests, could be traced to a mutation in a single gene. Now the research team has found an almost exact repeat in the evolutionary playbook in distantly related doves".___

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