Friday, March 31, 2017

Science X Newsletter Friday, Mar 31

Dear Reader ,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for March 31, 2017:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

A new treatment for antibiotic resistant bacteria and infectious disease

Children with autism find understanding facial expressions difficult

SpaceX hails 'revolution' after recycled rocket launch, landing

'Whale breath' reveals bacteria threatening endangered killer whales

New ultrafast flexible and transparent memory devices could herald new era of electronics

Some of Greenland's coastal ice will be permanently lost by 2100

Harms of nighttime light exposure passed to offspring: Hamster study finds evidence of immune, endocrine problems

Octopus tentacle serves as inspiration for gripper

Exploring ocean waters to characterize atmospheric aerosols

NASA tests robotic ice tools

Super-strong, stretchy silver

Brain study shows how slow breathing induces tranquility

Species on the move having a big impact

New therapeutic strategy against sleeping sickness

Flying foxes have been on the decline for decades, and there's no hope in sight

Astronomy & Space news

SpaceX hails 'revolution' after recycled rocket launch, landing

SpaceX chief Elon Musk hailed a "revolution in spaceflight" on Thursday after blasting off a recycled rocket for the first time, a feat that could dramatically lower the cost of space travel.

NASA tests robotic ice tools

Want to go ice fishing on Jupiter's moon Europa? There's no promising you'll catch anything, but a new set of robotic prototypes could help.

Nineteen miles up, experiment reveals Earth microbes' likely fate on Mars

Understanding the limits on what microbial life can endure is important for preventing contamination of the Red Planet with terrestrial microbes when our human and robotic explorers arrive. It's also necessary for avoiding false positives from organisms we may have brought with us, when searching for life beyond our own planet. One of the fundamental questions that NASA aims to answer is whether Mars was ever home to microbial life, and whether it is today.

Hubble's double galaxy gaze: Leda and NGC 4424

Some astronomical objects have endearing or quirky nicknames, inspired by mythology or their own appearance. Take, for example, the constellation of Orion (The Hunter), the Sombrero Galaxy, the Horsehead Nebula, or even the Milky Way. However, the vast majority of cosmic objects appear in astronomical catalogs and are given rather less poetic names based on the order of their discovery.

Four unknown objects being investigated in Planet 9 search

Astronomers from The Australian National University (ANU) are investigating four unknown objects that could be candidates for a new planet in our Solar System, following the launch of their planetary search on the BBC's Stargazing Live broadcast from the ANU Siding Spring Observatory.

Technology news

Octopus tentacle serves as inspiration for gripper

(Tech Xplore)—German industrial automation company Festo has come up with a bionic gripper, OctopusGripper. The company's focus areas include pneumatic, servopneumatic and electric automation technology and the Octopus Gripper is certainly drawing attention in the tech press.

Bio-inspired energy storage: A new light for solar power

Inspired by an American fern, researchers have developed a groundbreaking prototype that could be the answer to the storage challenge still holding solar back as a total energy solution.

Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey gone from Facebook

Facebook on Thursday confirmed that trouble-tainted Oculus cofounder Palmer Luckey has left the leading social network, which dived into virtual reality after buying the startup three years ago.

Warped reality—virtual trip to hyperbolic space

Math just met "warp drive" in a virtual reality headset to transport anyone who dons the visor to a reality twisted by hyperbolic geometry. The program was co-created by Sabetta Matsumoto, a physicist and applied mathematician at the Georgia Institute of Technology as a visual aid to researchers exploring geometries that deviate from the everyday norm.

Innovative software converts Wi-Fi data into energy savings

For the first time in Canada, a University of British Columbia engineer has found a way to use Wi-Fi to determine the number of building occupants and adjust ventilation accordingly – saving energy without sacrificing air quality.

Cloud, backup and storage devices—how best to protect your data

We are producing more data than ever before, with more than 2.5 quintillion bytes produced every day, according to computer giant IBM. That's a staggering 2,500,000,000,000 gigabytes of data and it's growing fast.

A method for predicting speech intelligibility in noisy surroundings

Prof Dr Dorothea Kolossa and Mahdie Karbasi from the research group Cognitive Signal Processing at Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB) have developed a method for predicting speech intelligibility in noisy surroundings. The results of their experiments are more precise than those gained through the standard methods applied hitherto. They might thus facilitate the development process of hearing aids. The research was carried out in the course of the EU-funded project "Improved Communication through Applied Hearing Research", or "I can hear" for short.

How understanding animals can help us make the most of artificial intelligence

Every day countless headlines emerge from myriad sources across the globe, both warning of dire consequences and promising utopian futures – all thanks to artificial intelligence. AI "is transforming the workplace," writes the Wall Street Journal, while Fortune magazine tells us that we are facing an "AI revolution" that will "change our lives." But we don't really understand what interacting with AI will be like – or what it should be like.

How best to stir a steel furnace, and beat corrosion

Two steel research projects led by Swansea University—a better way to tackle corrosion, and more efficient use of furnaces—are on a list of only eleven awards, across all subjects and the whole UK, bestowed last night (30 March) by the Royal Society, one of the world's most prestigious scientific organisations.

Next generation perovskite solar cells with new world-record performance

A recent study, affiliated with UNIST has presented a new cost-efficient way to produce inorganic-organic hybrid perovskite solar cells (PSCs) which sets a new world-record efficiency performance, in particular photostability. The research team envisions that this method and platform will significantly contribute to accelerate the commercialization of PCSs.

German military to launch cyber command

Germany's armed forces Saturday launch a cyber command, with a status equal to that of the army, navy and air force, meant to shield its IT and weapons systems from attack.

BlackBerry narrows loss amid focus on services

BlackBerry said Friday its loss in the past quarter narrowed as it distanced itself further from smartphone making to concentrate on software and services.

Three airliners in near-misses with drones at London's Heathrow

Three planes narrowly missed colliding with drones near London's Heathrow Airport in the space of three weeks last year, underscoring increasing concerns about the devices being used near aircraft, a report Friday said.

Privacy concern raised over search service on Verizon phones

Is Verizon planning to spy on its customers?

Shell unveils giant new high-tech research lab in India

Oil giant Shell opened Friday a high-tech research hub in southern India that is hoping to pioneer the green energy of the future, including ways to transform farm and city waste into clean fuel.

McDonald's Canada says its website's jobs section was hacked

The jobs section of McDonald's Canada website has been hacked, compromising the personal information of about 95,000 applicants over the last three years, the fast food chain said Friday.

New podcast 'S-Town' from 'Serial' creators tops charts

The new radio show "S-Town," by the team behind "Serial," the most downloaded podcast in history, is leading download charts just about everywhere in the world.

Medicine & Health news

A new treatment for antibiotic resistant bacteria and infectious disease

A study, published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, describes a new treatment pathway for antibiotic resistant bacteria and infectious diseases with benefits for patients and health care providers.

Children with autism find understanding facial expressions difficult

A team from Bristol's School of Experimental Psychology aimed to find out whether six basic facial expressions differing in intensity are challenging for young people with autism to recognise.

Harms of nighttime light exposure passed to offspring: Hamster study finds evidence of immune, endocrine problems

Animals can pass the damaging effects of nighttime light exposure to their offspring, a new study has found, adding to a growing body of evidence that there's a health cost to our increasingly illuminated nights.

Brain study shows how slow breathing induces tranquility

Stanford scientists have identified a small group of neurons that communicates goings-on in the brain's respiratory control center to the structure responsible for generating arousal throughout the brain.

Scientists find surprising impact of junk DNA and RNA in cancer

"Human satellite II," an exceptionally high-copy but unexplored sequence of the human genome thought of as "junk DNA," has a surprising ability to impact master regulators of our genome, and it goes awry in 50 percent of tumors, according to a new study published in Cell Reports by scientists at UMass Medical School. When deregulated, these large expanses of repeated nucleotide sequences bind and sequester master regulatory proteins into large nuclear bodies in cancer cells. This likely contributes to epigenetic instability—changes in gene regulation—that are a driving force in the progression of many cancers.

Study shows prior viral infections can make Zika infection worse

(Medical Xpress)—A team of researchers with the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City has found that mice who have survived a dengue or West Nile viral infection fare worse when subsequently infected with the Zika virus compared to those that have not had such prior infections. In their paper published in the journal Science, the team explains how they tested human plasma in lab dishes and in mice to learn more about the possible implications of Zika infections in people who have previously experienced other viral infections.

Mental shortcuts, not emotion, may guide irrational decisions

If you participate in a study in my lab, the Huettel Lab at Duke, you may be asked to play an economic game.

Genes associated with Erdheim-Chester disease also linked to cancer

National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) researchers have identified new genes associated with the Erdheim-Chester disease (ECD) and some possible new therapies. Findings on this ultra-rare disease, found in approximately 600 people in the world, were published in Blood Advances.

Experimental small molecule shows potential in preventing meth relapse

New research from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) suggests that the reason methamphetamine users find it so hard to quit—88 percent of them relapse, even after rehab—is that meth takes advantage of the brain's natural learning process. The TSRI study in rodent models shows that ceasing meth use prompts new neurons to form in a brain region tied to learning and memory, suggesting that the brain is strengthening memories tied to drug-seeking behavior.

Technology to screen embryos before implantation falls short

The healthy development of an embryo created through in vitro fertilization (IVF) depends on whether most, if not all, of the cells have the proper number of chromosomes. With pre-implantation genetic screening (PGS) technology, doctors can, in principle, spot-check chromosome count before choosing which embryo to implant in the mother. In a new article, however, scholars at Brown University and the University of Washington report that PGS has serious limitations that can only be overcome with more human embryo research, even as they acknowledge the controversy surrounding that research.

How Iceland's teens cleaned up their act

Fifteen-year-old Kristjan Johannesson says he has never had a drop of alcohol or touched a cigarette.

Insomnia associated with increased risk of heart attack and stroke

Insomnia is associated with increased risk of heart attack and stroke, according to research published today in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

How the alkaline diet may actually benefit you

While most celebrity or fad diets have not been scientifically proven to be effective, the alkaline diet can still positively impact your body, especially if you have kidney problems, according to a Baylor College of Medicine expert.

Brain stents improve head pressure and vision loss

Liz Verostek was 29 years old when she began experiencing severe headaches that increased in intensity and frequency over time. She tried everything – from medicine to acupuncture – but nothing soothed the pain. And it only got worse: Verostek was later confronted with vision and hearing loss.

How better definitions of mental disorders could aid diagnosis and treatment

Mental disorders are currently defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), which includes hundreds of distinct diagnostic categories, but a new study we worked on suggests we could do better.

What factors influence a patient's intent to get colorectal cancer screening?

A patient's confidence in their ability to schedule, plan for and properly conduct their part in colorectal screening methods is a key factor that predicts whether they intend to be tested, according to new research from Penn State College of Medicine. The findings suggest that educating patients could improve screening rates.

From omics' novel glimpses into early lung development

Lungs take in oxygen and release carbon dioxide. Yet despite their existential importance, the development of the lungs and the rules governing the process that enables respiration is still not well understood at the molecular level.

The search to extend lifespan is gaining ground, but can we truly reverse the biology of ageing?

It was once a fringe topic for scientists and a pseudo-religious dream for others. But research into the biology of ageing, and consequently extending the lifespan of humans and animals, has become a serious endeavour.

New insights into the regulation of cellular iron

Northwestern Medicine scientists have identified a novel pathway that regulates cellular iron, which could lead to new therapies for patients with either an overload or deficiency of iron.

Mark of malignancy identified in prostate cancer

Prostate cancer is the second deadliest cancer in men in the U.S. It kills more than 26,000 men in the country every year. But, as in the case of breast cancer, one prostate cancer will progress rapidly while another tumor will sit for decades and never spread. In the March 14 issue of Science Signaling, UConn Health researchers describe how a well-known protein might reveal whether a tumor is mild-mannered or out to kill.

Expert discusses first and only drug approved for progressive multiple sclerosis

Neurologist Dr. Matthew Tremblay, who specializes in the care of patients with multiple sclerosis at UConn Health, discusses the first drug just approved by the FDA for patients with difficult to treat primary progressive MS.

App will teach infants with cochlear implants to speak

A team of Swinburne researchers is developing an app to teach infants with cochlear implants how to speak.

Stroke can result in substantial changes to people's social networks, says new study

Researchers from City have developed a new framework to explore why people's social networks change following a stroke.

Recommendations set out for food industry to reduce sugar

New voluntary guidelines have been released to help reduce the amount of sugar in foods eaten by children by 2020.

Multitasking—what goes in our brain when we try to do two or more things at once

Multitasking has been blamed for everything from lowering your IQ and damaging your brain to creating distracted drivers who cause fatalities. But it's not that simple, says Tufts applied cognitive psychologist Nathan Ward. He believes the consequences of juggling multiple streams of information are more subtle, and that they sometimes even lead to an occasional positive effect on performance.

How breast milk could help prevent the antibiotic apocalypse

Imagine a future where common infections and minor injuries such as small cuts could actually kill you. This is far from an apocalyptic fantasy made up by Hollywood scriptwriters, but a very real possibility for the 21st century according to a 2014 report by the World Health Organization (WHO). It argues that antibiotic resistance, the fact that bacteria and other microbes are becoming less and less sensitive to antimicrobial drugs, is amounting to a major global threat.

Five tips for establishing healthy habits that last

When it comes to developing better habits – in the classroom, the workplace or in life – you probably already know what habits you want to build.

New insights into regulatory mechanisms help in understanding diseases of the central nervous system

Heidelberg Neuroscientists have identified a critical regulator for blood vessel growth in the developing embryonic spinal cord. The research group under the direction of Dr Carmen Ruiz de Almodóvar of the Heidelberg University Biochemistry Center discovered that special nerve cells known as motor neurons control this process. This new insight into the nature of the interrelationship between the nervous system and the vascular system will help in understanding diseases of the central nervous system. These findings were published in the journal Nature Communications.

Carrots and pumpkin might reduce your risk of cancer, but beware taking them in pill form

In February this year, ABC's Four Corners broadcast a critical and compelling program on complementary medicines, Swallowing it: How Australians are spending billions on unproven vitamins and supplements.

Researchers find new genetic links underlying progressively blinding eye disease

Corneal diseases are among the most common causes of visual impairment and blindness, with Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy (FECD), a gradual swelling and clouding of the cornea, being the most common reason for eventual corneal transplants.

How new research and Sesame Street are expanding our understanding of autism

She has bright orange hair, loves to sing, and is excellent at memorizing song lyrics. She can take longer than others to respond to questions, and is sensitive to loud noises, including sirens.

Insulin pumps no more effective in improving quality of diabetics' lives than daily injection shots

Insulin pumps do not take away the need for vital education on diabetes self-management and were no more effective than injections in helping adults with type 1 diabetes control their blood sugar levels, reports new NIHR-funded research.

New research reveals happiness is related to napping

Research carried out by psychologist Professor Richard Wiseman from the University of Hertfordshire for the Edinburgh International Science Festival has revealed the surprising relationship between napping and happiness.

10 things every child with autism wishes you knew

Helen Driver, Northumbria University, Newcastle and Joanna Reynolds, Northumbria University, Newcastle

Fasting during chemotherapy may offset spikes in blood sugar caused by cancer-fighting drugs

A short-term fast appears to counteract increases in blood sugar caused by common cancer drugs, protecting healthy cells in mice from becoming too vulnerable to chemotherapy, according to a new study from USC researchers.

These five tests better predict heart disease risk

March 30, 2017 - Five simple medical tests together provide a broader and more accurate assessment of heart-disease risk than currently used methods, cardiologists at UT Southwestern Medical Center found.

Hair testing shows high prevalence of new psychoactive substance use

In the last decade hundreds of new psychoactive substances (NPS) have emerged in the drug market, taking advantage of the delay occurring between their introduction into the market and their legal ban. According to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) NPS describes a recently emerged drug that may pose a public health threat. The DEA issues a quarterly Emerging Threat Report, which catalogues the newest identified NPS.

Tanning's allure tied to other addictions

(HealthDay)—People who seem to have a deep tan year-round—whether from the sun or indoor tanning—may be "addicted" to tanning. And new research suggests there's also a link between such tanning and other addictions.

Drug tied to dementia risk overprescribed to seniors: study

(HealthDay)—A drug linked to a raised risk of dementia is taken by millions of older Americans who have an overactive bladder, researchers say.

Elite runners, women the first marathoners to lose to father time

(HealthDay)—All marathon runners eventually slow down. But a new study finds that whether a runner is average or elite, or whether they are a man or a woman, may determine at what age and how much their pace will decline.

Factors associated with poor primary care coordination ID'd

(HealthDay)—Factors associated with poor primary care coordination include chronic conditions and younger age, according to a study published in the March/April issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

Apixaban Tx cost in A-fib meets U.S. norms for reasonable value

(HealthDay)—Apixaban therapy is cost-effective for atrial fibrillation from the perspective of the U.S. health care system, according to a study published online March 29 in JAMA Cardiology.

Annual report to the nation: Cancer death rates continue to decline

Overall cancer death rates continue to decrease in men, women, and children for all major racial and ethnic groups, according to the latest Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, 1975-2014. The report finds that death rates during the period 2010-2014 decreased for 11 of the 16 most common types of cancer in men and for 13 of the 18 most common types of cancer in women, including lung, colorectal, female breast, and prostate cancers. Meanwhile, death rates increased for cancers of the liver, pancreas, and brain in men and for liver and uterine cancer in women. The report finds overall cancer incidence rates, or rates of new cancers, decreased in men but stabilized in women during the period 1999-2013.

Time delays in vending machines prompt healthier snack choices

Preventive medicine experts at Rush University Medical Center have discovered that delaying access to tempting, high-calorie foods and snacks in vending machines potentially can shift people's choices to purchase less desired, but healthier snack options.

New study: Aggressive breast cancer grows faster in obese environment

It's not just what's inside breast cancer cells that matters. It's also the environment surrounding cancer cells that drives the disease, according to researchers at the University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Phase 2 Zika vaccine trial begins in US, Central and South America

Vaccinations have begun in a multi-site Phase 2/2b clinical trial testing an experimental DNA vaccine designed to protect against disease caused by Zika infection. The vaccine was developed by government scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). NIAID is leading the trial, which aims to enroll at least 2,490 healthy participants in areas of confirmed or potential active mosquito-transmitted Zika infection, including the continental United States and Puerto Rico, Brazil, Peru, Costa Rica, Panama and Mexico. The two-part trial, called VRC 705, further evaluates the vaccine's safety and ability to stimulate an immune response in participants, and assesses the optimal dose for administration. It also will attempt to determine if the vaccine can effectively prevent disease caused by Zika infection.

US enrolls volunteers in large test of possible Zika vaccine

U.S. health officials have begun enrolling volunteers for critical next-stage testing of an experimental vaccine to protect against Zika, the mosquito-borne virus that can cause devastating birth defects in pregnant women.

Novel device that enables blood collection anytime and anywhere listed with the FDA

A device that makes it faster and more convenient to collect and process blood samples has been registered by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a Class 1 Medical Device.

Despite ongoing meningitis outbreak, vaccinations low among gay men, study shows

Despite a yearlong outbreak of invasive meningococcal disease in Southern California primarily affecting gay and bisexual men, less than 27 percent of men who have sex with men in Los Angeles County have been vaccinated for meningitis.

Swedish prostate cancer test to be introduced in Europe

The new Stockholm3 test, which improves prostate cancer diagnosis, gets assistance from EIT Health for a faster introduction in Europe. In a first step the test will be clinically validated in Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium. The Stockholm3 test was developed by researchers at Karolinska Institutet.

Call for improved monitoring for coal workers

Researchers and clinicians are calling on the mining industry and governments to create better regulations in the interest of the health of coal miners.

Research into veterans' substance misuse

Reasons why veterans with substance misuse have difficulty in seeking and engaging with help have been identified in new research by Northumbria University, Newcastle.

Could sleep disruption during pregnancy trigger depression?

A Massey University research study is looking to measure the sleep and mental health of new mothers throughout their pregnancy to determine what effect sleep disruption has on depression.

Wheeling in a pain revolution for regional Australia

A traveling "pain revolution" is set to roll into country towns between Melbourne and Adelaide from April 3 -9, when a group of world-leading pain researchers cycle more than 870 km to bring their findings to regional and rural communities.

Team suggests device for distant monitoring of blood pressure

Specialists from the Institute of Cyber Intelligence Systems and the Engineering centre (National Research Nuclear University MEPhI, Russia) have developed a device, which allows conduct distant daily monitoring of patient's blood pressure. The device is more autonomous compared with analogues, and more convenient and effective for use in ambulatory conditions.

What's in a placenta? A transcriptomic view

I didn't think much about placentas until I had one and part of it dislodged halfway through a 4-mile run. Happily it ended well some months later with a "small for gestational age" tiny baby and a "large for just giving birth" me.

Policy changes are needed to address over-consumption

Although the major objective of the liquor, food and associated industries is to optimise profits, that is, to sell as much food and alcohol as possible, their success can create serious health risks and burdens for consumers.

Risky alcohol consumption can increase at time of retirement

Every tenth employee increases their alcohol consumption to risky levels at the time of retirement from full-time employment. However, the increase seems to be temporary as risky drinking often decreases during the retirement. For most pensioners, alcohol consumption remains below the risk levels before and after retirement. The results of the new Finnish study were published in the Addiction journal.

Antibody is effective against radiation-induced pulmonary fibrosis

Radiation therapy is part of the treatment regimen for about two thirds of cancer patients today. Radiotherapy is well tolerated in most cases, but it can also lead to damage in healthy tissues that are also irradiated. One debilitating side effect is radiation-induced fibrosis. Fibrosis is a process of scarring by which healthy tissue is replaced by less elastic connective tissue, which leads to hardening and functional impairments.

Researchers improve vbectors for delivering hFVIII gene therapy to treat Hemophilia A

A new study examined 42 combinations of promoters and enhancers for human factor VIII (hFVIII) gene expression to identify the optimal adeno-associated virus (AAV)-based gene therapy delivery vector constructs to take forward into development. Evaluation of the different combinations in mice that lack factor VIII demonstrated the significant and differing effects the vector components had on liver-specific expression of the hFVIII transgene, as reported in Human Gene Therapy.

ACR announces 2017 health policy priorities

The American College of Rheumatology today announced its 2017 health policy priorities, providing detailed policy recommendations to improve access to care and treatments for the 54 million Americans living with arthritis and other rheumatologic diseases.

Enhancing the efficiency of preclinical research through improved study design

The translation of preclinical research findings into effective treatments continues to deliver unsatisfactory results. When experimental diagnostic and treatment approaches are applied in practice, many of them fail. What are the reasons behind this? A recent study by researchers from Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin and the Berlin Institute of Health (BIH) has shown that a more flexible approach to study design can significantly improve the efficiency of preclinical research. Results from this research have been published in the current issue of the journal PLOS Biology.

Biology news

'Whale breath' reveals bacteria threatening endangered killer whales

Droplets and exhaled breath caught from the blowholes of killer whales along the Pacific coast are providing scientists with insights into whale health and revealing bacteria and fungi that may be a threat to the mammals.

Species on the move having a big impact

Changes in the distribution of land, marine and freshwater species as a result of climate change are affecting human wellbeing around the world, posing new health risks, economics threats and conflicts over resources.

Flying foxes have been on the decline for decades, and there's no hope in sight

Three decades after being recognized as a group in need of conservation efforts, large fruit-eating bats still face an increasingly uncertain future on tropical islands as populations dwindle and threats close in, according to a Texas Tech University faculty member's new Perspectives article in Science magazine.

Set strawberry alarm clock for post-apple bloom

Growers who time their strawberries to bloom just after apples do can reap a better harvest, according to new research.

Knowledge is not always power when it comes to bumblebees

Research from the School of Biological Sciences at Royal Holloway has found that being smart does not necessarily mean you are bringing home the most bacon, if you are a bumble bee at least.

Glassfrogs show surprising diversity of parental strategies

Laid on leaves hanging over streams in tropical rainforests, glassfrog eggs are tasty snacks for snakes, insects and other predators until they hatch and drop into the streams to begin life as tadpoles. Until recently, biologists thought the eggs of most species were on their own during this vulnerable stage, without any help from mom or dad. In just a few species, fathers were known to care for their developing embryos, and biologists thought this paternal devotion had evolved from ancestors entirely lacking parental care.

A badger can bury a cow by itself: Study observes previously unknown caching behavior

While studying scavenger behavior in Utah's Great Basin Desert, University of Utah biologists observed an American badger do something that no other scientists had documented before: bury an entire calf carcass by itself.

Independent evolutionary origins of complex sociality in marine life

In the world of evolutionary research, scientists studying the evolution of eusocial societies have traditionally relied on information gathered from studying terrestrial insects. A group of Columbia researchers, however, has just added to that knowledge base, publishing a new study that sheds light on how the complex social system evolved in the sea.

Sharknado: Australia warns of snakes, crocs and sharks in floods

Wading through flooded areas can be dangerous anywhere in the world, but in Australia the waters may contain snakes, crocodiles and sharks as well as rubbish and sewage.

Fish also need friends

According to a new study led by Rui Oliveira, researcher at ISPA - Instituto Universitário, Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência, and Fundação Champalimaud, zebrafish need social support to overcome adverse circumstances and may, therefore, become a model of choice for studying this behavior and its underlying neural mechanisms.

Nationwide study shows emerging leptospirosis strain

Massey University researchers have found that a strain of leptospirosis may be more frequent in New Zealand dairy herds than first thought, posing public health concerns for farmers, veterinarians and dairy workers.

Tiny frogs face a troubled future in New Guinea's tropical mountains

At night, the mountain forests of New Guinea come alive with weird buzzing and beeping calls made by tiny frogs, some no bigger than your little fingernail.

Jaw-dropping—so how does a snake eat a man?

The news that a man was swallowed whole by a snake on an Indonesian island leaves more than an uncomfortable lump in the throat. Images that can't be unseen – including a six-minute video of the snake being sliced open to unveil a fully-clothed, very dead human in its stomach – fuel the horror movie hysteria.

Scientists go out on a limb to study tree-climbing land snails

Land snails are generally believed to be ground-dwelling creatures, preferring dark and humid places, like the forest floor, or a suburban garden. So why do we find some species of snails in the tops of trees, where it is relatively light and dry? Associate Professor Ikuyo Saeki from the University of Tsukuba, Japan and her colleagues from Hokkaido University and other institutions, have performed some fascinating research to find out why.

Researchers publish manuscript on red snapper reproduction

Recent research conducted on the long-term issue of age distribution of red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico indicates that older fish, age eight and up are more reproductive than younger fish were over the previous 10 years. The research was conducted by James H. Cowan, LSU College of the Coast & Environment, Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences professor, and current and former graduate students Dannielle Kulaw and Melissa Woods Jackson.

California's desert wildflower explosion draws record crowds

An explosion of wildflowers in California's desert sands is drawing record crowds to see the rare abundance of color called a "super bloom."

Japan kills 333 whales in annual Antarctic hunt

A Japanese whaling fleet returned to port Friday after an annual Antarctic hunt that killed more than 300 of the mammals as Tokyo pursues the programme in defiance of global criticism.

10,000 turtle hatchlings released back into the wild

Fantastic news for turtle conservation as thousands of olive ridley turtle hatchlings start their tough journey into adulthood with a little help from some friends.

Panda personality traits may play a significant part in breeding success

It's an established fact that compatibility is important to humans when picking a mate—but conservationists have discovered that Homo sapiens aren't the only species where well-matched personalities may make or break a relationship. According to a study published in Biological Conservation, an international peer-reviewed journal in the discipline of conservation biology, personality traits may play a large part in the mating behaviors of the giant panda—and breeding successes or failures may depend on whether a bear's disposition is complementary to that of its prospective mate. As part of the study, San Diego Zoo Global biologists used various assessments to test their theory, dividing the pandas into several personality categories based on their exploratory ability, aggressiveness, excitability, fearfulness and general activity. Then they tested how the differences in each of these traits influenced the willingness of the bears to mate with one another, and whether such parings produced offspring.

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