I am sure that other science bloggers (on or off the Seed scienceblogs) will have to say more about all of these studies over the next few days:
To Understand The Big Picture, Give It Time – And Sleep:
Memorizing a series of facts is one thing, understanding the big picture is quite another. Now a new study demonstrates that relational memory — the ability to make logical “big picture” inferences from disparate pieces of information — is dependent on taking a break from studies and learning, and even more important, getting a good night’s sleep.
The rise of the central nervous system [CNS] in animal evolution has puzzled scientists for centuries. Vertebrates, insects and worms evolved from the same ancestor, but their CNSs are different and were thought to have evolved only after their lineages had split during evolution. Researchers from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory [EMBL] in Heidelberg now reveal that the vertebrate nervous system is probably much older than expected. The study, which is published in Cell, suggests that the last common ancestor of vertebrates, insects and worms already had a centralised nervous system resembling that of vertebrates today.
You may well ask the question, where did the animals and plants of modern day Ireland and Britain come from? Published in the journal, Proceedings of the Royal Society, scientists at Queen’s University Belfast have uncovered evidence that stoats survived in Ireland at the coldest point of the last Ice Age, 23,500 years ago.
The most recent census of mountain gorillas in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park–one of only two places in the world where the rare gorillas exist–has found that the population has increased by 6 percent since the last census in 2002, according to the Uganda Wildlife Authority, the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Max Planck Institute of Anthropology and other groups that participated in the effort.
The largest study to date of genetic variation among chimpanzees has found that the traditional, geography-based sorting of chimps into three populations–western, central and eastern–is underpinned by significant genetic differences, two to three times greater than the variation between the most different human populations.
Smithsonian’s National Zoo has announced a first in its 118-year history — the hatching of a rare wattled crane chick. After 33 days of incubation by the adult pair of wattled cranes, the egg hatched March 30. Staff had not checked the egg during the incubation period in an effort to not disturb the parents and were delighted when the healthy chick emerged.