Around 164 million years ago the earliest aquatic turtles lived in lakes and lagoons on the Isle of Skye, Scotland, according to new research. Recent scientific fieldwork led by researchers from UCL and the Natural History Museum on Skye, an island off the north-western coast of Scotland, discovered a block of rock containing fossils that have been recognised as a new species of primitive turtle Eileanchelys waldmani.
There was something peculiar about dolphins that stumped prolific British zoologist Sir James Gray in 1936. He had observed the sea mammals swimming at a swift rate of more than 20 miles per hour, but his studies had concluded that the muscles of dolphins simply weren’t strong enough to support those kinds of speeds. The conundrum came to be known as “Gray’s Paradox.” For decades the puzzle prompted much attention, speculation, and conjecture in the scientific community. But now, armed with cutting-edge flow measurement technology, researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have tackled the problem and conclusively solved Gray’s Paradox.
Watching plenty of television combined with low self-esteem, poor relationships with parents, and low academic achievement are some of the factors that may add up to young people having sex before the age of 15. Alternatively, a parent’s positive influence may go a long way to reduce risky sexual behavior during adolescence, according to Myeshia Price and Dr. Janet Hyde from the University of Wisconsin in the USA.
We’ve all seen the satellite images of Earth at night–the bright blobs and shining webs that tell the story of humanity’s endless sprawl. These pictures are no longer just symbols of human impact, however, but can be used to objectively measure it, according to a study in the December 2008 issue of Geocarto International, a peer-reviewed journal on geoscience and remote sensing.
Scientists at Penn State have shed light on some of the processes that regulate genes — such as the processes that ensure that proteins are produced at the correct time, place, and amount in an organism — and they also have shed light on the evolution of the DNA regions that regulate genes.
Researchers have uncovered what may be a universal cause of aging, one that applies to both single cell organisms such as yeast and multicellular organisms, including mammals. This is the first time that such an evolutionarily conserved aging mechanism has been identified between such diverse organisms.
In a novel study appearing this week in Neuron, Brandeis researchers identify for the first time a specific set of wake-promoting neurons in fruit flies that are analogous to cells in the much more complex sleep circuit in humans. The study demonstrates that in flies, as in mammals, the sleep circuit is intimately linked to the circadian clock and that the brain’s strategies to govern sleep are evolutionarily ancient.
The Galápagos Islands, which provided impetus and inspiration for Charles Darwin’s seminal work, “On the Origin of Species”, are home to unique populations of reptiles. Since the time of man’s first visit in the 16th century to this crucial incubator for evolutionary theory, the islands’ native plants and animals have faced grave challenges, including severe pressures from introduced species, habitat destruction and predation by man himself.
Historically, scientists have regarded itching as a less intense version of the body’s response to pain, but researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have determined that pain and itch actually are regulated by different molecular mechanisms.
UC Davis researchers using robotic lizards in a Puerto Rico forest have shown that in noisy visual environments, animals can use body language to alert neighbors to forthcoming information-rich messages. Like teachers who rap a ruler before announcing homework in noisy classrooms, Puerto Rican anole lizards perform eye-catching pushups before beginning head-bobbing displays that advertise their territory and status, according to a new study by researchers at the University of California, Davis.
Why do poppies and sunflowers grow as a single flower per stalk while each stem of a tomato plant has several branches, each carrying flowers? Dr. Zachary Lippman and colleagues have identifed a genetic mechanism that determines the pattern of flower growth in the Solanaceae (nightshade) family of plants that includes tomato, potato, pepper, eggplant, tobacco, petunia, and deadly nightshades.