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Science Daily

Wed, 11 Dec 2019 17:33:01 EST
Paleontology: Experiments in evolution
A new find from Patagonia sheds light on the evolution of large predatory dinosaurs. Features of the 8-m long specimen from the Middle Jurassic suggest that it records a phase of rapid diversification and evolutionary experimentation.
State of shock: 200-year-old law about gas mixtures called into question
According to a new study led by a team from The University of New Mexico, centuries-old laws about the behavior of gas mixtures do not apply in the presence of shock waves. This finding could have potential impact on everything that involves mixtures of gases exposed to a shock wave, for example, during combustion in an engine.
Mountain goats' air conditioning is failing, study says
A new study says Glacier National Park's iconic mountain goats are in dire need of 'air conditioning.'
Earth was stressed before dinosaur extinction
By measuring the chemistry of fossilized seashells collected in Antarctica, researchers discovered that Earth was already experiencing carbon cycle instability before the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs.
Researchers discover brain circuit linked to food impulsivity
A team of researchers has now identified a specific circuit in the brain that alters food impulsivity.
A new early whale, Aegicetus gehennae, and the evolution of modern whale locomotion
A newly discovered fossil whale represents a new species and an important step in the evolution of whale locomotion.
New human autoinflammatory disease
Scientists from Australia and the US have discovered and identified the genetic cause of a previously unknown human autoinflammatory disease. The researchers determined that the autoinflammatory disease, which they termed CRIA (cleavage-resistant RIPK1-induced autoinflammatory) syndrome, is caused by a mutation in a critical cell death component called RIPK1. The discovery suggests that compounds that inhibit cell death might be useful in treating autoinflammatory diseases.
New material design tops carbon-capture from wet flue gases
Chemical engineers have designed a material that can capture carbon dioxide from wet flue gasses better than current commercial materials.
Scrubbing carbon dioxide from smokestacks for cleaner industrial emissions
Chemistry researchers have uncovered a better way to scrub carbon dioxide from smokestack emissions, which could be a key to mitigating global climate change.
Heat energy leaps through empty space, thanks to quantum weirdness
A surprising new study shows that heat energy can leap across a few hundred nanometers of a complete vacuum, thanks to a quantum mechanical phenomenon called the Casimir interaction. Though this interaction is only significant on very short length scales, it could have profound implications for the design of computer chips and other nanoscale electronic components where heat dissipation is key, while upending what many of us learned about heat transfer in high school physics.
Mechanisms help pancreatic cancer cells avert starvation
A new study reveals the mechanism that helps pancreatic cancer cells avoid starvation within dense tumors by hijacking a process that pulls nutrients in from their surroundings.
ALMA spots most distant dusty galaxy hidden in plain sight
Astronomers have spotted the light of a massive galaxy seen only 970 million years after the Big Bang. This galaxy, called MAMBO-9, is the most distant dusty star-forming galaxy that has ever been observed without the help of a gravitational lens.
Deciphering the equations of life
Research has resulted in a set of equations that describes and predicts commonalities across life despite its enormous diversity. The new theory allows predictions for organisms that might not be well understood by science.
All age groups worldwide 'at high risk' of drop in children's physical activity
Emphasis on particular groups hinders efforts to address the problem of declining physical activity in children, according to a new study.
Efforts to end the HIV epidemic must not ignore people already living with HIV
Efforts to prevent new HIV transmissions in the US must be accompanied by addressing HIV-associated comorbidities to improve the health of people already living with HIV, experts assert.
Study sheds light on 'overlooked' bee species
The UK's first citizen science project focusing on solitary, ground-nesting bees has revealed that they nest in a far broader range of habitats than previously thought.
Poor diet linked to age-related macular degeneration
Participants who ate a diet high in red and processed meat, fried food, refined grains and high-fat dairy were three times more likely to develop late-stage age-related macular degeneration.
Scientists eager to explain brain rhythm boost's broad impact in Alzheimer's models
Neuroscientists lay out the the few knowns and many unknowns that must be understood to determine why sensory stimuluation of 40Hz brain rhythms have broad effects, particularly in Alzheimer's models.
New spray gel could help take the bite out of frostbite
Mountaineers and winter sports enthusiasts know the dangers of frostbite -- the tissue damage that can occur when extremities, such as the nose, ears, fingers and toes, are exposed to very cold temperatures. However, it can be difficult to get treated quickly in remote, snowbound areas. Now, researchers have developed a convenient gel that could be sprayed onto frostbite injuries when they occur, helping wounds heal.
Uncovering how endangered pangolins, or 'scaly anteaters,' digest food
The endangered Sunda pangolin, or 'scaly anteater,' is a widely trafficked mammal, prized in some cultures for its meat and scales. Little is known about these animals, and raising rescued pangolins is tricky. In the wild, they eat termites and ants, but diets provided in captivity often make them sick. Now, a study reports that pangolins lack some common digestive enzymes, which could explain why some diets don't work well for them.
Pathways toward post-petrochemistry
Ethylene, or ethene, is a primary feedstock for the chemical industry, including as a starting material for the production of a wide variety of plastics. Scientists have now introduced a new electrochemical technique for selective and energy-efficient production of ethylene from carbon monoxide, which can be obtained from renewable resources and waste.
Thunderquakes make underground fiber optic telecommunications cables hum
Telecommunications lines designed for carrying internet and phone service can pick up the rumble of thunder underground, potentially providing scientists with a new way of detecting environmental hazards and imaging deep inside the Earth.
Punching holes in opaque solar cells turns them transparent
Researchers in Korea have found an effective and inexpensive strategy to transform solar cells from opaque to transparent. Existing transparent solar cells tend to have a reddish hue and lower efficiency, but by punching tiny holes on crystalline silicon wafers, it allows light through without coloring. The holes are then strategically spaced, so the human eye is unable to 'see' the pattern.
Study of elephant, capybara, human hair finds that thicker hair isn't always stronger
Despite being four times thicker than human hair, elephant hair is only half as strong -- that's just one finding from researchers studying the hair strength of many different mammals. Their work shows that thin hair tends to be stronger than thick hair because of the way that it breaks.
Scientists link decline of baltic cod to hypoxia -- and climate change
If you want to know how climate change and hypoxia -- the related loss of oxygen in the world's oceans -- affect fish species such as the economically important Baltic cod, all you have to do is ask the fish. Those cod, at least, will tell you that hypoxia is making them smaller, scrawnier and less valuable.
Accurate model of organ scarring using stem cells in a lab
A team has developed a 'scar in a dish' model that uses multiple types of cells derived from human stem cells to closely mimic the progressive scarring that occurs in human organs. The researchers used this model to identify a drug candidate that stopped the progression of and even reversed fibrosis in animal models.
Shrinking of Greenland's glaciers began accelerating in 2000, research finds
Satellite data has given scientists clues about how, when and why Greenland's glaciers are shrinking -- and shows a sharp increase in glacial retreat beginning about 2000, according to new research.
NASA's treasure map for water ice on Mars
Where should the first people on Mars land? A new paper provides a map of water ice believed to be as little as an inch (2.5 centimeters) below the surface of the Red Planet.
Scientists convert plastics into useful chemicals using sunlight
Chemists have discovered a method that could turn plastic waste into valuable chemicals by using sunlight.
Isotope analysis points to prisoners of war, 1,400 years ago
Maya archaeologists found the bones of about 20 people at a water reservoir in the former Maya city of Uxul (Mexico). They had apparently been killed and dismembered about 1,400 years ago. Did these victims come from Uxul or other regions of the Maya Area?
Illumination drives bats out of caves
Researchers have investigated how the illumination of bat caves affects the animals' behavior and whether the color of light makes a difference on their flight. Although red light irritates the small mammals somewhat less than white light, from the researchers' point of view neither the entrance nor the interior of bat caves should be illuminated if bats are present.
Blueprint for nanomaterial development offers hope to newborns, elderly and busy doctors
Scientist hopes 'blueprint' leads to a new golden age of healthcare.
Unique data confirms why water turns brown
By analysing almost daily water samples taken from the same river from 1940 until today, researchers have confirmed their hypothesis that the browning of lakes is primarily due to the increase in coniferous forests, as well as rainfall and sulphur deposits.
Trashed farmland could be a conservation treasure
Low-productivity agricultural land could be transformed into millions of hectares of conservation reserve across the world, according to new research. The research team proposed a new way of understanding the conservation value of ''uncontested lands'' - areas where agricultural productivity is low.
How are Utah's dry lakes impacting air quality and human health?
A new study reveals that 90 percent of Utah urban dust comes from dry lakebeds, which not only impacts air quality but also impacting soil and what can grow in it.
Sorghum study illuminates relationship between humans, crops and the environment in domestication
A new study illustrates the concept of a domestication triangle, in which human genetics interact with sorghum genetics and the environment to influence the traits farmers select in their crops. The concept gives a more complete systemic picture of domestication.
How light a foldable and long-lasting battery can be
Engineers have developed a three-dimensional monolithic organic battery electrode.
Tree cavities for wild honeybees
The forests in Europe provide habitat for around 80,000 colonies of wild honeybees. That is why more attention should be paid to preserving the nesting sites for these threatened insects, according to researchers.
A machine learning approach to identify functional human phosphosites
Scientists have created the largest phosphoproteome resource to date, which is set to help other researchers identify new functionally-relevant phosphosites. The research demonstrates an exciting use for machine learning methods to effectively compile and analyse large phosphorylation related biological datasets. Identifying new functional phosphosites has enormous potential to progress research into many biological processes and diseases.
Why polar bears at sea have higher pollution levels than those staying on land
As the climate changes, myriad animal populations are being impacted. In particular, Arctic sea-ice is in decline, causing polar bears in the Barents Sea region to alter their feeding and hunting habits. Bears that follow sea-ice to offshore areas have higher pollutant levels than those staying on land -- but why? A new study reports the likely reasons.
There's a new squid in town
Researchers in OIST's Molecular Genetics Unit, in collaboration with a researcher from Australia, have identified a new species of bobtail squid inhabiting Okinawa's waters -- dubbed Euprymna brenneri. The scientists' findings, published in Communications Biology, highlight the rich biodiversity in the seas near Okinawa, and may shed light on the genes, behavior, and development of bobtail squid.
Altering intestinal microbiota, vaccinating against inflammatory diseases
Targeted immunization against bacterial flagellin, a protein that forms the appendage that enables bacterial mobility, can beneficially alter the intestinal microbiota, decreasing the bacteria's ability to cause inflammation and thus protecting against an array of chronic inflammatory diseases, according to a new study.
Plant researchers examine bread aroma: Modern and old wheat varieties taste equally good
Bread baked from modern wheat varieties are just as aromatic as that baked from old varieties. However, differences exist between the breads from different wheat varieties -- and those that were grown in different locations.
First of a kind in-vitro 3D neural tissue model
Researchers have successfully used stem cells to engineer living biohybrid nerve tissue to develop 3D models of neural networks with the hopes of gaining a better understanding of how the brain and these networks work.
One-third of recent global methane increase comes from tropical Africa
Concentrations of methane, a greenhouse gas about 28 times more potent than carbon dioxide, have risen steadily in Earth's atmosphere since 2007. Although several potential explanations, including an increase in methane emissions from the tropics, could account for this upsurge, due to a lack of regional data scientists have been unable to pinpoint the source. Now a study uses satellite data to determine that one-third of the global increase originates in Africa's tropics.
Invest in pollinator monitoring for long-term gain
A research team is studying how to improve pollinator monitoring in the UK in a cost-effective manner.
The secret to a long life? For worms, a cellular recycling protein is key
Scientists have shown that worms live longer lives if they produce excess levels of a protein, p62, which recognizes toxic cell proteins that are tagged for destruction. The discovery could help uncover treatments for age-related conditions, such as Alzheimer's disease, which are often caused by accumulation of misfolded proteins.
Breathing new life into the rise of oxygen debate
New research strongly suggests that the distinct 'oxygenation events' that created Earth's breathable atmosphere happened spontaneously, rather than being a consequence of biological or tectonic revolutions. The study not only shines a light on the history of oxygen on our planet, it gives new insight into the prevalence of oxygenated worlds other than our own.
Reducing wildfire risks for better management and resource allocation
Managing future wildfire risk requires an interface between human decision processes and knowledge about climate trends related to fire, as well as humans' abilities to anticipate wildfire potential and mitigation approaches are critical.
'Invisible,' restricted horse racing therapy may leave a trail
Shockwave therapy is used in both horses and humans to speed healing, but it can also mask pain. For the first time veterinarians have identified several biomarkers of the treatment, the use of which is restricted in horse racing.
Deep learning helps tease out gene interactions
Computer scientists have taken a deep learning method that has revolutionized face recognition and other image-based applications in recent years and redirected its power to explore the relationship between genes.
Lower BMI means lower diabetes risk, even among non-overweight people
Lower body mass index (BMI) is consistently associated with reduced type II diabetes risk, among people with varied family history, genetic risk factors and weight, according to a new study.
Genetic brain disorder fixed in mice using precision epigenome editing
Using a targeted gene epigenome editing approach in the developing mouse brain, researchers reversed one gene mutation that leads to the genetic disorder WAGR syndrome, which causes intellectual disability and obesity in people. This specific editing was unique in that it changed the epigenome -- how the genes are regulated -- without changing the actual genetic code of the gene being regulated.
Regional trends in overdose deaths reveal multiple opioid epidemics
The United States in the grip of several simultaneously occurring opioid epidemics, rather than just a single crisis. The epidemics came to light after the researchers analyzed county-level data on drug overdose deaths. The study highlights the importance of different policy responses to the epidemics rather than a single set of policies.
Alzheimer's drug candidates reverse broader aging, study shows
In mouse models of Alzheimer's disease, the investigational drug candidates known as CMS121 and J147 improve memory and slow the degeneration of brain cells. Now, researchers have shown how these compounds can also slow aging in healthy older mice, blocking the damage to brain cells that normally occurs during aging and restoring the levels of specific molecules to those seen in younger brains.
Have you found meaning in life? Answer determines health and well-being
A recent study has found that the presence of and search for meaning in life are important for health and well-being, though the relationships differ in adults younger and older than age 60.
Gut feeling: A network approach towards understanding IBD
Scientists have pioneered how to get very detailed transcriptomics data from gut organoids, and regulatory networks to analyse them -- establishing a pipeline that can be used to explore the causes of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).
Physicists image electrons flowing like water
Physicists have imaged electrons flowing viscously through a nanodevice, just like water flowing through a pipe. Long predicted but only now visualized for the first time, this curious new behavior for electrons has important implications for future electronic devices.
Tiny magnetic particles enable new material to bend, twist, and grab
Researchers have developed a soft polymer material, called magnetic shape memory polymer, that uses magnetic fields to transform into a variety of shapes. The material could enable a range of new applications from antennas that change frequencies on the fly to gripper arms for delicate or heavy objects.
Side effects of pediatric medications for anxiety, OCD
New research specifically looks at side effects that impact children and adolescents being treated for anxiety disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).