Plant fossils shed light on extinction
Plant fossils from Greenland tell us that the number of plants there decreased abruptly about 200 million years ago, when the Triassic period ended and the Jurassic period began, researchers say in the latest issue of Science.
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How whirlybird seeds catch air
Plants and flying animals have evolved the same aerodynamic trick for fighting gravity while flying, scientists have discovered.
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Bird 'mobsters' learn from their neighbors
When a cuckoo comes along, hoping to sneak one of its own eggs into a reed warbler nest, the warblers mount an impassioned defense, mobbing the parasitic birds while making loud, raspy calls and snapping their beaks.
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Undiscovered gas and oil in the Arctic Circle
Researchers say that the Arctic Circle probably contains a full 30 percent of the natural gas in the world that hasn't been discovered yet. They also predict that the Arctic Circle holds 13 percent of Earth's undiscovered oil.
An entire region of Mars, shaped by water
Long ago, the face of Mars was shaped by water flowing across its surface. But, researchers have never known exactly how these processes took place on the ancient Martian planet. NASA's Mars rover Opportunity has been exploring the Victoria crater, located near the equator of the red planet, for two years. Now, researchers have reviewed some of the data it has collected along the way, and they are sharing some rather exciting discoveries.
Longer seasons for many different reasons
Many complex relationships exist between Earth's seasonal cycles, the global climate, and the lives of individual species in nature. Changes made to one of these things usually means that the other two will change in some way as well. Now, some new research is highlighting just how much we still don't understand about these important and complex relationships.
Northern shrimp like it cold
Northern shrimp -- the small, sweet ones that you're likely to see in salad -- use temperature as a cue for egg-laying and may therefore be seriously vulnerable to climate change, scientists say in a new study.
The dangers of the global wildlife trade
Like any other product, animals are bought and sold on the global market. The trade of wildlife from one part of the world to another represents a serious money-making business, but some researchers also call it a serious threat.
Spiderman's silk secret revealed?
Adding small amounts of certain metals to spider silk makes the silk even more resistant to breaking, researchers report. In its natural form, spider silk is already tougher and lighter than steel, so that's a pretty impressive improvement.
Blood Falls: Life beneath a rusty glacier
At Blood Falls, on the East Antarctic Ice Sheet, rivers of red, iron-rich minerals spill out from the snout of the Taylor Glacier, dramatically staining the white ice.
A model to explain how animals fly
In order to control themselves, flying creatures need to use specialized movements, or maneuvers, to get from one place to another. For a long time, researchers have wondered exactly how they do it. Now, researcher Tyson Hedrick and colleagues have created a model of flight for small creatures (like insects) and large ones (like birds) to better explain how it's done.
Robots working in the laboratory
Could robots replace scientists in the laboratory one day? Some researchers seem to think so -- at least to some degree. After building a robot that designed and performed scientific experiments in a laboratory, Ross King and colleagues seem convinced that robots will work together with human scientists someday in the lab. But, they do not believe human scientists will be replaced entirely.
What triggers giant fish schools?
Two may be company and three a crowd, but for herring, a few more makes things really exciting.
Boy or girl? Female finches make the choice
In some species, females can adjust the sex of their offspring when they are pregnant. Depending on the quality of their mate, females can sometimes decide if they will have a male or a female baby. This is a very adaptive trait that allows the females to make the most out of what they have -- their offspring, their mates, and food.
Changing productivity in Antarctica
Near the South Pole of the globe, in Antarctica, researchers have noticed some serious changes in the ice, the water, the clouds, and even the animals. In an area known as the Western Antarctic Peninsula (or WAP), they say that a dramatic loss of ice-cover has also led to major shifts in animal activity -- starting with plankton and including penguins.
The world's first horse farm
The domestication, or taming, of wild horses was an important accomplishment for the human race. In fact, it altered the course of human history. Taming wild horses have changed the ways we travel, the ways we communicate, and even the ways we fight wars with each other. But, until now, researchers have never been able to identify events in human history that tell us when (or where) humans first made this breakthrough.
Why bad times leave a bad taste in your mouth
When bad things happen -- maybe a friend never returns your favorite video game or your sister says mean things about you at school -- we sometimes say that the experience "left a bad taste in my mouth." And you might think that's kind of weird. After all, what do bad feelings have to do with your mouth?
Topsy-turvy algae tumble into line
Single algae cells called phytoplankton have a weird habit of spreading out in a thin film that can reach several kilometers across the ocean.
Tracking songbird migration
For the first time, researchers have tracked the seasonal migration of songbirds from Pennsylvania all the way to South America and back. This study reveals that the small birds can fly much farther and much faster than anyone had thought possible. Now, researchers can see exactly which migration routes the birds take each spring and fall as well.
A wolf in dog's clothing?
In our fairy tales and horror movies, the biggest, baddest, most wolfish wolves tend to be depicted with black or dark fur. The better to scare us with! But, dark coats are actually a pretty new thing for wolves, according to a new study.
Bringing locusts together
The discovery that serotonin is involved with the behavioral switch in locusts reveals a mechanism in desert locusts that begins their transformation from avoiding other locusts to being attracted to other locusts.
The makings of a deadly brown cloud
For years, a huge "Brown Cloud" of pollution has hung over South Asia and the Indian Ocean during the winter months. Its cancer-causing soot has affected people beneath it for years as well, and it can even be traced to the deaths of many people in China and India from heart and lung diseases.
Invisibility 'cloak' hides objects from microwaves
Researchers have created an invisibility cloak of sorts, though it looks more like a yellow bathmat than Harry Potter's famous cloth.
Mosquito love songs and disease
A. aegypti spreads diseases such as yellow and dengue fever, and interfering with this acoustic courtship process -- perhaps by releasing modified males that cannot adjust their flight tones -- may be a useful approach for controlling mosquito populations in areas where these diseases are a significant problem.
Infecting mosquitoes (so they can't infect us!)
There are plenty of reasons to dislike mosquitoes. Not only do they bite us and suck our blood, but they also carry diseases! When they bite into a larger creature (like us), they often transmit the disease right then and there. So in many cases around the world, people can contract deadly viruses from just a tiny mosquito bite.
Funding provided by the William T. Golden Endowment Fund for Program Innovation at AAAS.