Astronomy

ESO’s VLT Telescope Sees Deep Universe in 3D

The background image in this composite shows the Hubble image of the region known as the Hubble Deep Field South. New observations using VLT’s MUSE instrument have detected remote galaxies that are not visible to Hubble; two examples are highlighted in this composite view; these objects are completely invisible in the Hubble picture but show up strongly in the appropriate parts of the three-dimensional MUSE data. Image credit: ESO / MUSE Consortium / R. Bacon.

Astronomers using the MUSE instrument on European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope at the Paranal Observatory in Chile have been able to get the best three-dimensional view so far of the deep Universe. The background image in this composite shows the Hubble image of the region known as the Hubble Deep Field South. New observations using VLT’s MUSE instrument have detected remote galaxies...

Space Exploration

Oxygen-Free, Methane-Based Life Forms Could Exist on Titan, Say Scientists

Azotosome vesicle, the size of a small virus particle. Image credit: James Stevenson et al.

Titan – a planetary body awash with seas not of water, but of liquid methane – could harbor oxygen-free, methane-based life forms, says a team of scientists at Cornell University. Azotosome vesicle, the size of a small virus particle. Image credit: James Stevenson et al. The team, led by Dr Paulette Clancy of the Cornell University’s School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering,...

Archaeology

Ancient Britons Imported Einkorn Wheat 8,000 Years Ago, Say Archaeologists

Intensification of agriculture is a driver of changes in the seasonal characteristics of the global carbon cycle.

According to a group of scientists led by Dr Robin Allaby from the University of Warwick, wheat reached Britain approximately 8,000 years ago – two millennia before the introduction of farming. DNA evidence shows cultural connections between Britain and Europe 8,000 years ago. Dr Allaby and his colleagues found evidence for a variety of wheat known as einkorn at Bouldnor Cliff, an underwater...

Paleontology

Three New Prehistoric Caiman Species Found in Peruvian Amazonia

Kuttanacaiman iquitosensis, left, Caiman wannlangstoni, right, and Gnatusuchus pebasensis. Image credit: © Javier Herbozo.

An international team of paleontologists has described three new species of caimans that lived in the swampy waters of what is now northeastern Peru during Miocene, about 13 million years ago. Kuttanacaiman iquitosensis, left, Caiman wannlangstoni, right, and Gnatusuchus pebasensis. Image credit: © Javier Herbozo. “The modern Amazon River basin contains the world’s richest biota, but the...

Biology

Toxic Algae Proliferating in European, North American Lakes

Cyanobacteria. Image credit: Josef Reischig / CC BY-SA 3.0.

Cyanobacteria – also known as blue-green algae – have proliferated much more rapidly than other algae in lakes across North America and Europe over the past 200 years, and in many cases the rate of increase has sharply accelerated since the 1900s, finds a study led by Zofia Taranu of McGill University. Cyanobacteria. Image credit: Josef Reischig / CC BY-SA 3.0. “We found that cyanobacterial...

Physics

Physicists Explain Why Latte Less Likely to Spill than Coffee

Just a few layers of bubbles are enough to significantly decrease the height of the waves in a sloshing liquid. Image credit: Takeaway / CC BY-SA 3.0.

In a new study published in the journal Physics of Fluids, a team of researchers has found that a few layers of foam can significantly dampen the sloshing motion of liquid. Just a few layers of bubbles are enough to significantly decrease the height of the waves in a sloshing liquid. Image credit: Takeaway / CC BY-SA 3.0. To test the damping power of foam systematically, the team, led by Prof Howard...

Medicine

Genetics

Scientists Identify ‘Big Brain’ Gene in Humans, Neanderthals

An anatomical illustration from Johannes Sobotta’s Human Anatomy, 1908.

A gene that is responsible for brain size in modern Homo sapiens and their ancient relatives, Neanderthals and Denisovans, has been identified by a team of scientists from Germany led by Dr Wieland Huttner of the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden. An anatomical illustration from Johannes Sobotta’s Human Anatomy, 1908. In their study, Dr Huttner and his colleagues...

Geology

Inner Core of Earth Has Its Own Inner Core, Geologists Say

The inner core of our planet has an inner core of its own, with crystals aligned in a different direction. Image credit: Lachina Publishing Services.

An international team of geologists, headed by Prof Xiaodong Song from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Nanjing University in China, has found that the Earth’s inner core has an inner core of its own, which has surprising properties that could reveal new information about our planet. The inner core of our planet has an inner core of its own, with crystals aligned in a different...

Other Sciences

Study Provides New Understanding of Geyser Mechanics

Fly Geyser, a man-made small geothermal geyser located in Washoe County, Nevada. Image credit: Jeremy C. Munns.

Geysers erupt periodically because of loops or side-chambers in their underground plumbing, says a team of volcanologists from the United States and Japan. Fly Geyser, a man-made small geothermal geyser located in Washoe County, Nevada. Image credit: Jeremy C. Munns. Approximately 1,000 geysers exist around the world – half of them in Yellowstone – and all are located in active or formerly active...