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  • Ocean plastic is creating new communities of life on the high seas
    on December 2, 2021 at 2:29 pm

    Coastal plants and animals have found a new way to survive in the open ocean -- by colonizing plastic pollution. A new commentary reports coastal species growing on trash hundreds of miles out to sea in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre, more commonly known as the 'Great Pacific Garbage Patch.'

  • Engineers create perching bird-like robot
    on December 1, 2021 at 7:53 pm

    With feet and legs like a peregrine falcon, engineers have created a robot that can perch and carry objects like a bird.

  • When variations in Earth's orbit drive biological evolution
    on December 1, 2021 at 4:19 pm

    Coccolithophores are microscopic algae that form tiny limestone plates, called coccoliths, around their single cells. They are responsible for half of the limestone produced in the oceans and therefore play a major role in the carbon cycle and in determining ocean chemistry. A team of scientists show that certain variations in Earth's orbit have influenced the evolution of coccolithophores.

  • Deep learning dreams up new protein structures
    on December 1, 2021 at 4:19 pm

    Using artificial intelligence and deep learning, researchers have developed a neural network that 'hallucinates' the structures of new protein molecules. The scientists made up completely random protein sequences and introduced mutations into them until the neural network predicted they would fold into stable structures. The software was not guided toward a particular outcome; the proteins were just what the computer dreams up. Next step: using deep learning to try to design proteins with particular functions, such as enzymes or drugs.

  • Bringing 400-million-year-old fossilized armored worms to ‘virtual’ life
    on November 30, 2021 at 10:39 pm

    Scientists have documented the discovery of two new species of fossilized armored worms in Australia -- Lepidocoleus caliburnus and Lepidocoleus shurikenus -- dating from about 400 million years ago. Then, using the micro-CT imaging capabilities of the MU X-ray Microanalysis Core facility, the researchers were able to develop first-of-its-kind digital 3D-models of the species' individual armor plates by virtually examining the armored skeletons of these ancient worms, called machaeridians.

  • Three-body interactions bring egoists into the collective comfort zone – even penguins
    on November 30, 2021 at 3:15 pm

    A research team has examined the group dynamics of communicating active particles. These particles are consistently focused on self-optimization. By always endeavoring to maintain their own personal comfort, they also help the other group members. Such self-optimization is a common multi-body phenomenon which can occur for penguins and bacteria.

  • Snow monkeys go fishing to survive harsh Japanese winters
    on November 29, 2021 at 5:27 pm

    Snow monkeys living in one of the world's coldest regions survive by 'going fishing' -- scooping live animals, including brown trout, out of Japanese rivers and eating them to stay alive, a new study reveals.

  • A star in subtropical Japan: A new species of parasitoid wasp constructs unique cocoon masses hanging on 1-meter-long strings
    on November 29, 2021 at 3:56 pm

    A new species of parasitoid wasp that constructs remarkable star-shaped cocoon masses is reported from the biodiversity hot spot Ryukyu Islands. Researchers observed how the wasps construct 'stars' after making their way out of the moth larvae they inhabit during their own larval stage.

  • Nibbling prehistoric herbivore sheds new light on Triassic diversity
    on November 29, 2021 at 3:56 pm

    A Triassic herbivore, known for its supposed similarities to a modern-day ostrich, has been revealed to have entirely different approach to feeding from previously thought.

  • Scientists discover gut bacteria that improve memory in bees
    on November 25, 2021 at 8:48 pm

    An international research team have discovered a specific type of gut bacteria in bees that can improve memory.

  • Meat-eating 'vulture bees' sport acidic guts
    on November 23, 2021 at 6:10 pm

    A little-known species of tropical bee has evolved an extra tooth for biting flesh and a gut that more closely resembles that of vultures rather than other bees.

  • Ancient human relative, Australopithecus sediba, 'walked like a human, but climbed like an ape'
    on November 23, 2021 at 6:08 pm

    The recovery of new lumbar vertebrae from the lower back of a single individual of the human relative, Australopithecus sediba, and portions of other vertebrae of the same female from Malapa, South Africa, together with previously discovered vertebrae, form one of the most complete lower backs ever discovered in the early hominid record and give insight into how this ancient human relative walked and climbed.

  • Peeking into a chrysalis, videos reveal growth of butterfly wing scales
    on November 22, 2021 at 10:27 pm

    Engineers have continuously observed scales growing and assembling on a butterfly wing for the first time as the developing insect transforms inside its chrysalis.

  • How sugar-loving microbes could help power future cars
    on November 22, 2021 at 6:53 pm

    It sounds like modern-day alchemy: Transforming sugar into hydrocarbons found in gasoline. But that's exactly what scientists have done. Researchers report harnessing the wonders of biology and chemistry to turn glucose (a type of sugar) into olefins (a type of hydrocarbon, and one of several types of molecules that make up gasoline).

  • How to eat a poison butterfly
    on November 22, 2021 at 6:53 pm

    In high enough concentrations, milkweed can kill a horse, or a human. To be able to eat this plant, monarchs evolved a set of unusual cellular mutations. New research shows the animals that prey on monarchs also evolved these same mutations.

  • Scientist advances prospect of regeneration in humans
    on November 18, 2021 at 2:16 am

    In a study that builds on earlier research that identified macrophages as essential to regeneration in the axolotl, a highly regenerative salamander, a scientist has identified the source of these critical white blood cells as the liver. By giving scientists a place to look for pro-regenerative macrophages in humans, the discovery brings science a step closer to the ability to regenerate tissues and organs lost to injury or disease.

  • Alien organisms – hitchhikers of the galaxy?
    on November 17, 2021 at 9:14 pm

    Scientists warn, without good biosecurity measures 'alien organisms' on Earth may become a reality stranger than fiction. Scientists are calling for greater recognition of the biosecurity risks ahead of the space industry.

  • When the gut's internal ecosystem goes awry, could an ancient if gross-sounding treatment make it right?
    on November 17, 2021 at 8:55 pm

    For people with serious bacterial infections, antibiotics can be life-saving drugs. But they can also cause collateral damage to the complex microbial community that breaks down food and maintains health in the gut. And not just in people. A new study in lemurs shows that an ancient if gross-sounding treatment can help hasten recovery and get the gut microbiome back to normal.

  • Shape-morphing microrobots deliver drugs to cancer cells
    on November 17, 2021 at 3:38 pm

    Chemotherapy successfully treats many forms of cancer, but the side effects can wreak havoc on the rest of the body. Delivering drugs directly to cancer cells could help reduce these unpleasant symptoms. Now, in a proof-of-concept study, researchers have made fish-shaped microrobots that are guided with magnets to cancer cells, where a pH change triggers them to open their mouths and release their chemotherapy cargo.

  • New optical technology spotlights how memories move in mouse brains during sleep
    on November 12, 2021 at 5:15 pm

    Scientists have used mouse brains to demonstrate a new neural-optic system to manipulate memories. The technique hinders nerve activity -- known as long-term potentiation or LTP -- which would otherwise consolidate memory during sleep. The research team illuminates mouse brains to inhibit cofilin, a protein essential for LTP. When the specific areas of the brain are irradiated twice, once immediately after the mouse learns a task and then again during sleep after learning, memory is erased.

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