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  • The facial expressions of mice
    on April 2, 2020 at 6:44 pm

    Researchers have described different emotional facial expressions for mice. Similar to humans, the face of a mouse looks completely different when it tastes something sweet or bitter, or when it becomes anxious. With this new possibility to render the emotions of mice measurable, neurobiologists can now investigate the basic mechanisms of how emotions are generated and processed in the brain.

  • Fourth new pterosaur discovery in matter of weeks
    on April 2, 2020 at 2:08 pm

    You wait ages for a pterosaur and then four come along at once. Hot on the heels of a recent paper discovering three new species of pterosaur, palaeobiologists have identified another new species -- the first of its kind to be found on African soil.

  • Discovery of life in solid rock deep beneath sea may inspire new search for life on Mars
    on April 2, 2020 at 12:05 pm

    Newly discovered single-celled creatures living deep beneath the seafloor have provided clues about how to find life on Mars. These bacteria were discovered living in tiny cracks inside volcanic rocks after researchers perfected a new method cutting rocks into ultrathin slices to study under a microscope. Researchers estimate that the rock cracks are home to a community of bacteria as dense as that of the human gut, about 10 billion bacterial cells per cubic centimeter.

  • On Mars or Earth, biohybrid can turn carbon dioxide into new products
    on March 31, 2020 at 5:00 pm

    Chemists have created a hybrid system of bacteria and nanowires that captures energy from sunlight and transfers it to the bacteria to turn carbon dioxide and water into organic molecules and oxygen. On Earth, such a biohybrid could remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. On Mars, it would provide colonists with raw material to manufacture organic compounds ranging from fuels to drugs. The efficiency is greater than the photosynthetic efficiency of most plants.

  • Neanderthals ate mussels, fish, and seals too
    on March 26, 2020 at 6:44 pm

    Over 80,000 years ago, Neanderthals fed themselves on mussels, fish and other marine life. The first evidence has been found by an international team in the cave of Figueira Brava in Portugal. The excavated layers date from 86,000 to 106,000 years ago, the period when Neanderthals settled in Europe. Sourcing food from the sea at that time had only been attributed to anatomically modern humans in Africa.

  • New feathered dinosaur was one of the last surviving raptors
    on March 26, 2020 at 4:41 pm

    Dineobellator notohesperus lived 67 million years ago.

  • Astronomers use slime mould to map the universe's largest structures
    on March 26, 2020 at 4:41 pm

    The behaviour of one of nature's humblest creatures and archival data from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope are helping astronomers probe the largest structures in the Universe.

  • Here be dragons: Analysis reveals new species in 'Smaug' lizard group
    on March 25, 2020 at 5:15 pm

    Smaug, the deadly dragon in J.R.R Tolkien's 'The Hobbit,' has a newly discovered living relative. With dense, alligator-like armor, this small, real-life dragon lizard, Smaug swazicus, is a rock-crevice recluse confined to mountaintops in southern Africa.

  • A genetic nano-toolkit for the generation of new biomaterials
    on March 25, 2020 at 3:08 pm

    Magnetic bacteria might soon be used for the production of novel biomaterials. A team of microbiologists developed a modular system for the genetic reprogramming of bacteria, thereby turning the organisms into cell factories for multifunctional magnetic nanoparticles that combine various useful functions and properties.

  • Simulated 'Frankenfish brain-swaps' reveal senses control body movement
    on March 24, 2020 at 5:19 pm

    Plenty of fictional works like Mary Shelly's Frankenstein have explored the idea of swapping out a brain from one individual and transferring it into a completely different body. However, a team of biologists and engineers has now used a variation of the sci-fi concept, via computer simulation, to explore a core brain-body question.

  • How squid communicate in the dark
    on March 24, 2020 at 5:19 pm

    Researchers begin to reveal how social squid communicate in the near-blackness of the deep sea.

  • Cannabis helps fight resistant bacteria
    on March 24, 2020 at 5:18 pm

    Bacteria are increasingly becoming resistant to antibiotics. By combining antibiotics with the cannabis compound, cannabidiol, researchers have found a way to enhance the antibiotic effect.

  • Mechanical forces shape bacterial biofilms' puzzling patterns
    on March 24, 2020 at 2:27 pm

    Belying their slimy natures, the sticky patches of bacteria called biofilms often form intricate, starburst-like patterns as they grow. Now, researchers have combined expertise in molecular biology, mechanical engineering and mathematical modeling to unravel the physical processes underlying these curious crinkles.

  • Pablo Escobar's hippos may help counteract a legacy of extinctions
    on March 24, 2020 at 1:00 pm

    When cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar was shot dead in 1993, the four hippos in his private zoo in Colombia were left behind. Since then, their numbers have grown to an estimated 80-100 in the country's rivers. Scientists and the public alike have viewed the hippos as invasive pests that should not run wild in South America. Now a new study by an international group of researchers challenges this view.

  • Skulls gone wild: How and why some frogs evolved extreme heads
    on March 24, 2020 at 12:59 pm

    Beneath slick skin, some frogs sport spines, spikes and other skeletal secrets. A new study is the first to take a close look at the evolution and function of extreme frog skulls.

  • Ancestor of all animals identified in Australian fossils
    on March 23, 2020 at 7:21 pm

    Geologists have discovered the first ancestor on the family tree that contains most animals today, including humans. The wormlike creature, Ikaria wariootia, is the earliest bilaterian, or organism with a front and back, two symmetrical sides, and openings at either end connected by a gut. It was found in Ediacaran Period deposits in Australia and was 2-7 millimeters long, with the largest the size of a grain of rice.

  • New genetic editing powers discovered in squid
    on March 23, 2020 at 4:56 pm

    Revealing yet another super-power in the skillful squid, scientists have discovered that squid massively edit their own genetic instructions not only within the nucleus of their neurons, but also within the axon -- the long, slender neural projections that transmit electrical impulses to other neurons. This is the first time that edits to genetic information have been observed outside of the nucleus of an animal cell.

  • Jets of bacteria carry microscopic cargoes
    on March 23, 2020 at 4:56 pm

    It is a longstanding challenge to be able to control biological systems to perform specific tasks. Researchers have now reported doing just that. They used a liquid crystal to dictate the direction of the bacterial movement, and added a microscopic cargo for the bacteria to carry, more than 5 times the size of the bacteria.

  • Device could 'hear' disease through structures housing cells
    on March 20, 2020 at 5:22 pm

    Researchers have built a device that uses sound waves to detect the stiffness of an extracellular matrix, a structural network that contains cells. Changes in the stiffness of this structure can indicate the spread of disease.

  • Unprecedented preservation of fossil feces from the La Brea Tar Pits
    on March 20, 2020 at 2:16 pm

    Scientists have found the first coprolites -- or fossil feces -- ever discovered in an asphaltic -- or tar pit -- context.

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