In the ongoing campaign to protect endangered animals, forensic investigators can already identify the food on your plate. Now they are working on advanced methods of intercepting even the most carefully disguised contraband - be it tuna, caviar or bushmeat. Their ultimate goal: pinpoint where the goods came from, and stop the hunting of endangered species at the source.
A new public health study released just in time for Global Handwashing Day (today!) offers not one but two gems of Science-Confirms-the-Obvious wisdom. Firstly: the gee-whizzer that men have poorer personal hygiene than women. Secondly, that people are more likely to wash their hands when others are watching.
The earliest modern humans in Europe carved this 8.5-inch flute from a vulture bone more than 35,000 years ago.
How's this for classic rock? German scientists have unearthed the oldest-known musical instrument fashioned by human hands. It's a delicate flute made from the wing bone of a vulture that dates to at least 35,000 years old—just after the first modern humans entered Europe. The team discovered the flute littered among a trove of early-human loot at a mountain cave in southwest Germany. It included a few other flute fragments and a female figurine carved from the ivory tusks of a mammoth with body proportions that are beyond Rubenesque.
Japanese biologists have made genetically modified primates that can pass the modification to their offspring -- a first for science. The researchers, reporting in Nature, introduced a jellyfish gene to marmosets that made their skin glow green under UV light, a quick, harmless test of the technique's success. The goal is for future marmosets to bear genes for human disease. Such colonies of research animals may model neurological disorders far better than lab mice.
Investigators at the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research have unequivocally demonstrated that our parents often get on our nerves -- and we on theirs. "The parent-child relationship is one of the longest-lasting social ties human beings establish," said Kira Birditt, the study's lead. "This tie is often highly positive and supportive but it also commonly includes feelings of irritation, tension and ambivalence."
Hairballs aren’t just for cats anymore, and the National Museum of Health and Medicine wants to be sure America knows it. Really, truly, today is National Hairball Awareness Day. While there’s not yet a commemorative Hallmark card (we hope) there is a special presentation, and “hands-on” activity, at noon today at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington D.C.
At the first-ever Ironman triathlon in 1978, the 15 competitors read these instructions in the race guidelines: "Swim 2.4 miles! Bike 112 miles! Run 26.2 miles! Brag for the rest of your life!" Well, sure -- unless you die trying. A study presented Saturday at a meeting of the American College of Cardiology shows that the grueling triad of events is indeed particularly strenuous, with a risk of sudden death twice that of marathons.
We bet that SciKu, the delicate science poetry that belongs to everyone, will last and last. As did, apparently, a 300-million-year-old brain found inside a rock in northeast Kansas:
Fish brain turned to stone
It's not just for bone
Lately, paleontologists have been choosing odd bedfellows to study rare, precious fossils: particle physicists. At the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science this weekend, several researchers reported on how synchrotron particle accelerators—the world’s most powerful X-ray machines—are revealing new details about biological relics such as amber-trapped Cretaceous bugs, the celebrated bird-dinosaur Archaeopteryx, and what appears to be the world’s only fossilized brain.
Many millennia ago, man created dog. As the story goes, gray wolves in East Asia took to the comforts of human camp life somewhere between 15,000 and 40,000 years ago. People bred their new canine companions for docility and other favored traits. Dogs then accompanied humans crossing the Bering Strait into the Americas 12,000–14,000 years ago.