Uranium-series dating reveals Iberian paintings are Europe’s oldest cave art

Uranium-series dating reveals Iberian paintings are Europe’s oldest cave art

Posted: 14 Jun 2012 11:28 AM PDT

Paleolithic paintings in El Castillo cave in Northern Spain date back at least 40,800 years — making them Europe’s oldest known cave art, according to new research. Scientists found that the practice of cave art in Europe began up to 10,000 years earlier than previously thought, indicating the paintings were created either by the first anatomically modern humans in Europe or, perhaps, by Neanderthals.

Grasshoppers frightened by spiders affect whole ecosystem

Posted: 14 Jun 2012 11:27 AM PDT

Grasshoppers ?stressed? by spiders affect the productivity of our soil. A grasshopper who is in fear of an attacker, such as a spider, will enter a situation of stress and will consume a greater quantity of carbohydrate-rich plants — similar to humans under stress who might eat more sweets.

Single-track sustainability ‘solutions’ threaten people and planet, experts say

Posted: 14 Jun 2012 10:11 AM PDT

The targets, indicators and approaches being used to pursue progress towards sustainable development at Rio+20 are counter-productive, say scientists in a new paper. Three renowned sustainability institutes argue that global and grassroots innovations must be connected to avoid breaching planetary boundaries and reversing progress on poverty reduction.

Two warmest winter months in Midwest, U.S. history may have connection

Posted: 14 Jun 2012 10:10 AM PDT

This past March was the second warmest winter month ever recorded in the Midwest, with temperatures 15 degrees above average. The only other winter month that was warmer was December of 1889, during which temperatures were 18 degrees above average. Now, researchers may have discovered why the weather patterns during these two winter months, separated by 123 years, were so similar. The answer could help scientists develop more accurate weather prediction models.

Warm climate — cold Arctic?

Posted: 14 Jun 2012 10:09 AM PDT

The Eemian interglacial period that began some 125,000 years ago is often used as a model for contemporary climate change. Scientists have presented evidence that the Eemian differed in essential details from modern climatic conditions.

Plant poison turns seed-eating mouse into seed spitter

Posted: 14 Jun 2012 10:09 AM PDT

In Israel’s Negev Desert, a plant called sweet mignonette or taily weed uses a toxic “mustard oil bomb” to make the spiny mouse spit out the plant’s seeds when eating the fruit. Thus, the plant has turned a seed-eating rodent into a seed spreader that helps the plant reproduce, says a new study.

Still capable of adapting: Genetic diversity of ‘living fossil’ coelacanths

Posted: 14 Jun 2012 06:41 AM PDT

The morphology of coelacanths has not fundamentally changed since the Devonian age, that is, for about 400 million years. Nevertheless, these animals known as living fossils are able to genetically adapt to their environment.

Cougars are re-populating their historical range, new study confirms

Posted: 14 Jun 2012 05:26 AM PDT

American mountain lions, or cougars, are re-emerging in areas of the United States, reversing 100 years of decline. The evidence raises new conservation questions, such as how humans can live alongside the returning predators.

Pitcher plant uses rain drops to capture prey

Posted: 13 Jun 2012 03:40 PM PDT

During heavy rain, the lid of Nepenthes gracilis pitchers acts like a springboard, catapulting insects that seek shelter on its underside directly into the fluid-filled pitcher, new research has found.

Battle history between bacteria, viruses in human body

Posted: 13 Jun 2012 10:29 AM PDT

Researchers have conducted the most in-depth and diverse genetic analysis of the defense systems that trillions of micro-organisms in the human body use to fend off viruses. The work is among a collection of 16 research papers just released by the Human Microbiome Project Consortium, an effort to map the normal microbial make-up of healthy humans.

New report puts real numbers behind history of oyster reefs

Posted: 13 Jun 2012 06:11 AM PDT

In an effort to advance the field of coastal restoration, biologists have conducted an in-depth study of oyster reef area and, for the first time, the actual biomass (the “living weight”) of oyster reefs in dozens of estuaries throughout the United States.