How cells in the nose detect odors: Braking mechanism in olfactory neurons helps generate amazing diversity of sensors

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How cells in the nose detect odors: Braking mechanism in olfactory neurons helps generate amazing diversity of sensors

Posted: 14 Nov 2012 02:29 PM PST

A team of scientists has studied the olfactory receptor for detecting carbon dioxide in Drosophila, and identified a large multi-protein complex in olfactory neurons, called MMB/dREAM, that plays a major role in selecting the carbon dioxide receptors to be expressed in appropriate neurons.

New ancient shark species gives insight into origin of great white

Posted: 14 Nov 2012 02:29 PM PST

The great white shark is one of the largest living predatory animals and a magnet for media sensationalism, yet its evolutionary history is as misunderstood as its role as a menace.

Oldest fossil of giant panda family discovered

Posted: 14 Nov 2012 02:28 PM PST

New fossils found in Spain are thought to be of the oldest recorded ancestor of the giant panda. The fossils reveal the origins of this unique bear.

Why yawning is contagious in bonobos: As with humans, yawning Is more contagious when individuals are closely related

Posted: 14 Nov 2012 02:28 PM PST

Being socially close to another bonobo is more likely to make bonobo apes yawn in response to the other’s yawns, according to new research. The researchers found that yawning in bonobos is more contagious when individuals are strongly bonded to one another as kin or close friends.

Captive animals show signs of boredom, study finds

Posted: 14 Nov 2012 02:28 PM PST

Wondering if your caged hamster gets bored? It’s highly likely if the critter has nothing to do all day. Those are the findings of researchers in the first study to empirically demonstrate boredom in confined animals.

What lies beneath? New survey technique offers detailed picture of our changing landscape

Posted: 14 Nov 2012 10:46 AM PST

A new surveying technique is giving geologists their first detailed picture of how ground movement associated with historical mining is changing the face of our landscape.

Pig genomes provide massive amount of genomic data for human health

Posted: 14 Nov 2012 10:45 AM PST

Researchers provide a whole-genome sequence and analysis of number of pig breeds, including a miniature pig that serves a model for human medical studies and therapeutic drug testing.

Pig genome offers insights into the feistiest of farm animals

Posted: 14 Nov 2012 10:45 AM PST

The pig and its cousin the wild boar have much in common with humans. They are world travelers. They often damage their own habitat. They are easy to seduce (with food) and susceptible to domestication, but when conditions allow, they revert to a feral lifestyle. A new genomic analysis reveals some new, unexpected and potentially beneficial similarities between pigs and humans, and a few distinct differences.

Tropical Indo-Pacific climate shifts to a more El Niño-like state

Posted: 14 Nov 2012 10:45 AM PST

Climate models predict a slowdown of the Walker circulation with global warming. Atmospheric models, however, have failed to reproduce the slowdown already observed over the last 60 years, casting doubt on their ability to simulate slow climate change. Now a study has succeeded in simulating the slowdown and shows that changes in the sea surface temperature pattern across the Indo-Pacific are the cause.

New dating of sea-level records reveals rapid response between ice volume and polar temperature

Posted: 14 Nov 2012 10:40 AM PST

A new study has revealed a rapid response between global temperature and ice volume/sea-level, which could lead to sea-levels rising by over one meter. During the last few million years, global ice-volume variability has been one of the main feedback mechanisms in climate change, because of the strong reflective properties of large ice sheets. Ice volume changes in ancient times can be reconstructed from sea-level records. However, detailed assessment of the role of ice volume in climate change is hindered by inadequacies in sea-level records and/or their timescales. Now, for the first time, scientists are able to accurately date continuous sea-level records, to allow detailed comparisons of the ice-volume variability with independently dated ice-core records from Antarctica and Greenland.

Rare parasitic fungi could have anti-flammatory benefits

Posted: 14 Nov 2012 10:40 AM PST

Caterpillar fungi are rare parasites found on hibernating caterpillars in the mountains of Tibet. For centuries they have been highly prized as a traditional Chinese medicine – just a small amount can fetch hundreds of dollars.

Pacific fishing zones: Lifeline for overfished tuna?

Posted: 14 Nov 2012 08:38 AM PST

Marine zoning in the Pacific Ocean, in combination with other measures, could significantly improve numbers of heavily overfished bigeye tuna and improve local economies, a fish modelling study has found.

Changing climate, not tourism, seems to be driving decline in chinstrap-penguin populations

Posted: 14 Nov 2012 08:38 AM PST

The breeding population of chinstrap penguins has declined significantly as temperatures have rapidly warmed on the Antarctic Peninsula, according to new research.

Headshaking in horses: New treatment has 50% success rate

Posted: 14 Nov 2012 08:37 AM PST

A study has found a pioneering new surgical procedure, called caudal compression of the infraorbital nerve, could be a viable option for headshaking in horses with a long-term success rate of nearly 50 percent.

New brain gene gives us edge over apes, study suggests

Posted: 14 Nov 2012 08:34 AM PST

Scientists have taken a step forward in helping to solve one of life’s greatest mysteries — what makes us human?

Leggiest animal on Earth lives in outskirts of Silicon Valley

Posted: 14 Nov 2012 08:34 AM PST

With 750 legs, the millipede Illacme plenipes is the leggiest animal on Earth. Once believed extinct, scientists rediscovered the species in 2005 — more than 80 years after it was first described. This exceedingly rare millipede is known from a single 4.5 km2 area in California, and the millipede has a beautifully intricate anatomy including the ability to spin silk from long hairs covering its back.

Melting glaciers raise sea level

Posted: 14 Nov 2012 05:38 AM PST

Anthropogenic climate change leads to melting glaciers and rising sea level. Between 1902 and 2009, melting glaciers contributed 11 cm to sea level rise. They were therefore the most important cause of sea level rise. Scientists have numerically modeled the changes of each of the world’s 300,000 glaciers. Until 2100, glaciers could lead to an additional 22 cm of sea level rise.

Climate change increases stress, need for restoration on grazed public lands

Posted: 14 Nov 2012 05:32 AM PST

Eight researchers in a new report say that climate change is causing additional stress to many western rangelands, and as a result land managers should consider a significant reduction, or in some places elimination of livestock and other large animals from public lands.

Grasshoppers change their tune to stay tuned over traffic noise

Posted: 13 Nov 2012 06:49 PM PST

Grasshoppers are having to change their song — one of the iconic sounds of summer — to make themselves heard above the din of road traffic, ecologists have discovered. The study is the first to show that human-made noise affects natural insect populations.

Study shows summer climate change, mostly warming

Posted: 13 Nov 2012 09:25 AM PST

Analysis of 90 years of observational data has revealed that summer climates in regions across the globe are changing — mostly, but not always, warming — according to a new study.

Plants and soils could exacerbate climate change as global climate warms

Posted: 13 Nov 2012 09:22 AM PST

Scientists have demonstrated that plants and soils could release large amounts of carbon dioxide as global climate warms. That additional carbon release from land surface could be a potent positive feedback that exacerbates climate warming.