ScienceDaily: Top Environment News: Maya Long Count calendar and European calendar linked using carbon-14 dating

Jay Owen Earth Systems Science

Maya Long Count calendar and European calendar linked using carbon-14 dating

Posted: 11 Apr 2013 04:49 PM PDT

The Maya are famous for their complex, intertwined calendric systems, and now one calendar, the Maya Long Count, is empirically calibrated to the modern European calendar, according to an international team of researchers.

Warmest summers in last two decades in northern latitudes were unprecedented in six centuries

Posted: 11 Apr 2013 04:48 PM PDT

Through developing a statistical model of Arctic temperature and how it relates to instrumental and proxy records derived from trees, ice cores, and lake sediments, scientists have shown that the warmest summers in the last two decades are unprecedented in the previous six centuries.

New technique measures evaporation globally

Posted: 11 Apr 2013 04:46 PM PDT

Researchers have developed the first method to map evaporation globally using weather stations, which will help scientists evaluate water resource management, assess recent trends of evaporation throughout the globe, and validate surface hydrologic models in various conditions.

Sea mammals find U. S. safe harbor

Posted: 11 Apr 2013 04:46 PM PDT

New research shows that many US marine mammal populations — especially some seals and sea lions — have rebounded since 1972, because of the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

Enzymes from horse feces could hold secrets to streamlining biofuel production

Posted: 11 Apr 2013 04:46 PM PDT

Stepping into unexplored territory in efforts to use corn stalks, grass and other non-food plants to make biofuels, scientists have now described the discovery of a potential treasure-trove of candidate enzymes in fungi thriving in the feces and intestinal tracts of horses.

Molecular techniques are ‘man’s new best friend’ in pet obesity research

Posted: 11 Apr 2013 11:30 AM PDT

Molecular biology technologies are making the mechanisms underlying the pet obesity epidemic more easily understood.

How 2-million-year-old ancestor moved: Sediba’s ribcage and feet were not suitable for running

Posted: 11 Apr 2013 11:29 AM PDT

Researchers have described the anatomy of a single early hominin in six new studies. Australopithecus sediba was discovered near Johannesburg in 2008. The studies demonstrate how our 2-million-year-old ancestor walked, chewed and moved.

Fossilized teeth provide new insight into human ancestor: Species identified in 2010 is one of closest relatives to humans

Posted: 11 Apr 2013 11:29 AM PDT

A dental study of fossilized remains found in South Africa in 2008 provides new support that this species is one of the closest relatives to early humans.

‘Strikingly similar’ brains of human and fly may aid mental health research

Posted: 11 Apr 2013 11:29 AM PDT

Scientists have revealed deep similarities in how the brain regulates behavior in arthropods (such as flies and crabs) and vertebrates (such as fish, mice and humans). The findings shed new light on the evolution of the brain and behavior and may aid understanding of disease mechanisms underlying mental health problems.

How Au. Sediba walked, chewed and moved

Posted: 11 Apr 2013 11:29 AM PDT

The 2-million-year-old fossils belong to the species Australopithecus sediba (Au. sediba) and provides “unprecedented insight into the anatomy and phylogenetic position of an early human ancestor,” one of the researchers said.

How human ancestor walked, chewed, and moved

Posted: 11 Apr 2013 11:27 AM PDT

Scientists have pieced together how the hominid Australopithecus sediba (Au. sediba) walked, chewed, and moved nearly two million years ago. Their research also shows that Au. sediba had a notable feature that differed from that of modern humans —- a functionally longer and more flexible lower back.

Self-medication in animals much more widespread than believed

Posted: 11 Apr 2013 11:27 AM PDT

It’s been known for decades that animals such as chimpanzees seek out medicinal herbs to treat their diseases. But in recent years, the list of animal pharmacists has grown much longer, and it now appears that the practice of animal self-medication is a lot more widespread than previously thought, according to ecologists.

Walk this way: New research suggests human ancestors may have used different forms of bipedalism during the plio-pleistocene

Posted: 11 Apr 2013 11:27 AM PDT

According to a new study, our Australopithecus ancestors may have used different approaches to getting around on two feet. The new findings represent the culmination of more than four years of research into the anatomy of Australopithecus sediba (Au. sediba). The two-million-year-old fossils, discovered in Malapa cave in South Africa in 2008, are some of the most complete early human ancestral remains ever found.

Tiny wireless device shines light on mouse brain, generating reward

Posted: 11 Apr 2013 11:27 AM PDT

Using a miniature electronic device implanted in the brain, scientists have tapped into the internal reward system of mice, prodding neurons to release dopamine, a chemical associated with pleasure. This implantable LED device is smaller than the eye of a needle and activates brain cells with light.

Reaction rates of second key atmospheric component measured

Posted: 11 Apr 2013 11:27 AM PDT

Researchers have successfully measured reaction rates of a second Criegee intermediate, CH3CHOO, and proven that the reactivity of the atmospheric chemical depends strongly on which way the molecule is twisted.

Healing by the clock: In fruit flies, intestinal stem-cell regeneration fluctuates with the time of day

Posted: 11 Apr 2013 09:39 AM PDT

Genetic screening in flies reveals that the circadian clock regulates intestinal regeneration in response to damage, meaning that gut healing fluctuates according to the time of day.

How some leaves got fat: It’s the veins

Posted: 11 Apr 2013 09:39 AM PDT

Some plants, such as succulents, have managed to grow very plump leaves. For that to happen, according to a new study, plants had to evolve three-dimensional arrangements of their leaf veins. That’s how they could maintain adequately efficient hydraulics for photosynthesis.

Genetic master controls expose cancers’ Achilles’ heel

Posted: 11 Apr 2013 09:34 AM PDT

In a surprising finding that helps explain fundamental behaviors of normal and diseased cells, scientists have discovered a set of powerful gene regulators dubbed “super-enhancers” that control cell state and identity.

Chickens with bigger gizzards are more efficient

Posted: 11 Apr 2013 08:02 AM PDT

According to animal scientists, farmers could further protect the environment by breeding chickens with larger digestive organs. This research could solve a major problem in poultry production.

Lady flies can decide who will father their young

Posted: 11 Apr 2013 08:01 AM PDT

Female flies choose whose sperm they want based on male mating effort. Females in the animal kingdom have many methods available to them to help bias male paternity. One such process is displayed by Euxesta bilimeki, a species of Ulidiid fly, whose females expel and then consume male ejaculate after copulation.

Molecular ‘superglue’ based on flesh-eating bacteria

Posted: 11 Apr 2013 07:58 AM PDT

In a classic case of turning an enemy into a friend, scientists have engineered a protein from flesh-eating bacteria to act as a molecular “superglue” that promises to become a disease fighter.

Archaeologists shine new light on Easter Island statue

Posted: 11 Apr 2013 04:56 AM PDT

Archaeologists have used the latest in digital imaging technology to record and analyze carvings on the Easter Island statue Hoa Hakananai’a.