ScienceDaily: Top Environment News: Scientists find origins of teamwork in our nearest relative the chimpanzee

Jay Owen Earth Systems Science

Scientists find origins of teamwork in our nearest relative the chimpanzee

Posted: 18 Mar 2013 05:33 PM PDT

Teamwork has been fundamental in humanity’s greatest achievements but scientists have found that working together has its evolutionary roots in our nearest primate relatives – chimpanzees.

Tourist-fed stingrays change their ways

Posted: 18 Mar 2013 05:29 PM PDT

Study of world-famous Stingray City finds human interaction drastically alters stingray behavior.

Slabs of ancient tectonic plate still lodged under California

Posted: 18 Mar 2013 03:04 PM PDT

The Isabella anomaly — the seismic signal of a large mass of cool, dehydrated material about 100 kilometers beneath central California — is in fact a surviving slab of the Farallon oceanic plate, according to new research. Most of the Farallon plate was driven deep into the Earth’s mantle as the Pacific and North American plates began converging around 100 million years, eventually coming together to form the San Andreas fault.

Skulls of early humans carry telltale signs of inbreeding

Posted: 18 Mar 2013 03:04 PM PDT

Buried for 100,000 years at Xujiayao in the Nihewan Basin of northern China, the recovered skull pieces of an early human exhibit a now-rare congenital deformation that indicates inbreeding might well have been common among our ancestors, new research suggests.

Human microbe study provides insight into health, disease

Posted: 18 Mar 2013 12:16 PM PDT

Microbes from the human mouth are telling scientists something about periodontitis and more after they cracked the genetic code of bacteria linked to the condition.

Petroleum use, greenhouse gas emissions of automobiles could drop 80 percent by 2050: U.S. report

Posted: 18 Mar 2013 12:16 PM PDT

A new report finds that by the year 2050, the United States may be able to reduce petroleum consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent for light-duty vehicles — cars and small trucks — via a combination of more efficient vehicles; the use of alternative fuels like biofuels, electricity, and hydrogen; and strong government policies to overcome high costs and influence consumer choices.

Oxygen-poor ‘boring’ ocean challenged evolution of early life

Posted: 18 Mar 2013 12:15 PM PDT

Biogeochemists have filled in a billion-year gap in our understanding of conditions in the early ocean during a critical time in life’s history on Earth. During the period 1.8 to 0.8 billion years ago, oxygen likely remained low in the atmosphere and ocean, with marine life dominated by bacteria. The ocean was oxygen-free and iron-rich in the deepest waters and hydrogen sulfide-containing over limited regions on the ocean margins.

Ten times more hurricane surges in future, new research predicts

Posted: 18 Mar 2013 12:15 PM PDT

How much worse will the frequency of extreme storm surges get as temperatures rise in the future? How many extreme storm surges like that from Hurricane Katrina, which hit the U.S. coast in 2005, will there be as a result of global warming? New research shows that there will be a tenfold increase in frequency if the climate becomes two degrees Celsius warmer.

Computer models show how deep carbon could return to Earth’s surface

Posted: 18 Mar 2013 12:15 PM PDT

Computer simulations of water under extreme pressure are helping geochemists understand how carbon might be recycled from hundreds of miles below the Earth’s surface.

Programmed destruction: Same signaling enzymes can trigger two different processes in the cell

Posted: 18 Mar 2013 10:30 AM PDT

Lab results show the same signaling enzymes can trigger two different processes in the cell, sounding a warning to biomedical researchers.

Special sea slug poised to make a comeback off California

Posted: 18 Mar 2013 10:30 AM PDT

After almost four decades of absence from local waters, a special sea slug appears to be making a comeback, and marine scientists are eagerly anticipating its return.

Nine new wasp species of the genus Paramblynotus described from Africa and Madagascar

Posted: 18 Mar 2013 10:28 AM PDT

A detailed revision of the Afrotropical liopterid wasp subfamily Mayrellinae reveals nine new species in the genus Paramblynotus coming from Africa and a first time record in Madagascar.

Suggestions for a middle ground between unlogged forest and intensively managed lands

Posted: 18 Mar 2013 10:28 AM PDT

In the world’s forested regions, two management systems — retention forestry and agroforestry — are being used to alleviate conflicts between preserving biodiversity and addressing human needs in production landscapes. A new article draws a parallel between the ecological effects of the two systems.

Chemical trickery explored to help contain potato pest

Posted: 18 Mar 2013 10:28 AM PDT

If left unchecked, the pale cyst nematode burrows into potato roots to feed, obstructing nutrients and causing stunted growth, wilted leaves and other symptoms that can eventually kill the plant. Now scientists are evaluating new ways to control the pest using naturally occurring chemicals called egg-hatching factors.

Tiny minotaurs and mini-Casanovas: Ancient pigmy moths reveal secrets of their diversity

Posted: 18 Mar 2013 10:28 AM PDT

Strange thickened antennae like bulls’ horns and mustache-like scent scales are amongst the romantic armory of males of Australia’s tiniest moths, as revealed in a new study of their diversity and evolution. The arid continent has provided an ideal home for the ancient pigmy moths, which have taken to Eucalyptus and related plants as hosts for their leaf-mining caterpillars, and diversified into at least 140 species.

Earth’s interior cycles contribute to long-term sea-level and climate change, researchers find

Posted: 18 Mar 2013 10:28 AM PDT

Ancient rises in sea levels and global warming are partially attributable to cyclical activity below Earth’s surface, researchers have concluded in an analysis of geological studies. However, changes spurred by Earth’s interior are gradual, taking place in periods ranging from 60 million to 140 million years — far less rapidly than those brought on by human activity.

Male lions use ambush hunting strategy

Posted: 18 Mar 2013 10:26 AM PDT

It has long been believed that male lions are dependent on females when it comes to hunting. But new evidence suggests that male lions are, in fact, very successful hunters in their own right. A new report shows that male lions use dense savanna vegetation for ambush-style hunting in Africa.

Transistor in the fly antenna: Insect odorant receptors regulate their own sensitivity

Posted: 18 Mar 2013 10:26 AM PDT

Highly developed antennae containing different types of olfactory receptors allow insects to use minute amounts of odors for orientation. Scientists have now provided experimental proof that the extremely sensitive olfactory system of fruit flies is based on self-regulation of odorant receptors. Even a below threshold odor stimulation increases the sensitivity of the receptor, and if a second odor pulse arrives, a neural response will be elicited.

Putting the clock in ‘cock-a-doodle-doo’

Posted: 18 Mar 2013 10:26 AM PDT

Of course, roosters crow with the dawn. But are they simply reacting to the environment, or do they really know what time of day it is? Researchers have evidence that puts the clock in “cock-a-doodle-doo.

Significant contribution of Greenland’s peripheral glaciers to sea-level rise

Posted: 18 Mar 2013 07:49 AM PDT

Glaciers at the edge of Greenland which are not connected to its huge ice sheet, or can be clearly separated from it, are contributing to sea-level rise much more than previously thought. Scientists have found that, though these peripheral glaciers make up just 5 to 7 percent of total ice coverage on the land mass, they account for up to 20 percent of the rise in sea level created by the region’s melting.

Antarctica’s first whale skeleton found with nine new deep-sea species

Posted: 18 Mar 2013 07:49 AM PDT

Marine biologists have, for the first time, found a whale skeleton on the ocean floor near Antarctica, giving new insights into life in the sea depths. The discovery was made almost a mile below the surface in an undersea crater and includes the find of at least nine new species of deep-sea organisms thriving on the bones.

It’s in the cards: Human evolution influences gamblers’ decisions

Posted: 18 Mar 2013 07:47 AM PDT

New research suggests evolution, or basic survival techniques adapted by early humans, influences the decisions gamblers make when placing bets. The findings may help to explain why some treatment options for problem gamblers often don’t work, the researchers say.