We now know that all extant living creatures derive from a single common ancestor, called LUCA, the Last Universal Common Ancestor. It's hard to think of a more unifying view of life. All living creatures are linked to a single-celled creature, the root to the complex-branching tree of life. (...) They are able to trace LUCA to a simple prokaryotic creature (a single-celled bacterium with unprotected genetic material) that lived some 3 billion years ago. It must have been a very tough organism, able to survive in very extreme environments.
Even chimpanzees and infants want to punish antisocial behaviour
Living together in communities requires mutual cooperation. To achieve this, we punish others when they are uncooperative. Until now, it has been unclear as to when we develop the impulse to penalise this behaviour—and whether this is an exclusively human feature. Scientists at Max Planck Institute...for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences and the MPI for Evolutionary Anthropology...in Leipzig discovered that even six-year-old children feel the need to reprimand antisocial behaviour, and that they are willing to take risks and make an effort to be present when the "guilty" one is punished.
Loud orgies of Mexican fish could deafen dolphins, say scientists
A species of Mexican fish amasses in reproductive orgies so loud they can deafen other sea animals, awed scientists have said, calling for preservation of the "spectacle" threatened by overfishing.
An individual spawning Gulf corvina, say the researchers, utters a mating call resembling “a really loud machine gun” with multiple rapid sound pulses.
And when hundreds of thousands of fish get together to spawn once a year “the collective chorus sounds like a crowd cheering at a stadium or perhaps a really loud beehive”, said study co-author Timothy Rowell from the University of San Diego...
Manhattan has two genetically distinguishable groups of rats: the uptown rats and the downtown rats, separated by the geographic barrier that is midtown.
“If you gave us a rat, we could tell whether it came from the West Village or the East Village,” says Combs. “They’re actually unique little rat neighbors.” And the boundaries of rat neighborhoods can fit surprisingly well with human ones.
Like many nearby stars, Ross 128 has been the target of exoplanet searches for decades. The most sensitive search results previously published were from an analysis of HARPS radial velocity (RV) measurements published in 2013 again with Xavier Bonfils (then with Observatoire de Genève) as the lead author. With only a half dozen measurements available at the time, the star’s RV seemed to vary on the order of a meter per second suggesting that the reflex motion of an exoplanet orbiting Ross 128 was being observed although it was impossible to claim a definitive exoplanet detection or characterize its properties with so little data. With this promising start, additional precision RV measurements were made by the HARPS team over the following years.
Researchers observe sleep-like behavior in jellyfish, a brainless organism :
(T)he revelations about jellyfish sleep are important, he said, because they show how basic sleep is. It appears to be a “conserved” behavior, one that arose relatively early in life’s history and has persisted for millions of years. If the behavior is conserved, then perhaps the biological mechanism is too. Understanding why jellyfish, with their simple nerve nets, need sleep could lead scientists to the function of sleep in humans.
Welcome to What Eats? This is a website specifically for kids seeking information about the relationships between predators and their prey. I hope you enjoy it.
Device absorbs water from the desert air overnight and then uses the sun's heat to deliver drinkable water. Proof-of-concept device produced 2.8 liters of water per night/day cycle.
Six million years ago, giant otters weighing more than 100 pounds lived among birds and water lilies in the wooded wetlands of China's Yunnan province.
That's according to new research from a team of scientists who discovered a well-preserved cranium of the newly-discovered species in an open lignite mine in 2010. They recently published their findings in the Journal of Systematic Palaeontology.
Researchers testing anti-Alzheimer's drug discover that it could be used to heal tooth cavities.
A new study of violent behavior in more than 1,000 mammal species found the meerkat is the mammal most likely to be murdered by one of its own kind.
The study...in the journal Nature, analyzed more than 4 million deaths among 1,024 mammal species and compared them with findings in 600 studies of violence among humans from ancient times until today.
The findings tell us two things:
-- Some amount of violence between humans is attributable to our place on the evolutionary tree.
-- Meerkats are surprisingly murderous.
I never knew there was a mystery about why there is so much carbon and other key elements on Earth, but one theory posits that a massive planetary collision occurred 4.4 billions years ago that brought large amounts of carbon, sulfur, and other key elements to Earth, thus making life possible a billion years later.
The drugmaker Purdue Pharma launched OxyContin two decades ago with a bold marketing claim: One dose relieves pain for 12 hours...
On the strength of that promise, OxyContin became America’s bestselling painkiller, and Purdue reaped $31 billion in revenue.
But OxyContin’s stunning success masked a fundamental problem: The drug wears off hours early in many people...OxyContin is a chemical cousin of heroin, and when it doesn’t last, patients can experience excruciating symptoms of withdrawal, including an intense craving for the drug.
The problem offers new insight into why so many people have become addicted to OxyContin, one of the most abused pharmaceuticals in U.S. history...
The [Los Angeles] Times investigation, based on thousands of pages of confidential Purdue documents and other records, found that:
-- Purdue has known about the problem for decades...
-- The company has held fast to the claim of 12-hour relief, in part to protect its revenue...
First part of an investigative series.
[vices, the biz]
Radiocarbon dating reveals the Greenland shark reaches sexual maturity at 150 years of age, and has a lifespan of at least 400 years, making it the longest-lived vertebrate on Earth, according to a study published in the journal Science.
A recent analysis of 60 years of data reveals that cephalopod populations, including squid, octopuses, and cuttlefish, have increased globally since the 1950s.