Tag Archives: scientists

Scientists Accidentally Create A Plastic-Eating Enzyme

Scientists Accidentally Create A Plastic-Eating EnzymeA Japanese waste dump is an unlikely location for what may be a huge



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

Ocean's Vital Gulf Stream System Weakest In 1,600 Years, Scientists Find

Ocean's Vital Gulf Stream System Weakest In 1,600 Years, Scientists FindA key current in the planet's ocean circulatory system, including the



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

Scientists Found More Than a Million Rare Penguins in Antarctica

Scientists Found More Than a Million Rare Penguins in AntarcticaExperts found hundreds of thousands of birds nesting in the rocky soil



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

Scientists Just Got Their First Look at Light From the Universe’s First Stars

Scientists Just Got Their First Look at Light From the Universe’s First StarsThe discovery could unlock the key to elusive 'dark matter'



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

Scientists uncover a signal sent out by the first stars in the universe

Scientists uncover a signal sent out by the first stars in the universeFor millions of years after the Big Bang, the universe was a cold place filled with hydrogen and helium created at the dawn of the universe.  And then, suddenly, there was light. For the first time, a team of astronomers think they've detected a signal from some of the first stars that formed less than 180 million years after the Big Bang.  Two new studies published in the journal
Nature this week detail new evidence about when those stars formed after the Big Bang.  SEE ALSO: Mysterious cosmic radio burst spotted in real time from Australia The new work also opens up questions about those early eons after the universe came to be, and may even reveal cracks in our understanding of physics.  The researchers behind the new work didn't directly see those first stars bursting into being, but they did detect a faint signal showing hydrogen gas interacting with those first stars, effectively allowing the gas to be seen at various radio frequencies.  A timeline of the universe.Image: N.R.Fuller, National Science Foundation"Finding this miniscule signal has opened a new window on the early universe,” astronomer Judd Bowman of the University of Arizona, and lead author of one of the new studies said in a statement. "Telescopes cannot see far enough to directly image such ancient stars, but we've seen when they turned on in radio waves arriving from space," he said. How they did it Bowman and his team made these measurements thanks to a small radio antenna in Australia, called EDGES, which was able to detect the faint signals from the first stars because of its remote location, far from radio signals created by humans.  What Bowman and his colleagues saw in the data appeared to confirm that those first stars formed just 180 million years after the Big Bang.  The appearance of the radio waves also seems to match the way that signal is expected to look, according to theoretical models, the study says.  “The signature of this absorption feature is uniquely associated with the first stars,” Haystack Observatory director Colin Lonsdale, who is not an author of the study but does work on instrumentation that enabled it, said in a statement.  “Those stars are the most plausible source of radiation that would produce this signal.” The research team initially looked for the signal in a different radio wavelength, and when it wasn't found, they moved to another wavelength, where they did find that tell-tale signal created by hydrogen.  Breaking physics as we know it The new research could also have some bearing on how we understand dark matter — the mysterious form of matter that hasn't been directly observed but seems to dominate 85 percent of the matter in our universe.  In theory, dark matter shouldn't interact with regular matter, but the new study shows evidence that the hydrogen that dominated the early universe was actually much colder than expected, possibly implying that dark matter could have interacted with that early gas.  In short, the new dark matter conclusions — detailed by Tel Aviv University astronomer Rennan Barkana in a separate study — could break physics as we understand it, if validated. "So far we detected dark matter only through its gravitational effect on visible matter (stars and gas). The existence of some other coupling would indicate new physics and help decipher the enigmatic nature of dark matter," Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics astrophysicist Avi Loeb said via email.  "It is possible, for example, that some fraction of the dark matter has a slight electric charge, so small that we would never detect it in environments other than the cosmic dawn," Loeb, who wasn't associated with the study, added.  What's next? That said, this work is far from over.  Scientists will have a long future in front of them filled with astrophysics experiments that will hopefully help figure out exactly what's going on with this data.  EDGES ground-based radio spectrometer, CSIRO’s Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory in Western Australia.Image: CSIRO Australia"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence," Loeb said.  "The key for future research on this exciting frontier of the cosmic dawn would be to test the Bowman et al. result with other independent experiments." Those new experiments should be coming online in the coming years as well.  While the new studies effectively detail the results from looking at this hydrogen signal in one dimension, other observatories like the Square Kilometre Array will be able to look at that signal in 3D, according to Loeb, hopefully illuminating exactly what was going on in that early epoch of the universe.  "We should be guided by additional experiments. With future observations we will not only test the reality of the Bowman et al. signal but also be able to map the hydrogen in three dimensions…" Loeb said.  "The details of future data will reveal whether there is excess cooling and if so whether it originates from the coupling between dark matter and hydrogen." WATCH: Finding alien life won't cause chaos and panic, according to scientists



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

Scientists reveal 10,000-year-old British man had dark skin and blue eyes

Scientists reveal 10,000-year-old British man had dark skin and blue eyesThe face of a 10,000-year-old British skeleton nicknamed "Cheddar Man" has been revealed after research carried out by a team of scientists at London's Natural History Museum. SEE ALSO: Scientists have discovered spiders with tails because nightmares are real The team, which specialises in evolution and DNA, worked with model-makers and professors at University College London to build a picture of what the man behind the skeleton would actually have looked like. It was found in Cheddar Gorge, Somerset back in 1903, hence the name. Here's the skull of Cheddar Man: Part of Cheddar Man's skeleton, found in some caves in the UK over a century ago.Image: the trustees of the natural history museum, londonAnd here's the reconstruction: Scientists found that Cheddar Man would have had a darker skin pigmentation than previously suspected.Image: the trustees of the natural history museum, london“Cheddar Man is one of the oldest human specimens that we’ve worked with, and yet the preservation of DNA has been good enough to recover huge amounts of information about his appearance and ancestry," said Professor Ian Barnes, Research Leader in Ancient DNA at the Natural History Museum, in a press release sent to
Mashable. The method used to recreate Cheddar Man's face is pretty complicated and science-y, but in a nutshell it went something like this: scientists obtained some bone powder by drilling into the skull, which contained enough genetic info to allow them to reconstruct the face; 3D printing technology was then used to construct the head pictured above. “I first studied ‘Cheddar Man’ more than 40 years ago, but could never have believed that we would one day have his whole genome – the oldest British one to date!" said Professor Chris Tringer, Research Lead in Human Origins at the Natural History Museum.  "To go beyond what the bones tell us and get a scientifically-based picture of what he actually looked like is a remarkable (and from the results quite surprising!) achievement.”
Channel 4 are releasing a documentary about Cheddar Man and the reconstruction titled 'First Brit: Secrets of the 10,000 Year Old Man'. It airs Sunday 18 February. WATCH: This graphite skeleton is literally drawing itself to death



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

Listen to a captive killer whale named 'Wikie' mimic 'hello' back to scientists

Listen to a captive killer whale named 'Wikie' mimic 'hello' back to scientistsIn 2014, scientists hauled their recording equipment into Marineland, an aquatic theme park located in the French resort town of Antibes. They wanted to see if a 14-year old orca whale living there, named Wikie, could listen to a huge diversity of sounds — from humans, elephants, and whales — and then mimic these noises back. The experiment was designed to test the hypothesis,  supported by other studies, that killer whales and other cetaceans learn sounds in social settings.  According to their research, published today in the journal
Proceedings of the Royal Society B, Wikie successfully copied these sounds back to the researchers — although there's certainly no evidence she was ever truly "talking." SEE ALSO: Cloned monkeys born in Chinese lab pave way for new medical studies The team of scientists, which included neuroscientists and evolutionary researchers, wrote that their "main objective was to test whether the killer whales were capable of learning novel sounds through imitative learning…" Below is a recording of Wikie mimicking the sound of "hello," as spoken to her by trainers: Previously, sea-faring scientists documented different pods of wild whales using their own culturally distinct "vocal dialects" to communicate. Now, thanks to this new study, there's some direct experimental evidence about how these regional whale dialects may develop.  After seeing Wikie's ability to mimic a rich diversity of sounds, the researchers suggest that these intelligent animals can master their unique vocalizations through "social learning" — in other words, hanging out with each other and mimicking each others' sound and language.  While it’s still very much a mystery how different killer whales in disparate parts of the sea pass along unique sounds to their respective clans, they might be mimicking each other, similar to Wikie imitating the sounds of human voices. Wikie, though, has never seen the ocean, having spent her life in captivity at Marineland for nearly 18 years. According to the Marineland website, she's no longer performing alongside human trainers after an incident in which she "pushed a trainer underwater." Her captivity, while controversial —- SeaWorld announced in 2016 that it's completely phasing out its captive orca program — did afford the research team an opportunity to study whale intelligence and language. Not only was Wikie in a controlled environment, but as a trained whale, she could be instructed to listen to the researcher’s sounds. Three different set-ups were used to observe Wikie's behavior in the Marineland pool. This included Wikie responding to live sounds made by her son, Moana, as well as mimicking some never-heard-before sounds played through a speaker.   Image: royal society publishing The great limitation in this research, of course, is that only one whale was studied, and a trained whale at that. If more killer whales can be observed mimicking sounds, we'll know that this isn't simply a fluke — meaning just Wikie's unique ability to mimic sound.  Future opportunities to perform these studies in controlled settings, however, will grow increasingly limited as more theme parks, like SeaWorld, shutter their captive killer whale programs in response to public pressure. This means that scientists will need to seek answers to the many remaining questions by saying hello to these intelligent creatures in the wild. WATCH: Veterinarians are using fish skin to help heal bear paw burns from wildfires  



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

Scientists successfully clone monkeys; are humans up next?

Scientists successfully clone monkeys; are humans up next?NEW YORK (AP) — For the first time, researchers have used the cloning technique that produced Dolly the sheep to create healthy monkeys, bringing science an important step closer to being able to do the same with humans.



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

Adulthood now begins at 24, say scientists as young people delay work, marriage and families 

Adulthood now begins at 24, say scientists as young people delay work, marriage and families Adulthood does not begin until 24, scientists have concluded because young people are continuing their education for longer and delaying marriage and parenthood. The traditional definition for adolescence is currently between and the ages of 10 and 19, which marked the beginnings of puberty and the perceived end of biological growth. But, writing in the Lancet Child & Adolescent Health, scientists from the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne argue the timings needs to be changed. They point to the fact that the brain continues to mature beyond the age of 20, and many people’s wisdom teeth do not come through until the age of 25. And people are also getting married and having children later, with the average man entering their first marriage aged 32.5 and women 30.6, an increase of eight years since the 1970s. Families have changed significantly since the 1970s Credit:  Fox Photos Lead author Prof Susan Sawyer, said delays in young people leaving education, settling down and becoming parents, showed adolescence was now longer and argued that policies that support youth should be extended beyond teenage years. Countries such as New Zealand already treat children who have been in care as vulnerable until they are 25, allowing them the same rights as youngsters “Age definitions are always arbitrary,” she said, but “our current definition of adolescence is overly restricted.” “The ages of 10-24 years are a better fit with the development of adolescents nowadays.” However other academics argued that just because young people were unmarried or still in education did not mean they were not fully functioning adults. But Dr Jan Macvarish, a parenting sociologist at the University of Kent, told the BBC: “There is nothing inevitably infantilising about spending your early 20s in higher education or experimenting in the world of work. “Society should maintain the highest possible expectations of the next generation.” Prof Sawyer also admits there could be downsides to he plan, particularly if youngsters were no longer seen as responsible or capable of full engagement in society until they were 24. "Such a view would risk disenfranchising adolescents and undermines their rights to fully participate in society," she added.



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

Scientists Observe Rare Supermassive Black Hole 'Double Belch'

Scientists Observe Rare Supermassive Black Hole 'Double Belch'The action has rarely been observed before



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines