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Centipede Bursts from Snake's Stomach

Centipede Bursts from Snake's StomachA group of researchers stumbled upon a grisly scene during a field study in Macedonia last year: a dead nose-horned viper with a centipede's head sticking out of its ruptured abdomen. The unfortunate nose-horned viper (Vipera ammodytes) was a young female that stretched about 2 inches longer than the centipede (7.9 vs. 6 inches, or 20.3 vs. 15.4 centimeters).


Posted on 17 April 2014 | 9:02 am

4 New 'Killer Sponges' Discovered in Pacific

4 New 'Killer Sponges' Discovered in PacificThese sponges — though they look like fuzzy twigs — are killers. Four new species of carnivorous sponges that prey on shrimplike amphipods and other small animals were discovered in deep waters off the Pacific coast of North America, scientists announced. "To keep beating the whiplike tails of the choanocytes takes a lot of energy," study author Lonny Lundsten, a biologist with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, said in a statement. So these sponges trap larger, more nutrient-dense organisms, like crustaceans, using beautiful and intricate microscopic hooks."


Posted on 17 April 2014 | 8:49 am

Body Slam This! Ancient Wrestling Match Was Fixed

Body Slam This! Ancient Wrestling Match Was FixedResearchers have deciphered a Greek document that shows an ancient wrestling match was fixed. In the contract, the father of a wrestler named Nicantinous agrees to pay a bribe to the guarantors (likely the trainers) of another wrestler named Demetrius. Both wrestlers were set to compete in the final wrestling match of the 138th Great Antinoeia, an important series of regional games held along with a religious festival in Antinopolis, in Egypt. The contract stipulates that Demetrius "when competing in the competition for the boy [wrestlers], to fall three times and yield," and in return would receive "three thousand eight hundred drachmas of silver of old coinage …"


Posted on 17 April 2014 | 8:45 am

Mars Puts on Dazzling Show for Amateur Astronomers (Photos)

Mars Puts on Dazzling Show for Amateur Astronomers (Photos)A cosmic alignment between Earth and Mars is giving stargazers eye-popping views of the Red Planet.


Posted on 17 April 2014 | 8:32 am

NASA Wants Ideas to Recycle Precious Oxygen on Deep-Space Voyages

NASA Wants Ideas to Recycle Precious Oxygen on Deep-Space VoyagesWhen humans leave Earth to explore planets like Mars and other hostile environments in outer space, they'll need to supply their own breathable oxygen. But as Michael Gazarik, associate administrator of NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate, says, "You just can't bring all the air with you." In a call with reporters Wednesday (April 16), Gazarik said the ability to recycle oxygen will be critical for future manned missions. NASA already has systems in place on the International Space Station to recycle around 40 percent of the astronauts' air supply, Gazarik said, but NASA is looking for new technology that can increase the oxygen recovery rate to at least 75 percent.


Posted on 17 April 2014 | 8:32 am

China rejections of GMO U.S. corn cost up to $2.9 billion: group

By Tom Polansek CHICAGO (Reuters) - China's rejections of a banned variety of genetically modified U.S. corn have cost the U.S. agriculture industry up to $2.9 billion, a grain group said on Wednesday in the first estimate on losses from the trade disruptions. The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) estimated in a report that rejections of shipments containing Syngenta AG's Agrisure Viptera corn resulted in losses of at least $1 billion, based on an economic analysis that included data supplied by top global grain exporters. China, the world's third-biggest corn buyer, in November began rejecting corn containing Viptera, known as MIR 162, after previously accepting the grain. "It obviously is a significant cost when you add up the producer losses and the cost to exporters and others in the value chain," NGFA President Randy Gordon said about the rejections in a telephone interview.

Posted on 16 April 2014 | 7:37 pm

Jaws, the prequel: Scientists find the 'Model T Ford' of sharks

By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - You've heard of the Model T Ford, the famed early 20th-century automobile that was the forerunner of the modern car. Scientists on Wednesday announced the discovery of the impeccably preserved fossilized remains of a shark that lived 325 million years ago in what is now Arkansas, complete with a series of cartilage arches that supported its gills and jaws. Because shark skeletons are made of soft cartilage, not hard bone, finding anything more than scrappy fossilized remains of teeth and vertebrae is rare. Finding a fossil shark in an almost three-dimensional state of preservation, boasting important skeletal structures, is exceptional.

Posted on 16 April 2014 | 7:06 pm

Jaws, the prequel: Scientists find the 'Model T Ford' of sharks

A Chinese tourist takes a photograph of a shark swimming towards him at the Sydney AquariumBy Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - You've heard of the Model T Ford, the famed early 20th-century automobile that was the forerunner of the modern car. Scientists on Wednesday announced the discovery of the impeccably preserved fossilized remains of a shark that lived 325 million years ago in what is now Arkansas, complete with a series of cartilage arches that supported its gills and jaws. Because shark skeletons are made of soft cartilage, not hard bone, finding anything more than scrappy fossilized remains of teeth and vertebrae is rare. Finding a fossil shark in an almost three-dimensional state of preservation, boasting important skeletal structures, is exceptional.


Posted on 16 April 2014 | 6:54 pm

Oh baby: Scientists find protein that lets egg and sperm hook up

Doctor Katarzyna Koziol injects sperm directly into an egg during IVF procedure called Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection at Novum clinic in WarsawIf you really want to learn how babies are made, you need to know about Juno and Izumo. Fertilization takes place when an egg cell and a sperm cell recognize one another and fuse to form an embryo. Researchers said on Wednesday they have identified a protein on the egg cell's surface that interacts with another protein on the surface of a sperm cell, allowing the two cells to join. This protein, dubbed Juno in honor of the ancient Roman goddess of fertility and marriage, and its counterpart in sperm, named Izumo after a Japanese marriage shrine, are essential for reproduction in mammals including people, they said.


Posted on 16 April 2014 | 4:59 pm

Oh baby: Scientists find protein that lets egg and sperm hook up

Doctor Katarzyna Koziol injects sperm directly into an egg during IVF procedure called Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection at Novum clinic in WarsawIf you really want to learn how babies are made, you need to know about Juno and Izumo. Fertilization takes place when an egg cell and a sperm cell recognize one another and fuse to form an embryo. Researchers said on Wednesday they have identified a protein on the egg cell's surface that interacts with another protein on the surface of a sperm cell, allowing the two cells to join. This protein, dubbed Juno in honor of the ancient Roman goddess of fertility and marriage, and its counterpart in sperm, named Izumo after a Japanese marriage shrine, are essential for reproduction in mammals including people, they said.


Posted on 16 April 2014 | 3:48 pm