Dinosaurs may have been original 'love-birds'

Washington, D.C., Jan. 8 - A new research has found that dinosaurs also engaged in mating behavior similar to modern birds.

Professor Martin Lockley led an international research team that discovered large 'scrapes' in the prehistoric Dakota sandstone of western Colorado.

These ancient scrapes are similar to a behavior known as 'nest scrape display' or 'scrape ceremonies' among modern birds, where males show off their ability by excavating pseudo nests for potential mates.

Lockley, a world-renowned expert on dinosaur footprints, found evidence of more than 50 dinosaur scrapes, some as large as bathtubs, in an area where tracks of carnivorous and herbivorous dinosaurs have also been confirmed.

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Conveying emotions can alter brain's creativity: Study

Washington D. C., Jan. 5 - A new study has found that the neural circuits associated with creativity are altered when artists attempts to convey emotions.

The research undertaken by University of California, San Francisco, suggested that creativity cannot be fully explained in terms of activation or deactivation of a fixed network of brain regions.

Rather, the researchers opined that when creative acts are linked to conveying specific emotions, the nature of the emotion strongly influences which parts of the brain's creativity network are activated and to what extent.

Lead author Charles Limb said the bottom line is that emotion matters isn't just a binary situation in which your brain works.

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Sea levels rising at more rapid rate, fear scientists

Washington D. C., Jan. 5 - A new study has found that Greenland ice sheet due to climate change is rapidly losing the ability to buffer its contribution to the rising sea levelS.

Research undertaken by scholars at the York University researchers has found that an extreme melt that occurred in 2012 caused a layer of solid ice, several meters thick, to form on top of the porous firn in the low elevation areas of the ice sheet.

Professor William Colgan, the study's co-author, said that meltwater couldn't penetrate vertically through the solid ice layer in subsequent years and instead drained along the ice sheet surface toward the ocean.

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Researchers provide insights on 'virgin birth' in snakes

Washington D.C., Jan. 5 - Researchers have recently provided intriguing insights on parthenogenesis or virgin birth in snakes.

Facultative parthenogenesis or asexual reproduction in an otherwise sexually reproducing species, appears to be quite common among snakes and may represent a potentially important feature of vertebrate evolution.

On the other hand, obligate parthogenesis when organisms exclusively reproduce through asexual means is extremely rare in snakes.

Researchers claim that this review provides the necessary first steps for investigating the origin and evolution of parthenogenesis in snakes.

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Earth had enough oxygen before animals appeared

Washington D.C., Jan. 5 - It's a known fact that oxygen is crucial for the existence of animals on Earth, but did you know that an increase in oxygen level did not apparently lead to the rise of the first animals.

A new research conducted by the University of Southern Denmark showed that 1.4 billion years ago there was enough oxygen for animals and yet over 800 million years went by before the first animals appeared on Earth.

Animals evolved by about 600 million years ago, which was late in Earth's history. The late evolution of animals and the fact that oxygen is central for animal respiration, has led to the widely promoted idea that animal evolution corresponded with a late a rise in atmospheric oxygen concentrations.

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This technique can stop Duchenne muscular dystrophy progression

Washington D. C, Jan. 4 - A new study has found that gene-editing technique can successfully put a halt to Duchenne muscular dystrophy progression.

In the research undertaken by Ut Southwestern Medical Center, scientists have found this technique could lead to one of the first successful genome editing-based treatments if efficiently and safely scaled up in DMD patients.

Researchers found that DMD, the most common and severe form of muscular dystrophy among boys, is characterised by progressive muscle degeneration and weakness. It is caused by mutations in the X-linked DMD gene that encodes the protein dystrophin.

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New ways discovered to calculate gravity pull on 'distant stars' surface

Washington D.C., Jan. 2 - A new method has been found out to measure the pull of gravity on the surface of distant stars. For distant stars with planets orbiting them, this information is key in determining whether any of those planets can harbour life.

The research has been led by University of Vienna's Thomas Kallinger and has involved UBC Professor Jaymie Matthews as well as astronomers from Germany, France and Australia.

Knowing the surface gravity of a star means essentially knowing how much you would weigh on that star.

The new method allows scientists to measure surface gravity with an accuracy of about four per cent, for stars too distant and too faint to apply current techniques.

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Human's ability to perceive melodic pitch isn't unique

Washington D.C, Dec 29 - Seems like we are not alone in how we perceive a melodic pitch as marmosets have showcased the same talent.

The specialized human ability to perceive the sound quality known as 'pitch' can no longer be listed as unique to humans. Researchers at Johns Hopkins report new behavioral evidence that marmosets, ancient monkeys, appear to use auditory cues similar to humans to distinguish between low and high notes.

The discovery infers that aspects of pitch perception may have evolved more than 40 million years ago to enable vocal communication and songlike vocalizations.

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Comet, asteroid showers caused earlier mass extinctions

Washington D.C, Dec 26 - A team of researchers has blamed comet and asteroid showers for the mass extinctions occurring over the past 260 million years.

For more than 30 years, scientists have argued about a controversial hypothesis relating to periodic mass extinctions and impact craters, caused by comet and asteroid showers, on Earth.

In their MNRAS paper, Michael Rampino, a New York University geologist, and Ken Caldeira, a scientist in the Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Ecology, offer new support linking the age of these craters with recurring mass extinctions of life, including the demise of dinosaurs. Specifically, they show a cyclical pattern over the studied period, with both impact craters and extinction events taking place every 26 million years.

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Alaska permafrost thawing sooner than expected

Washington D.C, Dec 26 - Up to a quarter of the permafrost that lies just under the ground surface in Alaska could thaw by the end of the century, according to a new study.

Using statistically modeled maps drawn from satellite data and other sources, U.S. Geological Survey scientists have projected that the near-surface permafrost that presently underlies 38 percent of boreal and arctic Alaska would be reduced by 16 to 24 percent by the end of the 21st century under widely accepted climate scenarios. Permafrost declines are more likely in central Alaska than northern Alaska.

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Now, a `super-strong` metal that is also light

Washington D.C, Dec 26 - A newly developed blend of magnesium and ceramic silicon carbide nanoparticles is likely to bring about a revolution in the production of airplanes, spacecraft and cars.

A team led by researchers from the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science has created a super-strong yet light structural metal with extremely high specific strength and modulus, or stiffness-to-weight ratio.

The new metal is composed of magnesium infused with a dense and even dispersal of ceramic silicon carbide nanoparticles. It could be used to make lighter airplanes, spacecraft, and cars, helping to improve fuel efficiency, as well as in mobile electronics and biomedical devices.

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Super-Earths harbouring 'forbidden' substances

Washington D.C, Dec. 25 - A team of scientist has found "forbidden substances" on the super-Earths.

Using mathematical models, MIPT scientists have 'looked' into the interior of super-Earths and discovered that they may contain compounds that are forbidden by the classical rules of chemistry and these substances may increase the heat transfer rate and strengthen the magnetic field on these planets.

In their latest paper, the researchers attempted to find out which compounds may be formed by silicon, oxygen, and magnesium at high pressures. These particular elements were not chosen by chance.

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Assessing activity trackers` effectiveness

Washington D. C, Dec 24 - A new study has revealed how to assess the effectiveness of the activity trackers for improving health.

The rise of wearable activity trackers, such as Fitbit, Fuelband, and Jawbone, has generated a lot of public excitement as well as interest from researchers who are enthused about the opportunities these devices may provide to monitor activity and help people lead healthier lives.

The new article notes that the traditional randomised trial designs used in health and medicine are not well suited to mobile health, and perhaps the "micro-randomised trial" can be a useful alternative.

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How math can help fight dengue fever epidemic in urban areas

Washington D. C, Dec 24 - Newly developed Susceptible- Infected- Recovered (SIR)-Network Model can help predict the dengue fever epidemic in the urban areas.

Mathematics is often implemented in healthcare and medical research. From health management to the bio-pharmaceutical fields, math modeling can be used to predict the spread of diseases, how to prevent epidemics and so much more.

The article introduces a new mathematical model which offers a simplified approach to studying the spread of the infectious virus, Dengue fever, in urban areas, specifically breaking down the epidemic dynamics across a city and its varying neighborhoods and populations.

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What keeps vultures aloft longer?

Washington D.C, Dec 24 - According to a new study, flexible soaring style keeps the vultures aloft longer.

Vultures are poor flappers and need to soar in order to fly, relying on updrafts to gain altitude. They wobble at low altitudes as well as circle high in the air.

The West Virginia University research shows how vultures use small-scale turbulence to stay aloft even when weather conditions don't favor the formation of thermals.

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