In the forests of Costa Rica, a tiny insect has been found. Tinkerbella nana is a fairyfly that is only 250 micrometers long. It is one of the smallest arthropods ever discovered.
How could they even find such a tiny creature? The researchers admit that it was not easy given the biodiversity of the forest. “It is possibly equivalent to finding a solitary needle in 200 haystacks,” Dr John Noyes notes.
Ancient baby's teeth have revealed that Neanderthals pretty much followed today's breastfeeding guidelines. Scientists analysed a fossilised baby tooth from a Neanderthal child, and found the infant was breastfed exclusively for the first seven months of life and given supplementary foods and mother’s milk for another seven months before being weaned.
This enigmatic ant with out-of-this-world pigmentation patterns was recently found in the Philippines. The females have a black stripe across the eyes that resembles a pirate eye patch; this distinctive trait inspired the scientists to choose the name Cardiocondyla pirate, or pirate ant, for the species.
Schizophrenia has a variety of causes and a spectrum of severity of symptoms. Geneticists were able to cause schizophrenia-like symptoms by over-expressing Neuregulin-1 (NRG1). Scientists discovered that these mice not only had nearly the same symptoms as humans with schizophrenia, but they even develop the symptoms at the same stage in life. Geneticists have been able to modify the expression of NRG1 in adult mice, bringing it down to appropriate levels. This caused schizophrenia-like symptoms in these mice to disappear and behavior returned to normal. [ ... ]
Researchers from McGill University in Montreal have discovered a bacterium living in the frozen permafrost of the high Arctic. The permafrost bacterium, Planococcus halocryophilus strain Or1, grows and divides at -15°C and can even remain metabolically active at -25°C.
This bacteria is yielding clues about how extraterrestrial organisms might endure extreme conditions - as one of the things that makes it extremely hard for life to flourish in foreboding places like Mars and the moons of Saturn is the punishing cold. [ ... ]
This is the Great Blue Hole of Belize in Central America, and at 300 metres across and 124 m deep, it's thought to be the largest submarine cave on Earth. It was first discovered by French explorer Jacques Cousteau, and was formed over a period of around 140,000 years when the sea levels were much lower than they are now. As the sea levels rose, a number of limestone caves were flooded over time to create this almost perfect circle. It's now home to several species of fish and reef shark.
By manipulating chemical gradients in a beaker of fluid, the behavior of crystal growth can be controlled, creating precisely tailored structures – “flowers” at the scale of microns – that bloom in a beaker.
Though these minuscule sculptures don't resemble the cubic or jagged forms normally associated with crystals, they “bloom” from the surface of a submerged glass slide, assembling themselves one molecule at a time.
The precipitation of the crystals depends on a reaction of compounds that are diffusing through a liquid solution. The crystals grow toward or away from certain chemical gradients as the pH of the reaction shifts back and forth. The conditions of the reaction dictate whether the structure resembles broad, radiating leaves, a thi [ ... ]
The Atlas Moth, Attacus atlas, is one of the largest species of butterfly that can be kept by insect enthusiasts. The moth is beautiful and very large, but also the caterpillars look amazing. The caterpillars are green-whitish with strange soft spines on their backs. Their last feet have a bright red spot on them