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Daily Archives: March 5, 2012
Paleontologists have traced the origins of humans and other vertebrates to a worm that swam in the oceans half a billion years ago, said a study published Monday. A new analysis of fossils unearthed in the Canadian Rockies determined that the extinct Pikaia gracilens is the most primitive known member of the chordate family, which today includes fish, amphibians, birds, reptiles and mammals. The research published in the British scientific journal Biological Reviews identified a notochord or rod that would become part … Continue reading
Ferdinand Magellan was a Portuguese-born navigator and one of the great explorers of his era – the first European to cross the Pacific Ocean, he also played a crucial role in the first circumnavigation of the world. He was born in 1480 into a noble Portuguese family. His parents died when he was still a boy and he became a court page in Lisbon. In 1505, he enlisted in the fleet of the Portuguese viceroy to the Indies, and spent … Continue reading
Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists and an international research team have announced discovery of molecular oxygen ions (O2+) in the upper-most atmosphere of Dione, one of the 62 known moons orbiting the ringed planet. The research appeared recently in Geophysical Research Letters and was made possible via instruments aboard NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, which was launched in 1997. Dione — discovered in 1684 by astronomer Giovanni Cassini (after whom the spacecraft was named) — orbits Saturn at roughly the same distance … Continue reading
In nature, how do host species survive parasite attacks? This has not been well understood, until now. A new mathematical model shows that when a host and its parasite each have multiple traits governing their interaction, the host has a unique evolutionary advantage that helps it survive. The results are important because they might help explain how humans as well as plants and animals evolve to withstand parasite onslaught. Evolutionary theory suggests that parasites and pathogens should evolve more rapidly than … Continue reading