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March 19, 2013
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Your World of Science News

  Top Story 
  • Scientists: Dinosaur egg fossils in Spain include 4 unexpected species
    Scientists analyzing hundreds of Spanish dinosaur egg fossils found that they include four species the researchers didn't expect to find in the region. The 70-million-year-old eggs are likely of sauropods, a four-legged dinosaur with long necks and tails. The discovery supports theories that sauropods used the area as a nesting spot and the eggs are the first known of their type in the Iberian Peninsula. Nature World News (3/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Science in the News 
  • Do shorter wings help birds avoid becoming roadkill?
    Birds with shorter wings may be more likely to avoid a deadly collision with a car, according to a study that looked at cliff swallows, which nest near roads. Researchers found that birds who perished on the road often had longer wings than those that were captured for research. The shorter wings may help the birds take off from the ground quicker and allow for more swift movements, scientists say. New Scientist (3/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Study: Earliest old-world monkeys are 12.5M years old
    Recently unearthed fossils of old-world monkeys are believed to be 12.5 million years old, making them the oldest-known ancient monkey fossils to date, scientists say. The teeth, discovered in 2006 in western Kenya, predate the previously oldest-known fossils by 3 million years and are believed to belong to an early species of colobine monkeys. Scientists say the findings, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, help connect the dots on how old-world monkeys survived and beat out competition. (3/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Scientists find a whale skeleton in Antarctic
    The remains of a whale have been found about a mile below the ocean's surface near Antarctica, the first discovery of its kind in the area. Whale skeletons, or "whale falls," are extremely rare to find, and this one is part of an ecosystem that includes at least nine species of previously unknown sea creatures. "The planet's largest animals are also a part of the ecology of the very deep ocean, providing a rich habitat of food and shelter for deep sea animals for many years after their death," said researcher Diva Amon. "Examining the remains of this southern Minke whale gives insight into how nutrients are recycled in the ocean, which may be a globally important process in our oceans." Our Amazing Planet (3/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Ancient Egyptian cemetery reveals harsh lives of its buried
    Analysis of skeletons discovered in a 3,300-year-old cemetery from an ancient Egyptian city provides insight into the tough, malnourished lifestyles of the common Egyptian from thousands of years ago. The 159 skeletons excavated from the ancient city of Amarna reveal fractures and evidence of malnourishment, suggesting the non-elite performed demanding jobs with little nutrition to sustain them. (3/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Study: 100,000-year-old skull shows signs of inbreeding
    Analysis of a 100,000-year-old human skull discovered in China found evidence of in-breeding, a practice that may have been quite common among early humans, according to a report published in the journal PLoS ONE. The Xujiayao 11, named after the site where it was found, had signs of congenital abnormalities, and likely comes from a small, isolated population of early humans. Skulls from the Pleistocene epoch, about 2.6 million to 12,000 years ago, often display signs of genetic abnormalities, reinforcing the idea that "during much of this period of human evolution, human populations were very small" and likely inbred, said the study's lead researcher Erik Trinkhaus. (3/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Computer glitch forces Mars rover back into safe mode
    Issues with the Mars Curiosity rover have forced NASA scientists to keep the machine in safe mode longer than expected. Corrupted memory files were discovered in late February on its main hard drive. Scientists readied the machine to resume normal operations but put it in standby in early March as a protection from radiation from a major solar flare. Now, the rover faces another computer error, forcing it back into safe mode. "It does mean that science has to stand down for a couple more days," said Curiosity's head scientist John Grotzinger. (3/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • "Nano-tablet" can purify water for 6 months
    A water-purifying tablet made up of nanoparticles could be key for providing access to clean water in developing countries, scientists say. The MadiDrop, developed by a nonprofit based in the University of Virginia, can disinfect water for up to six months, and researchers hope the cheap-to-produce tablet can provide clean-water access for remote rural areas. (3/15) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Energy Department resumes plutonium production for space missions
    The U.S. government has restarted production of non-military-grade plutonium, the first American-made supply in 25 years. Safety issues in the 1980s prompted the Department of Energy to shut down a nuclear reactor site in South Carolina, forcing NASA officials to buy plutonium from Russia to power its space probes. The department and NASA produced a small test supply of plutonium at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. The U.S. has yet to determine production plans and costs for any additional supplies. Reuters (3/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Research Policy Regulations 
  • Panel OKs consideration of anthrax vaccine tests on children
    A federal bioethics commission says the government can consider plans to test an anthrax vaccine in children, provided several precautions are met. The findings came after urgings from the National Biodefense Science Board in 2011 on the importance of testing the vaccine in case of a bioterrorist attack, though the idea of testing on children has been controversial. Anthrax vaccine testing on children can only be performed if risks are "minimal" -- akin to risks from getting blood drawn, the panel concluded. Testing should also start with older children before progressively moving down to younger kids. Insider blog (3/19) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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