Ship's figurehead recovered from 500-year-old wreckage near Sweden | Nefertiti's tomb may be hidden within King Tut's, researcher says | Scientists track evolution of lager yeast with DNA
August 13, 2015
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Ship's figurehead recovered from 500-year-old wreckage near Sweden
A large figurehead of a sea monster was lifted from a 15th-century warship lying on the sea floor off the coast of Sweden on Tuesday. Archaeologists are hoping to bring more of the ship to the surface. The carved wooden creature resembles a giant dog with the ears of a lion and the mouth of a crocodile that appears to be chomping down on a man, researchers said. The figurehead was salvaged from the well-preserved wreckage of the Gribshunden, which means "Grip Dog," and which sank in 1495 as a result of a fire. Discovery (8/12)
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Science in the News
Nefertiti's tomb may be hidden within King Tut's, researcher says
The mystery of Queen Nefertiti's tomb may lie within the burial chamber of her son, King Tutankhamun, according to researchers. Vertical lines seen on a scan of wall textures within King Tut's tomb hints at the presence of two hidden doors that may be an entrance to Nefertiti's long-lost resting place, according to University of Arizona archaeologist Nicholas Reeves. "We could be faced for the first time in recent history with the intact burial of an Egyptian pharaoh in the Valley of the Kings," he said. (8/12)
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Scientists track evolution of lager yeast with DNA
The evolution of yeast used in making lager beer has been charted by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The scientists have discovered that the two major lineages of lager yeast, Frohberg and Saaz, did not come from a single precursor but had separate origins. The findings were published in Molecular Biology and Evolution. Los Angeles Times (tiered subscription model) (8/12)
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Strangely social species of octopus rediscovered
An unusual species of octopus has been rediscovered and described in a study published in PLOS ONE. The Larger Pacific Striped Octopus was first discovered off the coast of Panama about 40 years ago, but it was never formally described or named. The new species is more social that other octopus species, with what researchers say is an almost romantic mating style and longer-lived females who produce eggs constantly. The Washington Post (tiered subscription model)/The Associated Press (8/12)
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Comet 67P reaches perihelion with Rosetta spacecraft on its heels
Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, with the Rosetta spacecraft in tow, passed closest to the sun in its 6.5-year orbit at around 10 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday. Researchers described the event, called perihelion, as something akin to summer solstice on Earth, saying the heat may not be at its hottest despite the proximity to the sun. "On the Earth there's a thermal lag, and that's true on the comet too. It reaches peak sunlight tomorrow, but it probably doesn't reach peak activity," said European Space Agency senior science advisor Mark McCaughrean. "We don't know exactly when that peak will be. Nobody's ever done this before." BBC (8/12)
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Study: Perfectionism, not anxiety, behind behaviors like nail biting
Body-focused repetitive behaviors like nail biting or hair pulling aren't indicative of anxiety, but perfectionism, and may help relieve boredom or frustration, according to a study published in the Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry. Researchers say their results could help therapists better treat those who suffer from these types of behaviors. (6/11)
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Online tool collects data on speaking errors
Michael Vitevitch, a psychologist at the University of Kansas, has developed an online tool to collect people's speech gaffes to better understand the science of language. The Speech Error Diary collects three kinds of mistakes: misspoken words, misheard words and words that are on the tip of one's tongue. "I hope people will see that they don't need to have a Ph.D. to be involved in and contribute to science," said Vitevitch. (8/7)
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Study suggests tau proteins aggregate after TBI
Total tau protein concentrations were significantly elevated in military personnel who reported three or more traumatic brain injuries, suggesting that accumulation of the plasma biomarker contributes to chronic neurological problems associated with TBI, according to a study published in JAMA Neurology. The findings suggest that TBI patients might benefit from early intervention to reduce tau protein aggregation, lead author Jessica Gill said. However, more research is needed to confirm plasma tau as a useful marker of brain tau pathology in mild TBI, Dr. Elaine Peskind wrote in an editorial accompanying the study. MedPage Today (free registration) (8/5)
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Funding Watch
Guppy study awarded about $899,000 from NSF
A study of guppies at Stonehill College in Easton, Mass., received an $899,000 grant from the National Science Foundation's Faculty Early Career Development Program. Bronwyn Heather Bleakley is using the guppies to study social interactions. "It will really tease apart how cooperation emerges from interactions between individuals and to what extent a partner can influence another partner's behavior," she said. The Boston Globe (tiered subscription model) (8/12)
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NIH adds funding for SGM health studies focus
Researchers who are receiving funding from the National Institutes of Health have been invited to apply for 10 grants of $100,000 each to add sexual and gender minorities to their study groups. Too little is known about the health needs of the SGM population, the NIH said in announcing the supplementary awards. Forbes (8/12)
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