Discoveries

Spinosaurus appears to have been toothy and semi-aquatic; but don’t call it a crocoduck

Ibrahim (left) and Sereno with Spinosaurus

Previously-known Spinosaurus was a dinosaur that blew my mind. I couldn’t figure out the deal with the sail and the ultra-long snout. Turns out it had more surprises in store. Scientists report first semiaquatic dinosaur, Spinosaurus: Massive predator was more than 9 feet longer than largest T. rex — ScienceDaily. Scientists today unveiled what appears…

Newly described animals do not fit into known phylum

Dried Dendrogramma gen. nov., all 15 paratypes of D. enigmatica and (with *) D. discoides. From doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0102976.g001

A new kind of animal, Dendrogramma, looks like a mushroom but does not fit into either the jellyfish or comb jelly family. It resembles fossils of some very ancient fauna. Their discovery could change the way scientists currently think organisms evolved. New Deep-Sea Animal Species Look Like Mushrooms but Defy Classification. The tiny animals, less…

Mystery of moving rocks of Racetrack Playa solved by science

GPS-instrumented rock with its rock trail.

Mystery of mysterious moving rocks is solved. Actually, it was solved a while ago. It’s just finally published. The research is public access and it is WONDERFUL. This is a fantastic piece everyone should read to note how methodically, carefully and thororoughly experiments must be planned and executed to get reliable, convincing results. There was…

Huge surface fracture in Mexico worries locals and surprises scientists

hermosillo crack

A nearly one kilometer long gash has appeared in a remote farm area of Hermosillo Mexico leaving locals concerned and the rest of us amazed at the footage. Giant crack in Mexico seen by drone raises earthquake fears | News.com.au. The eight-metre deep trench opened up last week and severed Highway 26 between Hermosillo and…

Mystery lake appears in Tunisia, may be radioactive

Gafsa_mystery_lake_Tunisia

It’s not everyday that a lovely lake appears in the middle of the desert. For good reason… Mystery as ‘lake’ appears in middle of Tunisian desert and becomes overnight tourist attraction. A mysterious lake that appeared suddenly in the Tunisian desert has created an impromptu “beach” in the drought-ridden country. No explanation has been given…

Human-like depictions in Indian cave art? Nope, aliens.

India alien paintings

I need a shortcut name for these ridiculous evidence-devoid stories that make you scratch your head as to WHY it would be printed in any media outlet except as a joke. In this story, the depictions must be aliens because… because… it makes for a snappy headline. Who needs evidence? 10,000-year-old rock paintings depicting aliens…

Discovered four-winged dinosaur was largest flier of its type at more than quadruple usual weight

Microraptor from Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 2.0)

This is rather exciting news for feathered dinosaur fans (who could probably use a win lately). A new species of feathered dinosaur has been discovered, and it is the largest four-winged flier yet known. Changyuraptor, Large Species of Flying Dinosaur, Is Discovered (New York Times): The new species, Changyuraptor, found in northeastern China, was four feet…

The giant Siberian hole: Yep, media does a crap job reporting (Update)

Closer look at the pockmarked surface of Yamal peninsula, Siberia

Oh man, I really hate to start the day with such an awful excuse for a headline. ‘Bottomless’ pit baffles scientists | New York Post. A huge, mysterious crater spotted in remote Siberia has scientists scrambling for answers: Was it a meteor? Was it a weapon? Or was it an explosive sign of global warming?…

Fantastic purple siphonophore – It’s like weirdo, man

Siphonophore discovered by the Nautilus expedition. Screen capture from video.

What a fantastically weird animal captured by the Nautilus – a remotely operated vehicle taking video and photos of the underwater conditions and whatever they find moving down there. See and hear the scientists describe this bizarre colony of organisms operating as a single unit. The public hardly knows anything about siphonophores. Now YOU know. Amazing purple…

Gender bruhaha over female storm names

Hurricane Sandy impacts the ENTIRE Eastern U.S.

So, this caused a kerfuffle yesterday on the internet. A study regarding a gender bias turned into a debate about sexism and misogyny. Female hurricanes are deadlier than male hurricanes. Meteorologists and geoscientists have called for greater consideration of social science factors that predict responses to natural hazards. We answer this call by highlighting the…

Physicists plan to make photons matter (and no, it’s not a Star Trek replicator)…

A Feynman diagram of an electron and positron exchanging a photon, by JabberWok at Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Professor Stephen Rose and his research team at Imperial College London have designed an experimental test of a 1934 model by Breit and Wheeler, which would provide empirical verification of the process’s ability to create matter from photons. UK discovery ‘starts race’ to turn light into matter (BBC News): Breit and Wheeler’s theoretical prediction [...] that…