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My picks from ScienceDaily


How Did Turtles Get Their Shells? Oldest Known Turtle Fossil, 220 Million Years Old, Give Clues:

With hard bony shells to shelter and protect them, turtles are unique and have long posed a mystery to scientists who wonder how such an elegant body structure came to be. Since the age of dinosaurs, turtles have looked pretty much as they do now with their shells intact, and scientists lacked conclusive evidence to support competing evolutionary theories. Now with the discovery in China of the oldest known turtle fossil, estimated at 220- million-years-old, scientists have a clearer picture of how the turtle got its shell.

Plate Tectonics Started Over 4 Billion Years Ago, Geochemists Report:

A new picture of the early Earth is emerging, including the surprising finding that plate tectonics may have started more than 4 billion years ago — much earlier than scientists had believed, according to new research by UCLA geochemists reported Nov. 27 in the journal Nature.

A Good Ear: Rats Identify Specific Sounds In Noisy Environments:

A study conducted on hundreds of rats could help us understand how the brain identifies specific sounds in a noisy environment. The investigation, soon to be published in the journal Brain, was conducted by Alex Martin of the Université de Montréal Department of Psychology.

200-year-old Scientific Debate Involving Visual Illusions Solved:

Neuroscientists at Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center have discovered a direct link between eye motions and the perception of illusory motion that solves a 200-year-old debate.

26 Percent Of Sleepless Children Become Overweight:

Between the ages of six months and six years old, close to 90 percent of children have at least one sleep-related problem. Among the most common issues are night terrors, teeth-grinding and bed-wetting.

Prejudice Affects Perception Of Ethnic Minority Faces:

Prejudice can be a powerful influence, biasing the way we think about and act towards ethnic minorities. Now, a new study suggests that this bias even influences what people believe the faces of members belonging to specific ethnic minority groups look like.

Humpback Whales’ Dining Habits And Energy Costs Of Feasting On Tiny Prey, Revealed:

As most American families sit down to Thanksgiving dinner, a University of British Columbia researcher is revealing how one of the largest animals on earth feasts on the smallest of prey – and at what cost.

Developing A Global Antidote For Snake Bites: 100,000 People Die From Snake Bites Each Year:

The world’s leading authorities on snake bite recently assembled in Melbourne to launch a Global Snake Bite Initiative aimed at raising the profile and developing practical solutions to prevent and treat what is one of the world’s most neglected tropical conditions.

Increased Irrigation In Wetland Linked To Reduction Of Tenebrionid Beetles:

Hydrological changes over the past 24 years in the Mar Menor, including increased irrigation, are altering habitats and biological communities of the wetland area. Researchers from the University of Murcia and the Miguel Hernández University have studied tenebrionid beetles and how their numbers have declined as a result of increased ground moisture and salinity.

Two From One: Evolution Of Genders From Hermaphroditic Ancestors Mapped Out:

Research from the University of Pittsburgh published in the Nov. 20 edition of the journal Heredity could finally provide evidence of the first stages of the evolution of separate sexes, a theory that holds that males and females developed from hermaphroditic ancestors. These early stages are not completely understood because the majority of animal species developed into the arguably less titillating separate-sex state too long ago for scientists to observe the transition.