By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - If you want to know the secret behind the success of Tyrannosaurus rex and its meat-eating dinosaur cousins, look no further than their teeth. Scientists on Tuesday unveiled a comprehensive analysis of the teeth of the group of carnivorous dinosaurs called theropods, detailing a unique serrated structure that let them chomp efficiently through the flesh and bones of large prey. Theropods included the largest land predators in Earth's history.
By Ed Stoddard KROMDRAAI, South Africa (Reuters) - Crouched in a shallow square grid dug into the red African earth, American graduate student Sarah Edlund uses a hand brush to scrape soil into a dustpan. "We have found a lot of quartz and this is important because it is not natural to this area ... It must have been brought here," Edlund said as she topped up her bucket with soil before taking it to a sifting device, where the dirt is separated from the quartz and other potential scientific treasures. "In this area we have what are mostly called scrapers, a certain form of stone tool," said Travis Pickering, a professor of anthropology at the University of Wisconsin.
By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - A stunning silhouette of Pluto taken by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft after it shot past the icy orb last week show an extensive layer of atmospheric haze, while close-up pictures of the ground reveal flows of nitrogen ice, scientists said on Friday. New Horizons became the first spacecraft to visit Pluto and its entourage of moons and so far has returned about 5 percent of the pictures and science data collected in the days leading up to, during and immediately following the July 14 flyby. The latest batch of images includes a backlit view of Pluto with sun, located more than 3 billion miles away, shining around and through the planet’s atmosphere.
By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - A planet believed to be remarkably similar to Earth has been discovered orbiting a distant sun-like star, bolstering hopes of finding life elsewhere in the universe, U.S. scientists said on Thursday. The planet, which is about 60 percent bigger than Earth, is located 1,400 light years away in the constellation Cygnus. It was discovered by astronomers using NASA’s Kepler space telescope and circles a star that is similar in size and temperature to the sun, but older.
The tiny implant, smaller than the width of a human hair, let the scientists determine the path a mouse walks using a remote control to inject drugs and shine lights on neurons inside the brain. Neuroscientists have until now been limited to injecting drugs through larger tubes and delivering photostimulation through fiber-optic cables, both of which require surgery that can damage the brain and restrict an animal's natural movements. The optofluidic implant developed by the team from Washington University School of Medicine and the University of Illinois was found to damage and displace much less brain tissue than the metal tubes, or cannulas, scientists typically use to inject drugs.