20 August 2010

Science online, older than we thought edition

A little brown bat covered with the white nose fungus. Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Northeast Region.
  • First Ginsu salesman still millions of years away, though. Newly discovered bones bear scratch marks that could have been made by flaked stone cutting tools 3.4 million years ago—more than 800 thousand years earlier than previous evidence of such toolmaking by human ancestors. (Greg Laden's Blog, Not Exactly Rocket Science)
  • I thought they said it had all magically disappeared? As much as 70% of the oil spilled by the now-plugged Deepwater Horizon well is still out there, somewhere. In fact, it's probably suspended in the deep ocean, where microbes expected to break down oil may take months to finish it off. (Deep Sea News, Wired Science)
  • Thesis, antithesis. Synthesis! Razib Khan describes how R.A. Fisher united Mendelian genetics and quantitative trait theory into a single mathematical model. (Gene Expression)
  • Really? Life doesn't look a day over 640 million. New 650-million-year-old fossils may be the oldest examples of animal life. (Science Daily, Highly Allochthonous)
  • Being pecked to death never looked so unpleasant. Stress analysis of terror bird skulls suggest they killed prey by repeatedly stabbing it with the dagger-like tip of their beaks. (Not Exactly Rocket Science)
  • Is there an HVAC engineer in the house? We might be able to save bats from white-nose syndrome by heating their hibernation caves. (Wild Muse)
And now, via Ed Yong and BoingBoing, Humbolt penguins chasing a butterfly:

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