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News in Science

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  • #41
    Re: News in Science

    Global Warming Led to Dwarfism in Mammals -- Twice
    Nov. 2, 2013 — Mammal body size decreased significantly during at least two ancient global warming events. A new finding that suggests a similar outcome is possible in response to human-caused climate change, according to a University of Michigan paleontologist and his colleagues.
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    Researchers have known for years that mammals such as primates and the groups that include horses and deer became much smaller during a period of warming, called the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), about 55 million years ago.
    Now U-M paleontologist Philip Gingerich and his colleagues have found evidence that mammalian "dwarfing" also occurred during a separate, smaller global warming event that occurred about 2 million years after the PETM, around 53 million years ago.
    "The fact that it happened twice significantly increases our confidence that we're seeing cause and effect, that one interesting response to global warming in the past was a substantial decrease in body size in mammalian species," said Gingerich, a professor of earth and environmental sciences.
    The research team also includes scientists from the University of New Hampshire, Colorado College and the California Institute of Technology. The researchers are scheduled to present their findings Friday, Nov. 1, in Los Angeles at the annual meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology.
    They concluded that decreased body size "seems to be a common evolutionary response" by mammals to extreme global warming events, known as hyperthermals, "and thus may be a predictable natural response for some lineages to future global warming."
    The PETM lasted about 160,000 years, and global temperatures rose an estimated 9 to 14 degrees Fahrenheit at its peak. The smaller, later event analyzed in the latest study, known as ETM2 (Eocene Thermal Maximum 2), lasted 80,000 to 100,000 years and resulted in a peak temperature increase of about 5 degrees Fahrenheit.
    Teeth and jaw fossils of early hoofed mammals and primates that spanned this later climatic event were collected in Wyoming's Bighorn Basin, and the size of molar teeth was used as a proxy for body size. The researchers found that body size decreased during ETM2, but not as much as the dwarfism seen in PETM fossils.
    For example, the study revealed that a lineage of early horses the size of a small dog, called Hyracotherium, experienced a body-size decrease of about 19 percent during ETM2. The same horse lineage showed a body-size decrease of about 30 percent during the PETM. After both events, the animals rebounded to their pre-warming size.
    "Interestingly, the extent of mammalian dwarfism may be related to the magnitude of the hyperthermal event," said team member Abigail D'Ambrosia of the University of New Hampshire.
    An ancient ungulate called Diacodexis decreased about 20 percent in size during ETM2, and the primate Cantius decreased 8 percent.
    The burning of fossil fuels and the resulting release of heat-trapping greenhouse gases -- mainly carbon dioxide -- is blamed for present-day climate warming. The ancient warming events may have been caused by the release of seabed methane clathrates, a kind of methane ice found in ocean sediments, though this topic remains an area of active research, Gingerich said. Methane is a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, and atmospheric methane is eventually transformed into carbon dioxide and water.
    The parallels between ancient hyperthermals and modern-day warming make studies of the fossil record particularly valuable, said team member Will Clyde of the University of New Hampshire.
    "Developing a better understanding of the relationship between mammalian body size change and greenhouse gas-induced global warming during the geological past may help us predict ecological changes that may occur in response to current changes in Earth's climate," Clyde said.
    In 2006, Gingerich proposed that mammalian dwarfing could be a response to the lower nutritional value of plants grown under elevated carbon dioxide levels. Under such conditions, plants grow quickly but are less nutritious than they would normally be.
    Animals eating such plants might adapt by becoming smaller over time. Evidence from the ETM2 fossils is consistent with that hypothesis, and research on the topic is ongoing, Gingerich said.
    The research was funded by the National Science Foundation (EAR0958821), Geological Society of America, Paleontological Society and Sigma Xi.
    Hayastan or Bust.


    • #42
      Re: News in Science

      Dwarfing due to warmer climates? Lower nutritional levels of more abundant plants? Huh? "High quantity but less nutritious food makes you shorter over time"-- Go figure. Is McDonald's making us shorter, then?


      • #43
        Re: News in Science

        Originally posted by hagopn View Post
        Dwarfing due to warmer climates? Lower nutritional levels of more abundant plants? Huh? "High quantity but less nutritious food makes you shorter over time"-- Go figure. Is McDonald's making us shorter, then?
        Cold weather favors larger bodies for mamals because it is easier to generate and retain more heat when you are big. A good example is the polar bear which is the largest predator on earth and lives in the arctic. Cold climate favors large body size in mammals.
        Hayastan or Bust.


        • #44
          Re: News in Science

          Russia helped to buy new telescopes for Byurakan Observatory

          February 01, 2014 | 16:17

          YEREVAN. - Russia helped to purchase several new telescopes for the
          Byurakan Observatory.

          "This year we are going to buy large telescopes. The telescopes have
          been imported to Armenia. Some of them have been installed, while the
          rest will be placed in the near future," Arthur Baghdasaryan,
          Secretary of National Security Council, told reporters.

          A delegation of the Russian federal space agency headed by Oleg
          Ostapenko will travel to Armenia soon. During the meetings, creation
          of a joint venture "ArmRoskosmos" on the basis of the Byurakan
          Observatory will be discussed.

          Modernization of the observatory continues, Baghdasaryan said, adding
          that last year's technical assistance amounted to around 5 million

          Besides, with the support of the Russian Federation, modernization of
          geophysical observatory in Garni will be completed in 2014.

          Hayastan or Bust.


          • #45
            Re: News in Science


            02.04.2014 13:22

            The stem cell therapy Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan underwent in
            South Korea please him so much that after returning from vacation,
            he touched on this topic during his first visit abroad, reports
            local dailyZhoghovurd.

            The newspaper reports that during Sargsyan's visit to the Czech
            Republic, bilateral agreements to develop and deepen cooperation
            in several areas, one of which concerns stem cell transplants,
            were signed.

            The Haematology Center named after Professor R. Yeolyan in Armenia
            henceforth will collaborate with the Institute of Hematology and
            Blood Transfusion in Prague and innovative Czech company Full Medical
            Service in the development of technology for long-term preservation
            and use of human stem cells.
            Hayastan or Bust.


            • #46
              Re: News in Science

              Premature birth possibly caused by specific bacteria: research
              Premature birth possibly caused by specific bacteria: research
              January 9, 2014 - 10:24 AMT
              PanARMENIAN.Net - A major cause of premature birth - where waters break too soon, triggering labor - may be a specific bacteria, according to research that could lead to screening and possible treatment for women at risk of early labor, BBC News reports.
              The findings by a U.S. team, published in the journal PLOS ONE, suggest certain bacteria may lead to thinning of the membranes around the baby, causing them to tear.
              Early rupture of membranes causes almost a third of all premature births. The membranes that make up the sac that holds the baby usually break at the start of labor.
              If a mother's waters break before the baby has reached full term, the medical term is preterm premature rupture of the membranes (PPROM). If this happens early, before contractions start, it can - but does not always - trigger early labor.
              Researchers at Duke University School of Medicine have found high numbers of bacteria at the site where membranes rupture, which are linked with the thinning of membranes.
              If the bacteria are the cause rather than the consequence of early membrane rupture, it may be possible to develop new treatments or screen for women at risk, they say.
              Study author Amy Murtha, associate professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at Duke University School of Medicine, said: "For instance, if we think that certain bacteria are associated with premature rupturing of the membranes, we can screen for this bacteria early in pregnancy. We then might be able to treat affected women with antibiotics and reduce their risk for PPROM. Our research is several steps away from this, but it gives us opportunities to explore potential targeted therapeutic interventions, which we lack in obstetrics."
              The researchers examined membrane samples in 48 women who had just given birth, including those with PPROM, those who had an early birth for other reasons, and those with babies born at full term.
              The researchers found bacteria were present in all membranes, but the more bacteria present, the thinner the membranes, especially in women with PPROM.
              Commenting on the study, Dr Patrick O'Brien, from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said it had been known for a while that bacterial infection was responsible for PPROM in some women.
              He told BBC News: "We've long suspected and known that bacteria are involved in a large proportion of these women. What we really need to know now is to understand the detailed mechanism of how bacteria cause the waters to break."
              Duncan Wilbur, head of communications at the UK premature baby charity Bliss, added: "We welcome any research that helps us better understand the causes of preterm birth and identify those women at high risk. This study's findings are really interesting and more research needs to be done to find treatments that will help prevention of premature birth."
              Hayastan or Bust.


              • #47
                Re: News in Science


                April 8, 21:23

                Scientists in a north London hospital are growing ears, noses and
                blood vessels in the laboratory attempting to make body parts with
                the help of stem cells.

                While only a handful of patients have received the British lab-made
                organs so far- including tear ducts, blood vessels and windpipes -
                researchers hope they will soon be able to transplant more types of
                body parts into patients, including what would be the world's first
                nose made partly from stem cells, reports Newsmax Health.

                "It's like making a cake," said Alexander Seifalian at University
                College London, the scientist leading the effort. "We just use a
                different kind of oven."

                During a recent visit to his lab, Seifalian showed off a sophisticated
                machine used to make molds from a polymer material for various organs.

                Last year, he and his team made a nose for a British man who lost his
                to cancer. Scientists added a salt and sugar solution to the mold of
                the nose to mimic the somewhat sponge-like texture of the real thing.

                Stem cells were taken from the patient's fat and grown in the lab
                for two weeks before being used to cover the nose scaffold. Later,
                the nose was implanted into the man's forearm so that skin would grow
                to cover it.

                Seifalian said he and his team are waiting for approval from regulatory
                authorities to transfer the nose onto the patient's face but couldn't
                say when that might happen.

                Later this year, a trial is scheduled to start in India and London
                to test lab-made ears for people born without them.

                The potential applications of lab-made organs appear so promising
                even the city of London is getting involved: Seifalian's work is
                being showcased on Tuesday as Mayor Boris Johnson announces a new
                initiative to attract investment to Britain's health and science
                sectors so spin-off companies can spur commercial development of the
                pioneering research.

                The polymer material Seifalian uses for his organ scaffolds has been
                patented and he's also applied for patents for their blood vessels,
                tear ducts and windpipe.

                Seifalian estimated about 10 million pounds ($16 million) has gone
                into his research since 2005 but said he hoped lab-made organs would
                one day be available for a few hundred dollars.

                Hayastan or Bust.


                • #48
                  Re: News in Science

                  This is so cool. I hope their devices become widely used.
                  Hayastan or Bust.


                  • #49
                    Re: News in Science

                    Tree that bears 40 different fruit: magical-looking plant produces
                    varieties of peaches, plums, apricots, cherries

                    18:40 * 25.07.14

                    Incredible 'magical' trees that bear 40 different varieties of fruit have
                    been popping up all over US, the Daily Mail reports.

                    These trees - which can simultaneously produce different varieties of
                    peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines and cherries - look ordinary
                    throughout most of the year.

                    But in spring, they bloom into a stunning patchwork of colors, with each
                    tree featuring its own unique selection of stone fruit.

                    They are the work of Syracuse University sculptor and artist Sam Van Aken
                    who created the trees in an attempt to make people reconsider how food can
                    be produced.

                    The project began in 2008 when Mr Van Aken discovered that a New York state
                    orchard, which held varieties of stone fruit 200-years-old, was to be

                    In hopes of saving it, the artist bought the orchard, and soon after
                    started experimenting with something known as 'chip grafting.'

                    The process involves taking a sliver off a tree, including the bud, and
                    inserting that into a cut in the working tree.

                    The foreign tree part is then taped and left to heal over the winter. Mr
                    Van Aken explained that most stone-fruits are easily compatible.

                    What he came up with is 'The Tree of 40 Fruit', which is in fact, not one
                    tree, but a series of hybridised fruit plants.

                    So far, Mr Van Aken has created and placed 16 trees in museums, community
                    centres and private art collections around the U.S..

                    In spring, the trees blossom in shades of pink, crimson and white, and in
                    summer, they bear a range of stone fruit.

                    'I've been told by people that have [a tree] at their home that it provides
                    the perfect amount and perfect variety of fruit,' Mr Van Aken told Lauren
                    Salkeld at Epicurios.

                    'So rather than having one variety that produces more than you know what to
                    do with, it provides good amounts of each of the 40 varieties.

                    'Since all of these fruit ripen at different times, from July through
                    October, you also aren't inundated,' he said.

                    Mr Van Aken's trees can be seen in cities across the U.S., including Santa
                    Fe, New Mexico; Short Hills, New Jersey; Louisville, Kentucky and Pound
                    Ridge, New York.

                    Hayastan or Bust.


                    • #50
                      Re: News in Science


                      First female to win a Nobel prize in math. Grats!
                      Hayastan or Bust.