Will's Feed
Jan 29, 2015

Poll finds gaping chasm in views between U.S. public, scientists

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – American scientists and the general public hold vastly different views on key scientific issues including the role of people in causing climate change, the safety of genetically modified food, and evolution, a poll released on Thursday showed.

Eighty-seven percent of scientists questioned by the Pew Research Center said human activity was the main cause of global climate change, compared with 50 percent of the public.

Jan 28, 2015

Prehistoric skull a key ‘piece of the puzzle’ in story of humanity

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A partial skull retrieved from a cave in northern Israel is shedding light on a pivotal juncture in early human history when our species was trekking out of Africa to populate other parts of the world and encountered our close cousins the Neanderthals.

Scientists said on Wednesday the upper part of the skull, the domed portion without the face or jaws, was unearthed in Manot Cave in Israel’s Western Galilee. Scientific dating techniques determined the skull was about 55,000 years old.

Jan 27, 2015

Remarkable fossils push back snake origins by 65 million years

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Snakes have been slithering on Earth far longer than anyone ever realized.

Scientists on Tuesday described the four oldest-known snake fossils, the most ancient of which was a roughly 10-inch-long (25 cm) reptile called Eophis underwoodi unearthed in a quarry near Oxford, England, that lived about 167 million years ago.

Jan 22, 2015

The upper hand: study points to early tool use by human ancestors

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Human ancestors may have been capable of using tools much earlier than previously thought.

    Scientists said on Thursday an analysis of fossil hand bones of the species Australopithecus africanus that lived in southern Africa about 3 million to 2 million years ago indicated this human forerunner could use its hands in ways very much like modern people.

Jan 20, 2015

Ancient scrolls charred in Vesuvius eruption come to life

WASHINGTON, Jan 20 (Reuters) – The contents of hundreds of
papyrus scrolls that were turned into charcoal in the eruption
of Italy’s Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD – one of the great natural
disasters of antiquity – have long remained a mystery. That soon
may change.

Scientists said on Tuesday a sophisticated form of X-ray
technology has enabled them to decipher some of the writing in
the charred scrolls from a library once housed in a sumptuous
villa in ancient Herculaneum, a city that overlooked the Bay of
Naples.

Jan 15, 2015

In U.S. academia, fields that cherish sheer genius shun women

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – For academic fields whose members revere a “spark of genius” above all other qualities, there is a disquieting message at U.S. colleges and universities: women need not apply.

That’s the findings of research published on Thursday that sought to get to the bottom of why women are under-represented in a range of academic disciplines including some in science and math but also in other areas such as philosophy.

Jan 14, 2015

Plants versus ants: voracious vegetation is victorious

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A tricky insect-eating plant from Borneo is living proof that one need not have a brain to outsmart the opposition.

Scientists say the tropical carnivorous plant regularly exploits natural weather fluctuations to adjust the slipperiness of its pitfall traps in order to capture and dine on batches of ants at a time rather than individual ants.

Jan 12, 2015

Move over Nessie, Scotland gets a new prehistoric marine reptile

By Will Dunham

(Reuters) – Scotland has its very own prehistoric marine reptile – and, no, we’re not talking about Nessie, the mythic Loch Ness monster.

Scientists have announced the discovery of the fossil remains of a dolphin-like seagoing reptile on Scotland’s Isle of Skye that lived about 170 million years ago and was about 14 feet (4.3 meters) long.

Jan 8, 2015

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest monkey of all?

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – By about age 2, people can recognize their own reflections in a mirror. Great apes including chimpanzees, orangutans, bonobos and gorillas also have exhibited this key indicator of intelligence. But monkeys? Not so much.

Monkeys have consistently failed to display self-recognition in mirror experiments. But new research by Chinese scientists that underscores the simian capacity for learning showed that rhesus monkeys can be taught to recognize that the face staring back at them from the mirror is their own.

Jan 5, 2015

How to age gracefully? Ask a bowhead whale

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – To learn the secret behind aging gracefully, you may want to check out the bowhead whale, the majestic denizen of the Arctic waters that boasts a lifespan topping 200 years.

Scientists on Monday unveiled the genetic blueprint for the bowhead whale, a genome chock full of clues behind this creature’s exceptional longevity and remarkable disease resistance.