ScienceDaily: Top Science News, 22 Feb 2019

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Do volcanoes or an asteroid deserve blame for dinosaur extinction?

Posted: 21 Feb 2019 11:15 AM PST

Scientists have obtained more precise dates for the Deccan Traps volcanic lava flows, linking peak activity more closely to the asteroid or comet impact 66 million years ago and the coincident mass extinction. But if greenhouse gases emitted before the impact created a hothouse climate that set life up for a fall when the impact cooled the planet, those gases did not coincide with the largest lava flows from the Deccan Traps.

    

Yeasts reach across tree of life to domesticate suite of bacterial genes

Posted: 21 Feb 2019 11:14 AM PST

New research finds that some yeast picked up a whole suite of genes from bacteria that gave them the new ability to scavenge iron from their environment. It’s one of the clearest examples yet of the transfer of genes from one branch on the tree of life to another.

    

‘Goldilocks’ thinking to cut cost of fuel cells in electric vehicles

Posted: 21 Feb 2019 11:13 AM PST

Electric vehicles running on fuel cells tout zero emissions and higher efficiency, but expensive platinum is holding them back from entering a larger market. A new method increases fuel cell electrode activity at least tenfold, using 90 percent less metal.

    

Getting to the bottom of fairy circles

Posted: 21 Feb 2019 09:29 AM PST

Fairy circles are round gaps in arid grassland that are distributed very uniformly over the landscape and only occur along the Namib Desert in southern Africa and in parts of Australia. Scientists have got to the bottom of this with soil investigations and drones. The results suggest Australian fairy circles were caused by processes like the weathering of the soil by heavy rainfall, extreme heat and evaporation.

    

Origins of giant extinct New Zealand bird traced to Africa

Posted: 21 Feb 2019 08:03 AM PST

Scientists have revealed the African origins of New Zealand’s most mysterious giant flightless bird — the now extinct adzebill — showing that some of its closest living relatives are the pint-sized flufftails from Madagascar and Africa.

    

Tiny Neptune moon spotted by Hubble may have broken from larger moon

Posted: 21 Feb 2019 06:50 AM PST

After several years of analysis, a team of planetary scientists using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has at last come up with an explanation for a mysterious moon around Neptune that they discovered with Hubble in 2013.

    

Earliest example of animal nest sharing revealed by scientists

Posted: 20 Feb 2019 07:34 AM PST

An international team of scientists has shown that fossilized eggshells unearthed in western Romania represent the earliest known nest site shared by multiple animals.

    

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Until next time,

Russ Roberts

https://hawaiisciencedigest.net

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