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Accessed on 11 June 2019, 0345 UTC.

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ASTRONOMY

Astronomers ‘Weigh’ NGC 4395’s Central Black Hole

NGC 4395 is located in the constellation of Canes Venatici, approximately 14 million light-years away. Image credit: Mount Lemmon Observatory / CC BY-SA 4.0.An international team of astronomers has found that the central black hole of the nearby spiral galaxy NGC 4395 has a mass of about 10,000 solar masses — about 40 times lighter than previously thought. NGC 4395 is located in the constellation of Canes Venatici, approximately 14 million light-years away. Image credit: Mount Lemmon Observatory / CC BY-SA 4.0. “The question remains open for…

ARCHAEOLOGY

Researchers Find 2.6-Million-Year-Old Oldowan Tools in Ethiopia

A large rhyolite flake at the site of Bokol Dora 1, Ethiopia. Image credit: Braun et al, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1820177116.An international team of scientists has unearthed a collection of 2.6-million-year-old systematically flaked stone tools at the site of Bokol Dora 1 (BD1) in the Ledi-Geraru area, Ethiopia. Previously, the oldest evidence for systematic stone tool production and use was 2.58 million to 2.55 million years ago. The team’s work, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests…

PALEONTOLOGY

New Herbivorous Dinosaur Species Identified in Australia: Fostoria dhimbangunmal

An artist’s reconstruction of Fostoria dhimbangunmal. Image credit: James Kuether.A new species of two-legged iguanodontian dinosaur has been identified from fossils discovered three decades ago in an opal mine in Australia. A paper describing the new species was published this week in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. An artist’s reconstruction of Fostoria dhimbangunmal. Image credit: James Kuether. The new herbivorous dinosaur, named Fostoria dhimbangunmal, roamed our…

BIOLOGY

Biologists Find Salamander-Eating Pitcher Plants in Canada

A northern pitcher plant with a trapped salamander. Image credit: M. Alex Smith.A team of biologists from the Universities of Guelph and Toronto has discovered that a species of carnivorous plant called the northern pitcher plant (Sarracenia purpurea) in Ontario’s Algonquin Park wetlands consume not just bugs but also young spotted salamanders (Ambystoma maculatum). A northern pitcher plant with a trapped salamander. Image credit: M. Alex Smith. Pitcher plants (family Sarraceniaceae)…

PHYSICS

Physicists Find Way to ‘Catch and Save’ Schrödinger’s Cat

Minev et al figured out how to catch and save Schrödinger’s famous cat, the symbol of quantum superposition and unpredictability. Image credit: Kat Stockton.Schrödinger’s cat, a thought experiment envisioned by the Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger in 1935, is a paradox that applies the concept of superposition in quantum physics to objects encountered in everyday life. The idea is that a cat is placed in a sealed box with a radioactive source and a poison that will be triggered if an atom of the radioactive substance decays. Quantum physics suggests…

MEDICINE

Study: People Who Sleep Less Than Seven Hours Show Lower Intakes of Micro- and Macronutrients

The study sheds new light on the link between sleep deprivation and obesity. Image credit: Sweet Briar College.In a new study, a team of researchers from Pharmavite LLC and Nutrition Impact LLC found that people who got fewer than seven hours of sleep per night on average consumed lower amounts of vitamins A, D, and B1, as well as magnesium, niacin, calcium, zinc and phosphorus. The scientists also found a greater number of nutrients were associated with poor sleep in women than in men. This number was reduced…

GENETICS

DNA and Protein Studies Shake Up Sloth Family Tree

Extant and extinct sloths: in the tree, going clockwise from left -- extinct West Indian sloth (Acratocnus), extant three-fingered sloth or ai (Bradypus), and extant two-fingered sloth or unau (Choloepus); from left to right on the ground are representative giant ground sloths -- Mylodon (South America), Megalonyx (North America), and Megatherium (South America). According to the new molecular studies, Bradypus is most closely related to a group that includes Megalonyx and Megatherium. Choloepus is related to Mylodon, but Acratocnus and its West Indian kin represent a separate branch that is distinct from that of all other sloths. Human for scale: 1.85 m. Image credit: Jorge Blanco.Sloths once roamed the Americas, ranging from cat-sized animals that lived in trees all the way up to giant ground sloths. The only species we know today, however, are the two- and three-fingered sloths. They seem remarkably similar, but new molecular (DNA and protein) studies estimate they last shared a common ancestor more than 30 million years ago. The authors unexpectedly discovered that the…

GEOLOGY

Scientists Find 1.2-Billion-Year-Old Impact Crater Off Coast of Scotland

An artist’s depiction of an asteroid impact. Image credit: Don Davis / NASA.A 3,300-foot- (1 km) wide asteroid struck our planet 1.2 billion years ago, according to new research published in the Journal of the Geological Society. An artist’s depiction of an asteroid impact. Image credit: Don Davis / NASA. In 2008, a team of researchers from the Universities of Oxford and Aberdeen found evidence for the ancient meteorite strike near Ullapool, Scotland. The thickness and…

OTHER SCIENCES

Study: People Who Sleep Less Than Seven Hours Show Lower Intakes of Micro- and Macronutrients

The study sheds new light on the link between sleep deprivation and obesity. Image credit: Sweet Briar College.In a new study, a team of researchers from Pharmavite LLC and Nutrition Impact LLC found that people who got fewer than seven hours of sleep per night on average consumed lower amounts of vitamins A, D, and B1, as well as magnesium, niacin, calcium, zinc and phosphorus. The scientists also found a greater number of nutrients were associated with poor sleep in women than in men. This number was reduced…

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