Genetic tests confirm that a mysterious, unnamed species of beaked whale only rarely seen alive by Japanese fishermen roams the northern Pacific Ocean, according to research published this week. The testing shows the black whales, with bulbous heads and beaks like porpoises, are not dwarf varieties of more common Baird's beaked whales, a slate-gray animal. Japanese researchers sampled three black beaked whales that washed up on the north coast of Hokkaido, the country's most northern island, and wrote about them in a 2013 paper. The challenge to confirm the existence of the new animal was finding enough specimens from a wider area for testing and matching genetic samples, said Phillip Morin, a National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration research molecular biologist.
Mexico's government has launched drones to back last-ditch efforts to prevent illegal fishing activities that have led to the near extinction of the vaquita marina, the world's smallest porpoise. The navy and the environment ministry on Thursday unveiled three Arcturus T-20 unmanned aerial vehicles, armed with high-resolution cameras to police the upper Gulf of California day and night. It is the latest step taken by the government to save the vaquita, a species found only in a small area of Mexico's northwest gulf.
Astronomers say a massive hurricane on Jupiter could be heating up parts of the gas giant's upper atmosphere. The storm — known as the Great Red Spot — is more than twice the size of Earth and has been churning for over a century. Scientists from the United States and Britain say heat from the sun doesn't explain why parts of Jupiter's atmosphere are hundreds of degrees hotter than elsewhere on the planet. The phenomenon was discovered more than 40 years ago and dubbed the giant-planet "energy crisis." In a paper published online Wednesday by the journal Nature, the researchers concluded that the upper atmosphere is probably being blasted from below with sound or gravity waves. The study relied
(CNN)Scientists have discovered what's being described as the world's deepest underwater sinkhole in the South China Sea, China's state broadcaster CCTV reported. Called the "Dragon Hole" by locals, it's 987 feet (300 meters) deep, according to researchers who have spent the past year exploring the site. Scientists from the Sansha Ship Course Research Institute for Coral Protection used an underwater robot with a depth sensor to determine the size of the sinkhole. Researchers found more than 20 species of fish in the upper part of the sinkhole, which is also known as a blue hole. But below 100 meters, it is largely oxygen-free, meaning life is unlikely to survive there. A "blue hole" is a large
A streak of light seen bursting across the night sky late Wednesday was a Chinese rocket that reentered the atmosphere near California, the U.S. Strategic Command confirmed. The visual streak was the remnants from a Chinese CZ-7 rocket, which reentered the atmosphere over Northern America near California at 9:36 Pacific time, said department spokesman Lt. Colonel Martin L. O'Donnell. So far, there have been no reports of damage. The rocket was one of 16,000 man-made objects that the Joint Space Operations Center tracks in Earth’s orbit, he said. The objects usually die off in the atmosphere, which O’Donnell said would explain the glowing trail seen by many. In instances when an object does land,
By Susan Kelly CHICAGO (Reuters) - Even though many doctors see need for improvement, surgical robots are poised for big gains in operating rooms around the world. Robotic surgery has been long dominated by pioneer Intuitive Surgical Inc, which has more than 3,600 of its da Vinci machines in hospitals worldwide and said last week the number of procedures that used them jumped by 16 percent in the second quarter compared to a year earlier. The anticipated future growth - and perceived weaknesses of the current generation of robots - is attracting deep-pocketed rivals, including Medtronic Inc and a startup backed by Johnson & Johnson and Google.
An ancient potters' workshop dating back to Roman times has been discovered in Galilee, in northern Israel. The Israel Antiquities Authority announced that excavations in Shlomi, a town near the Lebanon border, have revealed a ceramic factory where storage jars and vessels for wine and oil would have been made 1,600 years ago. Archaeologists working at the site said this workshop is notable for its carefully constructed rock-cut kiln.
The likely outbreak is the first time Zika was found to be transmitted via infected mosquitoes in the continental United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed. The Florida Department of Health said that one woman and three men who had the virus likely got the infection from local mosquitoes.
The lava flow from Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano vent has attracted thousands of visitors since it began oozing down in May and finally reached the ocean this week. Keaka Hunter, a security guard patrolling the area, said about 2,000 people came to see the flow Monday night, hours before the lava entered the ocean for the first time in nearly three years. The U.S. Geological Survey is cautioning visitors about safety risks, which include flying debris and acidic plume containing fine volcanic particles that can irritate the eyes, skin and lungs.
"Have a look at that dark purple blob on the left, there." With those words, scientists aboard the Exploration Vessel Nautilus uncovered a marine mystery: a small purple orb tucked halfway under a rock off the coast of California. Researchers are so far stumped as to what the colorful, bumpy little ball might be. Their best guess is that it might be a gastropod (a mollusk such as a snail or slug that belongs to the class Gastropoda) called a pleurobranch — and possibly a new species. "None of the known species of California pleurobranch are purple," said Susan Poulton, a spokeswoman for the E/V Nautilus expeditions. [Gallery: See Images of the Mysterious Purple Orb] Oddball creature The odd little
Divers searching the wreck of a 17th-century Swedish warship on the bed of the Baltic say they have found de Brie. Sifting through the ancient timbers of the Kronan, a ship that sank in 1676 off the Swedish coast, they found not diamonds as they had hoped... but a cheese. Inside a watertight pot was a semi-firm 340-year-old "dairy product" smelling of yeast and Roquefort cheese, expedition leader Lars Einarsson told AFP on Thursday.
CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION — A U.S. spy agency satellite is safely in orbit after an 8:37 a.m. Thursday blastoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. On top of the rocket was a classified National Reconnaissance Office satellite, the third of four that United Launch Alliance is expected to launch this year. At the National Reconnaissance Office's request to preserve the mission’s secrecy, ULA blacked out its launch broadcast five minutes into the flight, after the rocket’s nose cone had separated from the spacecraft. Amateur satellite trackers who have studied National Reconnaissance Office missions believe Thursday's, labeled NROL-61, may be launching the first in a new series of communications relay satellites known as the Satellite Data System and by the code name Quasar.
China’s Defense Ministry confirmed today that it was pressing ahead with anti-missile system tests after pictures appeared on state television, depicting a successful missile intercept test conducted in 2010. According to Yang Yujun, spokesman of the People’s Republic of China’s Defence Ministry, the development of missile defense capabilities is an essential part of the country’s national security strategy. “It will improve the self-defense capability of China and is not targeting any particular country and will not affect international strategic stability,” Yujun said, adding that China would consider taking unspecified measures to maintain strategic balance in the region. China is unimpressed by Washington claims that the introduction of THAAD poses no threat to China.
According to research published Thursday in Science, red wolves and eastern wolves aren't truly wolves at all – they're coyote-wolf hybrids. That confirms something scientists had long debated: Canis lupus, the gray wolf, is actually the only wolf species in the United States. Neither the red nor the eastern wolf has any DNA that can't be tied to gray wolf or coyote origins. All three "species" are actually just gray wolf descendants with varying levels of coyote DNA. The red wolf is actually mostly coyote, according to the study, with just around a quarter of its genes coming from the gray wolf. The eastern wolf is 25 to 50 percent coyote, and even gray wolves carry some small traces of coyote
By Lisa Rapaport (Reuters Health) - Toddlers who spend a lot of time in a noisy environment may have a harder time learning to speak, a small study suggests. “Either turning off the TV and radio or turning them down may help language development,” McMillan said by email. To understand how background noise influences language development in toddlers, McMillan and colleagues did three experiments with a total of 106 kids ranging in age from 22 to 30 months.
Over the next two years, reports on its air quality remained grim. The country's air pollution levels reached their highest levels in 2015, after being on rise for the last decade. For the first time, India's air was also found to be more polluted than China's. This year, WHO revealed that the country was home to half of the world's most polluted cities.
Just this week, 14 dogs were found dead in a truck in Ohio after the vehicle's air conditioning unit failed, according to the South Bend Tribune. The incident underscores the need for owners to pay careful attention to their pets during hot weather, said Genny Carlson, executive director of the Humane Society of St. Joseph County, which is investigating the case. "This serves as a reminder for people with pets, children and elderly relatives that being in a car without proper ventilation or a working air conditioner can be dangerous, and to take the proper precautions," Carlson told the news outlet cleveland.com.
The smallest French wheat crop in more than a decade is spurring speculation the European Union’s largest producer will have to boost imports to meet its domestic and export demand. At least one French company is negotiating to bring grain from Romania as heavy rainfall in May and June damaged this year’s crop, according to a trader familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because the deal is not yet finalized. French farmers will probably harvest the smallest crop since 2003 and the outlook could still get worst, Offre & Demande Agricole said. French wheat futures for December delivery have jumped more than 7 percent since reaching this year’s low on July 1 on the Euronext exchange in Paris.
The latest El Nino weather phenomenon, which was one of the most powerful on record, has ended but could be replaced by its stormy sister La Nina in the coming months, the UN meteorological agency said Thursday. "Atmospheric indicators that had shown strong El Nino patterns early in 2016 returned to near-average in June and July," the World Meteorological Organization said. El Nino affects rainfall patterns and causes both drought and flooding.
(NEWSER) – When researchers grew concerned about underground anomalies detected near the Mayan ruins of Palenque in Mexico, they began a dig to figure out whether the pyramid was in danger of collapse. This week, researchers announced that what they found was no anomaly but rather a small canal system, reports the AP. They now think the tomb of the ancient ruler Pakal was built atop a natural spring about 700 AD, with tunnels that directed water to the esplanade in front of the temple in the hope of giving Pakal's spirit a way into the underworld. In fact, an engraving at the site reads that the dead gain entrance to the underworld in such a manner via the god Chaac, who will "will guide the
Past earthquakes that damaged ancient temples perched high in the Himalayas could be harbingers of dangerous quakes to come, new research suggests. "The supporting pillars and temple structures are tilted with respect to their original positions. The rooftop portion shows tilting or displacement. The bricks of the wall are cracked. The floor stone shows up-warping," said study co-author Mayank Joshi, a geologist with the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology in India. The area, a picturesque, tourist mountain town in Himachal Pradesh, is sandwiched between two regions where catastrophic earthquakes have killed tens of thousands of people. But researchers didn't think this area was at high risk
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When James Irwin suffered his first heart attack at age 43 — just two years after walking on the moon — NASA doctors dismissed any connection with his trip to space, during which he had experienced short spells of irregular heart rhythm. "They noted that pre-flight testing had shown Mr. Irwin to be prone to slight uneven heartbeats on occasion after exercise," according to the New York Times. But then Irwin died of a heart attack in 1991, when he was just 61. A year earlier, fellow Apollo astronaut Ron Evans died of a heart attack in his sleep at age 56. And Neil Armstrong died after complications from cardiovascular surgery in 2012. He was 82. This wouldn't be at all surprising — some 600,000
Normally, the smell of putrefying, decaying flesh wouldn't be cause for celebration, but it is today, with the blooming of the rare but stinky corpse flower at the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG). Corpse flowers bloom only once every seven to 10 years, and this is the first time that this particular plant has blossomed since the NYBG acquired it in 2007, they said. As soon as the bud began to open last night (July 28), NYBG representatives took to Twitter to announce the good news, saying, "Your eyes aren't playing tricks on you.
People will go to great lengths and try some pretty wild stuff in the name of health and life longevity, but the latest so-called "superfood" feels like it's taking the concept a little too far. Enter Cockroach Milk. Before we completely lose you and the very though of cockroaches in your cereal milk haunts your dreams, let's get down to the scientific basics.