environment

Seven toxic mini-frog species discovered in mountain cloud forests

Seven toxic mini-frog species discovered in mountain cloud forests

Seven new species of extra-tiny frog have been discovered in the Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest and shown in research published this week. The extent of what we know about the miniaturized frog genus Brachycephalus has expanded greatly, suddenly, as this paper shows 5 years of exploration revealing seven new species of the creature. Each of these frogs is very brightly colored, and each has a highly potent neurotoxin in their skin. In other words, though they may look tasty, you should not eat them.

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First Virgin Births in the Wild are No Miracle

First Virgin Births in the Wild are No Miracle

The endangered small tooth sawfish is discovered to have produced the world's first "virgin births" in the wild. When we first broke news of this wild parthenogenesis yesterday, we received a number of replies on Twitter and Facebook which suggested there was some confusion about how the process occurred. "If this really happened, it's nothing short of a miracle," said one [Name Redacted]. "This is just like those West African Frogs in Jurassic Park," said another commenter, "I can't honestly believe it." In fact while the circumstances might seem positively Hollywood, the reality of the situation is entirely scientific - proven and factual.

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Endangered sawfish enact Jurassic Park prophesy

Endangered sawfish enact Jurassic Park prophesy

Researchers find free-living parthenogenesis in the wild for the first time in history. Parthenogenesis is one type of asexual reproduction which, in this case, has a creature developing from an unfertilized egg. A female sawfish will give birth to a baby sawfish without the aid of a male sawfish. It's been observed that this type of reproduction is taking place in the wild in an area where this particular species of sawfish is endangered. In other words: "Life finds a way."

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Half of this antelope population may have been killed by rocket fuel

Half of this antelope population may have been killed by rocket fuel

A mysterious loss of life suddenly grips the remaining population of an endangered species throughout Asia. The Saiga Antelope is experiencing major loss over the past several weeks, and all in Kazakhstan. "This loss is a huge blow for saga conservation in Kazakhstan and in the world," said Kazakhstan's vice agriculture minister Erlan Nysynbaev. Scientists suggest that this scale of death in a single species is absolutely unprecedented. Why is it that in a place where more than 90% of this creature's population exists, is it dying so rapidly?

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DoD accidentally ships live anthrax to South Korea, 9 US labs

DoD accidentally ships live anthrax to South Korea, 9 US labs

The Department of Defense has revealed that it accidentally shipped live anthrax to nine labs located in the United States, as well as to a joint military based located in South Korea. No known infections among lab personnel have been reported, and the Pentagon says there is no known risk to the general population. The Centers for Disease Control is working with the Department of Defense to investigate the issue, which is said to have resulted from live samples of anthrax being shipped inadvertently from a government lab located in Dugway, Utah to the aforementioned locations.

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Eldest human ancestor has Lucy beat at 3.4 million years old

Eldest human ancestor has Lucy beat at 3.4 million years old

The fossilized remains of a jaw and teeth are discovered near the origin of the previous eldest human ancestor, Lucy. This jaw belonged to a species by the name of Australopithecus deyiremeda. This species would have existed between 3.3 and 3.5 million years ago, putting it at an age when Lucy's species Australopithecus afarensis could have walked the Earth. This oldest species is now one of three species that existed in eastern Africa more than 3 million years ago more closely related to humans than to chimps. The third was Kenyanthropus platyops, having lived in Kenya at roughly the same time.

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A scientist’s mission: LED bulbs that don’t attract bugs

A scientist’s mission: LED bulbs that don’t attract bugs

You turn on the porch light to complement your relaxing evening outdoors, only to have the light serve as a beacon for every insect in the region. The same happens in the middle of the night when you've one light on and the window screen fills with bugs hoping to get inside because of it. That can be bothersome, but in the case of mosquitos and some other insects, it could also potentially be deadly if the little bugs bring diseases with them.

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Galapagos Islands’ Wolf Volcano erupts for first time in 33 years

Galapagos Islands’ Wolf Volcano erupts for first time in 33 years

Wolf Volcano erupts on one of the Galapagos Islands for the first time in 33 years, threatening very little life in the process. While you'll see quite a few headlines today suggesting that "Darwin's Island animals are about to die," in fact this particular eruption on Isla Isabela is doing more good than harm. As with all eruptions in recent decades, this entirely natural process will destroy vegetation and very few animals - and no humans - as molten lava runs down the edge of Wolf Volcano.

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11 chameleon species newly split from one

11 chameleon species newly split from one

Fooled in the past by color variations, scientists discover the truth about this one panther chameleon: it's actually 11 different species. Using high-resolution color photographs and blood samples from a cool 324 Furcifer pardalis (panther chameleon) individuals along Madagascar's Northern coast, a team of scientists lead by Djordje Grbic from the Laboratory of Artificial and Natural Evolution in the Department of Genetics and Evolution, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland, found that variations were such that one species must split into 11. Upon questioning, these chameleon brethren had no comment on their likely shared ancestry.

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Audi makes synthetic diesel again, this time from plants

Audi makes synthetic diesel again, this time from plants

Car makers are on a quest to develop more sustainable and more environment friendly sources of power for the cars of the future. Some have, at least for the time being, resorted to using electricity instead of conventional fuel. However, even electricity has its own eco footprint. And some car makers haven't entirely given up on the advantages of fuel. That is why companies like Audi are also investing in research and development that will produce fuel using nothing but carbon dioxide or, in this case, plants.

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