Magical, marvelous Monday is here one more time and the opportunity for science talk is upon us all. Time to brighten your day with selections from science sites around the globe. New discoveries, new takes on old knowledge, and other bits of news are all available for the perusing in today's information world. Today's tidbits include an odd carnivorous dinosaur from Madagascar, a dinosaur egg study supports an evolutionary link between birds and dinosaurs, scientists see nanoparticles form real structures in real time, and gold nanoparticles found in everyday materials can inhibit fat storage and accelerate aging.
Pull up that comfy chair and grab a spot near the window. There is always plenty of room for everyone. Another session of Dr. Possum's science education, entertainment, and potluck discussion is set to begin.
The first new dinosaur species from Madagascar in decades fills some gaps in the fossil record.
Dahalokely tokana (pronounced “dah-HAH-loo-KAY-lee too-KAH-nah”) is estimated to have been between nine and 14 feet long, and it lived around 90 million years ago. Dahalokely belongs to a group called abelisauroids, carnivorous dinosaurs common to the southern continents. Up to this point, no dinosaur remains from between 165 and 70 million years ago could be identified to the species level in Madagascar–a 95 million year gap in the fossil record. Dahalokely shortens this gap by 20 million years.Finding a small North American dinosaur that hatched its eggs like birds supports an evolutionary relationship between dinosaurs and birds.
The fossils of Dahalokely were excavated in 2007 and 2010, near the city of Antsiranana (Diego-Suarez) in northernmost Madagascar. Bones recovered included vertebrae and ribs. Because this area of the skeleton is so distinct in some dinosaurs, the research team was able to definitively identify the specimen as a new species. Several unique features--including the shape of some cavities on the side of the vertebrae--were unlike those in any other dinosaur. Other features in the vertebrae identified Dahalokely as an abelisauroid dinosaur.
As dinosaurs’ closest living relatives, crocodiles and birds offer some insights.For the first time scientists have seen nanoparticles form larger structures in real time.
Scientists know that crocodiles and birds that completely bury their eggs for hatching have eggs with many pores or holes in the eggshell, to allow for respiration.
This is unlike brooding birds which don't bury their eggs; consequently, their eggs have far fewer pores.
The researchers counted and measured the pores in the shells of Troodon eggs to assess how water vapour would have been conducted through the shell compared with eggs from contemporary crocodiles, mound-nesting birds and brooding birds.
The scientists exposed a tiny liquid “cell” or pouch that contained gold nanoparticles covered with a positively charged coating to an intense beam of electrons generated with a transmission electron microscope. Some of the electrons that penetrated the outside of the cell became trapped in the fluid medium in the cell. These “hydrated” electrons attracted the positively charged nanoparticles, which in time reduced the intensity of charge of the positive coating.The process of assembly offers the possibility of new materials so the study continues.
As the hydrated electrons reduced the coating's positive charge, the nanoparticles no longer repelled each other as strongly. Instead, their newfound relative attraction led the nanoparticles to “jump around” and eventually stick together in long chains. This self-assembly of nanoparticle chains had been detected before in different studies, but this technique allowed researchers, for the first time, to observe the phenomenon as it occurred.
As the use of nanoparticles for everyday materials becomes more widespread we get news that gold nanoparticles may inhibit fat storage and increase wrinkling.
Subcutaneous adipose tissue acts as insulation from heat and cold, functions as a reserve of nutrients, and is found around internal organs for padding, in yellow bone marrow and in breast tissue.
They (the researchers) discovered that the human adipose-derived stromal cells – a type of adult stem cells – were penetrated by the gold nanoparticles almost instantly and that the particles accumulated in the cells with no obvious pathway for elimination. The presence of the particles disrupted multiple cell functions, such as movement; replication (cell division); and collagen contraction; processes that are essential in wound healing.
According to the researchers, the most disturbing finding was that the particles interfered with genetic regulation, RNA expression and inhibited the ability to differentiate into mature adipocytes or fat cells.
Knucklehead's Photo of the Week
Let the Big Dog Loose
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Other Worthy Stories of the Week
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Coming to your neighborhood: Giant animal invaders
Star factory in the early universe challenges galaxy evolution theorySupernova remnant
Distant blazar is high energy astrophysics puzzle
Revolutionary new device joins the world of smart electronics
Coelanth genome surfaces
How to target an asteroid
Frog-like robot will help surgeons
For even more science news:
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