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Jane Goodall’s observations of tool use in wild chimps led the famous anthropologist Louis Leakey to comment “We must now redefine man, redefine tool, or accept chimpanzees as human!” According National Geographic News “ Scientist have sequenced the genome of the chimpanzee and found that humans are 96 percent similar to the great ape species.” Between discoveries in the lab and observations in the field we are realizing that the gap between what is human and what is ape is not as wide as was commonly thought. So what does it mean to be a Homo sapiens? Check out the chart below based on the Smithsonian Institution’s Human Origins Program for some of the characteristics that separate us from our ape cousins.

 

Trait

What’s the same

What’s different

Walking on two legs

All apes move in a variety of ways sometime even upright.

 

Only humans regularly walk upright

Tools

 

Lots of apes use tools to forage and hut for food

Only humans manufacture such a wide variety of tools for so many varied different purposes.

Social Life

Most apes live in social groups,

And take several years to grow up

Only humans take twice as long to grow up as out closest ape relatives and have a rich and diverse set of social groups.

Language and Symbols

All apes use lots of sounds to communicate

Only humans use complex language that allows us to communicate abstract ideas

 

Click here for more information about human origins visit:

 


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The traditional laser has been turned inside out, producing what scientist like to call an “anti-laser”. This device is actually called a coherent perfect absorber and has the capabilities to absorb rather than release a stream of light.

In a traditional laser, energy is injected into a medium that is transferred between two mirrors while stimulating photons, which are then reflected back through the mirrors, resulting in an amplification of light. The anti-laser works in a similar fashion, except the medium contains an absorptions component instead of amplification one. Scientists believe the anti-laser has the potential to be used in fields such as computing and medical imaging; leading to instrumental advances in technology. This innovational physics device was discovered by scientist at Yale University and has been noted as a surprising and exciting achievement in the science community.

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They Came, They Saw and They Accepted the Challenge

The fourth annual Mission Nutrition event, which took place on Saturday, February 19, welcomed over 3800 knowledge seeking health and conscious people. The most up-to-date medical technology was just one of the things Saturday had to offer. A big crowd drew as the NOELLE® birthing simulator, brought in from Seminole State College, gave birth to several “babies” on Saturday to the amazement of all who witnessed it.

Valencia Community College was on hand to provide knowledge on the amounts of sugars in food and show off some their newest technologies. Guests learned about how to keep in shape with advice provided by the YMCA and then traveled over to the Cabot cheese table to sample their tasty low-fat offering.

New to this year’s event, the physical challenge arena was a huge hit. Contests in fun activities with masked health benefits were fun to not only participate in, but to cheer on as well. The hula-hoop contest went on for over 10 exciting minutes and came down to a tie! With Saturday also being a “Waltmart $5 Day,” guests were able to discover so much about health and wellness while saving money! It was another great turn out for the fourth annual Mission Nutrition where everyone walked away inspired to live a healthy lifestyle.


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Walmart Day Brings in Big Numbers

Saturday, February 19 brought in over 3800 people to the Orlando Science Center. The popular “Walmart $5 day” has been brought back several times since the first event in May 2009, and the amount of people who take advantage of this special opportunity never ceases to amaze. For many this event is the opportunity to experience the Science Center for the first time.  Steven Daniel, Walmart Market Manager for Central Florida, has said “These are the types of community programs we are proud to sponsor for our Central Florida neighbors.”

The success of the day was evident to anyone who lined up to see a show in the Dr. Phillip’s Cinedome Saturday. All five shows were filled to capcity with thrifty families. With the amount of savings for a family of four at nearly $40, a significant savings was felt. Those who spent Saturday at the Science Center were in luck, as the day also marked the fourth annual Mission Nutrition event. All four floors were lined up with booths, information and healthcare specialists to educate on all things health and wellness. Guests had a great time learning how to take care of their bodies, all while meeting and greeting with different Walmart employees generously who came out to volunteer for the day.

With all the fun and savings its no wonder the Walmart sponsored $5 day is a sensation. With a partner so supportive of science learning for life, we are happy to have them as a partner for such a successful event.

Please stay connected to our website and Facebook page for announcements about more Walmart $5 Days.


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Forest habitats are home to 80 percent of the earth’s plants and animals but only cover 30 percent of the planet’s surface. National Geographic reported the result of a report that was compiled by the nonprofit organization Conservation International for the United Nations’ International Year of Forests. The most threatened areas included have lost 90 percent or more of their original habitats.  The following is a sample of some the threatened areas.

  • Indo-Burma Region- Spanning two million kilometers of tropical Asia, six new mammal species have been discovered there in the past 12 years but only 6 percent of the region is protected by environmental law.
  • New Caledonia- A small set of islands, about the size of New Jersey, located in the very extreme South Pacific, east of Australia, home to five native plant families. Although 22 percent of the land here is protected, 83 percent of the threatened species are not in the protected land.
  • Sundaland- About 17,000 islands in the western half of the Indo-Malayan archipelago, this area includes Borneo and Sumatra, two of the world’s largest islands. Animals such as tigers, monkeys, and turtles are not safe here due to hunting. Also, two species of the Asian Rhino, almost extinct, are found in this hotspot on the islands of Java and Sumatra.
  • The Philippines- Comprised of 7,100 islands in the westernmost Pacific Ocean, the Philippines are known as one of the world’s most biologically rich countries.  However, conservationists fear that the forests of the Philippines are on the brink of extinction due to logging.
  • Madagascar and the Indian Ocean Islands- These islands off the coast of Africa are home to 8 plant, 4 bird, and 5 primate species that live nowhere else in the entire world. A whopping 50 species of lemur also call this forest hotspot home, including the undeniably cute mouse lemur. Although extensive efforts toward conservation are being made, especially on Madagascar itself, poverty and population growth are threatening the environment through activities like logging, mining, and hunting.

Click Here to learn more about other threatened environments and how you can help.

Madagascar Lemur


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The JPMorgan Chase Foundation awarded a $50,000 grant to the Orlando Science Center for a Science Literacy Program at Evans High School. The program will provide Teacher Professional Development (TPD) to science teachers in order to increase inquiry skills and content knowledge, model creative techniques and offer strategies for encouraging problem-solving and critical thinking to the students of Evans High School.

“Partnerships like this one can be a tremendous support to our schools by enhancing their resources and providing science education in a way that really connects with students,” said Science Center President JoAnn Newman. “Chase’s support is enabling the Science Center to do what we do best and helping us to reach the kids that need us most. It really is a win-win for everyone.”

Along with these tools for the teachers; students will be provided with hands-on classroom activities relatable to "real world" science, technology, engineering and mathematical (STEM) applications. It is the hope of the Science Center to increase the number of students who choose to do science-based activities outside the classroom.

Read more...


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Who says that tigers and orangutans can’t be friends?  National Geographic Kids Magazine reported that zookeepers at Taman Safari Zoo in Bogor, West Java, Indonesia have helped form friendship bonds between meat eating tiger cubs and baby orangutans, who in the wild spend their time in trees to avoid predators like tigers.

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The reason zookeepers decided to pair up these unlikely friends was because both sets of animals were essentially orphans. Tiger cubs, Demis and Manis, were rejected by their mother so the zookeepers paired them with another set of orphans, Nia and Irma the orangutans. The four-some were quick friends and played with toys, wrestled, and took naps together.

Zookeeper Sri Suwarni noted that even though they kissed each other and were great friends, as the tigers got older, their more aggressive side came out and they had to be moved to another exhibit. Suwarni is not giving up on peaceful relations between carnivorous cats and tree swinging primates. Now two more apes that Suwarni is raising have made friends with a leopard cub!


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Orlando Science Center • 777 E. Princeton Street • Orlando, Florida 32803 • Phone: 407.514.2000 • Toll Free: 888.OSC.4FUN • Email: [email protected]
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