What's New

The New York Times reported that researchers at an excavation in the Ischigualasto Formation of Argentina discovered a new type of dinosaur named Eodromaeus. You might call this new dino pint sized, weighing in at only 10 -14 pounds and about 4 feet in length. Paul Serano, a paleontologist at the University of Chicago who works on this study, stated,  “It was very cute; you’d want it as a pet.” Before you decided to swap an Eodrmaeus for you Chihuahua beware, this cute little guy is a carnivore and has the long canines and a future ancestor to prove it.

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Dr. Sereno and his colleagues believe the Eodrmaous to be one of the first relatives of theropod dinsosaurs, which include the mighty Tyrannosaurus rex. How could this tiny dinosaur be related to the T-rex? The Eodraeus has long canines perfect for meet eating, a sleek, agile body shape, and was quick on its feet. The excavation in Argentina where the Eodromaeus was unearthed is a site where some of the oldest remains of dinosaur have been found. The Eodromaeus found lived 230 million years ago, which places it in the Triassic period when dinosaurs first began to emerge. Dr. Serano believes that this discovery, “ gives us the earliest snapshot of dinosaurs.”

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Happy news occurred on January 14 - a baby black rhinoceros was born at the St. Louis Zoo! The baby is a boy and weighs 120.5 pounds. This is an important birth because the black rhino is critically endangered. There are only about 4,240 black rhinos in the world. The reason why the black rhino is so endangered is because they are heavily poached for their horns. Many Asian countries believe that their horns have medicinal powers.

However, with the joyous birth of this baby boy, and hopefully more births to come at zoos throughout the world, this new generation will be able to go back out into Africa and continue the survival of the species. If you would like to learn more about the black rhinoceros and their fight for survival, please visit: http://www.rhinos-irf.org/black.

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National Geographic reported that a new hybrid of minke whale was discovered in the Arctic. The whale DNA indicated that it was a hybrid of two different types of minke whale, Antarctic and Northern. This was very surprising to scientists because these two different type of whales also have two very different migratory patterns that keep them separated my many miles at all times of the year, or so they thought. The DNA of this hybrid whale, caught in the northeastern Atlantic in 2007, proves that at least once these two types of whales came together and were able to breed.

So, why would these two whales even be relatively close to one another when they have such different migratory patterns? The answer may have something to do with a drop in the supply of krill, the tiny crustacean that fuels the Antarctic food chain. Japanese studies show that the drop in krill, in the 1980's-1990's, coincided with a drop in Antarctica minke in the Southern Hemisphere. Scientist speculate that as the food supply decreased whales may have gone scouting for food and found their way to the Arctic Circle and the northern minkes. Scientists now have some work on their hands to find out if this whale was a stroke of luck or a new tendency in the animal kingdom.

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New Cloning Experiment Makes Big News

The discovery of a frozen Mammoth has allowed a team of Japanese Scientists an attempt at cloning the species. Yes, a real life Mammoth could be walking the planet after 10,000 years of extinction.

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Researchers plan to use a tissue sample from frozen mammoth remains, to harvest cell nuclei. The nuclei of the mammoth cell will then be inserted into the egg cell of an elephant, which has had its own nuclei removed. Follow? In other words… if we take an elephant egg cell, remove its nucleus, and then replace it with a mammoth nucleus, we will have a baby mammoth.

 

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The research group, which includes two American, and one Russian scientist, is headed by Akira Iritani, professor at Kyoto University in Japan.


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Did you know that tornadoes in the winter could be considered more dangerous? Tornadoes normally need warm, moist air to form therefore they are less common in the winter. However, when the conditions are right for tornadoes this could lead to a deadly problem. Thunderstorms in the winter have been known to be faster therefore the winds that spawn the tornadoes are naturally at an elevated speed.

These tornadoes, being equal in strength but faster in speed, can lead to several problems. The speed of the tornado can severely limit the response time available to receive warning. Not having enough time to prepare and take necessary safety precautions, such as finding shelter, can lead to serious destruction. Therefore on the safe side, make sure to take tornado watches very seriously because you never know when a tornado might form.

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This past year over 300 High School teams competed in a competition involving obstacles, not by the use of physical actions, but by the use of robots. How would you like to be involved in a revolutionary science competition? The FIRST Robotics Championship takes a year of preparation concluding with a 3-day competition event. At the beginning of the year, each team receives all the necessary tools including strings, wires, gears and metal pieces to begin the production of their own robots. They then compete in a regional competition in anticipation to make it to the finals. During the finals, the teams break into groups where they vigorously compete in a game called “breakaway” which is similar to soccer with added obstacles, until one team is crowned the champion.

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This mission of the FIRST Robotics competition is getting students involved in science and technology. The highest honor is the Chairman’s Award, and the team named Miss Daisy, from Wissahickon won this past year. Although they were not in the final round, they have been competing for the past 11 years and always engage their entire community in the process.

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The FIRST Robotics competition is a great way for students to excel in science using a hands-on approach. Using only the materials received in a box, these students can create functional robots, something they can be very proud of. If you would like a chance to become a science inventor, this website provides all the information necessary to start your own team!


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NASA’s Kepler Mission is a space observatory built to discover Earth like-planets. The Kepler Mission is to explore the structure and diversity of planetary systems beyond our Galaxy, the Milky Way.

On January 10th, NASA confirmed the discovery of its first rocky planet, named Kepler-10b. Not only was it the first rocky planet, but also the smallest planet ever found outside of our solar system. Data collected on the “exoplanet” was collected from May 2009 through January 2010. This discovery has provided evidence of a rocky planet orbiting a star, besides our sun. Although this planet is not in a habitable zone, it is still an exciting discovery for NASA’s Kepler Mission, which results in a promising outcome for more discoveries to come. In the quest to find a planet similar to Earth that enables life form, NASA is on the right path.

To find out more information about the Kepler Mission or their new discovery, click here.

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