Top Science Stories Of The Week

Posted: Mar 12 2016, 12:54pm CST | by , in News | Latest Science News


Top Science Stories of the Week
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Scientists Explain Why Planet Mercury is So Dark

Scientists have long puzzled over the unusually dark color of planet Mercury. Now, researchers have found that Mercury’s dark color is due to carbon which is originated from the graphite-rich crust and brought to the planet’s surface from the impact of comets. Comets traveling into the inner solar system have exposed carbon and gave Mercury’s surface a unique dark color.

World’s Oldest Lizard Found Inside 99 Million Years Old Amber Fossil

Researchers from University of Florida have discovered a 99 million-year old ancient lizard trapped in amber. This is the oldest lizard to date, almost 78 million years older than the previous oldest specimen on record.

The amber fossil was excavated from a mine in Myanmar decades ago alongside 11 more ancient fossilized lizards but had previously not been analyzed. The fossils are remarkably well preserved and resembles to modern-day lizards. 

Researchers believe that the fossils provide them a unique opportunity to peek into the lost ecosystem and may prove a ‘missing link’ to understand the evolutionary history of today’s lizards. 

Scientists found Evidence of a 30-Million Year Old Ancient Virus 

History of ancient viruses dates back to as far as 30 million years. Researchers have discovered ‘virus fossil’ in the DNA of modern animal ancestors and found that a group of virus has affected more than half of ancient mammals around 15 to 30 million years ago.

Researchers reconstructed the genes of virus and compared them with recovered sequences. They think that these so called fossil viruses could help understand how and why new viruses emerge and affects their hosts. 

Birds Use Language like Humans

Birds can use language to communicate each other. A new research suggests that they can combine their chirps and form complex sentences. It is a quality which was once thought elusive to humans.

For the study, researchers closely looked at Japanese tits, a particularly vocal bird and found that these birds are intelligent enough to use the rules of syntax to chat with others. They can use a call to invite fellow birds to search for food and use another call to warn of a danger. 

Our Ancestor's Inability to Chew Raw Meet Helped us make who we are Today

Humans today require less time and effort to chew their meals and that is because they now have more improved and suitable teeth than early modern humans. And the credit goes to our ancestors who utilized such eating methods that helped us make humans. 

According to a new research, eating raw meat and using stone tools to process food made possible key reductions in the jaws, teeth and chewing muscles of modern-day humans and that can be considered a greater turning point in human evolution. 

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.




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