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Feed: SCIENCE NEWS HEADLINES - YAHOO NEWS

Get the latest Science news headlines from Yahoo News. Find breaking Science news, including analysis and opinion on top Science stories.


U.S. investigators blame Virgin Galactic crash on lax pilot training
28-Jul-15

A piece of debris is seen near the crash site of Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo near CantilBy Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - Federal investigators cited inadequate training of test pilots by a Northrup Grumman Corp subsidiary on Tuesday as a leading factor behind last year's fatal crash of an experimental Virgin Galactic passenger spaceship over the Mojave Desert. The premature unlocking of the hinged tail section on Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo triggered a midair breakup of the ship during its fourth powered test flight on Oct. 31, the National Transportation Safety Board said. Blame for the accident falls to Scaled Composites, the Northrop Grumman unit that developed the craft and employed its test crew, the NTSB said.






Toothy terror: dinosaurs like T. rex had unique serrated teeth
28-Jul-15

File photo of a boy looking inside the skull of a Tyrannosaurus Rex replica at the Egidio Feruglio Museum in Trelew, ArgentinaBy Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - If you want to know the secret behind the success of Tyrannosaurus rex and its meat-eating dinosaur cousins, look no further than their teeth. Scientists on Tuesday unveiled a comprehensive analysis of the teeth of the group of carnivorous dinosaurs called theropods, detailing a unique serrated structure that let them chomp efficiently through the flesh and bones of large prey. Theropods included the largest land predators in Earth's history.






Scientists identify men who died at Virginia's Jamestown 400 years ago
28-Jul-15

U.S. scientists have used high-tech detective work to identify the remains of four leaders of Jamestown, the New World's first successful English colony, more than 400 years after they died, the Smithsonian Institution said on Tuesday. The research also provided new insight into life and death and the importance of religion in the Jamestown settlement in Virginia, about 80 miles (130 km) south of Washington, the Smithsonian said. The men were identified as the Reverend Robert Hunt, Captain Gabriel Archer, Sir Ferdinando Wainman and Captain William West.



In Africa's 'cradle,' an old fossil site yields new finds
27-Jul-15

U.S. graduate students scrape soil into a dustpan as they try to uncover implements fashioned from quartz that were used 100,000 years ago to prepare animal hides, at Swartkrans cave, northwest of JohannesburgBy Ed Stoddard KROMDRAAI, South Africa (Reuters) - Crouched in a shallow square grid dug into the red African earth, American graduate student Sarah Edlund uses a hand brush to scrape soil into a dustpan. "We have found a lot of quartz and this is important because it is not natural to this area ... It must have been brought here," Edlund said as she topped up her bucket with soil before taking it to a sifting device, where the dirt is separated from the quartz and other potential scientific treasures. "In this area we have what are mostly called scrapers, a certain form of stone tool," said Travis Pickering, a professor of anthropology at the University of Wisconsin.






NASA spacecraft shows Pluto wrapped in haze, ice flows
24-Jul-15

Pluto photo from four images from New Horizons' Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) combined with color data from the Ralph instrumentBy Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - A stunning silhouette of Pluto taken by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft after it shot past the icy orb last week show an extensive layer of atmospheric haze, while close-up pictures of the ground reveal flows of nitrogen ice, scientists said on Friday. New Horizons became the first spacecraft to visit Pluto and its entourage of moons and so far has returned about 5 percent of the pictures and science data collected in the days leading up to, during and immediately following the July 14 flyby. The latest batch of images includes a backlit view of Pluto with sun, located more than 3 billion miles away, shining around and through the planet’s atmosphere.






Oldest Panda in Captivity Celebrates 37th Birthday
28-Jul-15

Oldest Panda in Captivity Celebrates 37th BirthdayA female panda in Hong Kong celebrated her 37th birthday today (July 28), becoming the oldest panda in captivity, and setting two new Guinness World Records in the process. The giant panda, named Jia Jia, now holds the title for "oldest panda ever in captivity" and "oldest panda living in captivity." The panda's advanced age is equivalent to 111 human years, according to officials at the Guinness World Records organization. Jia Jia lives with the world's second-oldest panda, An An, who is approaching his 29th birthday, at Ocean Park, an animal and amusement park in Hong Kong.






Smells Fishy: Putrid 'Corpse Flower' Blooms
28-Jul-15

Smells Fishy: Putrid 'Corpse Flower' BloomsMore than 2,300 visitors queued up on Saturday (July 25) to meet Trudy, an enormous "corpse flower" that was in bloom. Corpse flowers (Amorphophallus titanum, which means "giant, misshapen penis") burst into enormous purple-and-yellow blooms only once every few years. "It's very difficult to describe the smell," Paul Licht, UC Botanical Garden director, said in a statement.






Identities of Mysterious Jamestown Settlers Revealed
28-Jul-15

Identities of Mysterious Jamestown Settlers RevealedFour lost leaders of the first permanent English settlement in the Americas have been identified, thanks to chemical analysis of their skeletons, as well as historical documents. The settlement leaders were mostly high-status men who were buried at the 1608 Jamestown church in Virginia. "They're very much at the heart of the foundation of the America that we know today," said Douglas Owsley, a forensic anthropologist at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., who helped identify the bodies.






Deadly SpaceShipTwo Crash Caused by Co-Pilot Error: NTSB
28-Jul-15

Deadly SpaceShipTwo Crash Caused by Co-Pilot Error: NTSBThe fatal breakup and crash of Virgin Galactic's first SpaceShipTwo space plane last year was caused by a co-pilot error, as well as the failure of the spacecraft's builders to anticipate such a catastrophic mistake, federal safety investigators say. SpaceShipTwo crashed in October when co-pilot Michael Alsbury unlocked the commercial space plane's re-entry "feathering" system too early during a test flight over California's Mojave Desert, investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board said in a hearing today (July 28). The aerospace company Scaled Composites, which built the spacecraft, also "set the stage" for the accident through its "failure to consider and protect against the possibility that a single human error could result in a catastrophic hazard to the SpaceShipTwo vehicle," NTSB Chairman Christopher Hart said as he read the board's findings.






Ancient Huts May Reveal Clues to Earth's Magnetic Pole Reversals
28-Jul-15

Ancient Huts May Reveal Clues to Earth's Magnetic Pole ReversalsThe fiery demise of ancient huts in southern Africa 1,000 years ago left clues to understanding a bizarre weak spot in the Earth's magnetic field — and the role it plays in the magnetic poles' periodic reversals. Patches of ground where huts were burned down in southern Africa contain a key mineral that recorded the magnetic field at the time of each ritual burning. "It has long been thought reversals start at random locations, but our study suggests this may not be the case," John Tarduno, a geophysicist from the University of Rochester in New York and lead author of the paper, said in a statement.






Scientists identify men who died at Virginia's Jamestown 400 years ago
28-Jul-15

U.S. scientists have used high-tech detective work to identify the remains of four leaders of Jamestown, the New World's first successful English colony, more than 400 years after they died, the Smithsonian Institution said on Tuesday. The research also provided new insight into life and death and the importance of religion in the Jamestown settlement in Virginia, about 80 miles (130 km) south of Washington, the Smithsonian said. The men were identified as the Reverend Robert Hunt, Captain Gabriel Archer, Sir Ferdinando Wainman and Captain William West.



Scientists worry about arms race in artificial intelligence
28-Jul-15

FILE - This is a Thursday, July 4, 2013 file photo of Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak as he speaks during the digital festival TagDF in Mexico City. Scientists and tech experts including Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and Stephen Hawking warned Tuesday July 28, 2015 of a global arms race with weapons using artificial intelligence. (AP Photo/ Marco Ugarte/File)LONDON (AP) — Scientists and tech experts — including professor Stephen Hawking and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak — warned Tuesday of a global arms race with weapons using artificial intelligence.






One Tough Bite: T. Rex's Teeth Had Secret Weapon
28-Jul-15

One Tough Bite: T. Rex's Teeth Had Secret WeaponSecret structures hidden within the serrated teeth of Tyrannosaurus rex and other theropods helped the fearsome dinosaurs tear apart their prey without chipping their pearly whites, a new study finds. Researchers looked at the teeth of theropods — a group of bipedal, largely carnivorous dinosaurs that includes T. rex and Velociraptor — to study the mysterious structures that looked like cracks within each tooth. The investigation showed that these structures weren't cracks at all, but deep folds within the tooth that strengthened each individual serration and helped prevent breakage when the dinosaur pierced through its prey, said study lead researcher Kirstin Brink, a postdoctoral researcher of biology at the University of Toronto Mississauga.






Scientist: Whale deaths off Alaska island remains mystery
28-Jul-15

In this June 8, 2015 photo, provided by the University of Alaska Fairbanks Gulf Apex Predator Prey project, a fin whale lies dead on Kodiak Island, Alaska. Researchers may never solve the recent deaths of 18 endangered whales whose carcasses were found floating near Alaska's Kodiak Island, a scientist working on the case said Monday, July 27. (Bree Witteveen/University of Alaska Fairbanks via AP)ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Researchers may never solve the recent deaths of 18 endangered whales whose carcasses were found floating near Alaska's Kodiak Island, a scientist working on the case said Monday.






Dark Pion Particles May Explain Universe's Invisible Matter
27-Jul-15

Dark matter is the mysterious stuff that cosmologists think makes up some 85 percent of all the matter in the universe. A new theory says dark matter might resemble a known particle. If true, that would open up a window onto an invisible, dark matter version of physics.



Scientists control mouse brain by remote control
24-Jul-15

The tiny implant, smaller than the width of a human hair, let the scientists determine the path a mouse walks using a remote control to inject drugs and shine lights on neurons inside the brain. Neuroscientists have until now been limited to injecting drugs through larger tubes and delivering photostimulation through fiber-optic cables, both of which require surgery that can damage the brain and restrict an animal's natural movements. The optofluidic implant developed by the team from Washington University School of Medicine and the University of Illinois was found to damage and displace much less brain tissue than the metal tubes, or cannulas, scientists typically use to inject drugs.



Rotting Fungus Creates Beautiful, Glistening 'Hair Ice'
24-Jul-15

Rotting Fungus Creates Beautiful, Glistening 'Hair Ice'Alfred Wegener, famous for his continental drift theory, first identified and studied hair ice in 1918. "The same amount of ice is produced on wood with or without fungal activity, but without this activity, the ice forms a crustlike structure," Christian Mätzler, a co-author of the study and professor emeritus at the Institute of Applied Physics at the University of Bern in Switzerland, said in a statement. Researchers blamed the century-long delayed explanation for how hair ice grows on its ephemeral nature and northern range — the glimmering threads grow predominately at latitudes between 45 and 55 degrees north through countries including Canada, France, Germany, India, Ireland, the Netherlands, Russia, Scotland, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, the United States and Wales.






Scientists find closest thing yet to Earth-sun twin system
23-Jul-15

This artist's rendering made available by NASA on Thursday, July 23, 2015 shows a comparison between the Earth, left, and the planet Kepler-452b. It is the first near-Earth-size planet orbiting in the habitable zone of a sun-like star, found using data from NASA's Kepler mission. The illustration represents one possible appearance for the exoplanet - scientists do not know whether the it has oceans and continents like Earth. (NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle via AP)CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Scientists have identified a "close cousin" to Earth that's orbiting a sun-like star and might harbor life.






Fat sense: Scientists show we have a distinct taste for fat
23-Jul-15

FILE - In this Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2009 file photo, Bernard Roques checks a Roquefort cheese as it matures in a cellar in Roquefort, southwestern France. On Thursday, July 23, 2015, researchers at Purdue University announced findings that show people have a distinct and basic taste for fat, and propose expanding the taste palate to include it along with sweet, salty, bitter, sour and relative newcomer umami. (AP Photo/Bob Edme)WASHINGTON (AP) — Move over sweet and salty: Researchers say we have a distinct and basic taste for fat, too.






Scientists pursue specific cause of mystery beach blast
23-Jul-15

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Scientists trying to figure out the reason why a mysterious beach blast that sent a woman flying into a jetty are now pursuing a specific cause, Rhode Island's top environmental official says, but she isn't disclosing their theory until testing is finished.







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