Sunday Science Update #1

As part of my resolution to add more content to the website, I’ve decided to set aside each Sunday to post links to fascinating stories in science. The stories will be plucked from several different fields, anything from archaeology to zoology. Some will be controversial, others may be a tad bit bizarre, but its all in an effort to get myself more involved in science. Hopefully you get something out of it as well. So, here we go:

The first item I found a few weeks ago. This deals with the evolution of the human brain and new evidence that suggests our diets were responsible for our growth in brain size.

Evolving Bigger Brains Through Cooking: A Q&A with Richard Wrangham
Scientific America

A couple of million years ago or so, our hominid ancestors began exchanging their lowbrow looks for forehead prominence. The trigger for the large, calorie-hungry brains of ours is cooking, argues Richard W. Wrangham, the Ruth B. Moore Professor of Biological Anthropology at Harvard University’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology.

The second article comes as quite a shock. I never imagined that paleontologists would find a mummified dinosaur, but there it is. This is a huge breakthorough in paleontology. It was only after some deeper delving that I discovered this is the fourth dinosaur fossil to be considered mummified.  Now the tissue has decayed over the past 77 million years, replaced by minerals, but this fossil will provide scientists with loads of data that is normally absent from fossil finds.  Definitely something to keep an eye on.

Mummified Dinosaur Heads to Texas

A mummified dinosaur discovered on the Hi-Line is heading to the Houston Museum of Natural Sciences, where it will be studied and displayed for more than a year.

Next up, this one. Pretty straightforward, but nonetheless interesting. I’m amazed how radically our understanding of the universe has evolved just in my lifetime. While we can never know everything about its development, its good to see constant breakthroughs being made.

Distant star sheds light on birth of planets

Astronomers poring over a young star 180 light years from Earth have found evidence that stellar birth can lead to the formation of a planet only millions of years later, a mere blink on the cosmic timescale.

I may comment further on these stories at a later date. In the meantime, check them out – really fascinating stuff.


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