Aug 6, 2009 | 3
Spooky spider-like critters were already roaming the Earth long before dinosaurs. And now, with the help of a new imaging technique, the arachnids can be seen as they appeared to their early insect prey about 300 million years ago.
"Our models almost bring these ancient creatures back to life and it's really exciting to be able to look at them in such detail," said Russell Garwood, lead author of a paper on the new images, in a prepared statement.
Using a CT-scanning device, Garwood and his colleagues at Imperial College London took 3,000 X-rays of fossilized Cryptomartus hindi and Eophrynus prestvicii specimens. Then the paleontologists pieced the pictures together into 3-D models, which detail everything from tiny claws to prickly spines.
Apr 24, 2009 | 5
Spider silk alone is stronger than steel, but researchers in Halle Germany have found that it can be made even stronger. A new paper, published today in Science reports that spider silk can be infused with metals such as aluminum, zinc and titanium.
Metals are not unheard of as strengtheners in the natural world. Proteins within jaw of the Nereis marine worm, for instance, contain both copper and zinc. But such structures are usually found in rigid body parts, such as claws or stingers. So scientists wanted to try infusing something flexible with metal. For that, they turned to drag line silk—that's used to form the outer rim and spokes of the web – from the Araneaus spider.
Dec 9, 2008 | 1
Naming your kid after you is one thing. But imagine if an entire species were named for you.
This week, Purdue University is auctioning off the rights to name seven newly discovered bats and two turtles, the Associated Press is reporting. The winners — who will shell out a minimum of $250,000 for at least one of the bats, a Purdue spokesman told ScientificAmerican.com — can link their own name or that of a pal to the animal’s scientific name.
"Unlike naming a building or something like that, this is much more permanent. This will last as long as we have our society," John Bickham, who co-discovered the nine species, told the AP.
The practice of binomial nomenclature dates back to the 18th century, when Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus began classifying organisms with their genus name and species — sometimes dubbing plants or animals with the names of scientists he disliked. But buying the name is a recent development that’s occurred only in the past three years, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Deadline: Aug 31 2013
Reward: $100,000 USD
The Geoffrey Beene Foundation Alzheimer’s Initiative (GBFAI) is launching the 2013 Geoffrey Beene Global NeuroDiscovery Challenge whose
Deadline: Jul 15 2013
Reward: $5,000 USD
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