World’s oldest fossils discovered in Canada – and they’re 4 billion-years-old

March 2, 2017 by  
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Around four billion years ago, bacteria formed tiny tubes and filaments, likely in deep-sea hydrothermal vents. An international team of scientists lead by the University College London (UCL) recently discovered those microorganism remains, preserved for billions of years, which the scientists think could be the oldest fossils humans have ever unearthed. The discovery might even hold clues to life on other planets like Mars .

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World’s oldest fossils discovered in Canada – and they’re 4 billion-years-old

Net-zero Acacia Avenue House saves up to 90% of heating and cooling costs

March 2, 2017 by  
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This energy-efficient home in Oakland Hills features a patented steel construction technology inspired by the aerospace industry. The house, designed by BONE Structure , features state-of-the-art sustainable technologies and materials which make it not only highly ecological, but also built to last. The house has a soy-based polyurethane thermal envelope that provides optimal insulation. This technology patented by BONE Structure allows homeowners to save up to 90% of their heating and cooling energy costs . All BONE Structure homes are open-concept living spaces without load-bearing walls and have large windows that let in ample amounts of natural light . Related: Low-impact Cape Cod house is designed to provide all its energy on-site The house that is currently for sale features bay and canyon views, floor-to-ceiling windows and a bright open interior. It boasts five bedrooms, four and a half bathrooms, a living room, home office, gourmet kitchen and a two car garage with interior access. + BONE Structure

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Net-zero Acacia Avenue House saves up to 90% of heating and cooling costs

Scientists discover 52-million-year-old tomatillo fossil

February 3, 2017 by  
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While not quite as charismatic as those of dinosaurs , vegetable fossils can provide game-changing insight into modern plants and their evolutionary process. A team of scientists led by paleobotanist Peter Wilf of Penn State University discovered fossils of tomatillos, that delicious relative of the tomato that is a key ingredient in salsa verde, in the Patagonia region of Argentina . Using atomic age dating techniques, the team determined that the newly discovered primordial tomatillos are about 52-million years old, at least 12 million years older than previously thought. Although the site where the fossils were found is now a cold and arid environment, the ancient tomatillos thrived in a very different climate. “The plants that generated these fossils were alive in a temperate rain forest next to a volcano,” said Richard Olmstead, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Washington. “When it finally snapped together [that] we were looking at a fossil tomatillo, it was quite shocking. It was disbelief. It was joy coupled with disbelief.” The tomatillo is a member of the nightshade family, which includes tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, eggplants, and tobacco. The recently discovered fossils are the most intact and earliest examples of nightshade to date. “It’s a tremendous find. It provides insight totally absent from the fossil record and our understanding of the family prior to this,” said Olmstead. Related: Scientist finds dinosaur tail trapped in amber – and it’s covered with feathers Wilf and his team have given the species name  infinemundi,  Latin for “at the end of the world,” to its tomatillo specimen in reference to both where it was discovered and the era in which it lived. “It’s a nod to the modern and ancient location,” said Wilf “It’s at the edge of Argentina, so the end of the world that way. And it’s at the end of this time in Earth history.” This ancient tomatillo would have lived on the edge of major geologic and climatic changes , including the rise of the Ande s Mountains and the retreat of tropical biomes. These disruptions would have set the stage for the great diversity that emerged from the nightshade family, which includes over 2,400 extant species today. Via NPR Images via Flickr  and Killy Ridols

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Scientists discover 52-million-year-old tomatillo fossil

First dinosaur brain tissue discovered in 130-million-year-old fossil

October 31, 2016 by  
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In 2004, Jamie Hiscocks found a strange fossil in Sussex, England . This wasn’t your typical fossil – researchers from the University of Oxford , University of Cambridge , and other international institutions now say the fossil is the first example of dinosaur brain tissue ever found. This extremely rare find comes from a dinosaur likely related to the herbivorous Iguanodon. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1T5_NlRs-5o Hiscocks discovered the fossil, which is around 130 million years old, in a brown pebble unearthed from a beach rock pool. According to the University of Cambridge, the dinosaur’s meninges, cortical tissues, and capillaries were ” preserved as mineral ‘ghosts’ .” Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) imaging and computed tomography (CT) scanning helped the researchers to see the tissues. The specimen unfortunately doesn’t provide many clues into the size of the dinosaur’s brain, but its tissues do resemble those of modern-day birds and crocodiles. Related: Antarctic fossil hunters hit a 71-million-year-old jackpot According to the researchers, conditions must have been just right for the fossil to be preserved as it was, but they hope for similar discoveries in the future. Paper co-author David Norman of the University of Cambridge said in a statement, “What we think happened is that this particular dinosaur died in or near a body of water, and its head ended up partially buried in the sediment at the bottom. Since the water had little oxygen and was very acidic, the soft issues of the brain were likely preserved and cast before the rest of its body was buried in the sediment.” The Geological Society of London released a special publication detailing the find. + Geological Society of London Via The Guardian and University of Cambridge Images via Jamie Hiscocks and screenshot

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First dinosaur brain tissue discovered in 130-million-year-old fossil

MIT researchers say Earth’s first animal was most likely a humble sea sponge

February 24, 2016 by  
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Of all the things scientists would like to know about the Earth, and there are many, identifying the first animal that existed on the planet is a big one. Researchers at MIT think that the simple sea sponge could be that creature. A recent genetic analysis shows sea sponges contain molecular fossils that are more than 640 million years old, predating the Cambrian explosion which kicked off the geological time period in which animals began appearing on the planet. Read the rest of MIT researchers say Earth’s first animal was most likely a humble sea sponge

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Woolly mammoth bones unearthed beneath Oregon football stadium

January 28, 2016 by  
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When working on an expansion project in the north end zone at Resser Stadium at Oregon State University , the last thing construction crews were expecting to find was a field full of bones . But on Monday, they unearthed a massive woolly mammoth femur in the construction zone. The city that hosts the university, Corvalis, is located 72 miles south of Portland and was once the site of a prehistoric bog that attracted the large mammals about 10,000 years ago. Read the rest of Woolly mammoth bones unearthed beneath Oregon football stadium

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Nicholas Cage pledges to return Mongolia’s stolen dinosaur skull

December 23, 2015 by  
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When actor Nicolas Cage bought a 70 million year old Tyrannosaurus bataar skull at auction for $276,000 in 2007, he had no way of knowing that it had actually been smuggled illegally into the United States. Cage purchased the fossil anonymously from the I.M. Chait gallery in Beverly Hills, but in July, 2014 he learned the skull was the subject of a homeland security investigation when law enforcement contacted his agent about the case. Read the rest of Nicholas Cage pledges to return Mongolia’s stolen dinosaur skull

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Scientists discover ancient 3-armed sea monster unlike any living species

December 3, 2015 by  
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If you were to travel back 550 million years ago, you would be forgiven for thinking that you’d accidentally arrived on an alien planet . The Earth’s ecosystem, entirely confined to the ocean, would have been populated by primitive and bizarre organisms. One such sea monster is the  Tribrachidium , a three-armed sea creature that is unlike any living thing found today. Read the rest of Scientists discover ancient 3-armed sea monster unlike any living species

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Joby S2 has 12 propellers and 16 electric motors for a clean, long-range flight for two

December 3, 2015 by  
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Newly discovered polar dinosaur in Alaska may have been warm-blooded

September 25, 2015 by  
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Were dinosaurs warm-blooded? Although the global climate of the Mesozoic Era, during which they reigned, was considerably warmer and wetter than it is today, the planet still maintained a diversity of biomes . Ecosystems flourished even near the Arctic Circle, where the Earth’s tilt then and now causes months of winter darkness. Even in the dark, “life finds a way.” It turns out dinosaurs once roamed the plains of Alaska, including a newly discovered species of the duck-billed hadrosaur. Read the rest of Newly discovered polar dinosaur in Alaska may have been warm-blooded

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