University of Queensland scientists uncover an ‘explosion’ of new life forms

September 15, 2017 by  
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The Tree of Life just got bigger. University of Queensland scientists found thousands of organisms that don’t into any known phylum. They acquired 7,280 bacterial genomes and 623 archaeal genomes, raising the number of known genomes by nearly 10 percent. Scientist Gene Tyson, who was part of the effort, said, “The real value of these genomes is that many are evolutionarily distinct from previously recovered genomes.” There are some 80,000 genomes in genome repositories, according to the university. This new work, published online in September by Nature Microbiology , recovers almost 8,000 genomes – what the university called an explosion in the number of life forms we know about. Related: Tree of Life redesigned to reflect thousands of new species The scientists drew on the technique metagenomics, which is relatively new, according to Futurism. Researchers sequenced all the DNA in a sample – including water, feces, or dirt – to generate a metagenome. They were then able to reconstruct individual genomes of new bacteria and new archaea . Around a third of those microorganisms were distinct, allowing the researchers to create three archaeal phyla and 17 bacterial phyla. Microbes can be hard to scrutinize; scientists can only culture under one percent, according to Tyson. Utilizing metagenomics may offer a new method of studying microorganisms researchers can’t grow in a laboratory – and such research could be vital as microbes are opposing our life-saving antibiotics , and we face antibiotic resistance . According to Futurism, it’s possible some of these new species could be used in better antibiotics. And there could be more discoveries to come – study lead author Donovan Parks said in a statement, “We anticipate that processing of environmental samples deposited in other public repositories will add tens of thousands of additional microbial genomes to the tree of life.” Via Futurism and the University of Queensland Images via Pixabay and Parks, Donovan, et al.

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University of Queensland scientists uncover an ‘explosion’ of new life forms

Antony Gibbons modern Trine treehouse is a tranquil nature retreat

September 15, 2017 by  
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Designer Antony Gibbon merges natural materials with modern design in his latest tree house design—the Trine house. Completed as part of his Roost treehouse series, this freestanding cluster of bulbous buildings forms a triangular formation elevated into the forest canopy. Slatted timber surrounds the living spaces to allow for light and views, creating an immersive experience in nature. The proposed Trine house comprises four elevated pod-like spaces that bear resemblance to budding flowers with long stems. The treehouses are accessed from the forest floor via a winding staircase in the central pod building that serves as an outdoor room and viewing tower. Three treehouses branch out of the main pod and are connected with canopy walkways. Related: Antony Gibbon unveils a new light-filled treehouse designed for the ground The triangular formation of the Trine house “distributes the support across all of the structures creating a sound and stable frame when high up in the elements,” wrote Gibbon. “The tree houses are accessed through the central staircase building which follows the form of the tree houses. The slatted wood design created a semi transparency to the building allowing the light and wind to pass through it.” The three peripheral treehouse pods contain a large open-plan living area with floor-to-ceiling windows, a bathroom on the lower floor, and an accessible top deck. Water pipes and wiring for energy needs would be installed through the supporting treehouse stems. You can explore more of Antony Gibbon’s work on his website and on Instagram . + Antony Gibbon Designs Images via Antony Gibbon Designs

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Antony Gibbons modern Trine treehouse is a tranquil nature retreat

World’s largest dinosaur footprint found in Australia’s "Jurassic Park"

March 27, 2017 by  
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A team of researchers just discovered the world’s largest dinosaur footprint in an area they’re calling “Australia’s Jurassic Park.” The massive sauropod footprint was discovered near James Price Point in Western Australia, and it measures almost five feet nine inches long. A team of University of Queensland and James Cook University researchers ultimately recorded 21 different kinds of dinosaur tracks in rocks ranging from 127 to 140 million years old – including the only confirmed evidence that the stegosaurus once roamed the continent. The Goolarabooloo people are the traditional custodians of Walmadany near James Price Point – and they invited researchers to investigate tracks in the area. Steven Salisbury of the University of Queensland described the area as Australia’s own Jurassic Park, and he and his team spent more than 400 hours recording the footprints. https://vimeo.com/210176160 Related: 99-million-year-old dinosaur tail found immaculately preserved in amber Salisbury said there are thousands of tracks in the area, and that “150 can confidently be assigned to 21 specific track types, representing four main groups of dinosaurs.” The team found five kinds of predatory dinosaur tracks, six long-necked herbivorous sauropod tracks, four two-legged herbivorous ornithopod tracks, and six tracks from armored dinosaurs. Salisbury said, “If we went back in time 130 million years ago, we would’ve seen all these different dinosaurs walking over this coastline. It must’ve been quite a sight.” The team published their findings online in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology . Salisbury said in a statement, “Most of Australia’s dinosaur fossils come from the eastern side of the continent, and are between 115 and 90 million years old. The tracks in Broome are considerably older.” Via University of Queensland and CNN Images courtesy and copyright N. Gaunt and Steven Salisbury, et.al.

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World’s largest dinosaur footprint found in Australia’s "Jurassic Park"

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