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In its ability to learn, the cockroach is a moron in the morning and a genius in the evening.

Dramatic daily variations in the cockroach’s learning ability were discovered by a new study performed by Vanderbilt University biologists and published online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“This is the first example of an insect whose ability to learn is controlled by its biological clock,” says Terry L. Page, the professor of biological sciences who directed the project. Undergraduate students Susan Decker and Shannon McConnaughey also participated in the study.


Chips from 10 million years ago have revealed new insights into fish diets and their influence on fish evolution, according to new research. The chips were found, along with scratches, on the teeth of fossil stickleback fish and reveal for the first time how changes in the way an animal feeds control its evolution over thousands of years.

This kind of study, which was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council, has previously not been possible because although fossils preserve direct evidence of evolutionary change over thousands and millions of years, working out exactly what a long-dead fossil animal was eating when it was alive, and establishing a link between feeding and evolution, is very difficult.

Deep-sea temperatures rose 1,300 years before atmospheric CO2, ruling out the greenhouse gas as the driver of the meltdown, says a new study.

“There has been this continual reference to the correspondence between CO2 and climate change as reflected in ice core records as justification for the role of CO2 in climate change,” said USC geologist Lowell Stott, lead author of the study, published in Science. “You can no longer argue that CO2 alone caused the end of the ice ages.”

Stott is an expert in paleoclimatology and was a reviewer for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change ( IPCC ). He also recently co-authored a paper in Geophysical Research Letters tracing a 900-year history of monsoon variability in India.

A new study by Norwegian researchers investigating how cancer influences divorce found that most types of cancer resulted in a slight decrease in the divorce rate in the first few years following the diagnosis - except cervical or testicular cancer.

The somewhat double-edged good news: the study found that divorce was least likely to occur when the cancer had spread or for types of cancer that have a poor prognosis, and more likely in cancers with a good chance of recovery.

In other words, your spouse is more likely to stick it out if you're going to die anyway.

The research, which compared the divorce rates of 215,000 cancer survivors with those among couples with no cancer over a period of about 17 years, revealed that women who developed cervical cancer were 40 percent more lik

An international team of researchers has determined there was a "whiff" of oxygen in Earth's atmosphere about 2.5 billion years ago, the earliest time any significant amount of oxygen has been detected on Earth. Up to now, scholars believed oxygen levels on Earth were negligible before the "Great Oxidation Event" (GOE) about 2.3 to 2.4 billion years ago.

This latest discovery indicates there was at least a little oxygen in Earth's atmosphere 50 to 100 million years before the GOE. It also provides scholars with more information to help them solve the mystery of the origins of oxygen on Earth.

Using ESO's Very Large Telescope Interferometer and its unique ability to see small details, astronomers have uncovered a flat, nearly edge-on disc of silicates in the heart of the magnificent Ant Nebula. The disc seems, however, too 'skinny' to explain how the nebula got its intriguing ant-like shape.

The Ant Nebula is located about 5 000 light-years away. The central star is as bright as 10,000 Suns and has a temperature of 35, 000 degrees Celsius. It is the last phase before this solar-like star will become a white dwarf.

The Ant Nebula is one of the most striking planetary nebulae known.