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A snapshot of New Zealand's climate 40 million years ago reveals a greenhouse Earth, with warmer seas and little or no ice in Antarctica, according to research published this week in the journal Geology.

The study suggests that Antarctica at that time was yet to develop extensive ice sheets. Back then, New Zealand was about 1100 km further south, at the same latitude as the southern tip of South America – so was closer to Antarctica – but the researchers found that the water temperature was 23-25°C at the sea surface and 11-13°C at the bottom.

The ocean is a noisy place and although we don't hear much when we stick our heads underwater, the right instruments can reveal a symphony of sound.

The noisemakers range from the low-frequency bass tones of a fish mating ritual to the roar of a motorboat. The study of how underwater animals hear is a growing topic in marine science, especially with regards to naval sonar and whales.

This summer at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL), zoologist T. Aran Mooney will be the first scientist to look at cephalopod hearing, using the squid, Loligo pealeii, as a model. To learn how sensitive the translucent animals are to noise, he is monitoring squid brain waves as they respond to various sounds, specifically the echolocation clicks of its main predators: the sperm whale, beaked whale, and dolphin. In addition to the brain wave experiments, he also plans to condition squid to avoid certain sounds.


Oxytocin was originally studied as the "milk let-down factor," i.e., a hormone that was necessary for breast-feeding. However, there is increasing evidence that this hormone also plays an important role in social bonding and maternal behaviors.

A new study in Biological Psychiatry shows that one way oxytocin promotes social affiliation in humans is by enhancing the encoding of positive social memories.

BRAY, Ireland, July 28 /PRNewswire/ --

Advanced Surgical Concepts is pleased to announce that surgeons have used its TriPort device to complete a kidney transplant through only a small incision in the donor's bellybutton. The donor was able to leave the hospital less than 48 hours after the surgery with his surgical scar hidden by the natural contour of the bellybutton, rather than the 12" abdominal scar that is common following kidney removal surgery.


Is even microwave cooking not fast enough for you? Researchers from Saga Ceramic Research Laboratory in Japan and the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences and Materials Research Institute at Pennsylvania State University report in Chemistry of Materials that their new ceramic materials heat up faster and retain heat longer than conventional microwave cookware, all while using less energy.

In the new study, Sridhar Komarneni, Hiroaki Katsuki, and Nobuaki Kamochi note that researchers long have sought a commercially feasible method for using microwaves in the production of new genres of sturdy-heat-resistant ceramic materials. However, no optimal process had been developed.


Cut off one finger from a salamander and one will grow back. Cut off two and two will grow back. It sounds logical, but how the salamander always regenerates the right number of fingers is a biological mystery.

The salamander isn't the only animal with this regenerative ability. Take the sea squirt, Ciona intestinalis, a cylindrical marine creature about the size of a small cucumber that regularly loses its siphons, or feeding tubes, to hungry predators.

At the base of each siphon are eight photoreceptors, cells used to detect light. Whenever the sea squirt experiences a violent loss at the siphon base, the number of photoreceptors that grow back is always eight.

Two of the sea squirt's eight photoreceptors, dyed red, which are found at the base of its siphons. Credit: Dr. William Jeffery