Posted: January 26th, 2014 | Author: M.Aaron Silverman | Filed under: Cankler Science News, Palaeontology | Tags: Australian Palaeontological Discovery, Palaeontology, Polypterus, Spiracles, Tetrapods Transition | Comments Off
The emergence of life from water on to land is a pivotal moment in evolutionary history, and scientists say a new discovery may shed light on how it was able to happen.
Palaeontologists have verified a 200-year old hunch about an African fish and, in the process, showed how the first land animals developed the ability to breathe.
The scientists found the polypterus, a bony fish species, receives most of its oxygen not through gills but primitive nostrils on the top of its head.
Scientists had previously noticed similar holes, known as spiracles, in fossils of much more ancient species which are today regarded as the ancestors of modern land animals. Those species include the gogonasus, which inhabited the oceans 380 million years ago and was first identified by Flinders University palaeontologist Professor John Long.
His new research, in conjunction with a team based at the Scripps Research Institute in the US, has now been published in the journal Nature Communications. The discovery marks the first step in the evolutionary transition of similar ancient fishes to the land as tetrapods, or four-legged animals :: Read the full article »»»»
Posted: January 23rd, 2014 | Author: Judith Sternbach | Filed under: Cankler Science News, Favorite New Thought, From The Web | Tags: Blood Pressure, Cardiovascular Disease, Dilate Small Blood Vessels, Health News, World Health Organisation | Comments Off
It’s well known that sunshine is our major source of vitamin D, the lack of rays has been associated with forms of depression and osteoporosis. Too much is the main cause of skin cancer, it’s a tricky business this sunshine thing, even in Australia where we have a pretty steady flow of the stuff.
New research out of the UK suggests that short bursts of sunlight could help lower blood pressure. According to British scientist, Professor Martin Feelisch from the University of Southampton, sunlight triggers natural stores of nitric oxide in the skin that dilate the small blood vessels.
Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death worldwide, according to the World Health Organisation, and high blood pressure is one of the main associated risk factors. Although Professor Feelisch admits the study was small, he’s confident the results would be replicated with a larger group :: Read the full article »»»»
Posted: January 12th, 2014 | Author: Marcus Dangerfield | Filed under: Health News, The Organic Gourmet | Tags: Australian Organic Gourmet, Chronic Obesity, Diabetes, Health News, Low Sugar Diet, Obesity, Obesity Epidemic, Sugar, The Organic Gourmet | Comments Off
In Australia the war on obesity is heating up, three major health organisations want a sugar tax on all sweetened beverages – not just soft drinks, but products like flavoured milk and sports drinks – to limit consumption and curb what is shaping up to be the nations biggest health problem.
However, Australia’s Food and Grocery Council - the body representing the food and beverage industry – is hitting back against health campaigns aimed at reducing sugar consumption, prompting critics to compare the industry’s position to that of tobacco companies fight against smoking decades ago.
In the UK a similar campaign ‘Action on Sugar’ has just launched, in the hope of reversing the obesity epidemic by targeting the “huge and unnecessary amounts of sugar that are currently being added to our food and soft drinks”. The campaign’s expert advisors include heavyweights from the scientific and medical community.
Last month leaked draft guidelines from the World Health Organisation – WHO – suggested the organisation is considering halving the recommended daily intake of sugar from ten teaspoons to five. WHO’s “global strategy on diet” also says an unhealthy diet is a major risk factor for chronic disease and recommends reducing sugar intake to help prevent conditions like type 2 diabetes and dental problems :: Read the full article »»»»
Posted: January 11th, 2014 | Author: Sally Parker | Filed under: The Organic Gourmet | Tags: agricultural-crops, genetically-modified-organisms, GMO, Sally Parker, Tasmania, The Organic Gourmet | Comments Off
The Tasmanian Government has extended indefinitely the state’s moratorium on genetically modified crops and animals. Tasmania is the only Australian state to have to a blanket ban on GMOs, genetically modified organisms :: Read the full article »»»»
Posted: January 6th, 2014 | Author: Judith Sternbach | Filed under: Cankler Science News, Climate Change | Tags: Annual Climate Statement, Australia, Australian Landmark, Bureau of Meteorology, Climate Change, Rising Ocean Temperatures | Comments Off
Australia has just sweltered through its hottest year on record, according to the nation’s Bureau of Meteorology. Average temperatures were 1.20 degrees Celsius above the long-term average of 21.8C, breaking the previous record set in 2005, the bureau says in its Annual Climate Statement.
The country recorded its hottest day on January 7 – a month which also saw the hottest week and hottest month since records began in 1910. A new record was set for the number of consecutive days the national average temperature exceeded 39C – seven days between January 2 and 8, 2013, almost doubling the previous record of four consecutive days in 1973 :: Read the full article »»»»
Posted: December 29th, 2013 | Author: Verity Penfold | Filed under: Cankler Science News, Favorite New Thought | Tags: Department of Sustainability and Environment, Eastern Bentwing Microbats, Flying Mammal, Microchiroptera, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, Science News, United States Army, Victoria's Microbat Program, Wee Jasper | Comments Off
During Australia’s sizzling hot summer months, there’s no better place to be than underground, especially if your a pregnant Microchiroptera, or Microbat.
While we may not be aware of it – microbats are seldom seen – these tiny creatures play an important role in controlling urban insect numbers, eating up to half their weight in bugs each night.
Every summer tens of thousands of female Eastern Bentwing Microbats migrate to limestone caves in southern New South Wales to deliver and rear their pups.
There are very few remaining breeding grounds for large colonies of this vulnerable species, females Bentwing Microbats migrate up to 300 kilometres to roost.
Researchers are using some pretty unusual technology to track and monitor these colonies, missile tracking software from the United States Army :: Read the full article »»»»
Posted: December 9th, 2013 | Author: M.Aaron Silverman | Filed under: NASA | Tags: Curiosity Rover, Mars, Mars Rover, NASA | Comments Off
NASA’s Curiosity rover has dug below the Martian surface, and for the first time uncovered direct evidence of what used to be a freshwater lake. There is no water left where the lake once was, but drill tests and chemical analysis of fine-grained rocks by the Curiosity robot’s science tools suggest conditions were right for the lake to have once supported microbial life, perhaps as long as 3.6 billion years ago.
NASA’a latest findings provide the strongest evidence to-date that Mars could have held life to take hold, according to the report in the journal Science :: Read the full article »»»»