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Posts Tagged "discovery"

Basic Space

A week in space: Cassini dips down to Enceladus, a solar flare erupts, Discovery moves, and more

Unprocessed image of Enceladus was taken last weekend. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI

If I lived elsewhere in the multiverse, this is the news and cool space stuff I’d have been covering this week. Unfortunately, in this universe I didn’t have the time. Last weekend, Cassini dipped down close to Enceladus to “taste” the jets that erupt from its surface. For some background on Enceladus, see my entry [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Microjewels: Stunningly Beautiful Snails Going Extinct as Soon as They Are Discovered

microjewel

You need to have pretty good eyesight to see the tiny snails from the genus Plectostoma. These almost impossibly small gastropods from Malaysia and Thailand only reach a millimeter or two in width, but they make up for their lack of size with their stunning beauty. The 31 Plectostoma species described in a new paper [...]

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Extinction Countdown

New Population of Critically Endangered Rabbits Found in (of All Places) a Nature Reserve

riverine rabbit

With a wild population estimated at fewer than 400 individuals, South Africa’s riverine rabbit (Bunolagus monticularis) is just a hare’s breath away from extinction. Most of the rabbit’s habitats in the Karoo semi-desert region have been developed over the past five decades, and the few remaining animals live in increasingly fragmented groups far away from [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Beautiful Striped Bat Identified as Entirely New Genus

Niumbaha Superba

A new genus of bat has been discovered in South Sudan, the world’s newest country. The strikingly striped bat has been placed into the genus Niumbaha, which means “rare” or “unusual” in the Zande language of the region. A paper describing the bat was published this week in the journal ZooKeys. This actually isn’t the [...]

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Extinction Countdown

‘Extinct’ Indian Gecko Rediscovered After 135 Years

Geckoella jeyporensis

In 1877 a British lieutenant colonel and naturalist named R.H. Beddome looked under a rock in the Indian state of Orissa and discovered a new gecko species. That was the last time it was ever seen. Until now. After more than 135 years, the Jeypore ground gecko (Geckoella Jeyporensis) has been rediscovered by a team [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Almost Extinct Brazilian Bird Observed in Nest for the First Time [Video]

Stresemann

Two Brazilian researchers doing some recreational bird-watching have made an amazing discovery: the first nest ever found for the critically endangered Stresemann’s bristlefront (Merulaxis stresemanni). One of the world’s rarest birds, the bristlefront has an estimated population of just 15 individuals, all at the 600-hectare Mata do Passarinho Reserve run by Fundação Biodiversitas in the [...]

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Extinction Countdown

3 New Slow Loris Species Discovered in Borneo; Rare Venomous Primates Threatened by Illegal Pet Trade

Kayan loris

Protecting the adorable but endangered slow loris—the world’s only venomous primate—from the illegal pet trade suddenly got a little harder. According to a paper pending publication in the American Journal of Primatology, what was once recognized as one slow loris species and two subspecies is actually four different species. Lead author Rachel Munds, an anthropology [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Newly Discovered Cave Weta Species Endangered by Coal Mining

cave weta

If you have seen any of Peter Jackson’s movies, such as this week’s release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, then you have probably noticed the logo for the special effects company Weta Workshop, which works on most of the director’s New Zealand–based projects. The workshop is named after a bunch of endemic New Zealand [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Amazing: Rarest Whale Seen for First Time in History, but Not at Sea

spade-toothed beaked whale

In another example of how little we know about the natural world, scientists recently got their first up-close glimpse at the rare and elusive spade-toothed beaked whale (Mesoplodon traversii). Tragically, the discovery was not of living whales but a mother and her male calf that died after beaching themselves. Until now, the spade-toothed beaked whale [...]

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Extinction Countdown

9 New Tree-Loving and Endangered Tarantula Species Discovered in Brazil

tarantulas

Nine new species of colorful, arboreal tarantulas have been discovered in central and eastern Brazil, an area where only seven tarantula species had previously been known. All nine of the newly described species are threatened by habitat loss and potentially by overzealous spider collectors. As described this week in the open-access journal ZooKeys, the newly [...]

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Extinction Countdown

New Lizard Discovered in Australia and Threatened by Incoming Housing Development

coastal skink

A tiny new lizard species has been discovered in Western Australia, and just in time: its only known habitat is already being destroyed. The six-centimeter-long coastal plains skink (Ctenotus ora) lives in the sand dunes of the Swan Coastal Plain, which starts about 70 kilometers south of Perth. According to the researchers from Australian National [...]

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Food Matters

Tannosomes and the trickle-around effect: a new cell organelle is discovered

Ginko-Leaf

Last week, when French researchers unveiled a newly discovered plant organelle related to wine and tea, I waited for frenetic coverage. And waited. Only a few obscure wine websites covered the news. When I contacted the study co-author, Jean-Marc Brillouet of the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA), he immediately put me in touch [...]

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Guest Blog

Man discovers a new life-form at a South African truck stop

Like many biologists, the German biologist Oliver Zompro spends thousands of hours looking at specimens of dead animals. He found his first new species when he was twenty. By the age of thirty he had named dozens of wild new forms. While other people around him did crossword puzzles and drank lattes, he explored the [...]

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Observations

Space shuttle Discovery lands in Florida, capping its 39th and final mission

Discovery glides in for its final landing on March 9, 2011

It took space shuttle Discovery several months to get off the ground on its final mission, but the shuttle’s landing came off without a hitch. Discovery touched down on schedule, just before noon March 9, putting an end to its 26 years of service, in which the orbiter made 39 trips to space and logged [...]

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Observations

Shuttle Discovery en route to International Space Station

NASA, Discovery,ISS

Space shuttle Discovery is on its way to the International Space Station (ISS), blasting off at 6:21 a.m. local time Monday from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center without any of the weather– or equipment–related delays that have plagued the past several launches. The shuttle is ferrying a seven-member crew to the ISS to perform a complex [...]

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