Archive for August, 2005

Early 4-Legged Animal Moved Like Inchworm, Study Says

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: August 31, 2005   View Article

One of the first four-legged creatures that walked on land had an inchwormlike gait, a new study says.

The creature, known as Ichthyostega, lived in a floodplain environment on Greenland during the Devonian period, about 360 to 410 million years ago.

About three feet (one meter) long, Ichthyostega looked like a cross between a fish and a crocodile. Its four limbs allowed it to move, for short distances, on land.

Navajo Help Save Unique Sheep From Extinction

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: August 30, 2005   View Article

A unique breed of sheep is again woven into the fabric of Navajo life, thanks to a veterinary scientist and Navajo and Hispanic shepherds who rescued the breed from extinction.

The breed, Navajo-Churro, was introduced to North America in the 16th century by Spanish colonists. The Navajo, also known as the Diné, quickly adopted the breed, considering it a gift from the spirits.

Cadaver Exhibition Draws Crowds, Controversy in Florida

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: August 29, 2005   View Article

An exhibition starring real, skinned human corpses arranged in poses—a soccer player in mid-kick, for example—is drawing record- breaking crowds and controversy to a Florida museum.

Fetuses and a cigarette smoker’s tarred lungs are among the 20 corpses and 260 body parts on display.

“Bodies: The Exhibition” opened August 18 at the Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa. The bodies in question are unclaimed or unidentified individuals from China. As such, neither the deceased nor their families consented to the use of the corpses in the exhibit.

Earth’s Core Spins Faster Than Surface, Study Confirms

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: August 25, 2005   View Article

Analysis of nearly identical earthquakes that happened years apart proves that Earth’s moon-size inner core rotates faster than the rest of the planet, a team of geophysicists report today.

The finding is “unambiguous” and should settle a nearly decadelong debate over the matter, said Xiaodong Song, a geophysicist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Stem Cell Breakthrough: No More Need to Destroy Embryos?

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: August 23, 2005   View Article

Scientists have turned an ordinary skin cell into what appears to be an embryonic stem cell. The process may eventually eliminate the controversial step of destroying human embryos for stem cell research.

The new technique involves fusing a skin cell with an existing, laboratory-grown embryonic stem cell. The fused, or hybrid, cell is “reprogrammed” to its embryonic state, Harvard University scientists report in the journal Science.

Chinese, Americans, Truly See Differently, Study Says

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: August 22, 2005   View Article

Chinese and Americans literally view the world differently, according to a new study, which found that the two groups tend to move their eyes in distinctly different patterns when looking at pictures.

“If people are literally looking at the world differently, we think it would be natural for them to explain the world in different ways,” said Richard Nisbett, a psychologist at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Tanning “Buzz” Could Lead to Addiction

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: August 19, 2005   View Article

Just like the physical rush experienced by endurance athletes, sunbathers often feel a “buzz” after a long day at the beach. But scientists say this natural high can be fatally addictive.

“We treat a lot of patients who have tans and get skin cancer. We tell them to cut back [on their tanning], but they just can’t seem to stop,” said Richard Wagner, a dermatologist at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston.

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