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Scientists use 3D climate model to narrow search for habitable exoplanets

Scientists use 3D climate model to narrow search for habitable exoplanets

Science
Nov. 14 (UPI) -- For the first time, scientists used a 3D climate model that incorporates photochemistry to study the habitability of exoplanets surrounding M dwarf stars. The findings -- published Thursday in the Astrophysical Journal -- could help planetary scientists know what to look for when surveying potentially habitable exoplanets. Researchers adopted a 3D climate model, originally developed by scientists at the University of Colorado-Boulder for the study of Earth's climate, to simulate the atmospheric dynamics of faraway planets -- specifically exoplanets orbiting M dwarf stars. These stars, also called red dwarfs, give off relatively small amounts light and heat. Originally, scientists thought M dwarfs were rare, and because they're relatively cool, scientists assumed planetar...
Secrets of the largest ape that ever lived

Secrets of the largest ape that ever lived

Science
A fossilised tooth left behind by the largest ape that ever lived is shedding new light on the evolution of apes.Gigantopithecus blacki was thought to stand nearly three metres tall and tip the scales at 600kg.In an astonishing advance, scientists have obtained molecular evidence from a two-million-year-old fossil molar tooth found in a Chinese cave.The mystery ape is a distant relative of orangutans, sharing a common ancestor around 12 million years ago. "It would have been a distant cousin (of orangutans), in the sense that its closest living relatives are orangutans, compared to other living great apes such as gorillas or chimpanzees or us," said Dr Frido Welker, from the University of Copenhagen. ...
Plastic threads found in oysters, clams along Oregon coast

Plastic threads found in oysters, clams along Oregon coast

Science
Nov. 12 (UPI) -- Microplastics are showing up inside clams and oysters on the coast of the Pacific Northwest. New research out of Oregon suggests the majority of the pollution inside bivalves is comprised of microthreads. Synthetic threads are used in a variety of products, but they're especially common in pieces of recreational clothing -- fleece jackets, yoga pants and other forms of outerwear and athletic gear. "These microfilaments can be shed from clothing, up to 700,000 per load of laundry," Britta Baechler, a doctoral student at Portland State University in Oregon, said in a news release. "Those particles then travel out through greywater into wastewater and to the coast." For the new study, published this week in the journal Limnology and Oceanography Letters, scientists collecte...
Deer-like species found in Vietnam after 30-year absence

Deer-like species found in Vietnam after 30-year absence

Science
Nov. 12 (UPI) -- With the help of camera traps, researchers have rediscovered a deer-like species called the silver-backed chevrotain in Vietnam. The species, Tragulus versicolor, sometimes called the Vietnamese mouse-deer, hadn't been seen since the 1990s. Scientists with Global Wildlife Conservation, the Southern Institute of Ecology and Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research announced the species' rediscovery this week in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution. "For so long this species has seemingly only existed as part of our imagination," An Nguyen, associate conservation scientist for GWC, said in a news release. "Discovering that it is, indeed, still out there, is the first step in ensuring we don't lose it again, and we're moving quickly now to figure out how best to ...
Scientists find seven new leech species that live inside freshwater mussels

Scientists find seven new leech species that live inside freshwater mussels

Science
Nov. 11 (UPI) -- If you eat freshwater mussels, you might open a shell to find one of seven newly named leech species. Yummy. Between 2002 and 2018, Arthur Bogan, research curator of mollusks at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, recruited collaborators from all over the globe to collect freshwater mussels, sample DNA and document what they found inside. The project revealed seven new species of leeches. According to Ivan N. Bolotov, scientist of the Federal Center for Integrated Arctic Research of the Russian Academy of Sciences and one of Bogan's collaborators, at least two of the species should be classified as obligate inhabitants of the freshwater mussel's mantle cavity. These species cannot complete their life cycle without their bivalve host. "It has been suggested tha...