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How cats conquered the ancient world

How cats conquered the ancient world

Science
The domestic cat is descended from wild cats that were tamed twice - in the Near East and then Egypt, according to the largest study of its kind.Farmers in the Near East were probably the first people to successfully tame wild cats about 9,000 years ago.Then, a few thousand years later, cats spread out of ancient Egypt along maritime trade routes.Today, cats live on all continents except Antarctica. Scientists think wildcats began hanging around farms to prey on mice attracted to grain stores, starting the long relationship between humans and felines."There were two taming events - one in the Near East at the beginning and one in Egypt much later," said lead researcher Eva-Maria Geigl."And then the cat spread very efficiently all over the ancient world as a ship's cat. Both lineages are no...
Volcanoes 'triggered dawn of dinosaurs'

Volcanoes 'triggered dawn of dinosaurs'

Science
A million-year-long period of extreme volcanic activity most likely paved the way for the dawn of the dinosaurs, a study suggests.Scientists have analysed ancient rocks and have found traces of emissions from huge volcanic eruptions that happened about 200 million years ago.This would have led to one of the largest mass extinctions on record, enabling dinosaurs to become dominant. The study is published in the journal PNAS.Lead author Lawrence Percival, from the Earth sciences department at Oxford University, said: "The dinosaurs were able to exploit those ecological niches that were left vacant by the extinction." Mercury risingThe researchers looked at volcanic rocks from four continents that date to this turbulent time.A previous study assessed how levels of carbon fluctuated in the roc...
NASA scientists name Martian crater after Apollo 16 moonwalk mission

NASA scientists name Martian crater after Apollo 16 moonwalk mission

Science
June 16 (UPI) -- Earlier this spring, NASA's Mars Exploration Rover, also known as the Opportunity rover, discovered a small Martian crater. The discovery was made on the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 16 mission, NASA's 10th moon landing.This week, NASA scientists announced the name of that newly discovered crater. They call it "Orion Crater" -- an homage to the lunar module that carried astronauts John Young and Charles Duke to the moon and back.The rover's Panoramic Camera snapped photos of Orion Crater on April 26. The depression measures 90 feet across. It's a relatively young crater, no older than 10 million years old."It turns out that Orion Crater is almost exactly the same size as Plum Crater on the moon, which John Young and Charles Duke explored on their first of three moonwalks...
Trump's divided desert: Wildlife at the border wall

Trump's divided desert: Wildlife at the border wall

Science
Media playback is unsupported on your devicePresident Trump's promise to build a "great wall" along the US-Mexico border remains one of the central and most controversial promises of his presidency. But scientists from the University of Arizona are starting to unravel the effect that such a wall could have on a desert ecosystem it will cut through. The team is studying wildlife in the Sonoran Desert, which stretches across the border from Arizona into Mexico and is already divided by a barrier at the border. BBC science reporter Victoria Gill joined the team in a search for some of the desert's most endangered animals. Its proximity to the border gives Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument a dangerous reputation. But as you bump along dirt roads of this set-aside swathe of the Sonoran Desert...
Liquified gas electrolytes power new lower-temperature battery

Liquified gas electrolytes power new lower-temperature battery

Science
June 16 (UPI) -- Scientists at the University of California, San Diego have developed new electrolytes capable of powering batteries at temperatures as low as negative 80 degrees Celsius.The technology could help make lithium ion batteries safer and more efficient, as well as boost the range of electric vehicles during cold winter months. The new batteries could also power vehicles and instruments operating in extreme cold, like space rovers, satellites and high-alitiude weather baloons.The electrolytes are composed of liquefied gas solvents. Many gases require extreme pressure to liquify. Gases that liquify at moderate pressures are less apt to freeze.To create their battery's electrolyte, researchers liquified fluoromethane gas. For the capacitor electrolyte, scientists liquified difluor...