four-legged snake

Researchers discover fossil of four-legged snake

Researchers have discovered fossils belonging to a 113-million-year-old, four-legged snake that they believe is a direct ancestor to modern-day slithering serpents, and appears to indicate that the reptiles evolved from burrowing ancestors, not marine-based ones. The specimen, which is described in the latest edition of the journal Science, has been given the name Tetrapodophis amplectus. It is believed to have lived between 146 to 100 million years ago during the Early Cretaceous period and has...

mammoths wiped out

Mammoths most likely wiped out by abrupt climate change

Widely-held theories have pegged severe cold snaps as the primary reason mammoths, giant sloths and other large ‘megafauna’ animals were wiped out during the last ice age about 60,000 to 12,000 years ago. However, a new study published in the journal Science revealed unusual warm spells may have driven megafauna extinctions more than cold snaps. "This abrupt warming had a profound impact on climate that caused marked shifts in global rainfall and vegetation patterns," study author...

loch ness monster

Loch Ness Monster may just be a giant catfish, expert says

The Loch Ness Monster is the stuff of legends, but one expert who has been hunting the creature for more than two decades has told reporters that he’s convinced the beast is nothing more than a massive catfish and not, as many believe, a surviving member of the plesiosaurs. According to CBS News, veteran Nessie hunter Steve Feltham told UK media outlets that the creature is most likely a Wels catfish, a species that is...

worm

This flatworm can inseminate its own head to reproduce asexually

Animals will go to extraordinary lengths in order to reproduce as demonstrated by the flatworm Marcostomum hystrix. If these lovely creatures cannot find a mating partner, it will reproduce asexually through a fairly nonconventional method. According to Eurekalert, Zoologists at the Universities of Basel and Bielefeld conducted a study to find out how these flatworm species self-fertilize. Since this species is hermaphroditic, it has both male and female reproductive organs, and when push comes to...

t rex raptors

The dinosaurs of Jurassic World: Tyrannosaurus Rex and Velociraptor

Stephanie K. Drumheller-Horton & Marc R. Spencer for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online As unabashed superfans of the Jurassic Park movies (well, mainly the first one; The Lost World and Jurassic Park III were embarrassing), we’ve been counting down the months until its release. We’ve been checking the Jurassic World Facebook page daily, hoping to find some new trailers or behind-the-scenes videos, and haven’t been let down. While we can’t tell whether the movie will be amazing or terrible, it’s been cool...

About to rain - Drought

Mystery solved: cause of milky rain in US northwest discovered

The mystery of an unusual ash-like substance coating parts of Idaho, Washington, and Oregon back in February has been solved, as a multi-disciplinary team from Washington State University has uncovered the origins of this milky rain. According to various media outlets, the unusual precipitation affected more than 15 cities in the northwestern US. The light-gray colored grit in the rain coated homes, windows, and motor vehicles. Some experts hypothesized that the dirt may have been...

jurassic world dinosaurs

The dinosaurs (that aren’t actually dinosaurs) of Jurassic World: Mosasaurs and Pterosaurs

Stephanie K. Drumheller-Horton & Marc R. Spencer for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online As unabashed superfans of the Jurassic Park movies (well, mainly the first one; The Lost World and Jurassic Park III were embarrassing), we’ve been counting down the months until its release. We’ve been checking the Jurassic World Facebook page daily, hoping to find some new trailers or behind-the-scenes videos, and haven’t been let down. While we can’t tell whether the movie will be amazing or terrible, it’s been cool...

japanese plantations

Japanese tree plantations cause nitrogen pollution

We all know trees are good for the environment, right? Conservationists even get labeled “tree-huggers,” and phrases like “the trees of the Amazon rainforest are the lungs of the Earth” have become big clichés. But for some cedar and cypress plantations in Japan, it seems it’s just not easy being green. Poor management in these older forests led to them becoming overcrowded with little understory. According to the study, the plantations cause as much pollution...

LONDON - JULY 10:  British Lawyer and endurance swimmer Lewis Gordon Pugh, 36, practices swimming in the River Thames on July 10, 2006 in London, England.  Pugh is seeking to add another 'first' to his long list of pioneering achievements  by attempting to become the first person to swim the entire length of the River Thames from its source near the Welsh border all the way to the North Sea, a distance of 325km/203miles, to raise awareness for climate change in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund. His challenge begins on July 17. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images for Investec)

Lewis Pugh: Conservation the hard way, Part II

In Part I, The Daily Orbit spoke to Lewis Pugh - the world’s best cold water swimmer and United Nations “Patron of the Oceans” - about his intense, record-breaking swims in the waters of the North Pole and Antarctica. He hopes his trials will raise awareness about the damage being done to the world’s oceans. In part II, we asked Lewis about his current projects and concerns. This is what he told us: "I just went down...

Taking time to teach about tornadoes

Taking time to teach about tornadoes

My home state of Oklahoma has had quite a busy few weeks as far as weather goes. We have dealt with hail, rain deluges, floods, earthquakes, and tornadoes. When one weather event ends, another picks up, and each one brings with it issues and dangers. Of these, though, tornadoes often pose the most problems. First, they are difficult to predict. Second, they bring much damage and destruction. Third, other weather events often come with...