SCIENCE IN THE NEWS WEEKLY
Ancient Past: A New Meaning for Stonehenge?
British archaeologists said last week that Stonehenge, the prehistoric stone monument, appears to have served as a cemetery for as long as 500 years and may have been a burial site for a single important family, perhaps a royal dynasty.
In other news, researchers said a massive release of methane 635 million year ago may have caused a jump in temperature that triggered rapid melting of global glaciation on earth. The sudden burst of methane may have occurred when ice sheets that stretched all the way to the equator broke apart.
Scientists say a 380-million-year-old fossil fish with an embryo still attached to its umbilical cord has provided the oldest example of a live birth. The specimen was found in Australia. Until now, scientists thought creatures from that time period reproduced by laying eggs.
And speaking of fossils, New Jersey sediment known as glauconite has yielded some curious specimens of late. One in particular, of a sabertooth salmon, suggests that the dinosaur-era fish may have survived longer than anyone thought, based on the geologic record.
And, finally, divers reported finding the ruins of an ancient temple in the Nile River that was built in honor of the Egyptian fertility god Khnum. Because the river has shifted course over the centuries, archaeologists said they expect to make other such finds through underwater excavations.
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PODCASTS: Expanding With the Cosmos
Using the Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ATC), a 6.5-meter microwave collector in Chile, cosmologists are piecing together the early history of the known universe. In an exclusive American Scientist interview, Arthur Kosowsky—a member of the ATC team and a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Pittsburgh—discusses how he is using ATC to reach back in time billions of years to search for gravitational waves that could verify inflation and reveal unprecedented details about how the cosmos was born.
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