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A bizarre dinosaur had vampire-like fangs, a parrot beak and porcupine bristles, researchers say.
The ancient creature, which was found 50 years ago in southern Africa but drew relatively little attention until now, may shed light on the evolution of the major group of dinosaurs that included famous giants such as Stegosaurus and Triceratops.
The 200-million-year-old dinosaur "was two-legged, probably fleet-footed, and had grasping hands," said researcher Paul Sereno, a paleontologist at the University of Chicago.
Named Pegomastax africanus, or "thick jaw from Africa," it was less than 2 feet (0.6 meters) long and weighed less than a house cat at 15 pounds (6.8 kilograms) at most, "and was mostly tail and neck," Sereno added.
Discovered a new type of acorn worm, scientists have. Named it after Yoda, they did.
The reddish-purple worm was found about 1.5 miles (2.5 kilometers) beneath the surface of the Atlantic Ocean, and has large lips on either side of its head region that reminded researchers of the floppy-eared Stars Wars character. Its full scientific name is Yoda purpurata, or "purple Yoda."
Researchers found the worm during the ECOMAR research program, which uses a remotely operated submersible to search for new animals along the seafloor at the Mid-Atlantic Ridge between Iceland and the Azores.
For the first time, researchers have been able to show by acoustic analysis that whales—or at least one very special white whale—can imitate the voices of humans. That's a surprise, because whales typically produce sounds in a manner that is wholly different from humans, say researchers who report their findings in the October 23 issue of Current Biology, a Cell Press publication.
"Our observations suggest that the whale had to modify its vocal mechanics in order to make the speech-like sounds," said Sam Ridgway of the National Marine Mammal Foundation. "Such obvious effort suggests motivation for contact."
It all started in 1984 when Ridgway and others began to notice some unusual sounds in the vicinity of the whale and dolphin enclosure. As they describe it, it sounded as though two people were conversing in the distance, just out of range of their understanding.
Now researchers find that dung beetles might also use excrement to keep themselves cool.
"Dung beetles are the first example of an insect using a mobile, thermal refuge to move across hot soil," researcher Jochen Smolka, a neuroethologist at Lund University in Sweden, told LiveScience. "Insects, once thought to be at the mercy of environmental temperatures, use sophisticated behavioral strategies to regulate their body temperature[s]."
Koshik, a 22-year-old Asian elephant, has been using his trunk to create some unusual sounds... actual words in a human language.
The Associated Press reported that Koshik is able to tuck his trunk into his mouth and produce sounds that imitate the Korean words: "annyeong" (hello), "anja" (sit down), "aniya" (no), "nuwo" (lie down) and "joa" (good).
A new species of horned dinosaur, called the xenoceratops—"alien horned-face"—has been discovered in fossil beds in Alberta, Canada.
The discovery is based on remains from at least three adult-sized individuals, which were identified from fossils originally collected in 1958. The creatures would have been approximately six meters long and would have weighed more than two metric tons each.
The xenoceratops was a herbivore with a parrot-like beak, two long brow horns above its eyes and a large frill protruding from the back of its skull with two additional large spikes. It lived around 80 million years ago, making it one of the oldest ceratopsids, the group of large-bodied horned dinosaurs that includes triceratops.
The black piranha and the extinct giant piranha, or megapiranha, have the most powerful bites of carnivorous fishes, living or extinct, once body size is taken into account, finds researchers in a paper recently published in Scientific Reports. The research paper, Mega-Bites: Extreme jaw forces of living and extinct piranhas, highlights the piranhas’ specialized jaw morphology, which allows them to attack and bite chunks out of much larger prey.
The paper reports the first bite-force measurements taken from wild specimens of the largest species of carnivorous piranha in the Amazon, the black piranha, and describes the underlying functional morphology of the jaws that allows this creature to bite with a force more than 30 times greater than its weight. The powerful bite is achieved primarily due to the large muscle mass of the black piranha’s jaw and the efficient transmission of its large contractile forces through a highly modified jaw-closing lever.
The expedition was organized and filmed by National Geographic. A subsequent program called Megapiranha aired on the National Geographic Channel featured the expedition and focused on the creature that existed millions of years ago.
“It was very exciting to participate in this project, travel one more time to the Amazon to be able to directly measure bite forces in the wild,” said Dr. Orti. “I learned a lot of biomechanics from my colleagues while collecting valuable specimens for my own research.”
The authors also reconstructed the bite force of the megapiranha, showing that for its relatively diminutive body size, the bite of this fossil piranha dwarfed that of other extinct mega-predators, including the whale-eating shark and the Devonian placoderm. Research at the Ortí lab at GW continues to focus on reconstructing the genealogical tree of fishes including piranhas based on genomic data.
Scientists and broadcasters said Monday they have captured footage of an elusive giant squid deep in the North Pacific that may have been up to 8 meters long before losing its two long tentacles.
The National Science Museum was able to film the deep-sea creature in its natural habitat for the first time, working with NHK and the U.S. Discovery Channel.
They spotted the squid at a depth of 630 meters using a submersible in July, some 15 km east of Chichi Island, part of the Ogasawara chain. The submarine with three people on board, including Tsunemi Kubodera from the museum, followed the enormous mollusk to a depth of 900 meters as it swam into the abyss.
More footage as part of a Discovery special later in the month.
sdsichero wrote:Hives of candy-crazy bees in France are reportedly producing honey colored blue and green.
But honey-lovers hoping for something strange to put on their English muffins are likely to be disappointed: The oddly colored honey is not for sale, according to France24.
Someone -- maybe a local farmer or some such -- should try selling it. Between the candy and the way the bees "process" it, there's nothing in that colored honey that people weren't already eating without a problem.
In what's being called the first discovery of its type, scientists recently stumbled upon a whale skeleton on the ocean floor near Antarctica -- one of only six natural whale skeletons found worldwide.
That's not all. As the researchers took a closer look at their find, they noticed something else quite remarkable -- at least nine never-before-seen species of deep-sea organisms feeding on the bones and skull.