‘Like Finding a Unicorn’: Researchers Rediscover Black-Naped Pheasant-Pigeon, a Bird Lost to Science for 140 Years:
Black-naped pheasant-chicken – John Mittermeier/American Bird Conservatory
In the final hours of a month long search through rugged jungles swarming with mosquitos, scientists confirmed the sighting of a bird that hasn’t been seen in 140 years. A picture of the ground-dwelling black-naped pheasant-pigeon was captured via camera trap, and felt to the team “like finding a unicorn.” Documented to science in 1882 and not seen since, the black-naped pheasant pigeon is now almost certainly the most endangered bird in New Guinea, and reinforces the need to conserve as much of its home of Fergusson Island off the east coast of the mainland. Now that the species is confirmed to exist, it means not only is there 1 less bird on the Search for Lost Birds‘ 150 bird roster, but 1 less of 20 that haven’t been seen in over 100 years.
Physics study shows that sheep flocks alternate their leader and achieve collective intelligence:
Credit: Luis Gómez-Nava, Richard Bon and Fernando Peruani.
Fernando Peruani and two other researchers from the Université Côte d'Azur, Université de Toulouse, and CY Cergy Paris Université have recently used physics theory to examine the collective behavior of small flocks of sheep. Their findings, published in Nature Physics, show that by alternating between the role of leader and follower, the flock achieves a form of "collective intelligence." The key objective of their recent work was to investigate the collective motion of an animal system to see if collective motion phases have a beginning and an end. In their experiment, Peruani and his colleagues closely studied the spontaneous behavior of small groups of sheep over varying time intervals. The researchers then looked at the ordering of the sheep, their positions, and their movement speed to find any collective correlations in their movements. Interestingly, Peruani and his colleagues found that there was a consistent interaction network representing the behavior of the flocks which they observed was highly hierarchical. However, leaders of sheep groups are recycled regularly with current leaders being replaced by another at regular intervals.
The Pristine Winchcombe Meteorite Suggests That Earth’s Water Came from Asteroids:
Researchers from the University of Glasgow in Scotland found pieces of the Winchcombe meteorite in a field. Credit: MIRA IHASZ, SPIRE GLOBAL, UNIVERSITY OF GLASGOW
An analysis of a meteorite found in northern England has shown that it came from the outer solar system and contains water that is chemically similar to Earth’s. How Earth got its water remains one of science’s enduring mysteries and the new results support the idea that asteroids brought water to the young Earth. The remains of the meteorite were collected only 12 hour after the collision, making the samples extremely pristine. The meteorite is a type of rare, carbon-rich rock called a carbonaceous chondrite, a research team found. It came from an asteroid near the orbit of Jupiter, and got its start toward Earth around approximately 300,000 years ago, a relatively short time for a trip through space. Chemical analyses also revealed that the meteorite is about 11 percent water by weight, with the water locked in hydrated minerals. Some of the hydrogen in that water is actually deuterium, a heavy form of hydrogen, and the ratio of hydrogen to deuterium in the meteorite is similar to that of the Earth’s atmosphere. Other organic materials like amino acids were also found inside the meteorite which contained the startup resources for the building blocks of life. While this is a great discovery, more analysis of other asteroids and research comparisons will have to be conducted to get a proper look at how life came to our planet.