Short Science, July 28, 2013

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 28 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 28 July, 2013, 8:26am


Ultra-thin implant could monitor health

A flexible electrical circuit one-fifth the thickness of food wrap could one day be implanted in humans, its Japanese developers say, as a health monitor or a control panel for paralysed people. The team at the University of Tokyo said the device, embedded in an ultra-thin film, was unique because it worked even after it had been crumpled into a ball or stretched. Researchers unveiling the circuit said it could be used to monitor all sorts of physical data, such as body temperature and blood pressure, as well as electronic pulses from muscles or the heart. AFP


The bare bones of an amazing discovery

Palaeontologists in northern Mexico have excavated a five-metre fossilised dinosaur tail from a creature than lived more than 72 million years ago. The tail, made up of about 50 vertebrae, belonged to one of the crested duckbill dinosaurs, likely a lambeosaurus, the National Institute of Anthropology and History said. "This is the only articulated tail of this type so far discovered in Mexico. It said it needed to extract more bones before confirming the exact species. The tail, discovered in the Guadalupe Alimitos desert in 2005, was buried in sedimentary rock. Palaeontologists have been carefully removing the stone in horizontal layers to preserve the fossil and its position as they extract it. Other long bones and hip bones have also been found, and scientists believe the rest of the skeleton - which they estimate will measure about 12 meters - is buried there. AFP


Palm oil gene could boost yields

Sequencing of the oil palm has pinpointed a gene that should boost yields and ease pressure on rainforests, new studies say. The genome highlights the role of an all-important gene called Shell, according to a probe led by the Malaysian Palm Oil Board. With 32 chromosomes and 35,000 genes, the oil palm has an impressively long lineage, dating back to the origins of flowering plants during the Cretaceous period some 140-200 million years ago. AFP