Short Science, June 1, 2014

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 01 June, 2014, 4:21am
UPDATED : Sunday, 01 June, 2014, 4:21am

'Extinct' sea creature found alive and well

A microscopic marine creature believed to have been extinct for four million years has been found alive and well in New Zealand waters, researchers say. The animal, a tentacled polyp called protulophila, forms colonies inside sea worms and first appeared in the fossil record about 170 million years ago in Europe and the Middle East, government marine agency NIWA said. The last trace of it was in rocks that were four million years old, until scientists found the organism in samples from New Zealand which were formed just one million years ago. Researchers then checked more recent samples and the polyp turned up in sea worms collected in 2008 near Picton, on New Zealand's South Island. AFP


Consciousness pioneer who won Nobel dies

Gerald Edelman, a co-winner of the Nobel Prize in 1972 whose research on the brain, the nervous system and consciousness has amazed and sometimes annoyed his scientific colleagues, has died aged 84. Along with Rodney Porter, a British scientist working independently, Edelman won the prize for physiology or medicine for discoveries involving the chemical structure of antibodies, the immune system proteins that detect and destroy bacteria and viruses. Biotech companies later used the finding to look for ways to diagnose and cure cancer and other diseases. Edelman's attention later turned to unraveling the mystery of consciousness, which he felt evolved because of a person's experience, contradicting the traditional view that the brain's potential was determined at birth. Los Angeles Times


Americans warm to 'global warming'

New research finds Americans care more when the term "global warming" is used to describe the major environmental challenge. "Climate change", in contrast, leaves them relatively cold. The terms were often used interchangeably but generated very different responses, researchers from the Yale Project on Climate Change Communications and the George Mason University Centre for Climate Change Communications said. "The choice of these two terms really does matter, depending on who you are talking to," lead author Anthony Leiserowitz said. The Guardian