science: April 2012 Archives

275x250.jpg Scientists have discovered that people think men who are carrying a weapon are bigger than they actually are.

Researchers from UCLA asked hundreds of people guess the size and muscularity of four men based solely on photographs of their hands holding a range of objects.

It was found that brandishing a weapon makes men appear bigger and stronger, with boffins concluding an unconscious mental mechanism recognises a threat and makes us think it is worse.

On average, participants judged pistol-packers to be 17 percent taller and stronger than those judged to be the smallest and weakest men.

"There's nothing about the knowledge that gun powder makes lead bullets fly through the air at damage-causing speeds that should make you think that a gun-bearer is bigger or stronger, yet you do," said Daniel Fessler.

An "exquisitely preserved" woolly mammoth has been discovered in a frozen cliff in Siberia, giving a important insight into the animals.

Named 'Yuka' by scientists, the creature is thought have been three or four years old when it was killed lions and humans who took over the kill at an early stage.

Since then it has spent more than 10,000 years it an icy tomb -- but amazingly its foot pads and "strawberry-blonde" hair are still clearly visible.

"Already there is dramatic evidence of a life-and-death struggle between Yuka and some top predator, probably a lion," said Prof Daniel Fisher of the University of Michigan.

275x250.jpg While some scientists were busy trying to cure cancer, others were apparently more preoccupied by the question 'Can trees suffer jetlag?"

Researcher from say that the internal biological clock that gets altered in humans when travelling across time zones, leading to jetlag also applies to trees.

But it's not a wast of time, the team from the University of Western Sydney say their findings could be useful in an era of tackling climate change.

Dr Víctor Resco de Dios said: "If you could move a whole forest from Sydney to Barcelona all of the trees – in fact the whole ecosystem – would likely have the plant equivalent of jetlag.

"The research results provide a much better understanding of ecosystem function and its capacity to store carbon which is essential in an era of climate change and carbon accounting."

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