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Giant Dinosaur, A Sweet Diet And Regrowing Bones – On Science

November 8, 2013

A shocking scene in the California sky…

What’s big, out-of-this-world, and has six tails?

What monstrous find has paleontologists jumping for joy?

And go ahead eat that chocolate bar coming up today….On Science!

Hello and welcome to On Science. I’m Emerald Robinson.

Californians got a bit of a shock yesterday, almost like a scene from a movie.  A streak of light races across the Los Angeles sky yesterday prompting people to hit the telephone lines to report the sighting.  No, it wasn’t a spaceship or aliens.  The North American Aerospace Defense Command said it’s most likely the South Taurids meteor shower that typically dazzles viewers this time in November each year.  They said the meteors likely come from Comet Encke that pass through the inner solar system once every 3 years.  One witness said that he saw “this big, greenish flash like, light up the sky.” Like that’s totally awesome!

And there’s plenty more of where that came from.  Astronomers using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have witnessed an asteroid with six comet-like tails of dust.  Named P2013 P5, the asteroid resembles a rotating lawn sprinkler with how the dust radiates from it.  Located in the Solar System’s asteroid belt, its unusual appearance has astronomers a little puzzled.  “It’s hard to believe we’re looking at an asteroid,” they said.  The team is guessing that the tails are a result of the space rock’s rotation rate increase to the point where the surface has started breaking apart.  They are estimating that 100 to 1,000 tons of dust has been lost from the rock so far.  One astronomer said “this is just an amazing object to us, and amost certainly the first of many more to come.”  Like I said, there’s plenty more of where that came from.

The fireball might have had spectators in LA excited but no where near as excited as paleontologists are this week.  Paleontologists had a monumental find this week—a new super-predator dinosaur in south-central Utah.  And this new dino has bad blood in the family.  It’s a distant, older cousin to the larger T-Rex.  Living about 80 million years ago, this carnivorous dinosaur was the largest predator of its day.  It had a short and narrow snout with forward slanting eyes and a head full of sharp teeth.  What made it even more lethal is the fact that is possessed binocular-style vision.  Guess there was no running from him.  The fossils were actually discovered four years ago but have been under intense study since then so scientists could get to know more about this ferocious predator.

And there’s no bones about it, science continues to go onward and upward.  University of Iowa researchers have developed a collagen scaffold capable of growing bone from within a living body.  Past attempts at re-growing bone have been costly and unsuccessful for the most part.  The new method works better because it delivers DNA to the cells, so that the cells produce the protein instead of just delivering the protein alone.  In experiments, the team was able to regrow enough bone to cover skull wounds in test animals.  Successful bone regeneration techniques would have major implications for treating musculoskeletal problems or birth defects.

When Blake Lively said she keeps her girlish figure by “eating chocolate”  and “not exercising,” I was like yeah right.  Not buying that.  Until science backed up the movie star.  New research from the Healthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescence, geeze, or HELENA study, revealed that higher consumption of chocolate is associated with a lower amount of body fat and less abdominal fat, regardless of physical activity, diet and other factors.  Why?  Say thank you to flavonoids.  These are important antioxidant, antithrombotic, anti-inflammatory and antihypertensive effects.  Another benefit besides a better BMI?   These flavonoids help prevent heart disease and cardiometabolic disorders.   Researchers said the biological effect of foods should not just be evaluated just in terms of calories.  That’s what I often say too!  But as with everything else in this world, they recommend moderate quantities of chocolate adding “you can have too much of a good thing.”  Ugh!  I’m waiting on the study that says it’s fine to over-indulge.

And that’s what’s happening today on science.  Have a great weekend!



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