Massive fossil find in California includes mastodon, petrified forest

Mastodons, rhinos, and even camels — all in the great state of California.

Credit: Charles R. Knight/Wikimedia
  • A ranger working for a San Francisco water utility discovers a massive petrified forest and its ancient residents.
  • The forest dates from the Miocene era 10 million years ago.
  • Mastodons, horses, and rhinoceroses lived there.
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Discovered: A tiny, glowing, poisonous, singing toadlet

Roughly the size of a thumbnail, this newly discovered toadlet has some anatomical surprises.

Credit: Nunes, et al. / PLOS ONE
  • A new species of "pumpkin toadlet" is discovered skittering along the forest floor in Brazil.
  • It's highly poisonous and brightly colored, and some if its bones glow under UV light.
  • An analysis of the toadlets' chirp song helped scientists establish that it's something new.
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VALENTIN FLAURAUD/AFP via Getty Images
When Cern's gargantuan accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), fired up ten years ago, hopes abounded that new particles would soon be discovered that could help us unravel physics' deepest mysteries.
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How your daily coffee can help tropical forests grow back

Researchers find that the coffee pulp is valuable in its own right.

Credit: Rebecca Cole/British Ecological Society
  • When coffee is harvested, the skin and pulp surrounding the bean are often discarded.
  • Costa Rica, which had much of its tropical forests chopped down for agricultural use, is testing coffee pulp as a way to help reforest the country.
  • A new study finds that coffee pulp can help reforest land in just two years.
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    ‘Zombie’ genes in the brain get to work after you die

    Researchers at the University of Illinois Chicago find that death triggers increased activity in certain brain cells.

    Credit: Dr. Jeffrey Loeb/UIC
  • While most brain cells do nothing or quickly degrade at death, others swing into high gear, sprouting long arms.
  • While you're alive, the cells are involved in inflammation.
  • Over the course of 24 hours after death, they get busier and busier.
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