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Trio of galaxies discovered 13 billion light years away

trio of galaxies discoveredResearchers have identified a trio of galaxies hidden in a cloud of dust nearly 13 billion light years from Earth, placing them close to the beginning of the universe.

The galaxies were first detected in 2009 but were assumed to be a giant ball of hot ionized gas. But after astronomers turned NASA's Hubble telescope and the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array to study the cosmic body were they able to ascertain what it exactly was.

"This exceedingly rare triple system, seen when the Universe was only 800 million years old, provides important insights into the earliest stages of galaxy formation during a period known as 'Cosmic Dawn,' when the Universe was first bathed in starlight," Richard Ellis, an astronomy professor at the California Institute of Technology.

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Bacterial Competition In Lab Shows Evolution Never Stops

microbe evolutionEvolution is relentless process that seems to keep going and going, even when creatures live in a stable, unchanging world.

That's the latest surprise from a unique experiment that's been underway for more than a quarter-century.

Evolution is so important for biology, medicine and a general understanding of our world that scientists want to understand it as fully as possible. That's why, in 1988, biologist took a dozen glass flasks and added identical bacteria to each of them. Those 12 populations have been evolving ever since, letting scientists watch evolution in real time.

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World's oldest animal inadvertently killed by scientists

Ming the MolluscScientists at Bangor University in North Wales have inadvertently killed Ming the Mollusc, which it turns out was the world's oldest living animal.

The ocean quahog -- a type of deep sea clam -- was found in Iceland in 2006 and found to be 405 years old. However while taking a closer look at it, researchers found that it may be a hundred years older, pegging it's age at 507 years old. But this process, opening its shell to put it under scrutiny, led to the death of the mollusc.

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Kepler Space Telescope finds Earth-size, potentially habitable planets are common

HABITABLE PLANETSRoughly one in every five sunlike stars is orbited by a potentially habitable, Earth-size planet, meaning that the universe has abundant real estate that could be congenial to life, according to a new analysis of observations by NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope.

Our Milky Way galaxy alone could harbor tens of billions of rocky worlds where water might be liquid at the surface, according to the report, which was published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and discussed at a news conference in California.

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Exoplanet tally soars above 1,000

ExoplanetsThe number of observed exoplanets - worlds circling distant stars - has passed 1,000.

Of these, 12 could be habitable - orbiting at a distance where it is neither "too hot" nor "too cold" for water to be liquid on the surface. The planets are given away by tiny dips in light as they pass in front of their stars or through gravitational "tugs" on the star from an orbiting world.

These new worlds are listed in the Extrasolar Planets Encyclopaedia.

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US scientist discovers DNA body clock

DNA body clockA US scientist has discovered an internal body clock based on DNA that measures the biological age of our tissues and organs.

The clock shows that while many healthy tissues age at the same rate as the body as a whole, some of them age much faster or slower. The age of diseased organs varied hugely, with some many tens of years "older" than healthy tissue in the same person, according to the clock.

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Skull Fossil Discovery Suggests Simpler Evolutionary History

fossil skullAfter eight years spent studying a 1.8-million-year-old skull uncovered in the republic of Georgia, scientists have made a discovery that may rewrite the evolutionary history of our human genus Homo.

It would be a simpler story with fewer ancestral species. Early, diverse fossils — those currently recognized as coming from distinct species like Homo habilis, Homo erectus and others — may actually represent variation among members of a single, evolving lineage.

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