Science Briefs – April 12, 2011

Kelsey Gobroski / Sun Star Reporter
April 12, 2011

Bog buries beheaded brain

Archaeologists discovered Europe and Asia’s oldest preserved human brain in a bog in Yorkshire, UK. The 2,600-year-old brain, dating back to the Iron Age, didn’t come with a body. It didn’t smell. In the air, the organ would have liquefied relatively quickly. In this bog environment, bacteria and fungi couldn’t reach the brain to break it down. The brain’s original owner was hanged and decapitated, according to damage and cuts to bones in the neck. The study also discusses other historically mind-boggling finds, such as London’s preserved brains in crypts and Incan human tissues in the Andes.

– Discovery News

Clouds can’t consistently cool climate

Thick, white clouds can reduce Earth’s warming by reflecting solar energy, and its heat, into space. One way to thicken clouds: spray seawater into them. Scientists have suggested this fix since 1990. No one hoses clouds with seawater yet, but people have suggested wind-powered marine ships could continuously shoot water into the air. A new study from the University of Oslo shows that sending the wrong size of water droplets into the air can actually warm the Earth, not cool it. Proponents argue that this is a quick fix by manipulating nozzle size. The study also showed seawater doesn’t naturally have enough salt to thicken the clouds.

– BBC

Fossil found in floodplain
Tyrannasaurus rex’s new Chinese cousin weighed the same as a schoolbus, at 36 feet long and 13 feet tall. Zhuchengtyrannus magnus, or “great tyrant from Zucheng,” is one of the top five carnivorous birdlike dinosaurs. Z. magnus is found only in China, though other Zuchengtyrannus species are found in North America. The great tyrant’s body washed into a floodplain with other dead dinosaurs, which now contains the world’s largest concentration of fossilized dinosaur bones.

– Huffington Post

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