Geologists unearth ‘dinosaur dance floor‘
Along the Arizona-Utah state line, geologists have found a three-fourths-acre site with prehistoric animal tracks so densely packed together, they’re referring to it as a “dinosaur dance floor.“
One hundred ninety million years ago, parts of the American West were a vast desert. These 1,000-plus tracks are packed into a site that in prehistoric times would have been a lush oasis among the sand dunes.
Researchers believe the area could have been a spot for different types of dinosaurs who stopped there to replenish. The tracks could provide new insight into dinosaur behavior and their survival in the desert conditions.
Four different kinds of tracks have been identified so far, but researchers haven’t determined what species left them. The site may also include what researchers think could be a rare dinosaur tail mark. (Source: Associated Press)
Hong Kong crow infected with bird flu
A crow found dead in a crowded district of Hong Kong on Monday tested positive for the highly disease-causing H5N1 bird flu virus. The discovery is raising concerns about the virus in Asia as winter, the diseases‘ most active season, begins.
Experts study Hong Kong as an indicator of the level of activity of the virus in Mainland China, which has 13 billion poultry. Scientists fear the virus will mutate to pass from human to human, causing a pandemic that could kill millions.
Since 2003, the virus has infected 387 people in 15 countries, killing 245, according to the World Health Organization.
‘Dead‘ planets might be habitable after all
Astronomers describe the habitable zone around a star as being a specific area in which temperatures are moderate enough to retain water and support life.
Researchers at the University of Arizona have discovered that this region might not be as predictable as previously thought. Some planets once thought too cold to support life might actually be made habitable by their star’s “squishing effect.“
A star’s gravity will stretch a planet’s midsection out so that it is shaped more like a cigar than a sphere. When combined with an oblong orbit shape, which occurs fairly often, the stretching will cause the inside of the planet to warm up and change its climate. This is especially true outside of our own solar system, as extrasolar planets often have oblong orbit patterns.
The phenomenon could theoretically heat a planet to the point of activating volcanoes, which power plate tectonics. Plate tectonics will in turn encourage life by regulating the amount of carbon dioxide in the air, as plate movements become part of the carbon cycle.
Science Scene is compiled by ALYSOUN BONDE. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.