Spectacular T. rex skeleton may fetch $25 million at auction (the new owner gets to name it, too)

A Tyrannosaurus rex specimen, nicknamed Shen for now, is the first T. rex to hit the auction block in Asia. (Image credit: Christie’s Images Ltd. [2022]) The mighty Tyrannosaurus rex once stalked western North America, but now, in a first, the fossil remains of the dinosaur king are hitting an auction block in Asia, where […]

50 million tons of water vapor from Tonga’s eruption could warm Earth for years

More than eight months after the underwater volcano near Tonga erupted on Jan. 14, scientists are still analyzing the impacts of the violent blast, and they’re discovering that it could warm the planet. Recently, researchers calculated that the eruption of Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apa spewed a staggering 50 million tons (45 million metric tons) of water […]

DeepMind scientists win $3 million ‘Breakthrough Prize’ for AI that predicts every protein’s structure

Scientists from Google DeepMind have been awarded a $3 million prize for developing an artificial intelligence (AI) system that has predicted how nearly every known protein folds into its 3D shape. One of this year’s Breakthrough Prizes in Life Sciences went to Demis Hassabis, the co-founder and CEO of DeepMind, which created the protein-predicting program […]

9 million told to evacuate after super typhoon Nanmadol slams southern Japan, heads toward Tokyo

Officials in Japan have ordered 9 million people to evacuate as the powerful super typhoon Nanmadol pummels the island nation with winds gusting up to 145 mph (234 km/h) and bears down on Tokyo, home to nearly 14 million inhabitants.  Dozens of people were injured and two people have died since the storm made landfall […]

Lion-size otters prowled Ethiopia 3 million years ago

An illustration of the extinct giant otter called Enhydriodon omoensis. (Image credit: Sabine Riffaut/PALEVOPRIM/Université de Poitiers/CNRS) (opens in new tab) The fossilized remains of a gigantic, lion-size otter that lived alongside early humans have been unearthed in Ethiopia, a new study finds.  The species, named Enhydriodon omoensis, lived about 3.5 million to 2.5 million years […]

Artificial intelligence has worked out the structures of 200 million proteins (that’s practically all of them)

The artificial intelligence group DeepMind has unraveled the structures of nearly every protein known to science.  Researchers achieved the feat using the program AlphaFold, which DeepMind first developed in 2018 and released publically in July 2021. The open-source program can predict a protein’s 3D structure from its sequence of amino acids, the building blocks that […]

Over 60 million years ago, penguins abandoned flight for swimming. Here’s how.

Penguins are perhaps best known for being flightless birds whose wings help them “fly” through frigid Antarctic waters. But penguins lost their ability to fly and instead became streamlined swimmers some 60 million years ago, long before the Antarctic ice sheet formed — and researchers have now revealed how that happened. A new study of […]