Under Lasers, a Feathered Dino Shows Some Skin

What happens when you shoot lasers at a dinosaur fossil? Some chemicals preserved in the fossil glow, providing a nuanced portrait of the ancient creature’s bones, feathers and soft tissue such as skin.

Soft tissue is rarely preserved in fossils, and when it is, it can be easily obscured. A technique called laser-stimulated fluorescence “excites the few skin atoms left in the matrix, making them glow to reveal what the shape of the dinosaur actually looked like,” says Michael Pittman, a paleontologist at the University of Hong Kong.

Pittman and colleagues turned their lasers on Anchiornis, a four-winged dinosaur about the size of a pigeon with feathered arms and legs. It lived around 160 million years ago during the Jurassic Period. The researchers imaged nine specimens under laser light and used the photos to reconstruct a model of Anchiornis that shows an exceedingly birdlike body, the team writes March 1 in Nature Communications.

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Source: sciencenews.org

Science – A Layman’s Overview

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When you heard the word science what is the first thing that comes to your mind? It is a difficult subject in grade school and high school where you get an F. Kidding aside. You will remember dissecting a frog, burning a leaf using a magnifying glass directed at the sunlight, mixing chemicals, and many more. But what is it? How does it apply to a real life situation? Well, this my friend, can be mind boggling.

Let me explain it to you this way. For purposes of discussion, we will be talking about corn. The term hybrid has been long used way back over one and a half centuries ago in the 1930s when the country was tube_holder imagein the Depression. Hybrid corn was then marketed so extensively. Until now, corn has been considered as the most important crop to be grown in the U.S.

Scientists began to notice that when they start crossing two different inbreeds, the hybrid plant was even stronger compared to its parents. Let’s say, two inbreed parents – A and B is being crossed and another inbreed parents – C and D is also cursed. It will result to two hybrids, namely: AB and CD. Then, these two are going to be crossed in order produce one hybrid “ABCD”. This is called double crossing hybrids.

Today, approximately 99% of all the corn in the US came from a seed that is hybrid. The same thing is being used when it comes to other crops like soybeans, cotton, wheat, and peanuts among others.

Video of the Hybrid Corn Miracle

If you may have notice scientists did discover hybrid corn or crop over 150 years ago and why until now we are enjoying the benefits of it. We are able to have crops that are vigorous and can be harvested at a much shorter time. Even until today, scientists continue to find the answer in making crops grow much healthier without having pests lurking in them. Thanks to the use of biotechnology techniques. It has been used in order to find the means to make a crop resist pests.

What’s with science got to do with a corn? Well, for one, science has improved the development and production of corn in the country. For without the discovery of hybrid corn we will not be enjoying the pleasure of eating delicious corn today. It would be also difficult to grow and harvest this crop.