Featurette

Observed by Texas telescope: Light from huge explosion 12 billion years ago reaches Earth

Intense light from the enormous explosion of a star more than 12 billion years ago — shortly after the Big Bang — recently reached Earth and was visible in the sky.

Known as a gamma-ray burst, light from the rare, high-energy explosion traveled for 12.1 billion years before it was detected and observed by a telescope, ROTSE-IIIb, owned by Southern Methodist University, Dallas. Continue reading

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Low IQ students learn to read at 1st-grade level after persistent, intensive instruction

Allor, SMU, reading, Low IQ, intellectual disabilitiesThe findings of a pioneering four-year educational study offer hope for thousands of children identified with intellectual disability or low IQ who have very little, if any, reading ability.

The study by researchers at Southern Methodist University is the first large-scale longitudinal study of its kind to demonstrate the reading potential of students with intellectual disability or low IQ. It was funded by the U.S. Department of Education. Continue reading

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Richest marine reptile fossil bed along Africa’s South Atlantic coast is dated at 71.5 mya

Angola, SMU, Strganac, Projecto PaleoAngolaPaleontologists at Southern Methodist University have measured the carbon isotopes in marine fossils from Bentiaba, Angola to precisely date for the first time 30 million years of sediments along Africa’s South Atlantic shoreline.

They dated the richest marine reptile fossil bed along Africa’s South Atlantic to 71.5 million years ago. Continue reading

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Comet theory false; doesn’t explain cold snap at the end of the Ice Age, Clovis changes or mass animal extinction

Comet, Meltzer, SMU, Clovis, boundary layerControversy still rages over what sparked climate change at the end of the Ice Age 12,800 years ago, including a theory it was caused by a comet hitting the Earth.

As proof, proponents point to sediments with deposits they believe could only result from a cosmic impact. A new study disproves the theory, said lead-author and archaeologist David Meltzer, SMU. Continue reading

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Scientists issue call to action for archaeological sites threatened by rising seas, urban development

Western%20Site%20Margin%20400x300.jpgShould global warming cause sea levels to rise as predicted in coming decades, thousands of archaeological sites in coastal areas around the world will be lost to erosion.

With no hope of saving all these sites, an SMU archaeologist and others call for scientists to assess the sites most at risk.

Photo: A site at Anacapa Island, southern California, is in danger of eroding into the ocean. (Credit: Reeder)
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