ABC 8: Minnesota mine could yield secrets of the universe to SMU professor

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ABC 8: Minnesota mine could yield secrets of the universe to SMU professor

cdms_underview%2C220x165.jpgThe search for mysterious dark matter at an abandoned mine in Minnesota is the subject of "Minnesota mine could yield secrets of the universe to SMU professor" aired Nov. 24 by WFAA Channel 8 in Dallas.

Journalist Jonathan Betz interviewed SMU scientist Jodi Cooley, an assistant professor of experimental particle physics in the SMU Physics Department.

Cooley is a member of the collaboration on the Cryogenic Dark Matter Search (CDMS II) experiment.

Ancient Africa mysteries: Evidence is weak for tropical rainforest 65 million years ago in Africa’s low-latitudes

Cenozoic%20Africa%20150x120%2C%2072dpi.jpgCentral Africa 65 million years ago was a low-elevation tropical belt, but still unknown is whether its mammals browsed and hunted under a lush rainforest canopy. More research needs to be done, says SMU paleobotanist Bonnie F. Jacobs.

A new review of the literature shows fossil pollen provide no definitive evidence for communities of rainforest trees at the beginning of the Cenozoic, says Jacobs.

Taking a new look at old digs: Trampling animals can alter muddy Paleolithic sites

Stone Age tools embedded in the ground can mislead archaeologists about a Prehistoric site's age by several thousand years, says SMU archaeologist Metin I. Eren.

New research findings show that animals trampling across muddy ground significantly disturbed stone tools at a watery archaeological site fabricated for the study. The findings suggest archaeologists should reanalyze some previous discoveries.

NSF funds research to unravel Arizona’s prehistoric puzzle: The Hohokam ceramic industry

SunnPot.gifDoes it take a hierarchy of managers overseeing a working class to mass-produce a product? One answer to that question may lie in the prehistoric ceramic pottery industry of an ancient, egalitarian people who lived in what today encompasses greater metropolitan Phoenix, Arizona. The vessels were produced in mass quantities around 1000 A.D. by a people called the Hohokam, whose descendants are today's O'odham tribe of the Gila River Indian Community.

Archaeologists Sunday Eiselt, from Southern Methodist University, and J. Andrew Darling, from the Cultural Resource Management Program of the Gila River Indian Community in Arizona, have launched a unique research partnership to study the puzzling mechanics behind the pottery production.

Texas discovery: Rare 95 million-year-old flying reptile Aetodactylus halli is new genus, species of pterosaur

Aetodactyls_Halli_SMyers_400px-lowest-rez.jpgA fossilized jaw discovered at a construction site in Mansfield has been identified and named Aetodactylus halli by SMU paleontologist Timothy S. Myers. Rare in North America, the winged reptile was soaring 95 million years ago over what would one day become Dallas-Fort Worth.

USGS-SMU volcano monitoring targets hazard threat to Marianas, U.S. military, commercial jets

E_crater1.jpgTechnology designed to detect nuclear explosions and enforce the world's nuclear test-ban treaty now will be pioneered to monitor active volcanoes in the Mariana Islands near Guam. The island of Guam soon will be the primary base for forward deployment of U.S. military forces in the Western Pacific.

The two-year, $250,000 project of the U.S. Geological Survey and Southern Methodist University will use infrasound — in addition to more conventional seismic monitoring — to "listen" for signs a volcano is about to blow.

World’s first full skeletal mount of Paluxysaurus jonesi dinosaur reveals new biology

STATE_DINO_photo_Lauersmaller.jpgPaluxysaurus jonesi weighed 20 tons, was 60 feet long and had a neck 26 feet long, according to the scientists who have prepared the world's first full skeletal mount of the dinosaur.

The massive Paluxysaurus jonesi, prepared for the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History in Fort Worth, was unveiled Nov. 20 when the museum opened in a new $80 million facility.

Tropical Central Africa — now The Congo Basin — was arid, treeless during Late Jurassic

Myers%2C-soil-crack%2C-lo-res.jpgThe Congo Basin — with its massive, lush tropical rain forest — was far different 150 million to 200 million years ago.

At that time Africa and South America were part of the single continent Gondwana. The Congo Basin was arid, with a small amount of seasonal rainfall, and few bushes or trees populated the landscape, according to a new geochemical analysis of rare ancient soils.

The geochemical analysis provides new data for the Jurassic period, when very little is known about Central Africa's paleoclimate, says Timothy S. Myers, a paleontology doctoral student in the Roy M. Huffington Department of Earth Sciences at SMU.

Portable 3D laser technology preserves Texas dinosaur’s rare footprint

Original%20track%2CT.Adams.jpg Using portable 3D laser technology, scientists have preserved electronically a rare 110 million-year-old fossilized dinosaur footprint that was previously excavated and built into the wall of a bandstand at a Texas courthouse in the 1930s.

The laser image preserves what is called a "type specimen" footprint — an original track used many years ago to describe a new species of dinosaur, says paleontologist Thomas L. Adams at SMU.

Portable 3D laser scanners capture original fossil morphology and texture, making it possible to use the data for rapid 3D prototyping in foam or resin, Adams says.

"The track is scientifically very important," says Adams. "But it's also a historical and cultural icon for Texas."

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