Featurette

17 million-year-old whale fossil provides 1st exact date for East Africa’s puzzling uplift

Uplift associated with East Africa’s Great Rift Valley and the environmental changes it produced have puzzled scientists for decades because the timing and starting elevation have been poorly constrained.

Now paleontologists have tapped a fossil from the most precisely dated beaked whale in the world — and the only stranded whale ever found so far inland on the African continent — to pinpoint a date when the mysterious elevation began. Continue reading

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SMU analysis of recent North Texas earthquake sequence reveals geologic fault, epicenters in Irving and West Dallas

Locations of seismic instruments as of Jan. 30, 2015, with revised earthquake locations in dark red. (USGS)Initial results from the seismology team at Southern Methodist University reveal that a recent series of earthquakes near old Texas Stadium in the Dallas-Fort Worth area were relatively shallow and concentrated along a narrow two-mile line that indicates a fault extending from Irving into West Dallas. SMU and the United States Geological Survey have shared an interim report with the mayors of Dallas and Irving. Continue reading

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Bitcoin scams steal at least $11 million in virtual deposits from unsuspecting customers

bitcoin, fraud, scams, SMU, Tyler MooreAt least $11 million in bitcoin deposits have been stolen from unsuspecting cyber customers over the past four years, according to new cyber security research from Southern Methodist University.

Bitcoin is the digital world’s most popular virtual currency. In the first empirical study of its kind, SMU researchers found that hucksters use schemes that pose as legitimate web-based financial outlets to lure customers and heist deposits. Continue reading

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Teen girls report less sexual victimization after virtual reality assertiveness training

Simpson Rowe, SMU, victimization, sexual coercion, virtual reality, Jouriles, McDonaldTeen girls were less likely to report being sexually victimized after learning to assertively resist unwanted sexual overtures and practicing resistance in a realistic virtual environment, finds a new study.

The effects persisted over a three-month period following the training, said clinical psychologist Lorelei Simpson Rowe, lead author on the pilot study from Southern Methodist University, Dallas. 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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