Whistling Orangutan May Hint at Language Evolution

Bonnie, an orangutan at Washington, D.C.'s National Zoo, has been whistling for about 20 years. Research released in December 2008 suggests that Bonnie's talent could hold clues about the origins of human language.

Bonnie's whistling isn't so surprising to her caregivers. The 140-pound (63.5-kilogram) orangutan at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., has been whistling for about two decades.

Now a new study suggests that the sounds she makes could hold clues about the origins of human language.
The assumption is that someone was whistling and she probably picked it up from them," said animal keeper and study co-auther Erin Stromberg.

Lisa Stevens, the zoo's curator for great apes and giant pandas, said the key point is that the orangutan was not trained to whistle.

While orangutans can be taught new sounds with extensive training, Bonnie is the first indication that the animals can independently pick up the sounds from other species.

"It's something she spontaneously developed," Stevens said. "It wasn't a trick."

Mimicking Motions

Orangutans are known to imitate humans. Bonnie, for instance, sometimes sweeps up after herself, just as her caretakers do, even though the zookeepers don't encourage this behavior.

Lead author Serge Wich of the Great Ape Trust of Iowa, said orangutans in Indonesia have been seen pretending to wash clothes.

"We know they are capable of imitating these motor skills, but we never had any good indication of sounds for vocalization," said Wich, who presented his research on December 18 during a symposium at the University of Zurich, Switzerland.

Women 'may face greater HIV risk'

HIV virus (red) slips between loosely connected skin cells to reach its immune cell targets such as the Langerhans cells (orange), macrophages (purple), dendritic cells (green) and CD4 positive T cells (blue)

Instead of infiltrating breaks in the skin, HIV appears to attack normal, healthy genital tissue in women, U.S. researchers said on Tuesday in a study that offers new insight into how the AIDS virus spreads.

They said researchers had assumed the human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, sought out breaks in the skin, such as a herpes sore, in order to gain access to immune system cells deeper in the tissue.

Some had even thought the normal lining of the vaginal tract offered a barrier to invasion by the virus during sexual intercourse.

"Normal skin is vulnerable," Thomas Hope of Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine said in a telephone interview.

"It was previously thought there had to be a break in it somehow," said Hope, who is presenting his findings at a meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology in San Francisco.

He said until now, scientists had little understanding of the details of how HIV is transmitted sexually in women.a

Shepherd controls flock with wolf poster

No sheepdog? No problem! This Chinese shepherd found that he could control his flock of sheep with a poster of a wolf!

Du Hebing, of Xi’an, told Huashang Daily that he shot the picture by chance.

"After visiting Qinling Wild Animal Park, on the way home I saw a group of sheep walking along the road with a man holding a picture following behind them," he said.

Du said he burst out laughing when he realised it was a picture of a wolf. "The man was using the wolf picture to scare the sheep and drive them ahead - it was a really funny scene," he said.

Link (Photo: Du Hebing)

Schoolboy archer survives after friend shoots an arrow through his eye

A schoolboy archer cheated death after he was shot through the eye by a friend.

The arrow went through 11-year-old Liu Cheong's eye socket, completely through his head and was only stopped by the back of his skull.

He only survived because the arrow had miraculously missed his brain.
Surgeons spent four hours removing the 16in arrow which had sunk more than four inches into the boy's head. They had to break off part of it just to get him in the CT scanner.

The teammate who shot him - a 13-year-old girl called Yan Shin - is being treated for shock.

Teachers at Jiutai City school in China said they believed the youngsters were practicing on their own when the accident happened.
'If the arrow had been shot with just a bit more force, it would have come out the back of his head,' doctors at Jida Hospital in Changchun, eastern China said.

After brain scans and x-rays, doctors began to cut away parts of his skull to remove the arrow without damaging optic nerves or brain tissue.

His parents have been warned he still faces a risk of infection and may need further operations.

'It is a miracle he survived the accident,' said one medic.

HIV vaccine likely due in five years

A therapeutic vaccine to treat HIV infection is likely to be developed within five years, said Nobel Prize laureate in medicine Luc Montagnier .

"I think it is not impossible to do it within a few years," he told a news conference together with Francoise Barre-Sinoussi. The two French scientists shared half of this year's Nobel Prize for medicine for discovering the virus of AIDS. The other half goes to a German scientist for finding the cause of cervical cancer.

The 76-year-old director of the World Foundation for AIDS Research and Prevention said that his colleagues had been working on such vaccine for a decade, but he did not elaborate as to why he believed it can be developed in "four to five years".

"Our job, of course, is to find complementary treatment to eradicate the infection," he said.

Experts call for global network to prevent asteroid disasters

Artist's rendition released by NASA shows an asteroid belt in orbit around a star

Between 500 and 1,000 massive asteroids cross the Earth's path regularly and any one of them could cause a global catastrophe, space experts warned Tuesday, urging quick preventive measures.

Some 6,000 cosmic objects circulating around the planet are currently known to experts in the field, the Association of Space Explorers (ASE) told a press conference at the UN headquarters in Vienna, where it presented its report "Asteroid Threats: A Call for Global Response."

And of these, up to 1,000 had a diameter of 150 kilometres (93 miles) or more, meaning they could cause major damage to the Earth's surface, prompting fires, tsunamis and ensuing disasters like famine, it said.

school in Afghanistan (pic)

Papua New Guinea women kill males babies to end tribal war

Women in Papua New Guinea's Highlands say they are killing their male babies to halt an ongoing tribal war

WOMEN in Papua New Guinea's Highland region are killing their male babies to end a tribal war that has gone on for more than 20 years.

Two women from the Eastern Highlands spoke of the slaughter to PNG's National newspaper during a three-day peace and reconciliation course in the region's capital of Goroka.

Rona Luke and Kipiyona Belas, from two warring tribes, said male infanticide reduced the cyclical payback violence infamous in Highlands tribal fights.

If women stopped producing males, their tribe's stock would go down and this would force the men to end their fight, the women said.

"All the womenfolk agreed to have all babies born killed because they have had enough of men engaging in tribal conflicts and bringing misery to them," Ms Luke said.

The women could not give a figure on how many male babies had been killed.

When you are speaking with a woman dont ...

Biggest drivable motorbik

U.S. motorcycle designer Gergory Dunham from Stockton, California, stands atop the biggest drivable motorbike during a media preview for the upcoming Motor Show fair in Essen, western Germany, on Monday Nov. 24, 2008.

Helicopters fly to the rescue of Swedish beetles

Sweden will use helicopters to come to the rescue of a small beetle thought to have disappeared but recently discovered in the northeast, regional officials said Thursday.

"About 50 burnt pine stumps, which this species of beetle is particularly fond of, will be transported by helicopter and released ... in the national parks in the region where it was observed," Tomas Rydkvist, a wildlife official in the Oesternorrland region, told AFP.

The beetle, a flatheaded pine borer or Chalcophora mariana, is shiny black and copper in colour and is about three centimetres (about an inch) long.

Rydkvist said the beetle's natural habitat is made up of open, sparse forests with lots of dead trees. Ideally the trees would have burned in a forest fire.

Crawling Neutrophil Chasing a Bacterium

Bad day

Puffer fish kills large fish

A large fish seems to have attempted to eat a puffer fish, which inflated, and killed the large fish with it's toxin, tetrododoxin.

These amazing images were made by the Elephant Artist Sri Siam at the Lamphang Elephant Camp in Thailand
more photos

Land Rover ( very powerful)

Whould you walk on this ?

Glass Bridge will be suspended 4,000 feet above the Colorado River on
the very edge of the Grand Canyon .
On May 2005, the final test was
conducted and the structure passed engineering requirements by 400
percent, enabling it to withstand the weight of 71 fully loaded Boeing
747 airplanes (more that 71 million pounds). The bridge will be able to
sustain winds in excess of 100 miles per hour from 8 different
directions, as well as an 8.0 magnitude earthquake within 50 miles.

More than one million pounds of steel will go into the construction of
the Grand Canyon SkyWalk.
more photo

Now, a gadget that makes water 'out of thin air'

A gadget which makes water out of thin air could become the greatest household invention since the microwave.

Using the same technology as a de-humidifier, the Water Mill is able to create a ready supply of drinking water by capturing it from an unlimited source - the air.

The company behind the machine says
not only does it offer an alternative to bottled water in developed countries, but it is a solution for the millions who face a daily water shortage.

The machine works by drawing in moist air through a filter and over a cooling element which condenses it into water droplets. It can produce up to 12 litres a day.

The Water Mill will also generate more water when storms pass over, as the humidity in the air increases. In keeping with its eco-development, the machine uses the same amount of electricity as three light bulbs.