Author: Monique Conrod

A reconstruction of what Ötzi might have looked like. The reconstruction is by Kennis © South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology, Photo Ochsenreiter
News Science Technology

DNA Reveals Clues About “Ötzi The Iceman”

Scientists studying a 5,000-year-old mummy have learned that the man had brown eyes and hair and that he couldn’t digest milk. They also think he may have relatives alive today.

The mummy is nicknamed “Ötzi the Iceman.” He was discovered in 1991 by two people hiking in the Alps in Italy.

By examining the body, scientists found that Ötzi (pronounced “`oetsi”) died from an arrow wound about 5,300 years ago. His body was preserved by ice and snow.

They discovered that he about 45 years old when he died, 1.6 metres tall and weighed 50 kilograms. He wore a goatskin coat, had shoes made from grass and deerskin, and he carried a bow, an arrow and some tools.

Recently scientists have learned even more about the Iceman, by studying his DNA. DNA is a collection of molecules that contains information about the characteristics of an individual plant or animal. This information is stored in the cells that make up each individual.

Photo: Frank Glaw
Animals Environment News

World’s Smallest Chameleon Discovered

Scientists have discovered a chameleon so small it could sit on your little finger.

The chameleon, which is about three centimetres long, lives on a small island called Nosy Hara, off the coast of Madagascar, in the Indian Ocean.

It is the smallest chameleon and possibly the smallest reptile ever discovered. It lives among rocks and leaves on the forest floor. At night it sleeps on plants, about five to 10 centimetres above the ground.

It is mostly grey and brown with an orange tail, and it doesn’t change colour like most chameleons do. The scientists say this is because it’s already the right colour to blend in with its surroundings.

Cycad at the royal palace grounds, Laung Prabang, Laos
Environment News Science

12-Million-Year-Old Plant May Soon Be Extinct

Cycads, a very rare type of plant, are in danger of becoming extinct because of poachers.

Poaching usually means to hunt animals illegally. In this case, trees are being taken from the wild.

They are then secretly sold for a lot of money – up to $100,000 each – to people who collect unusual plants.

The first cycads existed during the time of the dinosaurs, during the Jurassic period. The kinds of cycads that are alive today have been around for 12 million years.

They look like a cross between a fern and a palm tree, and they can take hundreds of years to grow to their full size.

Professional hockey players, like Sidney Crosby, are required to wear helmets every time they play hockey. Image: VancityAllie.
Health News Sports

Skiing, Snowboarding Cause Most Winter Sports Injuries In Canada

Last winter, more than 5,600 Canadians ended up in the hospital with an injury from hockey, skiing or another winter sport.

That information comes from a new report by the Canadian Institute for Health Information.

Most of the injuries were from skiing and snowboarding. More than 2,300 Canadians went to the hospital after they had an accident in either of those sports.

Hockey (1,114 injuries) and snowmobiling (1,126) were next on the list of injury-causing sports.

Image: Owen Scott.
Animals News Science

Zebra Dung May Be New Fuel Source

Thanks to zebra dung, cars could one day run on fuel made from old newspapers.

Today, we use mostly oil and gas to run our cars; oil and gas come from fossilized plants and animals. But fossil fuels are expensive, and there aren’t enough of them. Scientists are looking for cheaper and more plentiful fuels.

David Mullin is a biology professor at a university in New Orleans. He and his students are trying to make a fuel from plants. Plant-based fuels are called “biofuels.”

He knew that if he could break down “cellulose,” he could turn it into a fuel that could run vehicles.

School Children at Imperial Primary School in Eastridge, Mitchell's Plain (Cape Town, South Africa). Image: Henry Trotter, 2006.
Kids Lighter Science

Are Parents Smarter Than Their Kids In Math And Science? Maybe Not

Do you think you know more about science than your parents do? You could be right.

At a big science fair in England last November, 2,000 moms and dads were asked what sort of questions their kids had about science, and how they answer them.

Most of the parents said they found it hard to answer their children’s questions. A few of them said they think their kids know more about science than they do.