Science News: Week of October 11, 2009

Our weekly compilation of science news for the week of October 11, 2009.

Arctic land and seas account for up to 25 percent of world’s carbon sink: Ecologists estimate that Arctic lands and oceans are responsible for up to 25 percent of the global net sink of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Chimpanzees help on request, but not voluntarily: The evolution of altruism has long puzzled researchers and has mainly been explained previously from ultimate perspectives—I will help you now because I expect there to be some long-term benefit to me.

To read the study:

Yamamoto, S., Humle, T., & Tanaka, M. (2009). Chimpanzees Help Each Other upon Request PLoS ONE, 4 (10) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0007416

Hubble captures galaxy smash-up: A recent NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image captures the result of a pair of spiral galaxies smashing together at breakneck speeds.

Kew seed bank has 10% of all plants – and counting: Kew Millennium Seed Bank Partnership has reached its initial target of collecting 10 per cent of the world’s known wild plant species.

Liver cells grown from patients’ skin cells: Scientists at The Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee have successfully produced liver cells from patients’ skin cells opening the possibility of treating a wide range of diseases that affect liver function.

New strategy for mending broken hearts?: By mimicking the way embryonic stem cells develop into heart muscle in a lab, Duke University bioengineers believe they have taken an important first step toward growing a living “heart patch” to repair heart tissue damaged by disease.

Scientists find new flying reptile: Scientists said that the discovery fills in the large evolutionary gap between two different groups of pterosaurs: primitive long-tailed forms and their descendants, advanced short-tailed pterosaurs, some of which reached gigantic size.

Scientists uncover trampled dinosaur bones in Utah: Paleontologists say a vast collection of broken dinosaur bones unearthed in southeast Utah were smashed underfoot by other dinosaurs shortly after they died.