Discovered: Winged dinosaurs arrived earlier than thought; too much trust in chemotherapy; don't let your toddlers drink eyedrops; a study that studies studies which boast "very large effects."
Winged dinosaurs date back farther than previously thought. Birds' ancestors go back further than scientists previously thought, according to fossils recently reexamined in Canada. That's a strange place to find flying dinosaur bones, considering that most fossils of microraptors, maniraptors, and other winged dinos are found in present-day China. A team of geoscientists, led by the University of Calgary's Darla Zelenitsky, took a new look at three Ornithomimus edmontonicus kept at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology in Drumheller, Canada. Using a tool called an air scribe, Zelenitsky found traces of feather filaments and evidence of pennibrachium forelimbs that could have been used as wings. "Our specimens are currently the most primitive dinosaur to show winglike structures," Zelenitsky boasts. Theories about why dinosaurs evolved these wings range from the possibility that they attracted potential mates to the notion that they may have been used to shield hatching babies from the elements. [ScienceNow]
Many cancer patients place too much faith in chemo. Chemotherapy can stall the growth of cancer, and in the best possible scenario can even make malignant tumors go into remission. But it is definitely not a guaranteed cure. Which is why this survey conducted by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute researchers is so heartbreaking. Sixty-nine percent of patients with advanced lung cancer and 81 percent of patients with advanced colorectal cancer believed that chemotherapy could potentially cure their disease. Over 1,200 patients were surveyed at clinics, hospitals and treatment centers around the country. "If patients do not know whether a treatment offers a realistic possibility of cure, their ability to make informed treatment decisions that are consistent with their preferences may be compromised," says lead author Dr. Jane Weeks. "This misunderstanding may pose obstacles to optimal end-of-life planning." [Dana-Farber Cancer Institute]