Discovered: James Cameron comes up for air; savage lobsters are eating each other; French men are becoming more impotent; is this the new oldest dinosaur?
James Cameron's findings from the watery deep. Back in March, Titanic director James Cameron followed his underwater interests to the bottom of the ocean, becoming the first person since 1960 to trawl the ocean floor. Now, the research findings from his Deepsea Challenger trip are in, and oceanographers have found out a lot about the topography of trenches like the Mariana and the New Britain. The New Britain teemed with biodiversity, but the Mariana was a relative desert of an ecosystem. "There was a lot of nutrient input," says the Scripps Institution of Oceanography's Douglas Bartlett, says of the New Britain Trench. "It was incredible to see logs at 8.2 kilometres." The unexplored terrain of a region known as the Serena Deep also fascinated scientists, with JPL's Kevin Hand saying, "What was very exciting about the Serena Deep dive was we could see outcrops and bizarre microbial mats covering the rocks." [Nature]
Cannibal lobsters are eating fancier food then you. Other seafood populations might be plummeting, but lobsters off the coast of Maine have been thriving lately. With plenty of the crustaceans around, prices started to plummet and lobsters started to be consumed by more humans—and lobsters, according to research from the University of Maine's Noah Oppenheim. It has long been known that groups of lobsters held in captivity can turn on each other for food, but it remained unclear whether wild lobsters cannibalized each other too. Oppenheim saw lobsters going at each other through a camera he submerged 20 feet underwater, and he believes the behavior stems from the recent population boom. "If you go scuba diving out here, they're carpeting the ground," he says. "So the rate that they encounter each other has dramatically increased." [NPR]
French men aren't producing as much sperm. Well, this won't help dispel any of the stereotypes about French men being effeminate. A new study from the Institut de Veille Sanitaire finds that the average French man's sperm count fell by 32 percent from 1989 to 2005. "That's certainly within the normal range, but if you think about it, if there continues to be a decrease, we would expect that we'll get into that infertile range," says the Society for Male Reproduction and Urology's president Grace Centola. This trend can be observed in many regions, not just France. Lead researcher Joëlle Le Moal says that many environmental factors could be at play including laptops, chemicals, and an increasingly sedentary lifestyle. [Reuters (note the byline)]
Newest oldest dinosaur. When exactly did proto-dinosaur lifeforms become the types of creatures we associate with Jurassic Park? Researchers from London's Natural History Museum think they've figured it out with the discovery of Nyasasaurus parringtoni, a two-legged specimen that measured 6 to 10 feet in length, weighing about 90 pounds. They believe it roamed the Earth 10-15 million years before the last fossils described as the earliest dinosaur. "It fills a gap between what we previously knew to be the oldest dinosaurs and their other closest relatives," says co-author Paul Barrett. "There was this big gap in the fossil record where dinosaurs should've been present and this fossil neatly fills that gap." [BBC News]
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