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Are there Aliens on Mars!

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Are there Aliens on Mars!

From Chromatography.com

Aliens on Mars?

Man has wondered “Are we alone?” for many years. Astronomers and Hollywood have long portrayed aliens in many different forms — little green men from Mars and monsters from Outer Space being the favourites.

But it is life on Mars that has always captured the imagination — from HG Wells’ Victorian masterpiece “The War of the Worlds” to the 1996 film “Mars Attacks”, the idea of life on Mars has always intrigued man. Let’s take a look at the ideas helping scientists decide if can aliens exist and the part chromatography could play in deciding if there is life on Mars.

Alien Worlds With the launch of the Kepler space telescope in 2009 the search for habitable worlds and aliens has made massive strides forward. Kepler has now found over 1000 exoplanets and identified thousands of potential exoplanets.

Kepler has given scientists an accurate means of measuring the light curve from a distant star. By monitoring the light curve we can detect transiting exoplanets, a planet orbiting a star.

Even more exciting is that the amazing techniques used by astronomers has allowed us to identify Earth sized exoplanets occupying a star’s habitable zone — possible homes for alien life.

Habitable Zones and Life The habitable zone is the ring shaped area around a star where scientists think the conditions for life are just right — for example: water can exist, the temperature is just right and the planet is in a stable orbit. Luckily for us, Earth lies in the middle of the Sun’s habitable zone — which stretches from just outside Venus’ orbit to Mars, which lies at the edge of the zone. So could there be life on Mars?

Life on Mars If there were little green men running around Mars it is probable that we would have seen them by now — we have excellent hi-res images of the Martian surface. Some scientists think that the best chance of finding evidence of life on Mars will be in fossilized chemicals that could once have belonged to some form of life.

To help in this search a team from the University of Kansas has recently published research about a new technique designed to help identify just such a piece of evidence. In a University of Kansas press release, Craig Marshall, one of the article’s authors stated “If we’re going to identify life on Mars, it will likely be the fossil remnants of the chemicals once synthesized by life, and we hope our research helps strengthen the ability to evaluate the evidence collected on Mars”.

In an article titled ‘Raman spectroscopy as a screening tool for ancient life detection on Mars’ the team report on a technique which combines Raman spectroscopy with GC-MS. The authors say this gives the best chance of detecting biomarkers and conclusive evidence for life on Mars.

Chromatography has helped in the search for aliens in space before, as discussed in Analysing Space Dust for the Ingredients of Life Using Chromatography.

 

 

Here are some scientists who believe firmly there are aliens.


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Creepy ‘sea monsters’ falling from sky in Alaska.

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Creepy ‘sea monsters’ falling from sky in Alaska.

© AP creepy sea monster

As if these scary-looking creatures weren’t terrifying enough in the water, they’re now falling out of the sky in Alaska. For real.

Locals in Fairbanks have been finding lampreys, foot-long eel-like fish with horrifying teeth, around the town after dropping out of the sky.

One was found in a shop’s car park, while another was found in someone’s garden. Eww.

And why is this horror happening? We hear you cry. Well, it’s all thanks to the local birds, apparently.

According to Seattle’s CBS Local, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game explained what was happening on its Facebook page, writing: “Gulls are picking them out of the Chena River with their bills and then dropping the squirming critters while in flight.

“Arctic lampreys spawn in the Chena River, and live in the mud underwater as juveniles for several years. However, many lifelong Alaskans have never seen one of these fascinating fish up close because their body shape and feeding habits make them difficult to catch.”

They also posted more pictures of the creepy creatures. Look if you dare:

Lamprey latched on to the fish tank glass in Fairbanks ADF&G office.

Posted by Alaska Department of Fish and Game – Official on Wednesday, June 3, 2015


Scientists probe mysterious wave of antelope deaths

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 Scientists probe mysterious wave of antelope deaths

By Rory Galloway
BBC Science writer

Around 120,000 Saiga antelope have died so far

Around half of the world’s critically endangered Saiga antelope have died suddenly in Kazakhstan since 10 May.

An unknown environmental trigger is thought to have caused two types of normally benign bacteria found in the antelopes’ gut to turn deadly.

The animals die within hours of showing symptoms, which include depression, diarrhoea and frothing at the mouth.

Because it is calving season, entire herds of female antelope and their new-born calves have been wiped out.

“They get into respiratory problems, they can’t breathe easily. They stop eating and are extremely depressed; the mothers die and then the calves are very distressed and then they die maybe one or two days later,” said Richard Kock from the Royal Veterinary College in London.

Prof Kock spoke to the BBC’s Science in Action programme after joining an international team in Kazakhstan studying the causes of the die-off.

Conservation setback

The Saiga antelope is a species adapted to cope with the extremes of temperature found on the central Asian steppes of Kazakhstan. They are about the size of a large sheep and once roamed in their millions from Great Britain to northern China.

Populations have fallen repeatedly due to hunting, reaching a low of around 50,000 individuals after the fall of the Soviet Union. This rendered the species critically endangered.

Hunting brought Saiga numbers to a low of 50,000 in the 1990s

Conservationists have made great progress with Saiga in recent years, due to international efforts to reduce poaching and monitor their populations.

This die-off is a severe setback to the conservation effort because it has wiped out four of the six calving herds in the largest remaining – and best protected – “Betpak-dala” population, in central Kazakhstan.

Steffen Zuther, head of the Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity in Kazakhstan (ACBK), was monitoring calving in one of the herds containing thousands of affected animals.

“Over two days [in the herd I was studying] 80% of the calving population died,” he told the BBC.

The whole herd then died within two weeks.

Steffen Zuther has been monitoring herds of antelope in Kazakhstan

About 120,000 individual antelope have died, from a global population of approximately 250,000. Fortunately, mortality rates are now dropping, although the deaths continue in some populations.

“What we’re seeing is sort of a perfect storm of different factors,” Prof Kock explained.
Two different bacteria, pasteurelosis and clostridia, have been found in every dead animal studied. These bacteria are naturally found in the animals’ respiratory and gut systems, so something must have reduced the immunity of the animals.

One possible trigger is climatic. This year a very cold winter was followed by a wet spring, and this may have affected the immune competence of the animals, making them more vulnerable to the bacteria.

This, or some other trigger, pushed the animals past a threshold at which the bacteria overcame Saiga immune defences and became deadly enough to transmit to their calves.
dead antelope and calf

Because of its timing, the wave of deaths has claimed mothers and calves
“There’s no infectious disease that can work like this,” said Prof Kock. He added that the wave of Saiga deaths was not unprecedented. “[This] die-off syndrome has occurred on a number of occasions.”

In 1984, 2010 and 2012 there were massive die-offs, but none of these claimed such a massive proportion of the population. ‘Doesn’t make sense’

Despite these huge losses, Saiga antelope are surprisingly well adapted to recover quickly from population crashes.

“Its strategy for survival is based on a high reproductive rate, so [the Saiga] produce triplets and have the highest foetal biomass of any mammal. It’s built, in a sense, to recover from collapse,” Prof Kock said.

The Saiga’s natural habitat has dramatic temperature fluctuations. “In a very severe winter… you could lose 90% of the population.”

But losing 100% percent of some populations within two weeks “doesn’t make any sense” from a biological or evolutionary perspective, Prof Kock said.

There are five main populations of Saiga remaining in central Asia

Saiga antelope have been a conservation success story after recovering from their critical low in the 1990s. The animals now exist in five locations across central Asia, but all individuals affected by the sudden die-off are from the largest remaining Betpak-dala population in Kazakhstan.

This population consists of six major herds, of which four have been completely wiped out.

Steffen Zuther is going back into the field to investigate more remote populations. He hopes to identify what triggered this population collapse, so he can work to stop it happening again.


What Do Tree Rings Sound Like When Played Like A Record?

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What Do Tree Rings Sound Like When Played Like A Record?

Playing tree rings

In the Dr Seusse books it’s the Lorax speaks for the trees, but what do they sound like when they speak for themselves?

Rings on a tree can give information about the age of the tree, as well as indicate environmental conditions such as rain levels, disease, and even forest fire. Light colored rings indicate quick growth, while darker rings indicate times when the tree did not grow as quickly. Slices of trees are not uniform, and they all tell a story about the tree’s history.

Bartholomäus Traubeck created equipment that would translate tree rings into music by playing them on a turntable. Rather than use a needle like a record, sensors gather information about the wood’s color and texture and use an algorithm that translates variations into piano notes. The breadth of variation between individual trees results in a individualized tune. The album, appropriately titled “Years,” features spruce, ash, oak, maple, alder, walnut, and beech trees. It is available to download now, though it will be available to purchase on vinyl in August. The end product of these arbor “records” is haunting and beautiful and you need to check it out.

 

 


Mysterious sea creature stuns onlookers

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Mysterious creature stuns onlookers

The sea is big, scary and full of things that want to eat you.

If you ever find yourself in doubt as to whether or not to go in the water, it can be helpful to remember the sheer number of giant teeth, suckers and appendages-yet-unknown-to-science that live in it.

A spine-chilling, luminous, snakelike creature was recently captured in Taiwan by a man who was out fishing at a port in Penghu.

The fisherman, Wei Cheng Jian, caught the strange creature and posted a video of his find on Facebook in hopes of getting a few answers.

However, Jian, who seemed more than a bit nervous in the video, removed the clip from his Facebook page shortly afterwards – but not before the footage was copied, shared, and incited a little internet confusion.

In the video, the three-foot-long bright-green creature is seen slithering slowly across the dock’s concrete floor and shooting out a long pink tongue as if searching for a prey.

The seemingly alien-like critter sparked a huge debate online with persons from science fiction backgrounds to an expertise in the natural world throwing in their two-cents about the creature’s origin.

And though an exact answer has not yet been determined, the stringy green mass is strongly believed to be a ribbon worm (or, Nemertea) – a carnivorous worm that comes in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors.

Some species live on land or reside in freshwater — but many of them choose to stay in the sea and live burrowed in the sand. They can also grow to be as long as 60 meters.

 

 


Terrifying soul sucking dementor wasp turns victims into ‘ZOMBIES’

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Terrifying ‘soul-sucking dementor wasp’ turns unlucky victims into ‘ZOMBIES’

Dementor Wasp

This week, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) reported that 139 new species were discovered in the Greater Mekong region last year, including a species of wasp that can turn a cockroach into a Zombie and eat it alive as it pleases.

The species making headlines is a wasp named after fictional, soul-sucking prison guards known in the Harry Potter universe as Dementors.

WWF describes the wasp as “steal[ing] its prey’s free will with single sting before eating it alive,” and continues:

[Ampulex] dementor hunts cockroaches, injecting a venom into the mass of neurons on its prey’s belly that turns the roach into a passive zombie… the cockroach is still capable of movement, but is unable to direct its own body. Once the cockroach has lost control, the wasp drags its stupefied prey by the antennae to a safe shelter to devour it.

Once the cockroach has lost control, the wasp drags its stupefied prey by the antennae to a safe shelter to devour it.

Though the species is new, this group of wasps is not. Ampulex wasps are part of the Ampulicidae wasp species, known as cockroach wasps for their typical prey. This wasp, however, was named after Dementors as part of a group of researchers’ efforts to bring the public into the process of naming new species.

Here’s the emerald cockroach wasp a cousin of the Dementor which does a similar thing.

The researchers, led by Michael Ohl, invited 300 museum visitors to choose from four possible names for the new species, and explained how each was connected to the wasp. Dementor—“magical beings, which can consume a person’s soul, leaving their victims as an empty but functional body without personality and emotions”—reigned supreme.

 

 


Best view yet of Ceres’ ‘alien’ spots

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Best view yet of Ceres’ ‘alien’ spots

Ceres

The fascinating bright spots on the surface of the dwarf planet Ceres have come into sharper view.

What were initially thought to be just a couple of brilliant, closely spaced features at one location now turn out to be a clutch of many smaller dots.

The latest pictures were acquired by the US space agency’s Dawn spacecraft on its first full science orbit since arriving at Ceres on 6 March.

The spots were seen from a distance of 13,600km.

Researchers on the mission concede they still have much to learn about the dots’ true nature, but the new data is hardening their ideas.

“Dawn scientists can now conclude that the intense brightness of these spots is due to the reflection of sunlight by highly reflective material on the surface, possibly ice,” said Chris Russell, who is the principal investigator on the mission.

With a diameter of 950km, Ceres is the largest object in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.
Dawn will spend the coming months studying its geology and surface chemistry with a suite of cameras and remote-sensing instruments.

The intention is to get some insights into the processes that have sculpted the dwarf since its formation with the rest of the Solar System some 4.5 billion years year ago.

Having completed its first science orbit, Dawn is now heading downwards to get even closer to the body.
This second mapping campaign, which will commence on 6 June, will see Dawn moving just 4,400km from the surface.

Here are some strange sounds from outer space.

The noise is caused by electromagnetic vibrations. The sounds have been recorded by various NASA space craft using Plasma Wave antenna to record the vibrations.



Russia Orders Obama: TELL THE WORLD ABOUT ALIENS

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Russia Orders Obama: TELL THE WORLD ABOUT ALIENS, Or We Will.

From Disclose.tv

Alien Chupacabra

February 11, 2015 – A stunning Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) report on Prime Minister Medvedev’s agenda at the World Economic Forum (WEF) this week states that Russia will warn President Obama that the “time has come” for the world to know the truth about aliens, and if the United States won’t participate in the announcement, the Kremlin will do so on its own.

The WEF (The Forum) is a Swiss non-profit foundation, based in Cologny, Geneva and describes itself as an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.

The Forum is best known for its annual meeting in Davos, a mountain resort in Graubünden, in the eastern Alps region of Switzerland. The meeting brings together some 2,500 top business leaders, international political leaders, selected intellectuals and journalists to discuss the most pressing issues facing the world, including health and the environment.

Medvedev is scheduled to open this years Forum where as many as 50 heads of government, including Germany’s Angela Merkel and Britain’s David Cameron, will attend the five-day meeting that begins on 23 January.

Critical to note about this years Forum is that the WEF, in their 2013 Executive Summary, scheduled for debate and discussion a number of items under their X Factors from Nature category, and which includes the “discovery of alien life” of which they state: “Proof of life elsewhere in the universe could have profound psychological implications for human belief systems.”

Equally critical to note is that Medvedev, after completing a 7 December 2012 on-camera interview with reporters in Moscow, continued to respond to reporters and made some off-air comments without realizing that his microphone was still on. He was then asked by one reporter if “the president is handed secret files on aliens when he receives the briefcase needed to activate Russia’s nuclear arsenal,” Medvedev responded:

“Along with the briefcase with nuclear codes, the president of the country is given a special ‘top secret’ folder. This folder in its entirety contains information about aliens who visited our planet… Along with this, you are given a report of the absolutely secret special service that exercises control over aliens on the territory of our country… More detailed information on this topic you can get from a well-known movie called Men In Black… I will not tell you how many of them are among us because it may cause panic.”

Western news sources reporting on Medvedev’s shocking reply about aliens stated that he was “joking” as he mentioned the movie Men In Black, which they wrongly assumed was a reference to the 1997 American sci-fi adventure comedy about two top secret agents battling aliens in the US.

Medvedev, however, wasn’t referring to the American movie but was, instead, talking about the famous Russian movie documentary Men In Black which details many UFO and alien anomalies.

Where Western news sources quoted Medvedev as saying “More detailed information on this topic you can get from a well-known movie called ‘Men In Black,’” his actual answer was, “You can receive more detailed information having watched the documentary film of the same name.”

The reason(s) for Western propaganda news outlets deliberately distorting Medvedev’s words become apparent after his shocking statement, and as evidenced in just one example of their so called reporting on this disclosure of alien life already being on our planet where the title of one such article was “Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev makes a crack about aliens, and conspiracists promptly lose their minds.”

If anyone is “losing their minds” about aliens, it must be pointed out, it is certainly not Russia, but the Vatican, which in November 2009 announced it was “preparing for extraterrestrial disclosure”.

Equally, and apparently, “losing their minds” are US government officials themselves, such as former Pentagon consultant Timothy Good, and author of Above Top Secret: The Worldwide U.F.O. Cover-Up, who in February 2012 stated that former President Dwight Eisenhower had three secret meetings with aliens who were ‘Nordic’ in appearance and wherein a ‘Pact’ was signed to keep their agenda on Earth secret.

With the recent discovery in the Russian city of Vladivostok of a 300-million-year-old UFO tooth-wheel, and scientists, astronauts and YouTube users reporting increasingly strange happenings on the moon, the European Space agency reporting their discovery of a 1,000 ancient river on Mars, and UK and Sri Lanka scientists saying they now have “rock solid proof of alien life” after finding fossilized algae inside meteorite, the only ones who seem to be truly “losing their minds” are the Western, especially American, propagandists who for decades have covered up one of the most important stories in all of human history that “we are not alone.”

To if Medvedev will be able to convince the Obama regime to tell the truth about UFO and aliens at the WEF this week it is not in our knowing. What is in our knowing, though, is that with or without the US, the Kremlin will surely begin the process of telling the truth about that which we already know to be true.

Here’s some interviews with people who claim to have been abducted by aliens.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5



Dark matter ‘ghosts’ through galactic smash-ups

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Dark matter ‘ghosts’ through galactic smash-ups
By Jonathan Webb
Science reporter, BBC News

Space

By observing multiple collisions between huge clusters of galaxies, scientists have witnessed dark matter coasting straight through the turmoil.

Dark matter is the mysterious, invisible stuff that makes up 85% of the matter in the cosmos – and these results rule out several theoretical models put forward to explain it.

This is because it barely interacts with anything at all, including the dark matter in the oncoming galaxies.
The work appears in Science magazine.

To conduct their study, astrophysicists looked at 72 smash-ups between galactic clusters, using two space telescopes: visible light was recorded by the Hubble Space Telescope, and X-rays by the Chandra Observatory.

Scouring multiple views of the collisions, the researchers tracked the movement of the three main components of galaxies: stars, clouds of gas, and dark matter.

The violently swirling clouds of gas are hot enough to glow with X-rays, which Chandra detects. And stars can be seen in regular, visible-light images from Hubble.

Dark matter is more difficult to “see” – but not impossible. Although it does not emit or absorb light, it does have gravity, and so it bends the path of light passing nearby. This warps our view of anything on the other side of it, in an effect called “gravitational lensing”.

“Looking through dark matter is like looking through a bathroom window,” said Dr Richard Massey from Durham University, one of the study’s authors. “All the objects that you can see in the distance appear slightly distorted and warped.”

Images were used from the Hubble Space Telescope (illustrated here) and the Chandra X-Ray Observatory

Using this distortion allowed Dr Massey, with colleagues from the University of Edinburgh, University College London and Switzerland’s Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL), to “map” the dark matter in the clusters as they collided.

‘Smash it and see’

Galaxy clusters are vast and contain huge amounts of dark matter, so when they collide – over billions of years – it offers a unique glimpse of how the stuff behaves.

“We like these collisions because it’s exactly what we’d do in the lab,” Dr Massey told BBC News.
“If you want to figure out what something is made out of, you knock it, or you throw it across the room and see where the bits go.”

In this case, the bits went straight through each other.

Unlike the gas clouds, which grind to a turbulent halt, and the stars, which mostly glide past each other, the ubiquitous dark matter passes through everything and emerges unscathed, like a ghost.
“It seems not to interact with anything at all,” Dr Massey said.

_____________________________________________________________________________

Here be ‘space dragons’

Dr Tom Kitching, UCL Mullard Space Science Laboratory

Our new measurements of the self-interaction of dark matter are some of the best yet. But statistically speaking, the strongest result from this study is in fact the confirmation that dark matter really does exist in these galaxy clusters.

We measured three things: the position of stars, the position of mass, and the position of gas. If there was no dark matter, then all of the mass that isn’t accounted for by the stars would be associated with the gas.
But we found an offset, which confirms that there is something in the clusters that is not gas, has mass, but that we cannot see: a dark matter. This detection is statistically very significant – corresponding to a probability of better than 99.99999999999% that dark matter exists in these clusters.

Sometimes I think dark matter is a terrible name. It was originally coined because the phenomenon does not emit or absorb light. But light is everywhere in the dark matter we have observed, passing within it and around it. Indeed, the lensing effect that we employed in our study uses the light from distant galaxies that has passed through dark matter.

So perhaps “transparent matter” or “clear matter” are better names. My favourite alternative is “materia incognita” (the unknown material). Maps used to be labelled “terra incognita” in areas that were unknown, and in a similar way we could be explicit about the unknown nature of this phenomenon.
However, thanks to studies like this one – and much more work planned for the coming years – our ignorance will one day end. Then we can finally give this “something” a proper name.

____________________________________________________________________________

Earlier observations of the “Bullet Cluster” – a bust-up between two particularly big groups of galaxies, now in its final stages – had already demonstrated dark matter’s weird lack of interactions, including with itself.
But this new, major survey was able to deliver much more precision, concluding that there was even less interaction than the previous work allowed for.

“If you bang your head against the wall, the electrostatic force between the molecules in your head and the ones in the wall cause a collision. This is what dark matter doesn’t seem to feel,” Dr Massey explained.
Dark matter does “feel” gravity; those interactions are the reason we know it is there, and the reason it is bound up in the galactic collisions to begin with. But the lack of almost any other interaction makes it even more mysterious than before.

The late-stage collision of the Bullet Cluster yielded previous observations of dark matter

“In all of these collisions that we’ve seen, it just seems to go straight through. And now we’ve seen loads more of them, we would have been able to detect any deceleration of this dark matter, if it had interacted in the ways that most theories predict,” Dr Massey said.

So although some theories remain, many can now be ruled out. This includes the idea that dark matter is some sort of “dark” version of ordinary matter, made of “dark atoms”. It must be more outlandish than that, Dr Massey said.
“Basically, we’re saying: Back to the drawing board! Let’s come up with some more ideas.”

Space has some really interesting stuff going on. Here’s a clip featuring some of the sounds of outer space.


Giant pythons have ‘homing instinct’

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Giant pythons have ‘homing instinct’
By James Morgan
Science reporter, BBC News

This enormous Burmese python burst trying to swallow an alligator in Florida in 2005

Giant Burmese pythons have map and compass senses which help them travel “home” over vast distances, scientists have been surprised to discover.

Pythons captured and relocated in Florida’s Everglades – where they are an invasive species – returned 23 miles (36km) to their original start point.

It is the first evidence that snakes may share a similar magnetic compass to other reptiles, such as sea turtles.

The findings are published in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters.

The Burmese python (Python bivittatus) is one of the largest snakes in the world. The biggest specimen ever caught measured more than 17ft (5m) and weighed 164lb (74kg).

The snakes coil around their prey and suffocate it – and have been known to swallow animals as large as alligators.

Although native to South East Asia, they have become established in Florida’s Everglades National Park – where they have been blamed for a staggering decline of mammals.

To study how these invasive predators migrate and spread, researchers captured 12 snakes and fitted them with GPS radiotransmitters.

Half were released where they were captured, but the other six were transported to other suitable habitats in the Everglades 13-23 miles (21-36 km) away.

Using aircraft to track their movements, the researchers were stunned by how quickly the snakes travelled homeward.

The pythons could navigate by the Sun, the stars, or by a magnetic compass

Five of the six returned within 5km of their original capture location – and their movement was faster than the control snakes.

“We were very surprised,” said lead author Shannon Pittman, of Davidson College, North Carolina.

“We anticipated the pythons would develop new home ranges where they were released. We didn’t expect them to orient back to their capture locations.

“This is evidence that Burmese pythons are capable of homing on a scale previously undocumented in any snake species.”

The experiment suggests the snakes have both a map sense (to determine their position in relation to home) and a compass sense (to guide their movement home).

Researchers say the map could be magnetic, like sea turtles, while the compass could be guided by the stars, olfactory (smell) cues, or by polarised sunlight – all of which have been shown to be used by reptiles.

“Other snakes likely do share this ability with pythons. But our understanding is limited by a dearth of research on the subject,” Ms Pittman told BBC News.

Some previous studies found that smaller snakes – sea kraits and garter snakes – can home over short distances, but not large constrictors.

“I’m impressed, but I’m not surprised – this verifies what many of us in the field have been seeing for years,” said Dr Stephen Secor of the University of Alabama, who researches Burmese python physiology.

“Reptiles know where they’re going – it’s not just random. They’re familiar with their home range.

“And I suspect that, if pythons can do this, all snakes can do it – rattlesnakes, vipers, the lot.”

Dr Stephen Secor says the pythons are actually gentle, docile creatures

Keeping in familiar territory may help snakes to find prey and mates, and the homing sense may allow them to return to their territory after exploratory forays, Ms Pittman said.

“We know that snakes tend to come back to some of the same sites throughout their lives – such as overwintering locations or refuges,” she told BBC News.

Understanding how invasive pythons migrate could help control their spread in Florida, she suggested.

But Dr Secor said the threat to the Everglades had been overstated: “Some people want to sell it as an ecological disaster. It’s really not.

“Burmese pythons can’t ever move beyond the Everglades. It’s too cold. The minute it freezes, it kills them,” he told BBC News.

“They’re actually very docile, gentle snakes. People who don’t like them don’t know a lot about them. They’re pretty amazing animals and we can learn a lot from them.”

And the first lesson we can learn from their homing ability, said Dr Secor, is “don’t pick reptiles up”.

“People see turtles crossing the road and try to move them to safety. But if you take them away, they’re just going to try and come back. You are doing more harm than good.

“Likewise with snakes – people find them in their yard, drive them off and dump them a mile down road. Then, three days later, the snake comes back.

“I hear these stories frequently: ‘It came back! The same snake!’ And I’m always kind of sceptical. Is it really the same snake? Or just another one that looks similar?

“But maybe these people were right all along. The snake really did come back.”

Here’s one big Australian python. The cameraman thought it was dead.



 

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