Scientists Tried to Measure Dolphins’ Happiness
For the first time, a team of scientists attempted to measure happiness in dolphins. Researchers from France established that dolphins are the happiest when they are interacting with a human that they have built a bond with. The study was published in the journal of Applied Animal Behavior Science and it is part of a three-year project designed to measure the welfare of dolphins.
Lead researcher of the study, Dr. Isabella Clegg created a number of experiments that looked into the posture of dolphins trying to determine what they are feeling. Dr. Clegg tested dolphins while they were interacting with a trainer, while they had toys in their pool and when they were left alone. She said:
“We wanted to find out what activities in captivity they like most. We found a really interesting result – all dolphins look forward most to interacting with a familiar human.”
Scientists noticed that the dolphins reacted with happiness when they saw the trainer they were familiar with. In that situation, they would spend most of that time at the edge of the pool, while peering above the surface seeking the trainer’s attention. Dr. Isabella Clegg:
“We’ve seen this same thing in other zoo animals and in farm animals. Better human-animal bonds equal better welfare.”
The research confirms that our behavior towards animals has a great impression on their behavior and overall welfare.
Mars Rocks Reveal Signs of Life from Four Billion Years Ago
Rocks on Mars near ancient lake sites could hold the main clues which could prove that life once existed on Mars. These iron-rich rocks are formed in lake beds and, according to researchers, they are the best place to seek for any fossil evidence of life from billion years ago. Scientists are looking for tiny traces of life, known as microbes, on Mars which could support the primitive form of life around four billion years ago.
Why do scientists believe that these rocks could hold the secret of life on Mars? The rocks are rich in mineral silica which helps preserve fossils. The rocks were formed between three and four billion years ago. In that period, Mars was abundant in water which might have supported life.
It is interesting that the rocks were much better preserved than those on Earth at the same age. The main reason behind this could be that Mars is not subject to plate tectonics which over time can destroy any rocks and potential fossils inside them.
The team of researchers reviewed studies of fossils on Earth replicating Martian conditions to identify the most promising sites on Mars to explore any traces of life. Next NASA’s rover mission will be focused on searching for evidence of life in the past. The mission from 2020 will collect rock samples in order to return them to the Earth and analyze them.
Dr. Sean McMahon, from the University of Edinburgh’s School of Physics and Astronomy, said:
“There are many interesting rock and mineral outcrops on Mars where we would like to search for fossils, but since we can’t send rovers to all of them we have tried to prioritise the most promising deposits based on the best available information.”
Dark Matter Particles – The Biggest Search in Science
The largest particle detector has failed to establish any hints of dark matter despite an extensive search in the past year.
The detector known as XENON1T is designed to detect dark matter particles which are thought to make up most of our cosmos. This is the biggest search in science at the moment. Physicists don’t even know what dark matter is. Our knowledge about dark matter is strictly theoretical and there have not been any specific findings of dark matter.
The new study has been highly anticipated in the world of science as a longer search can provide a better chance of finding WIMPs (weakly interacting massive particle). Based on those results, researchers are planning to create larger and more sensitive detectors of dark matter. The search and finding of dark matter could be the greatest milestone in physics in the past few decades if not even more.