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University of Alberta

  1. Become a Paleontologist Online With the University of Alberta

    I hope it's as easy as becoming a minister online.

    If you hate back to school time, we've got a bit of good news: This year brings with it the opportunity to study dinosaurs online for free. University of Alberta has an online course in paleobiology that anyone can join as long as their relationship with computers is better than Dr. Grant's.

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  2. There’s Actually A Giant Ocean Below Earth’s Crust, Journey To The Center Of The Earth Is Legit

    So that's where kaiju come from.

    What mysteries lie beneath the Earth's surface? Some theories are awesome (Journey to the Center of the Earth); some are terrifyingly awesome (Pacific Rim); and some we just want to forget about entirely (The Core). But a team of scientists from the University of Alberta think they have proof that, deep below us, there's a giant, subterranean ocean.

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  3. Canadian Zombie Plants Return to Life After 400 Years

    It turns out some plants survive being frozen for a few centuries, and will regrow once they're thawed out.

    In a story that is basically Encino Man but with Canadian plants, scientists have revived some once-frozen 400-year-old plants from the Canadian arctic. Bringing these plants back to life shows that certain varieties of plants may be more able to withstand extreme conditions than once thought. Keeping with the Encino Man theme, the next step will be to figure out how the scientists can use the revived plants to help pick up girls at the mall.

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  4. Pikas Prefer to Eat Plants Peppered With Caterpillar Poop

    Life in the wilderness is no bowl of cherries, and animals aren't exactly known for graciously sharing their food. One exception, though, may be Canadian pikas. A recent study from the University of Alberta shows that the little mammals actually prefer leftovers sometimes, choosing to dine on patches of vegetation that have already been grazed on -- and thus also pooped on -- by caterpillars. Exactly why isn't understood yet, but researchers suspect that the caterpillars' leavings may act as a sort of seasoning for the plants.

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  5. Beavers Help Geese Reproduce, But Not in a Gross Way

    A new study done by a team at the University of Alberta shows that the increased activity around beaver dams helps create conditions more favorable for Canada geese mating. Essentially, the busier beavers are, the busier geese get.

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  6. Yeah! Shake It, Baby: Feathered Dinosaurs Shook Tail Feathers in Courtship Rituals

    There's a reason why, despite even the best of efforts, us human males egregiously fail at trying to attract the attention of our female counterparts -- and evolution's to blame. Lacking the colorful and hypnotic menagerie of feathers that our avian friends are fortunate to be sporting, humanity's male population has only succeeded in sealing its own fate in unrequited love, while birds continue to rub this sad fact in our faces on a regular basis. As if our situation couldn't get any worse than it is now, recent fossil evidence has shown that feathered dinosaurs known as Oviraptors -- hailing from Mongolia -- had nearly the same kind of tail end plumage akin to their modern cousins, even going as far as having the ability to shake them about and get a potential mate to notice the exotic dance number. Great, now even dinosaurs are starting to get a superiority complex.

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  7. First Freshwater Mosasaur Discovered, Was Basically A 20-Foot Long, Terrifying Reptilian River Dolphin

    Researchers from the Hungarian Natural History Museum and University of Alberta have discovered fossils that they believe represent the world's first real river monster -- a never-before-identified breed of mosasaur that thrived in fresh water rather than open ocean. The specimens represent the first evidence of mosasaurs -- initially land-dwelling reptiles that returned to the sea like modern dolphins and whales -- who left their ocean habitats in favor of freshwater homes like rivers, developing adaptations that would have let them thrive in the new environments where they were likely to top of the food chain.

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  8. Knock it Off, Humans! Your Behavior Freaks Out Elk

    Oh, humanity, you're a real piece of work. When we're not callously wiping out an entire species of animal through overhunting or habitat destruction, it turns out we're scaring the living daylights out of them. During a year-long study of elk in southwestern Alberta, a research party led by Simone Ciuti from the University of Alberta noticed that the presence of humans left the elk more on edge than the presence of their natural predators, like bears and wolves. The elk seemed particularly put off by humans in vehicles, though it seems fair to assume that bears and wolves driving ATVs would have left them equally unnerved.

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  9. Electric Underwear Could Fight Bedsores By Shocking Your Butt

    While it may sound like a kind of joke ailment, bedsores are no laughing matter. The sores, which result from inactivity in hospital patients, can ulcerate and become infected, and the condition is thought to be responsible for tens of thousands of preventable deaths worldwide every year. So, no laughing at bedsores. What you can probably laugh at safely is the latest treatment for bedsores: Smart-E-Pants, a pair of electric underwear that prevents the sores from developing in the first place by delivering miniscule jolts of electricity to keep the muscles of your butt in motion.

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  10. Earthbound Dinosaur Hunted Like Modern Leopards, Dined On Early Birds

    Paleontologists at the University of Alberta have found evidence that a feathered, but flightless raptor-like dinosaur preyed on ancient birds. Three fossils of Confuciusornis sanctus, a primitive bird-like creature, were found in the fossilized abdomens of a pair of Sinocalliopteryx gigas -- a relative of T-Rex that was about the size of a large wolf. It's the first time a predatory dinosaur has been found dining on avian fare, and a reminder that while battles between titans like allosaurus and stegosaurus may dominate our imaginations, the majority of dinosaur-on-dinosaur violence probably looked familiar to anyone who has watched a modern predator stalk prey in a nature documentary. Except it would be with dinosaurs, and thus a billion times cooler.

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