Scientists discover how plants breathe -- and how humans shaped their 'lungs'

Scientists have discovered how plants create networks of air channels -- the lungs of the leaf -- to transport carbon dioxide (CO2) to their cells.

Botanists have known since the 19th century that leaves have pores -- called stomata -- and contain an intricate internal network of air channels. But until now it wasn't understood how those channels form in the right places in order to provide a steady flow of CO2 to every plant cell, according to Science Daily.

The new study, led by scientists at the University of Sheffield's Institute for Sustainable Food used genetic manipulation techniques to reveal that the more stomata a leaf has, the more airspace it forms.

Some extinct crocs were vegetarians

Based on careful study of fossilized teeth, scientists Keegan Melstom and Randall Irmis at the Natural History Museum of Utah at the University of Utah have found that multiple ancient groups of crocodyli forms -- the group including living and extinct relatives of crocodiles and alligators -- were not the carnivores we know today. In fact. the evidence suggests that a veggie diet arose in the distant cousins of modern crocodylians at least three times, according to Science Daily.

"The most interesting thing we discovered was how frequently it seems extinct crocodyliforms ate plants," said Keegan Melstrom, a doctoral student at the University of Utah. "Our study indicates that complexly-shaped teeth, which we infer to indicate herbivory, appear in the extinct relatives of crocodiles at least three times and maybe as many as six."

Conceptual model can explain how thunderstorm clouds bunch together

Understanding how the weather and climate change is one of the most important challenges in science today. A new theoretical study from associate professor, Jan Härter, at the Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, presents a new mechanism for the self-aggregation of storm clouds, a phenomenon, by which storm clouds bunch together in dense clusters. The researcher used methods from complexity science, and applied them to formerly established research in meteorology on the behavior of thunderstorm clouds, according to Science Daily.

Skin bacteria could save frogs from virus

Bacteria living on the skin of frogs could save them from a deadly virus, new research suggests.

Ranavirus kills large numbers of frogs and is one of many threats facing amphibians worldwide.

Scientists from the University of Exeter compared the bacteria living on frogs -- known as their "microbiome" -- from groups with varying history of ranavirus, according to Science Daily.

Pigeons flap faster to fly together

New research.l, led by Dr Lucy Taylor from the University of Oxford's Department of Zoology now reveals that homing pigeons fit in one extra wingbeat per second when flying in pairs compared to flying solo.

Birds that fly in 'V'-formations, such as geese, are able to conserve energy by flying in aerodynamically optimal positions. By contrast, in species that don't fly in formation, such as homing pigeons, the costs and benefits of flocking have been less well understood, according to Science Daily.