How desert ants find their way in a featureless environment

These desert ants live in salt pans and are ideal models for navigation research. When they set out in search of food in their flat, bare, hostile environment, they are nevertheless always able to find their way back to their nest on the shortest route possible. They have an internal navigation system. The ants measure the distance they have gone by recording how many steps they have taken -- and they use the sun for directional orientation, taking into account its movement over time via their own internal clock. A team of researchers led by Dr. Matthias Wittlinger developed a tiny treadmill, on which the ants behave just as they do in the wild. "This gives us almost unlimited possibilities to test the mechanisms and neural basis of our model animal's spatial orientation and navigation -- in the laboratory," says Wittlinger. "We can place the ants in a virtual world and incorporate certain changes into it to see how they react."

Meet the 'cockeyed' squid

From eyes the size of basketballs to appendages that glow, deep-sea dwellers have developed a range of weird and wonderful features to help them survive their cold, dark habitat according to Daily mail.

But with one tiny eye and one giant, bulging, yellow eye, this bizarre squid has one of the strangest adaptations of all.

Researchers have studied the cockeyed sea creature, and believe the lopsided eyes may be an adaptation to allow the squid to see in both light and dark depths. 

Climate change responsible for the great diversity in horses

Changing environments and ecosystems were driving the evolution of horses over the past 20 million years. This is the main conclusion of a new study by a team of paleontologists. The team analysed 140 species of horses, most of them extinct, synthesizing decades of research on the fossil history of this popular group of mammals according to Science daily.

Their conclusions challenge a classic theory, which links the evolutionary success of horses to several novel adaptations in response to the spread of grasslands around 18 million years ago. "According to the classic view, horses would have evolved faster in when grasslands appeared, developing teeth that were more resistant to the stronger wear that comes with a grass-dominated diet.

Oxygen content increased when Earth was covered in ice

In the beginning, planet Earth was a very inhospitable place with no oxygen and only single-celled bacteria as inhabitants. According to a new study, the oxygen content in the air began to increase about 2.4 billion years ago, at the same time as the global glaciation and when all continents were gathered in a single huge landmass, or supercontinent. How to explain the exact connection between these events, however, is a question that baffles the researchers according to Science daily.

"Our results also show that oxidation coincided in time with an event of global glaciation of Earth and extensive volcanism," says Ulf Söderlund, Professor of Geology.

In the recent international study, researchers, among others, have pinpointed the timing of this so-called Great Oxidation Event -- a crucial starting point in the development of life.

Research Journey to the Center of the Earth

Researchers say they may be one step closer to solving the mystery at the core of Earth according to Science daily.

It has long been established that approximately 85 percent of Earth's core is made of iron, while nickel makes up an additional 10 percent. Details of the final 5 percent -- believed to be some amount of light elements -- has, until now, eluded scientists.

According to the research team, which includes Dr. Tatsuya Sakamaki and Prof. Eiji Ohtani, new experiments show that possible candidates for the light elements are hydrogen, silicon and sulfur?