Cells driving gecko's ability to re-grow its tail identified

A researcher is the first to discover the type of stem cell that is behind the gecko's ability to re-grow its tail, a finding that has implications for spinal cord treatment in humans, according to Science Daily.

Many lizards can detach a portion of their tail to avoid a predator and then regenerate a new one. Unlike mammals, the lizard tail includes a spinal cord.

Prof. Matthew Vickaryous found that the spinal cord of the tail contained a large number of stem cells and proteins known to support stem cell growth.

"We knew the gecko's spinal cord could regenerate, but we didn't know which cells were playing a key role," said Vickaryous, lead author of the study. "Humans are notoriously bad at dealing with spinal cord injuries so I'm hoping we can use what we learn from geckos to coax human spinal cord injuries into repairing themselves."

Virtual reality reduces phantom pain in paraplegics

In breakthrough research led by neuroscientist Olaf Blanke and his team, the scientists show that phantom body pain can be reduced in paraplegics by creating a bodily illusion with the help of virtual reality, according to Science Daily.

"We managed to provoke an illusion: the illusion that the subject's legs were being lightly tapped, when in fact the subject was actually being tapped on the back, above the spinal cord lesion," explains Blanke, lead author of the study. "When we did this, the subjects also reported that their pain had diminished."

Chimpanzees among 33 breeds selected for special protection

A UN-backed wildlife conference held in the Philippines has voted for additional protections for a list of 33 endangered species including chimpanzees, leopards and giraffes.

Whale sharks, the world's largest fish, were also included on the list, according to BBC.

The six-day long Convention of Migratory Species (CMS), demanding better protections for species that cross country borders.

'Ugly' 16ft-long dinosaur is found with terrifying 2.5-inch teeth

An 'ugly' dinosaur with huge scissor-style teeth that roamed 80 million years ago has been discovered by scientists.

The plant eater - which grew to more than 16 feet long - had an unusually short face with powerful jaws that enabled it to snack on tough riverside palm trees, according to Daily Mail.

Its two-and-a-half inch teeth worked 'like a pair of scissors' as it chewed the hard foliage, before swallowing.

Named Matheronodon provincialis, its jaw-bone and seven teeth were unearthed.

It is the latest in a diverse range of dinosaurs to be dug up - along with pterosaurs, prehistoric sharks, crocodiles and turtles.

Martian landscapes formed from sand 'levitating' on a little boiling water

Scientists have discovered a process that could explain the long-debated mystery of how land features on Mars are formed in the absence of significant amounts of water.

Experiments carried out, which is able to simulate the atmospheric conditions on Mars -- reveal that Mars' thin atmosphere (about 7 mbar -- compared to 1,000 mbar on Earth) combined with periods of relatively warm surface temperatures causes water flowing on the surface to violently boil. This process can then move large amounts of sand and other sediment, which effectively 'levitates' on the boiling water, according to Science Daily.