A Habitable Exoplanet – For Real This Time [via Wired]
Astronomers announced yesterday the discovery of the first planet outside our solar system that lies within its star’s habitable zone, the orbital area where the temperature would make water liquid rather than ice or vapor. Gliese 581g orbits a red dwarf 20 light-years away, is three times the mass of Earth and orbits its sun every 36.6 Earth days. Its year is much shorter because its star is only 1 percent as bright as the Sun, and its rotational period indicates one side likely faces the sun at all times, leading to a frigid half, a boiling half and a ring of perpetual twilight where life may be able to form.
Monkeys can recognize themselves in mirrors [via MSNBC]
Scientists have discovered that rhesus macaques, a South Asian monkey, can recognize themselves in mirrors, a critical test for cognitive science in determining self-recognition and ultimately self-awareness. Mirror recognition is a skill adults humans have but babies do not, indicating the ability develops with the brain. Some primates, including chimpanzees and bonobos, as well as dolphins, elephants and magpies, have also passed the mirror recognition test. Notably, the macaques that recognized themselves had been implanted with electrodes to monitor their brain activity; macaques lacking the implant failed the test.
Rare pink hippo spotted [via The Daily Telegraph]
British photographers Will and Matt Burrard-Lucas were hunting wildebeest in Kenya when they stumbled across a pink hippopotamus, a rare sighting. The creature is leucitic, not albino, meaning it has some spots of pigmentation. Leucitic animals rarely survive in the wild, however, as they are more easily visible to predators. Hippos, however, are strong enough to fight off most attackers.