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Flowering Plant Found at Record 4,505m in Swiss Alps

A flowering plant has been found at an altitude of above 4,505 metres (14,780 feet) on the central Swiss alps -- a European record, Basel University said Tuesday.

"It is almost a miracle, but at 4,505 metres, at 40 metres below the Dom peak in the canton of Valais, the ... Saxifraga oppositifolia has been recently discovered," said the university in a statement.

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Leaping Roach, 'T-rex' Leech Among New Species

A jumping cockroach, a glow-in-the-dark fungus, a rust-eating bacterium and a leech named "T-rex" were among the top 10 new species discovered in the world last year, US scientists said Monday.

The creatures were uncovered in Brazil, Madagascar, South Africa, Peru, the Philippines, West Africa, the US state of Oregon, the Mascarene Islands in the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico and the North Atlantic Ocean.

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Space Telescopes Observe Unusual Cosmic Blast

Astronomers are puzzling over an extraordinary cosmic blast in a distant galaxy.

The gamma-ray explosion was observed on March 28 by NASA's Swift satellite. Flaring from such an event usually lasts a couple of hours.

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Egyptian Mummy's Big Toe Oldest Known Prosthesis

A superbly preserved artificial big toe found strapped to the mummified remains of an Egyptian woman is the oldest functional prosthesis ever found, experts said Monday.

Discovered in 2000 near Luxor in the necropolis of Thebes, the wood-and-leather device belonged to Tabaketenmut, a high priest's daughter who lived between 950 and 710 BC.

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NASA Spacecraft to Have Valentine Rendezvous with Comet

After a long-distance courtship, a NASA spacecraft is set to meet up with its celestial sweetheart — a comet half the size of Manhattan that had an encounter with another spacecraft not long ago.

The rendezvous between Stardust and comet Tempel 1 occurs on Valentine's Day some 210 million miles from Earth. Hurtling at 24,000 mph, Stardust will fly within 125 miles of the potato-shaped comet, snapping pictures along the way.

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Foot Bone Shows Human Ancestor Lucy Walked Upright

An arched fossilized foot bone found in Ethiopia shows that human ancestors walked upright 3.2 million years ago and were no longer tree dwellers, said a study Thursday in the journal Science.

The bone belongs to a cohort of the famed hominid Lucy, whose species Australopithecus afarensis roamed eastern Africa, and is the first evidence to address the question of how they got around.

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Study Shows Junk food Diet Linked to Lower IQ

Toddlers who have a diet high in processed foods may have a slightly lower IQ in later life, according to a British study described as the biggest research of its kind.

The conclusion, published on Monday, comes from a long-term investigation into 14,000 people born in western England in 1991 and 1992 whose health and well-being were monitored at the ages of three, four, seven and eight and a half.

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Study Finds Link Between Genes and Depression

People who are genetically predisposed to produce lower amounts of a certain brain chemical that regulates appetite and stress may be at higher risk of severe depression, researchers said Monday.

The findings should shed more light on how depression affects certain people more than others, and could help lead the way toward developing more individualized therapies, researchers at the University of Michigan said.

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Study Shows Oysters Disappearing Worldwide

A survey of oyster habitats around the world released Thursday found that the succulent mollusks are disappearing fast and 85 percent of their reefs have been lost due to disease and over-harvesting.

Most of the remaining wild oysters in the world, or about 75 percent, can be found in five locations in North America, said the study published in BioScience, the journal of the American Institute of Biological Sciences.

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Japan Researchers Collect Wild Eel Eggs for First Time

Japanese researchers have collected eel eggs from the wild for the first time ever, shedding light on the mystery surrounding the spawning habits of the fish.

Experts say the new discoveries about how and where eels lay their eggs could help pave the way for new techniques to farm a creature that Greek philosopher Aristotle believed emerged spontaneously from mud.

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