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Gene Analysis Drives Effort to Save Tasmanian Devils

Modern conservationists could use gene analysis to better select endangered Tasmanian devils to capture in order to save the species from extinction, said a study on Monday.

The furry marsupials have been hit hard by a contagious cancer called devil facial tumor disease (DFTD) that has wiped out 70 to 90 percent of the population in some areas of its native Australia since it surfaced 15 years ago.

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Spectacular Discoveries in New Guinea

A frog with fangs, a blind snake and a round-headed dolphin are among more than 1,000 new species recently found on the incredible Melanesian island of New Guinea, environment group WWF said.

Scientists made the astounding discoveries, which also included a river shark and dozens of butterflies, on New Guinea at a rate of two a week from 1998 to 2008, WWF said in a new report on the island's natural habitat.

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Small Asteroid to Zip Harmlessly Past Earth Monday

NASA says a newly discovered asteroid will have a close encounter with Earth on Monday, but there's no need to worry.

The space agency's Near-Earth Object Program Office says the small space rock — dubbed 2011 MD — will pass 7,500 miles (12,000 kilometers) above Earth's surface over the southern Atlantic Ocean at about 6:30 a.m. PDT (1330 GMT).

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Sunflowers to Clean Radioactive Soil in Japan

Campaigners in Japan are asking people to grow sunflowers, said to help decontaminate radioactive soil, in response to the Fukushima nuclear disaster that followed March's massive quake and tsunami.

Volunteers are being asked to grow sunflowers this year, then send the seeds to the stricken area where they will be planted next year to help get rid of radioactive contaminants in the plant's fallout zone.

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Image of Ancient Mammoth Found on Bone

A bone fragment at least 13,000 years old, with the carved image of a mammoth or mastodon, has been discovered in the southern U.S. state of Florida, a new study reports.

While prehistoric art depicting animals with trunks has been found in Europe, this may be the first in the Western Hemisphere, researchers report Wednesday in the Journal of Archaeological Science.

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Saltwater Ocean Lurks Beneath Saturn Moon

A strange moon of Saturn may have a salty ocean lurking beneath its iceball surface, according to a study appearing Wednesday in the British journal Nature.

The discovery comes from data from the U.S.-European orbiter Cassini, which has been touring the giant planet and its ring system since 2004.

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NASA to Embark on Last Leg of Arctic Sea Study

The U.S. space agency said Tuesday it is sending a team of scientists on the second and final mission of a NASA field study of how melting Arctic ice is changing the life cycles of sea creatures.

The five-week mission, which kicks off Saturday, focuses on tiny organisms called phytoplankton, whose population blooms can offer clues about the wider health of the ocean ecosystem and how a warming climate may change the ocean's ability to absorb carbon from the atmosphere.

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Emperor Penguin Makes Rare Appearance in NZealand

Wildlife experts said they were astonished Wednesday at the appearance of an Emperor penguin in New Zealand, some 3,000 kilometers (1,900 miles) from his Antarctic home.

The penguin, a juvenile male, arrived at a beach on the Kapiti Coast, 40 kilometers north of the capital Wellington on Monday afternoon, the Department of Conservation (DOC) said.

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New Large Crab Species Discovered in Costa Rica

A new species of large land crab was discovered on Cocos Island in Costa Rica, a local newspaper reported on Monday.

University researchers from Costa Rica and the United States discovered the new species, named "Johngarthia cocoensis," on the Pacific Ocean Island. The distinguishing characteristic of J. cocoensis, according to the researchers, is its large size--a male can measure 40 cm (15.7 inches) with their front legs extended (females measure smaller).

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Japan Develops 'Swimming' Capsule Endoscope

Japanese researchers said Tuesday they had developed a self-propelled remote controlled capsule endoscope that can "swim" through the digestive tract.

They have succeeded in capturing images inside a person's stomach and colon using the tadpole-shaped capsule as a first step toward its clinical application, the scientists said.

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