By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - A Space Exploration Technologies Dragon cargo capsule made a parachute splashdown into the Pacific Ocean on Thursday, wrapping up a five-week stay at the International Space Station. The capsule blasted off on April 14 aboard a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and arrived at the orbiting outpost three days later with more than 4,300 pounds (1,950 kg) of food, supplies and science experiments for the live-aboard crew. It was repacked with 3,100 pounds of science samples and other equipment and released back into orbit at 7:04 a.m. EDT (1104 GMT) on Thursday for a return trip to Earth, a NASA TV broadcast showed.
By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Genetic information from a 35,000-year-old wolf bone found below a frozen cliff in Siberia is shedding new light on humankind's long relationship with dogs, showing canine domestication may have occurred earlier than previously thought. Scientists said on Thursday they pieced together the genome of the wolf that lived on Russia's Taimyr Peninsula and found that it belonged to a population that likely represented the most recent common ancestor between dogs and wolves. Using this genetic information, they estimated that dog domestication occurred between 27,000 and 40,000 years ago.
By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Scientists on Thursday unveiled the most comprehensive analysis ever undertaken of the world's ocean plankton, the tiny organisms that serve as food for marine creatures such as the blue whale, but also provide half the oxygen we breathe. Plankton include microscopic plants and animals, fish larvae, bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms that drift in the oceans. "Plankton are much more than just food for the whales," said Chris Bowler, a research director at France's National Center for Scientific Research, and one of the scientists involved in the study published in the journal Science.
By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - More than a decade after becoming paralyzed from the neck down, Erik Sorto has been unable to perform even the simplest of daily tasks. "That was the ultimate goal: to drink a beer by myself," said Sorto, a 34-year-old from Los Angeles who became a quadriplegic after a 2002 gunshot wound. Things may be looking up for Sorto and others with similar disabilities.
Talk of a "chickenosaurus" lit up the science world last week when researchers announced they had modified the beak of a chicken embryo to resemble the snout of its dinosaur ancestors. "From a quantitative point of view, we're 50 percent there," said Jack Horner, a professor of paleontology at Montana State University and a curator of paleontology at the Museum of the Rockies. By understanding how and when to modify certain molecular mechanisms, countless changes could be within reach.