Interesting News Headlines of March 2008

It is quite common for people to receive compensation for a great archeological find from a museum, but have you ever heard of someone selling a complete mastodon skeleton (minus he tusks) on eBay? We’ve all heard of the crazy things that appear on the listings, but this one is pretty odd. You will find details on this story and more in this installment of Interesting News Headlines”¦.

How’d You Like to Own a Mastodon Skeleton?

A California woman has put the skeleton online for purchase, starting with a minimum bid of $115,000 (the equivalent of 57,000 pounds). She says that the skeleton has taken up most of her garage space and that it is time to let it go.

In 1997, a ranch hand uncovered a mastodon tooth on the ranch of the Fiddlers, who live in northeastern California. Further excavation showcased the remains of a rare, nearly complete skeleton of a mastodon. For several years, the skeleton was on display at the Oakland Museum of Natural History, where paleontologists were in awe of its appearance. After a replica was made by the museum, the Fiddlers relocated the mastodon to the tasting room of a California wine bar, where it eventually settled into their garage, right next to a hot tub that family members have been dying to take advantage of.

Eyebrows are raised at the Fiddlers’ choice of selling the skeleton on eBay, as Mark Goodwin of the University of California Museum of Paleontology amongst others would like to see the skeleton donated to a museum.

Just in case you didn’t know , the mastodon measured 10 feet into the air and possessed trucks and tusks. They migrated to North America close to 15 million years ago and lived amongst saber tooth tigers, giant sloths and American camels all at one time. Sadly, they all became extinct around 10,000 years ago.

Space Robot on the Move

Houston reports this week that a robot designed to walk in space has flexed its arms for the first time. Other tests given included testing out the brakes and seeing what appendages work. The Canadian-built ‘Dextre’ was able to pass all the tests regarding its brakes with the exception of one located in the wrist joint of its left arm. Although it slipped a bit, officials were not miffed.

Other additions to the robot are planned, which will hopefully prove a great asset for astronauts who are conducting space-walking missions.  The space robot is pretty big with arms that measure 11 feet. Scientists exclaim that it looks like something out of Star Wars.

Sleep Study Reveals Attention-Getting Results

I happened to catch the 60 Minutes special on sleep deprivation and learned that some researchers are surmising that the Golden Years may not be the cause of all the health ailments we fear as one gets older. However, studies show that the elderly receive only 20 minutes of ‘deep sleep,’ which means the body is not able to rejuvenate as quickly and places an individual at a higher risk for diabetes, heart problems, and other medical concerns. An interesting 19-year-old test subject shown in the 60 Minutes clip helped shed valuable light on the detrimental effects having less sleep will cause on a body. For more information, check out http://60minutes.yahoo.com/segment/150/science_of_sleep ”¦interesting stuff!