But for years, this was dubbed junk DNA with no real use, and was considered to be a side-effect of evolution – until now.
New research suggests that, over the course of evolution, the viruses took an ‘increasingly firm hold’ on how cells work, and they may have made brain cells in particular more active and dynamic, ultimately making us smarter.
A rare ‘ice halo’ was seen above New Mexico has as the arctic blast continued to make its way across the country, causing temperatures to plummet below freezing in dozens of cities.
The optical phenomenon was captured by Texan photographer Joshua Thomas above the town of Red River – which has experienced sub-zero temperatures throughout the last few days.
The variety of rings and arcs in the sky are formed by light interacting with ice crystals suspended in the atmosphere during the cold weather.
It comes as weather forecasters predict the cold snap will continue into next week and could even reach parts of southern Texas.
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A new record has been set for the deepest fish ever seen in the world, at an incredible depth of 26,722 feet (8,145 meters).
The snailfish was found at the bottom of the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean, and breaks the previous record by almost 1,640 feet (500 metres).
The finding was part of an international expedition that also found many other new species at the extreme depths.
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Amazing images have been emerged of the moment a mammoth saltwater crocodile shattered a dead sea turtle’s shell out on a remote beach in the Northern Territory.
Ranger Dani Best first discovered the Olive Ridley Sea Turtle washed up on shore two weeks ago, killed by a ghost net.
She cut the endangered species out of the net and placed a wildlife monitoring camera, which captured a number of animals coming in for a free feed.
But the footage also showed the powerful pressure of a crocodile’s bite as it crushed the outer layer of the turtle in order to gain access to the meaty goods.
This is the shocking moment a family’s Washington beachfront house toppled into the ocean during a violent storm that has caused many more homeowners to fear for their properties.
The white-and-red vacation home was captured on video sitting precariously on the edge of a grassy embankment after high winds, rain and rough seas eroded the coastline at North Cove.
Seconds later, it started to topple forward, before plummeting over the edge and into the ocean with a loud crash. As it fell, its chimney snapped, landing in the stormy water several meters away.
Before: A beachfront house rests on the edge of an embankment in North Cave, Washington, during a storm
Simon Pierce grew up besotted with wildlife and not even a terrifying one-on-one encounter with a great white shark on his first solo dive could deter him from his passion of underwater photography.
The 35-year-old ‘scientist with a camera’ is leading a global whale shark research project, showcasing nature’s beauty in his spectacular underwater photography and documenting his mission to save some of the most beautiful creatures on the planet.
Pierce learned to scuba dive at university and instantly fell in love with what lies beneath the ocean, travelling the world to encounter remarkable species and highlighting their plight in his series of impressive snapshots.
What could possibly go wrong?
Woolly mammoths could be brought back from extinction after a preserved body of one of the ancient animals was found frozen in the snowy wastes of Siberia, scientists hope.
The mammoth, which took its last steps around 40,000 years ago, is in such good condition that biologists believe they may be able to clone the creature.
An autopsy of the Ice Age beast, which has been nicknamed Buttercup by scientists, will be shown in a documentary later this month.
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by: the Common Constitutionalist
How’s the weather in your neck of the woods? Here in New England we’re freezing our tushies off. It could be worse. We could be living in the Lakes region or Buffalo New York buried under several feet of snow, with more on the way. And winter is still over a month away.
I was speaking with a buddy of mine from Houston Texas a day or so ago. He told me was in the 30s. The 30s – in Houston – where they fry bacon on the sidewalks in May.
In fact the whole country is frozen over, save for maybe the southern tip of Florida.
However, none of this seems to have any affect on the liberal wackos in Berkeley California.
Kristin Bender of the AP writes: “Some of the country’s first gas pump warning labels about climate change are coming to Berkeley, a city with a long history of green and clean policies. The Berkeley City Council voted late Tuesday to draft a proposal by next spring that will put stickers on gas pumps citywide to warn customers that burning fuel contributes to global warming.”
This is the frightening moment a three-meter Great White started trailing a surfer back to shore, just two weeks before another man lost his arm and hand in a nearby shark attack.
Andy Johnston was out with a small group of surfers at West Beach near Esperance, south-east of Perth, on September 21 when people ashore spotted the dark shadow looming.
Other surfers managed to clear the water onto a reef after people started to honk their car horns to warn of the approaching shark, but Mr Johnston opted to stay put.