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$100K Project Uses 3-Foot Rats to Sniff Out Crime

It's not the first time their noses have been put to use

(Newser) - Giant African pouched rats that grow to three feet long can't see well, but their keen sense of smell has already made them indispensable in the hunt for anything from tuberculosis in humans to buried TNT in former war zones (they've already found 1,500 land mines in... More »

Meet the World's Oldest Known Righty

Telltale scratches on teeth go back nearly 2M years

(Newser) - A lot has changed over 1.8 million years, but perhaps not the tendency of hominids to favor their right hand. An upper jawbone belonging to a human relative who lived in what is now Tanzania almost 2 million years ago has been discovered with scratches on its still-intact teeth,... More »

Trophy Hunting Could Actually Help Lions

Only under the right conditions

(Newser) - It may be a tough one for animal lovers to swallow, but a study out of the University of Kent suggests trophy hunting of lions might actually be good for the species. Specifically, researchers say trophy hunting facilitates the maintenance of large areas of lion habitat—but only under certain... More »

Earthquake Kills at Least 11, Injures 192 in Tanzania

Officials fear the actual death toll is much higher

(Newser) - Eleven people have been confirmed killed in a 5.7-magnitude earthquake that struck Tanzania Saturday afternoon, but the actual death toll is feared to be much higher, the BBC reports. According to UPI , the earthquake—which the US Geological Survey says was "unusually strong" for the area—struck shortly... More »

'Game Changer': Giant Helium Field Found

A 'globally significant' find that could boost world supply of precious gas

(Newser) - What scientists are calling a "game changer" for society has been discovered deep in Tanzania's Rift Valley: a massive helium gas field with enough of the precious commodity to fill more than 1.2 million MRI scanners, Phys.org reports. Besides the sheer amount of gas, the discovery... More »

Giant Rats Trained to Screen for TB in Prisons

And they're super good at it

(Newser) - Which are you more afraid of: giant rats or dying of tuberculosis? Hopefully you chose dying of tuberculosis, because Reuters reports a Belgian organization called APOPO is training dozens of African giant pouched rats to sniff out TB, starting with at-risk populations in the crowded prisons of Tanzania and Mozambique.... More »

Rare White Giraffe 'Alive and Well' in Tanzania Park

But the unique animal could be at risk from poachers

(Newser) - A rare 15-month-old white giraffe has made another appearance in Tanzania, leaving conservationists to hope poachers don't decide to go all Ahab on it, the Telegraph reports. According to USA Today , the unique giraffe was spotted as a calf last year in Tarangire National Park. It was seen again... More »

Inside the Awful Effort to Bomb Fish Out of the Water

The practice is on an upswing

(Newser) - Researchers on a mission to gather information about whales and dolphins in the waters off Tanzania inadvertently discovered that the eco-devastating practice of using explosives to catch fish is alive and well in the African country, National Geographic reports. So-called blast fishing kills large numbers of fish—many of which... More »

This Tiny Bone Reveals a Big Find in Human Evolution

Oldest humanlike hand bone dates back 2M years: study

(Newser) - Scientists have stumbled upon the oldest known fossil of a hand bone that looks a lot like one found in your own hand, though this one is at least 1.84 million years old. Found in Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania, the hominin bone—likely from the pinky of a left... More »

The Grisly 'Charms' That Spurred a Witch Doctor Ban

Tanzania's albinos are attacked for their body parts for black-magic potions

(Newser) - Being kidnapped and killed for body parts sounds like something out of a horror movie, but for Tanzania's albino population, it's a horror that's all too real. The country has issued a ban on witch doctors to try to stem such murders, which officials say are carried... More »

7 Accused Witches Killed in Tanzania

Police arrest 23 in brutal village slayings

(Newser) - Authorities in a remote village in Tanzania have made 23 arrests after seven people were hacked to death or burned alive because they were believed to be witches, reports the Telegraph . The victims were both men and women in the western village of Murufiti, with five of them older than... More »

To Detect TB, Researchers Turn to Rats

Creatures sniff out the disease in Mozambique

(Newser) - The system used to detect tuberculosis in Mozambique is more than a century old—so researchers are asking some furry friends for help. Scientists have been teaching African giant pouched rats to alert them to infected mucus samples, National Geographic reports. The researchers slide the samples into the rats' cage,... More »

Cops: 3 Rescued Women in London Lived in 'Collective'

They were apparently brainwashed and beaten by captor couple, say police

(Newser) - This much is clear about the case of three women alleged to have been kept against their will in a London home for more than 30 years: It's going to take a while to fully unwind what happened. But the picture emerging suggests that the women were controlled by... More »

Lake Turns Animals Into 'Statues'

Tanzania's Lake Natron, probably not a great swimming hole

(Newser) - We would strongly advise you not to go swimming in Tanzania's Lake Natron. Animals who are immersed in the water not only die, they're calcified and turned into creepy-looking "statues," New Scientist reports. Why is it so inhospitable? Alkalinity is extremely high (between pH 9 and... More »

US Doctor Trampled to Death by Elephant

UCSD dean was on Tanzania safari

(Newser) - A dean at the University of California San Diego was found dead in Tanzania after he was trampled by a charging elephant. Dr. Thomas McAfee, 58, was on a luxury safari at Tarangire National Park with two unidentified companions when they encountered a herd of about 50 elephants. Newsy reports: More »

2 British Teens Hurt in Acid Attack in Zanzibar

They were volunteering at local school

(Newser) - Two British teenagers were splashed with acid by attackers on a motorcycle as they walked along a street in the African island of Zanzibar, reports Reuters . Katie Gee and Kirstie Trup, both 18, suffered injuries to their face, chest, and hands in the attack last night, but both are out... More »

Obama, Bush Meet in Tanzania

Pair attend memorial on final leg of Obama's African tour

(Newser) - President Obama spotted a familiar face from the US on the final day of his three-nation African tour—George W. Bush. In a rare joint appearance, the president and his Republican predecessor laid a wreath at a memorial for the Americans killed in the 1998 embassy bombing in Tanzania, the... More »

What to Look for as Obama Tours Africa

Nelson Mandela reportedly on life support

(Newser) - President Obama has arrived in Senegal, the first of three countries he'll visit during his African tour—the other two being Tanzania and South Africa, the Wall Street Journal reports. His trip comes at a heavy moment for South Africa, the New York Times notes, with Nelson Mandela said... More »

Dozens Trapped in Tanzania Building Collapse

'Huge pile of chaos' in Dar es Salaam

(Newser) - Dozens of people have been trapped by the collapse of a 12-story Tanzania building; at least three are reported dead. Some 45 people, including schoolchildren, are missing, while 13 have been rescued, the BBC reports. The collapse, in Dar es Salaam, is a "huge pile of chaos," says... More »

Flier Forced to Sit Next to Corpse for 10 Hours

Kenya Airways reimburses half her ticket cost

(Newser) - Partial reimbursement for a flight was apparently enough to placate a Swedish passenger forced to sit across the aisle from a corpse for most of her 10-hour flight to Tanzania. The extremely ill passenger was sweating and suffering from convulsions when Swedish radio reporter Lena Pettersson boarded the Kenya Airways... More »

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