<p>Mini black holes, images of early birds and talking plants topped our favorite stories this week.</p><p> Check these out.</p>
Mars was once habitable
<p> It's official: Primitive life could have lived on ancient Mars, NASA says.</p>
<p> A sample of Mars drilled from a rock by NASA's Curiosity rover and then studied by onboard instruments "shows ancient Mars could have supported living microbes," NASA officials announced today (March 12) in a statement and press conference.</p>
<p>[Full Story: <a href=http://www.livescience.com/27841-ancient-mars-microbes-curiosity-rover.html target="_blank">Wow! Ancient Mars Could Have Supported Primitive Life, NASA Says</a>]</p>
Confirmed! New particle is a Higgs
<p> A newfound particle discovered at the world's largest atom smasher last year is, indeed, a Higgs boson, the particle thought to explain how other particles get their mass, scientists reported today (March 14) at the annual Rencontres de Moriond conference in Italy.</p>
<p> Physicists announced on July 4, 2012, that, with more than 99 percent certainty, they had found a new elementary particle weighing about 126 times the mass of the proton that was likely the long-sought Higgs boson. The Higgs is sometimes referred to as the "God particle," to the chagrin of many scientists, who prefer its official name.
<p>[Full Story: <a href=http://www.livescience.com/27888-newfound-particle-is-higgs.html target="_blank">Confirmed! Newfound Particle Is a Higgs Boson</a>]</p>
Medieval knight's tomb found
<p> A medieval headstone and skeleton have been found underneath a parking lot in Scotland, and researchers believe they might belong to a knight.</p>
<p> Archaeologists who were on hand during the construction of a new building in Edinburgh uncovered a carved sandstone slab, decorated with markers of nobility — a Calvary cross and a sword. Nearby, the team found an adult skeleton, which is thought to have once occupied the grave. Scientists plan to analyze the bones and teeth to learn more about this possible knight or nobleman.
<p>[Full Story: <a href=http://www.livescience.com/27914-medieval-knight-tomb-found-in-parking-lot.html target="_blank">Medieval Knight's Tomb Found Beneath Parking Lot</a>]</p>
Early birds sported 4 wings
<p> More than 100 million years ago, birds living in what is now China sported wings on their legs, a new study of fossils suggests.</p>
<p> Researchers found evidence of large leg feathers in 11 bird specimens from China's Shandong Tianyu Museum of Nature. The feathers suggest that early birds had four wings, which may have played a role in the evolution of flight, scientists report in a study published today (March 14) in the journal Science.
<p>[Full Story: <a href=http://www.livescience.com/27898-early-birds-sported-4-wings.html target="_blank">Early Birds Sported 4 Wings</a>]</p>
Plant sex is weird without gravity
<p> A real-time look at plant sex in an environment simulating microgravity reveals that agriculture in space might face challenges.</p>
<p> The study also illuminates how gravity works on intercellular transport, a crucial process for mating plants and communicating human brain cells alike.
<p>[Full Story: <a href=http://www.livescience.com/27868-plant-sex-zero-gravity.html target="_blank">Sex in Space: Plant Canoodling Is Weird Without Gravity</a>]</p>
Hunting weird antimatter
<p> Scientists have tentatively identified several particles lurking deep inside the Earth's mantle that could reveal how much heat the planet produces and confirm that the Earth formed from materials from the sun.</p>
<p> The wacky particles are called geoneutrinos, or the antimatter partners of neutrinos (exotic fundamental particles that can pass right through Earth), that form deep within the Earth's mantle. Every matter particle has an antimatter partner particle that has an opposite charge, and when the two meet they annihilate each other. The findings were detailed described March 11 in the preprint journal arXiv.org.
<p>[Full Story: <a href=http://www.livescience.com/27835-particles-reveal-earth-thermal-history.html target="_blank">Wow! Ancient Mars Could Have Supported Primitive Life, NASA Says</a>]</p>
<p> A newly deciphered Egyptian text, dating back almost 1,200 years, tells part of the crucifixion story of Jesus with apocryphal plot twists, some of which have never been seen before.</p>
<p> Written in the Coptic language, the ancient text tells of Pontius Pilate, the judge who authorized Jesus' crucifixion, having dinner with Jesus before his crucifixion and offering to sacrifice his own son in the place of Jesus. It also explains why Judas used a kiss, specifically, to betray Jesus — because Jesus had the ability to change shape, according to the text — and it puts the day of the arrest of Jesus on Tuesday evening rather than Thursday evening, something that contravenes the Easter timeline.
<p>[Full Story: <a href=http://www.livescience.com/27840-shape-shifting-jesus-ancient-text.html target="_blank">Shape-Shifting Jesus Described in Ancient Egyptian Text</a>]</p>
Making mini black holes
<p> Creating microscopic black holes using particle accelerators requires less energy than previously thought, researchers say.</p>
<p> If physicists do succeed in creating black holes with such energies on Earth, the achievement could prove the existence of extra dimensions in the universe, physicists noted.
<p>[Full Story: <a href=http://www.livescience.com/27811-creating-mini-black-holes.html target="_blank">Mini Black Holes Easier To Make Than Thought</a>]</p>
Can plants talk?
<p> The forest really does hum with life.</p>
<p> Though often too low or too high for human ears to detect, insects and animals signal each other with vibrations. Even trees and plants fizz with the sound of tiny air bubbles bursting in their plumbing.
<p>[Full Story: <a href=http://www.livescience.com/27802-plants-trees-talk-with-sound.html target="_blank">Sound Garden: Can Plants Actually Talk and Hear?</a>]</p>
Ancient mummies had clogged arteries:
<p> Mummies from thousands of years ago and around the world show evidence of clogged arteries, new research finds.</p>
<p> The findings, published Sunday (Mar. 10) in the journal The Lancet, suggest that atherosclerosis, a form of heart disease wherein calcium deposits narrow the arteries, may have been a universal disease in all human societies, and not wholly a result of the modern diet.
<p>[Full Story: <a href=http://www.livescience.com/27778-mummies-clogged-arteries-universal.html target="_blank">Ancient Mummies Had Clogged Arteries, Too</a>]</p>