Thursday, October 29

Science

Science

How dogs tracked their humans across the ancient world
Science

How dogs tracked their humans across the ancient world

<!----> Libyan rock art that may date back 7000 years depicts a hunter and his dog. Joe and Clair Carnegie/Libyan Soup/Getty Images By David GrimmOct. 29, 2020 , 2:00 PM Sometime toward the end of the last ice age, a gray wolf gingerly approached a human encampment. Those first tentative steps set his species on the path to a dramatic transformation: By at least 15,000 years ago, those wolves had become dogs, and neither they nor their human companions would ever be the same. But just how this relationship evolved over the ensuing millenn...
DNA tracks mysterious Denisovans to Chinese cave, just before modern humans arrived nearby
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DNA tracks mysterious Denisovans to Chinese cave, just before modern humans arrived nearby

<!----> By Ann GibbonsOct. 29, 2020 , 2:00 PM For today’s Buddhist monks, Baishiya Karst Cave, 3200 meters high on the Tibetan Plateau, is holy. For ancient Denisovans, extinct hominins known only from DNA, teeth, and bits of bone found in another cave 2800 kilometers away in Siberia, it was a home. Last year, researchers proposed that a jawbone found long ago in the Tibetan cave was Denisovan, based on its ancient proteins. But archaeologist Dongju Zhang of Lanzhou University and her team wanted more definitive evidence, including DNA, the molecular gold standard. So in December 2018, they began to dig, after promising the monks they would excavate only at night and in winter to avoid disturbing worshi...
Huge toothy birds once soared over penguins
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Huge toothy birds once soared over penguins

Share this Article You are free to share this article under the Attribution 4.0 International license. <!-- Topic <!-- --> Ancient birds with wingspans up to 21 feet once patrolled the southern oceans, according to fossils recovered from Antarctica in the 1980s. The birds represent the oldest giant members of an extinct group of birds that would dwarf the 11.5-foot wingspan of today’s largest bird, the wandering albatross. “The big ones are nearly twice the size of albatrosses, and these bony-toothed birds would have been formidable predators…” Called pe...
Jury duty for global warming: citizen groups help solve the puzzle of climate action
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Jury duty for global warming: citizen groups help solve the puzzle of climate action

<!----> The 110 members of the U.K. Climate Assembly were randomly selected. FABIO DE PAOLA/PA WIRE By Cathleen O’GradyOct. 29, 2020 , 1:45 PM Until recently, Sue Peachey, an apartment building manager in Bath, U.K., didn’t think much about climate change. “I did my recycling,” she says. “I just wasn’t aware of how serious it was.” She never imagined the U.K. Parliament asking for her advice on climate policy. But last year, a letter arrived in her mailbox inviting her to do just that, by joining the United Kingdom’s first ever climate as...
The Youngest Stellar Disk Ever Seen, Just 500,000 Years Old
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The Youngest Stellar Disk Ever Seen, Just 500,000 Years Old

Unless you’re reading this in an aircraft or the International Space Station, then you’re currently residing on the surface of a planet. You’re here because the planet is here. But how did the planet get here? Like a rolling snowball picking up more snow, planets form from lose dust and gas surrounding young stars. As the planets orbit, their gravity draws in more of the lose material and they grow in mass. We’re not certain when the process of planet formation begins in orbit of new stars, but we have incredible new insights from one of the youngest solar systems ever observed called IRS 63. The Rho Ophiuchi cloud complex is a nebula of gas and dust that is located in the constellation Ophiuchus. It is one of the closest star-forming regions to the Solar System and where the young star s...
Room-temperature Superconductivity Achieved for the First Time, but There’s a Catch
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Room-temperature Superconductivity Achieved for the First Time, but There’s a Catch

One of the most interesting things about space exploration is how many technologies have an impact on our ability to reach farther.  New technologies that might not immediately be used in space can still eventually have a profound long-term impact.  On the other hand, everyone knows some technologies will be immediately game changing.  Superconductors, or materials that do not have any electrical resistance, are one of the technologies that have the potential to be game changing.  However, hurdles to their practical use have limited their applicability to a relatively small sub-set of applications, like magnetic resonance imaging devices and particle accelerators.  But another major hurdle to the broad use of superconductors has now been cleared – a lab at the University of Rochester (UR)...
New Simulation Shows Exactly What’s Happening as Neutron Stars Merge
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New Simulation Shows Exactly What’s Happening as Neutron Stars Merge

Neutron stars are the remnants of massive stars that explode as supernovae at the end of their fusion lives. They’re super-dense cores where all of the protons and electrons are crushed into neutrons by the overpowering gravity of the dead star. They’re the smallest and densest stellar objects, except for black holes, and possibly other arcane, hypothetical objects like quark stars. When two neutron stars merge, we can detect the resulting gravitational waves. But some aspects of these mergers are poorly-understood. One question surrounds short-lived gamma-ray bursts from these mergers. Previous studies have shown that these bursts may come from the decay of heavy elements produced in a neutron star merger. A new study strengthens our understanding of these complex mergers and introduces ...
First Responders: SARS-CoV-2 and the Immune System
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First Responders: SARS-CoV-2 and the Immune System

FREE WebinarFriday, November 20, 20202:30 - 4:00 PM, Eastern Standard TimeRegister NowThe immune system fights SARS-CoV-2 infection, but it also causes serious clinical symptoms when it rages out of control. In this webinar from The Scientist, Angela Rasmussen and Ya-Chi Ho will discuss how the immune system reacts to SARS-CoV-2, whether these responses are beneficial or deleterious, and the mechanisms by which immune responses determine COVID-19 severity and patient outcomes.Topics to be coveredThe nature of the host response to SARS-CoV-2Understanding adaptive immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 using high-dimensional single-cell profilingRegister NowMeet the Speakers:Angela Rasmussen, PhDAssociate Research ScientistCenter of Infection and ImmunityColumbia University School of Public HealthY...
New Genome Sequences Reveal Undescribed African Migration
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New Genome Sequences Reveal Undescribed African Migration

A lack of ethnic diversity in global genome databases has long been a source of discussion in the scientific community. Africans in particular are underrepresented in these datasets, limiting the conclusions that can be drawn about human health and disease on the continent. Now, groups are looking to buck the trend by diversifying genomics research.The Bantu migration is this major migration of languages across the continent, and so being able to fill in that part of human history and migration is also a big step forward.—Neil Hanchard, Baylor College of MedicineA new study published in Nature yesterday (October 28) and conducted through Human Heredity and Health in Africa (H3Africa), a consortium devoted to increasing African representation in genetics research, uncovered 3 million new ge...
This Ogre-Faced Spider Can Hear Prey Through Its Legs
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This Ogre-Faced Spider Can Hear Prey Through Its Legs

If you were able to find the ogre-faced spider Deinopis spinosa during the daytime, you wouldn’t see much movement. Looking like a dead leaf on a branch, it doesn’t move at all, hiding from predators and silently waiting out the day. But during the night, it transforms into one of the most agile of arachnid hunters.Holding a net stretched between its four front legs, it springs down onto the ground to ensnare insect prey, making use of its hypersensitive, night-vision eyes—the largest of any spider, at nearly 5 mm across together. Using a different maneuver, it strikes out with its web grasped between its front legs to snatch mosquitoes, moths, and flies passing above it in a rapid, athletic, backbend. Yet how it detects these prey overhead has long been a mystery.A new study published tod...