How long ago were Denisovans on the Tibetan Plateau? | Rarely-seen ram's horn squid caught on video | Potential exoplanet spotted by ground-based telescope
October 30, 2020
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Denisovans were present on the Tibetan Plateau as far back as 100,000 years ago, according to mitochondrial DNA found in layers of cave sediment and documented in findings published in Science. Other sediment samples dating back approximately 60,000 to possibly 30,000 years ago could suggest the Denisovans were in the region when humans arrived there about 40,000 years ago.
Full Story: Science News (10/29) 
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Science in the News
A ram's horn squid, a deep-sea creature never before recorded in the wild, has been filmed in its natural habitat near Australia by Schmidt Ocean Institute researchers. The squid remains buoyant due to an internal chambered shell, a characteristic it shares only with cuttlefish.
Full Story: ScienceAlert (Australia) (10/29) 
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An exoplanet candidate that may be smaller than Earth but larger than Mars has been detected by Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment scientists using data gathered by the Las Campanas Observatory based in Chile. The candidate is classified as a rogue planet, meaning it isn't tethered to stars, and is described in Astrophysical Journal Letters.
Full Story: Space (10/29) 
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Ogre-faced spiders can hear both high- and low-frequency sounds even though they don't have ears, according to findings published in Current Biology. These arachnids, known for their powerful eyesight, sense sounds through receptors in their legs and use those cues to snatch prey out of the air.
Full Story: CNN (10/29) 
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Mechanical engineering teamed with food colloid science, soft matter physics, dentistry and computer science to produce the first soft synthetic surfaces that accurately mimic the surface of the human tongue. The surfaces, described in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, are 3D printed from optical models of 15 human tongues for the purpose of advancing research in fields such as food processing, nutritional technologies and pharmaceuticals.
Full Story: Leeds Live (England)/University of Leeds (10/27) 
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Study: Marathon running doesn't damage pelvis, hips
Jacob Kiplimo of Uganda (Adam Nurkiewicz/Getty Images)
Although the pelvis and hip joints experience high-impact forces during a marathon, presented results from a recent MRI study on 44 long-distance runners showed no overall negative effects on the pelvis or hip joints and muscles. "In summary, there were a number of hip joint abnormalities before the marathon and no major morphological damage after the marathon," said Laura-Maria Horga, BSc, at the Virtual EFORT Congress, adding that this was the biggest-ever MRI study of distance runners.
Full Story: Healio (free registration) (10/29) 
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Researchers studied 815 mother-infant pairs and found a link between duration of any breastfeeding and lower infection risk for infants up to 11 months, but no connection was seen at ages 12 months to 36 months. The findings in Pediatrics also showed that the duration of exclusive breastfeeding was linked to lower hospitalization rates for infection over the first 24 months to 36 months of life.
Full Story: Medscape (free registration)/Reuters (10/26) 
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Funding Watch
The NIH has awarded a $3.5 million grant to Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine immunobiologist Utpal Pal, who is exploring the use of the rabies vaccine to stimulate protection against the bacterium that causes Lyme disease. Pal is working with Matthias Schnell, director of Thomas Jefferson University's Jefferson Vaccine Center, who has studied the concept with other viral vaccines.
Full Story: JAVMA News (10/28) 
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