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Monday, February 26, 2024
Our oldest microbial ancestors were way ahead of their time

Our oldest microbial ancestors were way ahead of their time

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Enlarge / The Golgi apparatus, shown here in light green, may have been involved in building internal structures in cells.ARTUR PLAWGO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY Before Neanderthals and Denisovans, before vaguely humanoid primates, proto-mammals, or fish that crawled out of the ocean to become the first terrestrial animals, our earliest ancestors were microbes. More complex…
Clownfish “count” white stripes to determine if an invader is friend or foe

Clownfish “count” white stripes to determine if an invader is friend...

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Enlarge / Clown anemonefish (Amphiprion ocellaris) seem to recognize different species of clownfish by counting white stripes.Kina Hayashi Many people tend to think of clownfish, with their distinctive white bars against an orange, red, or black background, as a friendly sort of fish, perhaps influenced to some extent by the popular Pixar film Finding Nemo.…
The right bacteria turn farms into carbon sinks

The right bacteria turn farms into carbon sinks

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Some of the microbes that make carbon sequestration work.Andes Ag, Inc In 2022, humans emitted a staggering 36 gigatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Along with reducing emissions, removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is a key climate mitigation strategy. But Gonzalo Fuenzalida wasn’t looking to help solve climate change when he co-founded the…
Should you flush with toilet lid up or down? Study says it doesn’t matter

Should you flush with toilet lid up or down? Study says...

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Enlarge / Whether the toilet lid is up or down doesn't make much difference in the spread of airborne bacterial and viral particles. File this one under "Studies We Wish Had Let Us Remain Ignorant." Scientists at the University of Arizona decided to investigate whether closing the toilet lid before flushing reduces cross-contamination of bathroom…
Gotta go? We’ve finally found out what makes urine yellow

Gotta go? We’ve finally found out what makes urine yellow

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There are many mysteries in life that we end up shrugging off. Why is urine yellow? It just is, right? Rather than flush that 125-year-old question down the toilet, scientists sought out the answer, discovering a previously unknown microbial enzyme was to blame. The enzyme that has eluded us for so long is now known…
Ancient human DNA suggests Columbus may not have brought syphilis to Europe after all

Ancient human DNA suggests Columbus may not have brought syphilis to...

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2,000-year-old bones add evidence against the idea Columbus brought syphilis to Europe. A European outbreak of the STI in the late 1400s was long blamed on the conquistadors. But DNA analysis doesn't stack up with that story, a new study found. Thanks for signing up! Access your favorite topics in a personalized feed while you're on the…
Novel camera system lets us see the world through eyes of birds and bees

Novel camera system lets us see the world through eyes of...

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A new camera system and software package allows researchers and filmmakers to capture animal-view videos. Credit: Vasas et al., 2024. A new camera system and software package allows researchers and filmmakers to capture animal-view videos. Credit: Vasas et al., 2024. Who among us hasn't wondered about how animals perceive the world, which is often different…
Megalodon wasn’t as chonky as a great white shark, experts say

Megalodon wasn’t as chonky as a great white shark, experts say

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Enlarge / These are the kinds of shark teeth discovered in burial sites and other ceremonial remains of the inland Maya communities. From left to right, there's a fossilized megalodon tooth, great white shark tooth, and bull shark tooth. Antiquity The megalodon, a giant shark that went extinct some 3.6 million years ago, is famous…
New study tracks a mammoth’s travels across Alaska

New study tracks a mammoth’s travels across Alaska

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A single tusk is all that remains of a mammoth that lived approximately 14,000 years ago. Yet that one tusk has enabled scientists to uncover remarkable details about her life. Using ancient DNA, researchers determined her sex and how she was related to mammoths that left fossils nearby. Using analysis of isotopes found in the…
With fewer pollinators, plants are cutting back on nectar production

With fewer pollinators, plants are cutting back on nectar production

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In a striking experiment, scientists from the French Centre Nationale de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and the University of Montpellier have observed the impact of selective pressure on a flowering plant. By comparing the pansy flower variety of today that grows in the Paris region to those regrown from the seeds of the same variety…

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