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Monday, July 22, 2024
Frozen mammoth skin retained its chromosome structure

Frozen mammoth skin retained its chromosome structure

One of the challenges of working with ancient DNA samples is that damage accumulates over time, breaking up the structure of the double helix into ever smaller fragments. In the samples we've worked with, these fragments scatter and mix with contaminants, making reconstructing a genome a large technical challenge. But a dramatic paper released on…
Can’t stop your cat from scratching the furniture? Science has some tips

Can’t stop your cat from scratching the furniture? Science has some...

Enlarge / Ariel and Caliban learned as kittens that scratching posts were fair game for their natural claw-sharpening instincts.Sean Carroll Ah, cats. We love our furry feline overlords despite the occasional hairball and their propensity to scratch the furniture to sharpen their claws. The latter is perfectly natural kitty behavior, but overly aggressive scratching is…
Call the ant doctor: Amputation gives injured ants a leg up on infections

Call the ant doctor: Amputation gives injured ants a leg up...

Enlarge / Scientists have observed wound care and selective amputation in Florida carpenter ants. Florida carpenter ants (Camponotus floridanus) selectively treat the wounded limbs of their fellow ants, according to a new paper published in the journal Current Biology. Depending on the location of the injury, the ants either lick the wounds to clean them…
An ultra-athlete goes head-to-head with the world’s most formidable sharks

An ultra-athlete goes head-to-head with the world’s most formidable sharks

Enlarge / Extreme sportsman Ross Edgley comes face to face with a great hammerhead shark in the waters of Bimini in the Bahamas.National Geographic/Nathalie Miles Ultra-athlete Ross Edgley is no stranger to pushing his body to extremes. He once ran a marathon while pulling a one-ton car; ran a triathlon while carrying a 100-pound tree;…
DNA from mammoth remains reveals the history of the last surviving population

DNA from mammoth remains reveals the history of the last surviving...

Enlarge / An artist's conception of one of the last mammoths of Wrangel Island.Beth Zaiken A small group of woolly mammoths became trapped on Wrangel Island around 10,000 years ago when rising sea levels separated the island from mainland Siberia. Small, isolated populations of animals lead to inbreeding and genetic defects, and it has long…
Last population of mammoths survived a severe population bottleneck

Last population of mammoths survived a severe population bottleneck

Enlarge / An artist's conception of one of the last mammoths of Wrangel Island.Beth Zaiken A small group of woolly mammoths became trapped on Wrangel Island around 10,000 years ago when rising sea levels separated the island from mainland Siberia. Small, isolated populations of animals lead to inbreeding and genetic defects, and it has long…
Scales helped reptiles conquer the land—when did they first evolve?

Scales helped reptiles conquer the land—when did they first evolve?

Enlarge / Upper left: a reconstruction of Diadcetes. Below: false color images of its foot and tail prints. Right: the section of the tail that left the print.Voigt et. al./Urweltmuseum GEOSKOP. Their feet left copious traces in muddy Permian floodplains, leaving tracks scattered across ancient sediments. But in one slab of such trackways, scientists uncovered…
DNA-based bacterial parasite uses completely new DNA-editing method

DNA-based bacterial parasite uses completely new DNA-editing method

Enlarge / Top row: individual steps in the reaction process. Bottom row: cartoon diagram of the top, showing the position of each DNA and RNA strand.Hiraizumi, et. al. While CRISPR is probably the most prominent gene-editing technology, there are others, some developed before and since. And people have been developing CRISPR variants to perform more…
How hagfish burrow into deep-sea sediment

How hagfish burrow into deep-sea sediment

Enlarge / A Sixgill Hagfish (Eptatretus hexatrema) in False Bay, South Africa. The humble hagfish is an ugly, gray, eel-like creature best known for its ability to unleash a cloud of sticky slime onto unsuspecting predators, clogging the gills and suffocating said predators. That's why it's affectionately known as a "snot snake." Hagfish also love…
When did humans start social knowledge accumulation?

When did humans start social knowledge accumulation?

A key aspect of humans' evolutionary success is the fact that we don't have to learn how to do things from scratch. Our societies have developed various ways—from formal education to YouTube videos—to convey what others have learned. This makes learning how to do things far easier than learning by doing, and it gives us…

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