Current Cave News and Events

Current Cave News and Events, Cave News Articles.
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Megadroughts in arid central Asia delayed the cultural exchange along the proto-Silk Road
Over the past four millennia the main corridor of ancient cultural dispersal passed through Arid Central Asia; historically, this marked the central artery of the Silk Road. However, little is known about the effects of hydroclimatic changes in this region on ancient human populations. An international team of researchers have identified a 640-year megadrought (5820-5180 a BP) impacting the desert oases of this region and hindering earlier cultural diffusion between East and West Asia. (2021-02-17)

Neanderthals and Homo sapiens used identical Nubian technology
New analysis of a fossil tooth and stone tools from Shukbah Cave reveals Neanderthals used stone tool technologies thought to have been unique to modern humans (2021-02-15)

Researchers demonstrate self-sterilizing polymers work against SARS-CoV-2
Researchers have demonstrated a family of self-sterilizing polymers that are effective at inactivating coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2 - the virus that causes COVID-19. The work opens the door to a suite of applications that could help to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 and other diseases. (2021-02-15)

Ancient DNA sheds light on the peopling of the Mariana Islands
Compared to the first peopling of Polynesia, the settlement of the Mariana Islands in the Western Pacific, which happened around 3,500 years ago, has received little attention. Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, the Australian National University and the University of Guam have now obtained answers to long debated questions regarding the origin of the first colonizers of the Marianas and their relationship to the people who initially settled in Polynesia. (2020-12-22)

King of the Cave: New centipede on top of the food chain in the sulphurous-soaked Movile
A new species of endemic, troglobiont centipede was discovered by an international team of scientists in the Romanian cave Movile: a unique underground ecosystem, isolated several millions years ago during the Neogene, whose animal life only exists because of the chemosynthetic bacteria. As the largest Movile's inhabitant, the new species can easily be crowned as the 'king' of this 'hellish' ecosystem. Aptly named Cryptops speleorex, the cave-dweller is described in the open-access, peer-reviewed journal ZooKeys. (2020-12-16)

'Spooky Interactions', shocking adaptations discovered in electric fish of Brazil's Amazon
In findings published in the journal Frontiers, researchers have shown how a cave-adapted glass knifefish species of roughly 300 living members (Eigenmannia vicentespelea) has evolved from surface-dwelling relatives (Eigenmannia trilineata) that still live just outside their cave door -- by sacrificing their eyes and pigmentation, but gaining slightly more powerful electric organs that enhance the way they sense prey and communicate in absolute darkness. (2020-12-09)

New light on polar explorer's last hours
Chemical analyzes of a black spot in a diary shed new light on the destiny and tragic death of legendary Inuit polar expedition member Jørgen Brønlund in Northeast Greenland in 1907. (2020-11-24)

Geoscientists discover Ancestral Puebloans survived from ice melt in New Mexico lava tubes
New study explains how Ancestral Puebloans survived devastating droughts by traveling deep into the caves of New Mexico to melt ancient ice as a water resource. (2020-11-18)

Holes in Greenland ice sheet are larger than previously thought, study finds
Expedition finds that holes in the Greenland ice sheet, called moulins, are much larger than previously thought. (2020-11-17)

Tiny cave snail with muffin-top waistline rolls out of the dark in Laos
Recent cave exploration has turned up a tiny, top-heavy snail that glistens under the light of the microscope lens. Only 1.80 mm tall, this transparent snail bulges at the middle, giving a natural appearance to the ''muffin-top'' waistline. The paper, authored by Adrienne Jochum and co-authors from France and Switzerland, and published in the open-access journal Subterranean Biology, reveals new biodiversity from the seldom explored caves of central Laos. (2020-11-16)

Cockroach mating habits and developmental features help uncover insect evolution
A research team led by the University of Tsukuba examined the mating habits of an often-overlooked cockroach family, Nocticolidae, to provide clues about insect evolution. Although the studied cockroaches displayed novel wing-flapping behavior prior to copulation, similarities in other mating habits, egg sac handling, and embryonic development between Nocticolidae and sister family Corydiidae suggested that the two groups share a common ancestor. Elucidating these relationships will help infer the evolutionary history of modern-day insects. (2020-11-05)

Neanderthal children grew and were weaned similar to us
From the analysis of three milk teeth belonging to Neanderthal children who lived between 70,000 and 45,000 years ago in Northeastern Italy, it emerges that their growth rate was very similar to ours: the discovery leads to exclude that late weaning could be among the causes that led to the disappearance of this human species (2020-11-02)

Denisovan DNA found in sediments of Baishiya Karst Cave on Tibetan Plateau
A joint research team from China, Germany and Australia has now reported their findings of Denisovan DNA from sediments of the Baishiya Karst Cave (BKC) on the Tibetan Plateau where the Xiahe mandible was found. (2020-10-30)

Boo! How do mexican cavefish escape predators?
When startled, do all fish respond the same way? A few fish, like Mexican cavefish, have evolved in unique environments without any predators. To see how this lack of predation impacts escape responses that are highly stereotyped across fish species, scientists explored this tiny fish to determine if there are evolved differences in them. Findings reveal that the dramatic ecological differences between cave and river environments contribute to differences in escape behavior in blind cavefish and river-dwelling surface cavefish. (2020-10-29)

Denisovan DNA in the genome of early East Asians
Researchers analyzed the genome of the oldest human fossil found in Mongolia to date and show that the 34,000-year-old woman inherited around 25 percent of her DNA from western Eurasians, demonstrating that people moved across the Eurasian continent shortly after it had first been settled by the ancestors of present-day populations. This individual and a 40,000-year-old individual from China also carried DNA from Denisovans, an extinct form of hominins that inhabited Asia before modern humans arrived. (2020-10-29)

Two studies expand insights into Denisovan ancestry and population history in East Asia
In a pair of studies, researchers provide evidence that expands our understanding of modern humans in eastern Asia and their interactions with their most elusive cousins, the Denisovans. (2020-10-29)

New Denisovan DNA expands diversity, history of species
Ancient Denisovan mitochondrial DNA has been recovered in sediments from Baishiya Karst Cave, a limestone cave at the northeast margin of the Tibetan Plateau, 3280 meters above sea level and adds more evidence to the record that Denisovans, a group of extinct hominins that diverged from Neanderthals about 400,000 years ago, may have more widely inhabited northeast central Asia. (2020-10-29)

Expect more mega-droughts
Mega-droughts - droughts that last two decades or longer - are tipped to increase thanks to climate change, according to University of Queensland-led research. (2020-10-29)

Duke-NUS study uncovers why bats excel as viral reservoirs without getting sick
Study confirms bats adopt multiple strategies to reduce pro-inflammatory responses, thus mitigating potential immune-mediated tissue damage and disease. Findings provide important insights for medical research on human diseases. (2020-10-26)

Microplastics in groundwater (and our drinking water) present unknown risk
Microplastics (plastics <5mm) and their negative health impacts have been studied in oceans, rivers, and even soils, and scientists are beginning to grapple with the myriad human health impacts their presence might have. One understudied, but critical, link in the cycle is groundwater, which is often a source of drinking water. (2020-10-26)

Humans and climate drove giants of Madagascar to extinction
The entire endemic megafauna of Madagascar and the Mascarene islands Mauritius and Rodrigues was eliminated during the past millennium. To investigate possible drivers of this extinction, an international team of scientists constructed an 8000-year record of the islands' past climate. Their findings imply that the ecosystem was resilient to prior climate stress but ultimately collapsed with an increase in human activities. The results have now been published in Science Advances. (2020-10-16)

How a giant short-faced bear reached the California Channel Islands
Researchers at the University of Oklahoma, the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, University of Oregon, and others report the unexpected discovery of an isolated short-faced bear toe bone from California's Channel Islands, presenting a puzzling scenario for how the largest mammalian carnivore to ever walk North America ended up in an island cave. (2020-09-16)

The oldest Neanderthal DNA of Central-Eastern Europe
A new study reports the oldest mitochondrial genome of a Neanderthal from Central-Eastern Europe. The mitochondrial genome of the tooth, discovered at the site of Stajnia Cave in Poland, is closer to a Neanderthal specimen from the Caucasus than to the contemporaneous Neanderthals of Western Europe. Stone tools found at the site are also analogous to the southern regions suggesting that Neanderthals living in the steppe/taiga environment had a broader foraging radius than previously envisaged. (2020-09-08)

Skeletal study suggests at least 11 fish species are capable of walking
An international team of scientists has identified at least 11 species of fish suspected to have land-walking abilities. (2020-09-08)

New mathematical method shows how climate change led to fall of ancient civilization
A Rochester Institute of Technology researcher developed a mathematical method that shows climate change likely caused the rise and fall of an ancient civilization. In an article recently featured in the journal Chaos: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Nonlinear Science, Nishant Malik, assistant professor in RIT's School of Mathematical Sciences, outlined the new technique he developed and showed how shifting monsoon patterns led to the demise of the Indus Valley Civilization, a Bronze Age civilization contemporary to Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt. (2020-09-03)

How Neanderthals adjusted to climate change
Climate change occurring shortly before their disappearance triggered a complex change in the behaviour of late Neanderthals in Europe: they developed more complex tools. This is the conclusion reached by a group of researchers from Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) and Università degli Studi die Ferrara (UNIFE) on the basis of finds in the Sesselfelsgrotte cave in Lower Bavaria. (2020-08-28)

Abrupt global climate change events occurred synchronously during last glacial period
The abrupt climate warming events that occurred in Greenland during the last glacial period occurred very close in time to other rapid climate change events seen in paleoclimate records from lower latitudes, according to a new study, which reveals a near-synchronous teleconnection of climate events spanning Earth's hemispheres. (2020-08-20)

Past rapid warming levels in the Arctic associated with widespread climate changes
Using Greenland ice cores, new research is the first to confirm the longstanding assumption that climate changes between the tropics and the Arctic were synchronised during the last glacial period. (2020-08-20)

200 000 years ago, humans preferred to kip cozy
Researchers in South Africa's Border Cave have found evidence that people have been using grass bedding to create comfortable areas for sleeping and working on at least 200 000 years ago. (2020-08-14)

Exact climate data from the past
Corals and cave carbonates can reveal the temperatures that prevailed at the Earth's surface at the time they formed. An international team of geoscientists led by Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany, has developed a new method that makes it possible to identify whether the composition of these deposits was exclusively controlled by temperature, or if the formation process itself exerted an additional control. The new method allows scientists to determine past Earth surface temperatures more reliably. (2020-08-10)

Texas cave sediment upends meteorite explanation for global cooling
Texas researchers from the University of Houston, Baylor University and Texas A&M University have discovered evidence for why the earth cooled dramatically 13,000 years ago, dropping temperatures by about 3 degrees Centigrade. The evidence is buried in a Central Texas cave, where sediment has preserved unique geochemical signatures from ancient volcanic eruptions. (2020-07-31)

Cooling of Earth caused by eruptions, not meteors
Ancient sediment found in a central Texas cave appears to solve the mystery of why the Earth cooled suddenly about 13,000 years ago, according to a research study co-authored by a Texas A&M University professor. (2020-07-31)

Earliest humans stayed at the Americas 'oldest hotel' in Mexican cave
A cave in a remote part of Mexico was visited by humans around 30,000 years ago - 15,000 years earlier than people were previously thought to have reached the Americas. Excavations of Chiquihuite Cave, located in a mountainous area in northern Mexico controlled by drugs cartels, uncovered nearly 2000 stone tools from a small section of the high-altitude cave. Analysis of the sediment in the cave uncovered a new story of the colonisation of the Americas. (2020-07-22)

Stone tools move back the arrival of humans in America thousands of years
Findings of stone tools move back the first immigration of humans to America at least 15,000 years. This is revealed in a new international study from the University of Copenhagen, where researchers have analysed ancient material from a Mexican mountain cave. (2020-07-22)

What happens in Vegas, may come from the Arctic?
Ancient climate records from Leviathan Cave, located in the southern Great Basin, show that Nevada was even hotter and drier in the past than it is today, and that one 4,000-year period in particular may represent a true, ''worst-case'' scenario picture for the Southwest and the Colorado River Basin -- and the millions of people who rely on its water supply. (2020-07-22)

Neanderthals of Western Mediterranean did not become extinct because of changes in climate
According to paleoclimatic reconstructions analysing stalagmites sampled in some caves in the Murge plateau (Apulia, Italy), Neanderthals might have become extinct because Sapiens employed more sophisticated hunting technologies (2020-07-20)

Researcher reconstructs skull of two million year-old giant dormouse
A researcher has digitally pieced together fossilised fragments from five giant dormouse skulls to reconstruct the first known complete skull of the species, which was roughly the size of a cat. (2020-07-09)

Bats offer clues to treating COVID-19
Bats carry many viruses, including COVID-19, without becoming ill. Biologists at the University of Rochester are studying the immune system of bats to find potential ways to ''mimic'' that system in humans. (2020-07-09)

Pantera leo's family tree takes shape
Once upon a time, lions were the world's most widespread mammals. Now we know more about their genealogy -- and that could make it easier to help the species survive. (2020-06-26)

Eruption of Alaska's Okmok volcano linked to period of extreme cold in ancient Rome
An international team of scientists and historians has found evidence connecting an unexplained period of extreme cold in ancient Rome with an unlikely source: a massive eruption of Alaska's Okmok volcano, located on the opposite side of the Earth. A new study uses an analysis of tephra (volcanic ash) found in Arctic ice cores to link this period of extreme climate in the Mediterranean with the caldera-forming eruption of Alaska's Okmok volcano in 43 BCE. (2020-06-22)

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