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Current Modern Human News and Events, Modern Human News Articles.
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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)

Study finds 5 distinct dog types from 11,000 years ago
An international team of researchers that includes a Texas A&M University professor has studied the lineage of dogs and found that there were at least five different types of dogs as far back as 11,000 years ago. (2020-10-29)

Aerosol microdroplets inefficient carriers of COVID-19 virus
Aerosol microdroplets do not appear to be extremely efficient at spreading the virus that leads to COVID-19. While the lingering microdroplets are certainly not risk-free, due to their small size they contain less virus than the larger droplets that are produced when someone coughs, speaks, or sneezes directly on us, said researchers at the University of Amsterdam's Van der Waals-Zeeman Institute. The results were published in Physics of Fluids. (2020-10-27)

Oldest securely dated evidence for a river flowing through the Thar Desert, Western India
Using luminescence dating of ancient river sediments, a new study published in Quaternary Science Reviews presents evidence for river activity at Nal Quarry in the central Thar Desert starting from approx. 173 thousand years ago. These findings represent the oldest directly dated phase of river activity in the region and indicate Stone Age populations lived in a distinctly different Thar Desert landscape than we encounter today. (2020-10-19)

Tropical cyclones moving faster in recent decades
Tropical cyclones, regionally known as hurricanes or typhoons, have been moving across ocean basins faster since 1982, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. (2020-10-19)

A deadly long-distance hunter: DNA study reveals insights about the scimitar-toothed cat
Researchers from the University of Copenhagen have mapped the entire nuclear genome of a sabre-toothed cat. The genetic study reveals new insights about a socially intelligent pack animal, specialized in endurance-based hunting over long distances. (2020-10-15)

Modern humans took detours on their way to Europe
Climate conditions shaped the geography of settlement by Homo sapiens in the Levant 43,000 years ago / findings of Collaborative Research Centre 806 'Our Way to Europe' published in 'PLOS ONE' (2020-10-14)

An alternative to animal experiments
Researchers of the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have cultured so-called intestinal organoids from human intestinal tissue, which is a common byproduct when performing bowel surgery. These small ''miniature intestines'' can be used for molecular biological examinations and allow for a direct application of research results to humans, thereby making animal experiments redundant. (2020-10-14)

Past tropical forest changes drove megafauna and hominin extinctions
Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History (MPI-SHH) and Griffith University have discovered that Southeast Asia, today renowned for its lush rainforests, was at various points in the past covered by sweeping grasslands. The expansion and reduction of these grasslands had drastic effects on local megafauna, variously supporting success and inducing extinction. (2020-10-07)

Neanderthals already had their characteristic barrel-shaped rib cages at birth
Neanderthal babies were born with the characteristic barrel-shaped rib cage shape previously identified in adult specimens, according to an analysis of digitally reconstructed rib cages from four Neanderthal infants. The findings suggest that Neanderthals' rib cages were already shorter and deeper than that of modern humans at birth, rather than shifting their shape. (2020-10-07)

Forearm artery reveals humans evolving from changes in natural selection
Humans haven't developed genetic mutations for telepathy or superpowers just yet, but a new study shows our species is still evolving in unique ways and changes in the natural selection could be the major reason. (2020-10-06)

Seeking ancient rainforests through modern mammal diets
Closed-canopy rainforests are a vital part of Earth's modern ecosystems, but tropical plants don't preserve well in the fossil record so it is difficult to tell how long these habitats have existed and where rainforests might have once grown. Instead, scientists look to the diets of extinct animals, which lock evidence of the vegetation they ate into their teeth. A new study finds that the paradigm used to identify closed-canopy rainforests needs to be reassessed. (2020-10-05)

A tale of two cesspits: DNA reveals intestinal health in Medieval Europe and Middle East
Analysis of 14th-15th century latrines in Jerusalem and Riga, Latvia identifies some of the microbes resident in the guts of these pre-industrial populations, illuminating how gut contents have changed since medieval times. (2020-10-04)

Tests indicate modern oral nicotine products elicit lower toxicity responses than cigs
New research by BAT indicates that Modern Oral Products (MOPs) showed lower toxicity responses in certain assays than traditional cigarettes. (2020-09-28)

Marine heatwaves like 2015's Pacific "blob" attributable to anthropogenic climate warming
Severe marine heatwaves, like 2015's Pacific ''blob,'' are far more likely to occur now than before human-induced global warming began, according to a new study. (2020-09-24)

Early admixture with humans led to Y chromosome replacement in late Neanderthals
In one of the first studies to comprehensively analyze Y chromosomes of humans' two closest relatives, Denisovans and Neanderthals, researchers report what prior studies have suggested: early gene flow events between archaic and modern humans led to the eventual replacement of archaic Neanderthal Y chromosomes by introgressed Homo sapiens Y chromosomes. (2020-09-24)

Y chromosomes of Neandertals and Denisovans now sequenced
An international research team led by Martin Petr and Janet Kelso of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, has determined Y chromosome sequences of three Neandertals and two Denisovans. These Y chromosomes provide new insights into the relationships and population histories of archaic and modern humans, including new evidence for ancient gene flow from early modern humans into Neandertals. (2020-09-24)

Discovery of a new mass extinction
It's not often a new mass extinction is identified; after all, such events were so devastating they really stand out in the fossil record. In a new paper, published today in Science Advances, an international team has identified a major extinction of life 233 million years ago that triggered the dinosaur takeover of the world. The crisis has been called the Carnian Pluvial Episode. (2020-09-16)

Cannabis farms are a modern slavery 'blind spot' for UK police, study suggests
Migrants arrested for tending plants in the flats, houses and attics where cannabis is grown in bulk are often victims of trafficking and ''debt bondage'' - yet many are not recognised as such by police, according to a new study. (2020-09-15)

True size of prehistoric mega-shark finally revealed
A new study led by the University of Bristol and Swansea University has revealed the size of the legendary giant shark Megalodon, including fins that are as large as an adult human. (2020-09-03)

Ichthyosaur's last meal is evidence of triassic megapredation
Some 240 million years ago, a dolphin-like ichthyosaur ripped to pieces and swallowed another marine reptile only a little smaller than itself. Then it almost immediately died and was fossilized, preserving the first evidence of megapredation, or a large animal preying on another large animal. (2020-08-20)

Analysis of ancient Mesoamerican sculptures supports universality of emotional expressions
An analysis of facial expressions in ancient Mesoamerican sculptures finds that some emotions expressed in these artworks match the emotions that modern US participants would anticipate for each discernible context, including elation, sadness, pain, anger, and determination or strain. For instance, elation was predicted in the context of social touch while anger was (2020-08-19)

Palaeontology: 429-million-year-old eye provides a view of trilobite life
The internal structure of a 429-million-year-old fossilized trilobite eye is almost identical to that of modern bees, according to a study published in Scientific Reports. The findings suggest that the principles of vision in many insects and crustaceans today are at least half a billion years old. (2020-08-13)

Syphilis may have spread through Europe before Columbus
Columbus brought syphilis to Europe -- or did he? A recent study conducted at the University of Zurich now indicates that Europeans could already have been infected with this sexually transmitted disease before the 15th century. In addition, researchers have discovered a hitherto unknown pathogen causing a related disease. The predecessor of syphilis and its related diseases could be over 2,500 years old. (2020-08-13)

New study sheds light on evolution of hell ants from 100 million years ago
An international research team co-led by Prof. WANG Bo from the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology (NIGPAS) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences has confirmed the special trap-jaw predation mechanism of hell ants, providing new insights into their evolution. (2020-08-06)

Herbivorous vertebrates may face most daunting extinction risk
Herbivores -- not predators -- may face a higher risk of extinction among mammals, birds, and reptiles, according to a new study of more than 44,000 living and extinct species. The findings suggest herbivores have consistently suffered the highest threat of extinction in the present day, the recent past, and the late Pleistocene - more so than species from any other position. (2020-08-05)

Herbivores, not predators, most at risk of extinction
One million years ago, the extinction of large-bodied plant-eaters changed the trajectory of life on Earth. The disappearance of these large herbivores reshaped plant life, altered fire regimes across Earth's landscapes, and modified biogeochemical cycling in such a way that Earth's climate became slightly colder. (2020-08-05)

Broad antivirals kill SARS-CoV-2, the MERS virus, and other coronaviruses in cells and mice
A team of scientists has engineered antiviral compounds that can kill several types of coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. (2020-08-03)

Sci-fi foretold social media, Uber and Augmented Reality, offers insights into the future
Science fiction authors foresaw augmented reality video games, the rise of social media and trends of hyper-consumption, and can help predict future consumer patterns. (2020-07-24)

Ancient viral DNA suggests smallpox widespread in Viking Age Northern Europe
Viral DNA isolated from ancient human remains reveals the presence of smallpox in 7th century northern Europe, increasing the definitive antiquity of the disease in humans by nearly 1,000 years, according to a new study. (2020-07-23)

Vikings had smallpox and may have helped spread the world's deadliest virus
Scientists have discovered extinct strains of smallpox in the teeth of Viking skeletons - proving for the first time that the killer disease plagued humanity for at least 1400 years. Smallpox spread via infectious droplets, killed around a third of sufferers and left another third permanently scarred or blind. Around 300 million people died from it in the 20th century alone before it was officially eradicated in 1980 -- the first human disease to be wiped out. (2020-07-23)

UK's Modern Slavery Act challenging for universities -- new study
The UK's universities are struggling to live up to the spirit and ambition of the Modern Slavery Act, hampered by poor oversight of their supply chains, a lack of skills and resource in supply chain management, a focus on reducing costs, and lacklustre engagement from many in senior management, a new study from the University of Bath shows. (2020-07-21)

Parents' smartphone use does not harm parent/child relationships
Contrary to popular views, parental smartphone use is rarely associated with poor parenting, and more often than not, tends to be associated with warm and attached parenting. (2020-07-09)

Sledge dogs are closely related to 9,500-year-old 'ancient dog'
Sledge dogs are much older and have adapted to Arctic conditions much earlier than previously thought. In a new study from the QIMMEQ project, researchers from the University of Copenhagen show that ancestors of modern sledge dogs have worked and lived with humans for over 9,500 years. (2020-06-25)

COVID-19 lockdown reveals human impact on wildlife
An international team of scientists is investigating how animals are responding to reduced levels of human activity during the Covid-19 pandemic. (2020-06-22)

Which came first?
What did the very first proteins look like -- those that appeared on Earth around 3.7 billion years ago? Prof. Dan Tawfik of the Weizmann Institute of Science and Prof. Norman Metanis of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have reconstructed protein sequences that may well resemble those ancestors of modern proteins, and their research suggests a way that these primitive proteins could have progressed to forming living cells. (2020-06-21)

Ancient societies hold lessons for modern cities
Today's modern cities, from Denver to Dubai, could learn a thing or two from the ancient Pueblo communities that once stretched across the southwestern United States. For starters, the more people live together, the better the living standards. (2020-06-19)

Neandertal genes in the petri dish
Protocols that allow the transformation of human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) lines into organoids have changed the way scientists can study developmental processes and enable them to decipher the interplay between genes and tissue formation, particularly for organs where primary tissue is not available. Now, investigators are taking this technology and applying it to study the developmental effects of Neandertal DNA. (2020-06-18)

The origins of measles: Virus diverged from cattle-infecting relative earlier than thought in history
The measles virus diverged from a closely related cattle-infecting virus in approximately the sixth century BCE - around 1,400 years earlier than current estimates - according to a new study of dozens of measles genomes. (2020-06-18)

New fossil discovery shows 50 million-year-old Canada-Australia connection
The discovery of a tiny insect fossil in Western Canada is unearthing big questions about the global movement of animals across deep time. The fossil, estimated to be 50 million years old, is the latest in a pattern of discoveries that are leading experts to contemplate a Canada-Australia connection not previously considered. (2020-06-15)

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