Current Natural History News and Events

Current Natural History News and Events, Natural History News Articles.
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Direct cloning method CAPTUREs novel microbial natural products
Microorganisms possess natural product biosynthetic gene clusters (BGCs) that may harbor unique bioactivities for use in drug development and agricultural applications. However, many uncharacterized microbial BGCs remain inaccessible. Researchers at Illinois previously demonstrated a technique using transcription factor decoys to activate large, silent BGCs in bacteria to aid in natural product discovery. (2021-02-19)

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)

On the origin of our species
New research suggests that genetic and fossil records will not reveal a single point where modern humans originated (2021-02-10)

Nanocarriers in the enhancement of therapeutic efficacy of natural drugs
https://doi.org/10.15212/bioi-2020-0040 Announcing a new article publication for BIO Integration journal. In this review article the authors Xiuling Li, Shunung Liang, Chee Hwee Tan, Shuwen Cao, Xiaoding Xu, Phei Er Saw and Wei Tao from Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China, Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou, China and Center for Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA discuss the potential benefits of four plants endogenous to China and the enhancement of their therapeutic efficacy by nanotechnology intervention. (2021-02-09)

Model predicts likelihood of persistent high-dose opioid use after knee surgery
A new study published in Arthritis Care & Research has identified 10 readily available clinical factors that may predict which patients will persistently use high doses of opioids in the year following knee replacement surgery. (2021-02-03)

New findings on devonian 'platypus fish' cast light on evolution of modern jawed vertebrates
New findings on the brain and inner ear cavity of a 400-million-year-old platypus-like fish cast light on the evolution of modern jawed vertebrates, according to a study led by Dr. ZHU Youan and Dr. LU Jing from the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (IVPP) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. (2021-01-27)

Climate change in antiquity: mass emigration due to water scarcity
The absence of monsoon rains at the source of the Nile was the cause of migrations and the demise of entire settlements in the late Roman province of Egypt. This demographic development has been compared with environmental data for the first time by professor of ancient history, Sabine Huebner of the University of Basel - leading to a discovery of climate change and its consequences. (2021-01-25)

Study updates breast cancer risk estimates for women with no family history
A new multi-institution study led by Fergus Couch, Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic pathologist, provides more accurate estimates of breast cancer risk for U.S. women who harbor inherited mutations in breast cancer predisposition genes. The findings of the CARRIERS Consortium study, published Jan. 20 in The New England Journal of Medicine, may allow health care providers to better assess the risk of breast cancer in women ? many of whom have no family history of breast cancer. (2021-01-21)

Mystery of Martian glaciers revealed
On Earth, glaciers covered wide swaths of the planet during the last Ice Age, which reached its peak about 20,000 years ago, before receding to the poles and leaving behind the rocks they pushed behind. On Mars, however, the glaciers never left, remaining frozen on the Red Planet's cold surface for more than 300 million years, covered in debris. (2021-01-19)

Scientists discover new 'spectacular' bat from West Africa
A group of scientists led by the American Museum of Natural History and Bat Conservation International have discovered a new species of a striking orange and black bat in a mountain range in West Africa. The species, which the researchers expect is likely critically endangered, underscores the importance of sub-Saharan 'sky islands' to bat diversity. The species is described today in the journal American Museum Novitates. (2021-01-13)

Museum scientists: Prepare for next pandemic now by preserving animal specimens in natural history
It's been more than a year since the first cases were identified in China, yet the exact origins of the COVID-19 pandemic remain a mystery. Though strong evidence suggests that the responsible coronavirus originated in bats, how and when it crossed from wildlife into humans is unknown. (2021-01-12)

Natural products with potential efficacy against lethal viruses
Researchers describe the biology of three families of RNA viruses including Coronavirus, Ebola, and Zika and the natural products that have been shown to have capabilities to inhibit them. The review provides a guide that could accelerate drug discovery in response to future epidemics. (2021-01-05)

St Petersburg University scientists discover an ancient island arc in the Kyrgyz Tien Shan
Researchers at St Petersburg University, as part of an international team, have discovered in the Tien Shan mountains a specific complex of rocks that formed in the Cambrian ocean about 500 million years ago. The age of the rock assemblage was established thanks to adakites - a group of acid volcanic rocks, described from one of the islands in the Aleutian arc. (2020-12-31)

Scientists and philosopher team up, propose a new way to categorize minerals
Minerals are the most durable, information-rich objects we can study to understand our planet's origin and evolution. However, the current classification system leaves unanswered questions for planetary scientists, geobiologists, paleontologists and others who strive to understand minerals' historical context. A new evolutionary approach to classifying minerals complements the existing protocols and offers the opportunity to rigorously document Earth's history. (2020-12-21)

Biodiversity collections, vital for pandemic preparedness, face drop in specimen deposits
While the importance of natural history museums to human health has never been higher, in recent years the number of specimens being deposited in biodiversity collections actually has been declining. (2020-12-16)

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)

Biologists clarify how three species of cephalopods coexist in the Arctic
By analyzing the content of stable heavy isotopes of carbon (δ13C) and nitrogen (δ15N) in the beaks, the researchers studied three closely related cephalopod species: the highly boreal Rossia megaptera, the wide-boreal-Arctic Rossia palpebrosa, and the Arctic endemic Rossia moelleri, which are sympatric in the Arctic. (2020-12-15)

Artificial intelligence helps scientists develop new general models in ecology
The automation of scientific discoveries is here to stay. Among others, a machine-human cooperation found a hitherto unknown general model explaining the relation between the area and age of an island and the number of species it hosts. (2020-12-11)

1300 species, 2400 genes, 21 museums, and 40 years
The tropics are a rich source of nature's biodiversity. However, due to limited sampling knowledge of tropical diversity is incomplete, making it difficult to uncover the mechanisms that drive and maintain such a high diversity. In a new study in Science, an international team of scientists study the species-level phylogeny of a major group of tropical birds revealing new species actually form faster in areas with few species than in the species-rich tropics! (2020-12-10)

Natural reward theory could provide new foundation for biology
Major trends of evolution, including the increase of complexity, command over resources, and innovativeness, have remained difficult to reconcile with Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection. A new paper by Owen Gilbert (University of Texas), and published in the open-access, peer-reviewed journal Rethinking Ecology, suggests that there is an alternative non-random force of evolution: natural reward, which acts synergistically with natural selection and leads to the increased innovativeness, or advancement, of life with time. (2020-12-08)

Natural resources governance -- responsibilization of citizens or forcing responsibility on them?
The possibilities of citizens to participate in natural resource governance are increasing. Responsive and collaborative models of natural resource governance can open up new opportunities, but can also lead to unreasonable responsibilization, or even force responsibility on under-resourced organizations and individuals. (2020-11-30)

Siberian primrose has not had time to adapt to climate change
Global warming already affects Siberian primrose, a plant species that is threatened in Finland and Norway. According to a recently completed study, individuals of Siberian primrose originating in the Finnish coast on the Bothnian Bay currently fare better in northern Norway than in their home area. The results indicate that the species may not be able to adapt to quickly progressing climate change, which could potentially lead to its extinction. (2020-11-23)

Enriching research in ecology and evolution through nine 'flavors' of history
In a recent article in The Quarterly Review of Biology, ''Beyond Equilibria: The Neglected Role of History in Ecology and Evolution,'' author Hamish G. Spencer argues for a revitalized view of history. This historical view is a response to current research in the field of ecology and evolution, which is dominated by an ahistorical view of dynamic systems. (2020-11-23)

Predicting preterm births
Researchers studied how family history can predict preterm birth. (2020-11-19)

Research on environmental history: 330-year-old poplar tree tells of its life
Similar to genetic mutations, epigenetic changes, i.e. gene modifications that do not occur on the primary DNA sequence, sometimes arise accidentally in plants and can be transmitted across generations. Using trees as a model, researchers have now shown for the first time that these so-called epimutations accumulate continuously throughout plant development, and that they can be employed as a molecular clock to estimate the age of a tree. (2020-11-18)

New analysis refutes claim that dinosaurs were in decline before asteroid hit
New research suggests that dinosaurs were not in decline before the asteroid hit. The study contradicts previous theories and concludes that had the impact not occurred dinosaurs might have continued to be the dominant group of land animals. (2020-11-17)

SwRI scientists expand space instrument's capabilities
A new study by Southwest Research Institute scientists describes how they have ex-panded the capabilities of the prototype spaceflight instrument Chemistry Organic and Dating Experiment (CODEX), designed for field-based dating of extraterrestrial materi-als. CODEX now uses two different dating approaches based on rubidium-strontium and lead-lead geochronology methods. The instrument uses laser ablation resonance ionization mass spectrometry (LARIMS) to obtain dates using these methods. (2020-11-16)

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)

Researchers quantify carbon changes in Sierra Nevada meadow soils
Meadows in the Sierra Nevada mountains are critical components of watersheds. In addition to supplying water to over 25 million people in California and Nevada, meadows contain large quantities of carbon belowground. While it has been known for some time that meadows have large quantities of soil carbon, whether meadow soils are gaining or losing carbon has remained unclear. (2020-11-16)

Henderson island fossils reveal new Polynesian sandpiper species
Fossil bones collected in the early 1990s on Henderson Island, part of the Pitcairn Group, have revealed a new species of Polynesian sandpiper. The Henderson Sandpiper, a small wading bird that has been extinct for centuries, is formally named Prosobonia sauli after Cook Islands-based ornithologist and conservationist Edward K Saul. (2020-11-16)

New bird genomes give insight into evolution of genomic diversity
The Bird 10,000 Genome Project (B10K), an initiative to sequence the genomes of all living bird species, announces the completion of its second milestone--the release of genomes representing 92% of all bird families. (2020-11-12)

Scientists release genomes of birds representing nearly all avian families
In the Nov. 11, 2020 issue of the journal Nature, scientists report on the genomes of 363 species of birds, including 267 that have been sequenced for the first time. The studied species--from widespread, economically important birds such as the chicken to the lesser known birds--represent more than 92% of the world's avian families. The data from the study will advance research on the evolution of birds and the conservation of threatened bird species. (2020-11-11)

Researchers discover the secret of how moss spreads
University of Copenhagen researchers have discovered how mosses became one of our planet's most widely distributed plants -- global wind systems transport them along Earth's latitudes, to rooftops, sidewalks and lawns worldwide, and as far away as Antarctica. This new knowledge can provide us with a better understanding of how other small organisms are spread, including airborne bacteria and organisms that produce airborne spores. (2020-11-10)

Dietary overlap of birds, bats and dragonflies disadvantageous in insect decline
According to a new Finnish study, different groups of insectivores compete for the same type of food. Researchers of the University of Turku, Finland, and the Finnish Museum of Natural History made a discovery by comparing birds, bats and dragonflies that forage in the same area in Southwest Finland. These very distantly related predators consumed the same insect groups. The results shed new light on the decline in insect populations. (2020-11-10)

Study identifies new "hidden" gene in COVID-19 virus
Researchers have discovered a new ''hidden'' gene in SARS-CoV-2--the virus that causes COVID-19--that may have contributed to its unique biology and pandemic potential. In a virus that only has about 15 genes in total, knowing more about this and other overlapping genes--or ''genes within genes''--could have a significant impact on how we combat the virus. (2020-11-10)

New primate species discovered in Myanmar
100 year-old London museum sample gave decisive hints. (2020-11-10)

How ancient dust from the sea floor helps to explain climate history
Iron-containing dust can fuel ocean productivity. Researchers now show that dust travelled a long way in the South Pacific Region during the last Ice Age. Based on analyses of sediment cores they identified the area that is now north-west Argentina as primary source of dust. The results help explain glacial cooling and climate history. (2020-11-09)

The first duckbill dinosaur fossil from Africa hints at how dinosaurs once crossed oceans
The first fossils of a duckbilled dinosaur have been discovered in Africa, suggesting dinosaurs crossed hundreds of kilometres of open water to get there. (2020-11-05)

Tel Aviv University says 'environmentally-friendly' tableware harms marine animals
A new Tel Aviv University study compares the effects of two types of disposable dishes on the marine environment -- regular plastic disposable dishes and more expensive bioplastic disposable dishes certified by various international organizations -- and determines that the bioplastic dishes had a similar effect on marine animals as regular plastic dishes. (2020-11-04)

New mineral discovered in moon meteorite
The high-pressure mineral Donwilhelmsite, recently discovered in the lunar meteorite Oued Awlitis 001 from Apollo missions, is important for understanding the inner structure of the earth. (2020-11-03)

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