MI weekly selection #6
Anyone can find an exoplanet
A team of volunteer amateur astronomers has discovered evidence of 42 alien planets. The volunteers were sorting through NASA data as part of the Planet Hunters crowdsourcing program. Professional astronomers have yet to confirm the proposed planets.
Drought predictions in East Africa
Variations in sea-surface temperatures of the Indian Ocean likely caused the historical fluctuations in rainfall seen in the paleorecord.
Jessica E. Tierney, Jason E. Smerdon, Kevin J. Anchukaitis, Richard Seager.(2013) Multidecadal variability in East African hydroclimate controlled by the Indian Ocean. Nature, 493 (7432): 389 DOI:10.1038/nature11785
New large flying frog found
Scientists hiking along Vietnamese lowland forests found a new type of flying frog that is “one of the most flying frogs of the flying frogs.” The frog has large feet with webbing that extends to the toepads, while females have forearm flaps to help them glide.
Jodi J. L. Rowley, Dao Thi Anh Tran, Huy Duc Hoang, and Duong Thi Thuy Le (2012) A New Species of Large Flying Frog (Rhacophoridae: Rhacophorus) from Lowland Forests in Southern Vietnam Journal of Herpetology 46(4):480-487. DOI: 10.1670/11-261
The Indian DNA connection of aboriginal Australians
Scientists have long believed that aboriginal Australians did not mix their DNA with other peoples, but new DNA evidence suggests biological links between aboriginal Australians and people from India. The study found that interbreeding occurred as early as 4,200 years ago, and may have coincided with the time the dingo, the Australian wild dog, appeared on the continent.
Irina Pugacha, Frederick Delfina, Ellen Gunnarsdóttira, Manfred Kayserd, and Mark Stonekinga (2013) Genome-wide data substantiate Holocene gene flow from India to Australia PNAS DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1211927110
RePOOPulating the gut to eradicate infection
Artificial poop transplants could be an effective cure for people with a hard-to-treat bacterial infection in their intestines.
Elaine O Petrof, Gregory B Gloor Stephen J Vanner, Scott J Weese, David Carter, Michelle C Daigneault, Eric M Brown, Kathleen Schroeter and Emma Allen-Vercoe (2013) Stool substitute transplant therapy for the eradication ofClostridium difficile infection: ‘RePOOPulating’ the gut Microbiome 1:3 DOI:10.1186/2049-2618-1-3