MI weekly selection #81

Elephant mouse

Looks like a mouse but is genetically related to elephants

A tiny, long-nosed creature found in western Africa looks like a mouse, but is genetically closer to an elephant, according research published in the Journal of Mammalogy. Biologists who discovered the new species of elephant shrew call it Macroscelides micus. It lives in an ancient Namibian volcanic formation, has red fur and measures about 7.5 inches, or about 19 centimeters, from nose to tail.


Asteroid impact rocks may have protected bacteria in Earth’s youth

Crystal cocoons formed by the impact of asteroids in Earth’s early days may have protected fragile bacteria from radiation, according to a study in the International Journal of Astrobiology. The hypothesis was tested by placing cyanobacteria into plain glass discs or impact rocks and sending them to the International Space Station, where they were mounted outside for almost two years. The glass-enclosed bacteria died, however, when the impact-shocked rocks were cracked open it was possible to detect chemical signals of life and rejuvenate the dormant cyanobacteria.

New Scientist

Glow in center of Milky Way may be first indirect indication of dark matter

A high-energy gamma-ray light at the center of the Milky Way could be the first indirect evidence of the presence of dark matter, according to a study. Scientists using NASA’s Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope detected an abundance of gamma-ray photons at the center of the Milky Way that extend about 5,000 light-years out.

Scientific American

Broad-spectrum T cells prevent post-transplant infections

Broad-spectrum T cells seem to be effective in treating infections after hematopoietic stem cell transplant, producing a 94% response rate against four viral infections after infusing between 5 million and 20 million cells into 11 patients. Scientists engineered T cells specific to cytomegalovirus, adenovirus, Epstein-Barr virus, BK virus, and human herpesvirus 6. The virus-specific T cell lines produced, which were mostly CD3-positive T cells, resolved most of the patients’ infections without toxicities.


Jupiter’s largest moons continue to be lit even when eclipsed

Jupiter’s four largest moons stay somewhat lit when eclipsed by the giant planet. Researchers don’t know how Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto remain illuminated when Jupiter blocks them from the sun, but say the discovery could help them learn more about the mysterious upper atmosphere that surrounds Jupiter. The eclipsed moons’ luminosity is one-millionth to one-ten-millionth of their normal brightness, which is why the phenomenon hadn’t been discovered before now.


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