MI weekly selection #133
Saturn’s massive, invisible outermost ring
Saturn’s invisible outermost ring is even larger than scientists thought and made mostly of tiny particles. NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer has helped researchers get a better look at the Phoebe ring’s enormity since it can only be seen as a faint halo at infrared wavelengths.
Colossal squids take on massive toothfish in deep-sea battles
Researchers have found evidence of clashes with colossal squids on several Antarctic toothfish caught by commercial fishing vessels between 2011 and 2014, but they also found that the toothfish put up a fight, finding squid parts in the fish’s guts.
The mystery of the burned bones found in a Greek tomb
A forensic study of burned bones found in a lavish tomb in Greece has failed to settle the debate on whether the remains belong to Alexander the Great’s father, Philip II, or Alexander’s half-brother, Philip III Arrhidaios. The tomb contained the cremated bones of a man and a woman. Researchers looked for distinguishing features that might suggest who they were, but the male’s bones offered few clues. However, researchers say the female’s bones show evidence that she may have been one of Philip II’s seven wives.
History of modern Europeans revealed in pair of DNA studies
A pair of studies is shedding more light on early Europeans, using DNA collected from 170 ancient skeletons found throughout Europe. The two independent studies found that modern Europeans are descended from three separate groups that came to the area at different times: hunter-gatherers about 45,000 years ago, farmers from the Near East about 8,000 years ago and a tribe of sheepherders known as the Yamnaya, who came from western Russia about 4,500 years ago.
Current Ebola strain no more virulent than 1976 pathogen
The strain of Ebola circulating in West Africa is no more potent than the one that caused an outbreak in 1976, and it might be less virulent. The virus has killed 11,000 people since it resurfaced in West Africa in December 2014, and officials are concerned that the rainy season could lead to more infections because monitoring exposed individuals will likely be difficult.