MI weekly selection #190


Agriculture may have had many roots, DNA study suggests

The skeletons of four ancient farmers have been found in Iran, and DNA tests indicate they have no genetic links to Aegeans, long thought to be the first farmers in Europe, which suggests that agriculture may have been developed more than once. DNA analysis of the skeletons, found in an eastern section of the Fertile Crescent, suggests they lived about 9,000 to 10,000 years ago and had a diet that included lots of grains.

Los Angeles Times

Massive black spot seen on sun’s surface

A massive coronal hole has been spotted on the surface of the sun, but NASA scientists say it’s not a concern. It’s a low-density area in the sun’s surrounding plasma layer that occurs occasionally.

The Christian Science Monitor

Graphene induced to cut itself into strips

Graphene can be induced to cut itself into ribbons that fold back onto themselves, and researchers think they can find a way to control the process so the strips can one day be used in electronic circuitry. The strips occurred when graphene, a sheet of carbon the thickness of a single atom, was punctured with a diamond tip.

Nature News

Earth’s biodiversity falls beneath safe levels

The biodiversity of plants and animals on Earth has dropped below levels considered safe by scientists thanks to humans encroaching on more areas.

The Washington Post

Ducklings show ability to understand concepts of same and different

Ducklings appear to understand the concepts of same and different. Researchers placed newly hatched ducklings in an enclosure with a pair of objects, either the same or different, to let the duckling imprint on them, then put the birds in another enclosure with two pairs of objects — one set of matching objects, the other different from each other and neither pair the same shape as that in the earlier enclosure — and the ducklings followed the pair that resembled the relationship of the earlier pair.

The Christian Science Monitor

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