MI weekly selection #193


Evidence of ancient flood uncovered in China

Scientists have uncovered evidence that the myth that an enormous flood spawned China’s Xia dynasty isn’t just legend. Geologists, historians and archaeologists worked together to determine a massive flood occurred around 1,922 B.C., around the time Emperor Yu is said to have founded civilization in China.

The Washington Post

Ancient fossils show inner workings of prehistoric whale ears

The well-preserved fossils of an ancient cetacean, dubbed Echovenator sandersi, are offering researchers clues about how prehistoric whales developed ultrasonic hearing and echolocation. Echovenator lived about 27 million years ago, and its ear has many features in common with modern whales that allow them to detect ultrasonic frequencies.


Particle accelerator used to reveal hidden Degas portrait

A second image hidden beneath the Edgar Degas painting “Portrait of a Woman” has been revealed by scientists using a particle accelerator. The process creates an X-ray beam that finely picks up different paint elements point by point, creating a black-and-white map of the image, and the researchers then created software to reconstruct the colors based on metal elements found in various paint colors of the time.

The New York Times

How frigatebirds sleep during flight

Frigatebirds, which can fly for long periods of time without ever alighting, can achieve brief deep REM sleep while in flight. Researchers tracked the birds’ brain activity during flights of up to 10 days and found that they can sleep with either brain hemisphere down at a time or both at the same time.

The Christian Science Monitor

Screening for genetic mutations could predict cancer early

The number of mutations a person has in different genes could predict when that person will develop cancer. Researchers say screening for mutations across multiple genes early on could help detect cancers sooner.

New Scientist

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