MI weekly selection #269
Distant dwarf planet Haumea boasts a super-fast spin
A dwarf planet that exists far past Neptune spins extremely fast on its axis. Haumea’s fast spin, once every four hours, contributes to its elongated shape.
Ancient jawbone suggests earlier exit from Africa for modern humans
The oldest human fossil ever found outside of Africa has been discovered in a cave in Israel. The jawbone is between 177,000 and 194,000 years old and changes ideas about when modern humans first travelled out of Africa.
10 new gene defense systems found in bacteria
Ten new genetic defense systems have been discovered in bacteria. Nine gene groups were found to be antiphage defense systems, and one was a plasmid defense system.
Plastics found on one-third of Asia-Pacific’s coral reefs
One-third of the Asia-Pacific region’s coral reefs are entangled in over 11 billion plastic items. “Plastic is one of the biggest threats in the ocean at the moment, I would say, apart from climate change,” said study author Joleah Lamb.
Beyond oxygen for signs of alien life
The presence of oxygen in an exoplanet’s atmosphere may not be the only sign of alien life, and researchers need to be open to other clues when searching for signs of life. “What’s exciting is that our suggestion is doable and may lead to the historic discovery of an extraterrestrial biosphere in the not-too-distant future,” said David Catling, a co-author of the study.