MI weekly selection #344

Organisms lived on Earth 3.5B years ago
Organic matter dating back 3.5 billion years has been identified in stromatolites first discovered in Australia in the 1980s. “The organic matter that we found preserved within pyrite of the stromatolites is exciting; we’re looking at exceptionally preserved coherent filaments and strands that are typically remains of microbial biofilms,” said study author Raphael Baumgartner.

Massive planet’s orbit of much smaller star surprises astronomers
Astronomers have detected a giant planet about 31 light-years away that is orbiting a very small star, challenging their ideas about how planets are formed. “This is the first time that we have a clear detection of a planet where the only possible way to explain it is gravitational instability,” says study author Juan Carlos Morales.
New Scientist

Biodiversity could be boosted by linking habitats
Adding passageways between isolated habitats may improve plant diversity, according to a study published in Science. The researchers studied such a passageway over an 18-year period and found that the number of plant species in a previously isolated area grew by 14%.
Science News

Cetaceans’ ancestors lost genes to live in ocean
The ancestors of cetaceans adapted to living in the ocean by shedding the functions of 85 or more genes. A DNA comparison showed that cetaceans lack 236 genes that other mammals have, with 85 of those still found in the cetaceans’ closest relative, the hippopotamus, researchers say.
New Scientist

Emotion, color link may predict country of origin
Scientists can deduce the country someone comes from by the emotions certain colors evoke. Researchers first determined which colors were most strongly associated with particular emotions, then they applied a machine learning algorithm to predict the countries of origin of the participants.

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