MI weekly selection #388
Oldest Neanderthal DNA found in Europe holds clues to Neanderthal life
Mitochondrial DNA taken from a Neanderthal tooth found in a cave in Poland is giving researchers new clues about Neanderthal life in the region about 80,000 years ago. Tools found in the cave known as Micoquian give clues to the ways Neanderthals were adapting as the environment changed rapidly and food supplies dwindled.
Hummingbird turns itself off to withstand cold nights
Hummingbirds that live high in the Andes Mountains stay alive during the extremely cold nights by reducing their body temperature, essentially turning themselves off via torpor, a study in Biology Letters suggests “If you didn’t know better you’d think they were dead,” says study author Blair Wolf, who says such a hummingbird revives itself as the sun comes up by quivering for a bit, “then all the sudden its eyes pop open and it’s ready to go.”
Deep quakes linked to hot, sliding rocks
Deep earthquakes occurring along the San Andreas fault near Parkfield, California, may be caused by hot rocks sliding against each other more than 16 kilometers underground and picking up speed as they melt. The quakes, which can’t be felt on the surface, may be triggering strong earthquakes close to the surface, researchers say.
Cellular transplant reverses diabetes in mice, monkeys
A solution including autologous, human and pig beta-cell islets transplanted under the skin instead of through the hepatic portal vein remained viable and reversed diabetes long-term in mice and monkeys. A cellular matrix that simulates the pancreatic environment appeared key to preventing cell death.
Study touts magnons over electrons in quantum computing
Spin-based quantum computing could be more energy-efficient if magnons are used in the place of electrons. “Nanophotonics opens up new possibilities in the area of ultrafast magnetism,” said Alexander Chernov, study co-author.