MI weekly selection #447

Photo: NASA

Forests were cleared by Neandertals 125K years ago

Neandertals cleared a large forest into open land in what is now Germany about 125,000 years ago. Researchers analyzed a pair of lake basins and found hints that the hominids were the first to make significant changes to their landscapes my molding their surroundings.

Science News

Evidence of Mars’s volcanic past found by Perseverance

Lava likely flowed over the area now being explored by the Perseverance rover on Mars. Initially, scientists thought the rocks the rover was examining were sedimentary, but further analysis of crystals inside the rocks suggests that lava flows created the rock layers.


Robotic hand’s tunable strength

Researchers in South Korea have developed a robotic hand with a touch delicate enough to handle an egg and strong enough to crush an aluminum can, and it could eventually be used as a prosthesis. Twenty joints in the hand give it abilities comparable to a human hand, and researchers plan to develop artificial skin for it.

New Scientist

Mouse blood-brain barrier affected by wildfire particles

Ultra-fine particulates in wildfire smoke can enter the brain and cause permanent neurological damage, according to a study with mice about 600 miles from the source of wildfires. Ultra-fine particles of microplastics, iron, aluminum and magnesium can be carried thousands of miles and get lodged deeply in the lungs, causing inflammatory immune molecules in the bloodstream to carry the particles into the brain where they degrade the blood-brain barrier.

HealthDay News

Glacier’s demise could come soon

Antarctica’s so-called “Doomsday Glacier” could collapse in as little as three years. Researchers collaborating on eight studies say Thwaites Glacier’s demise could cause sea levels to increase upwards of two feet and could weaken other nearby glaciers.

Live Science

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