MI weekly selection #540

Image: Kyle Horton, CC BY-ND

Morning people may have inherited Neanderthal genes

People’s predisposition to wake up early may be linked to inherited genetic variants from Neanderthals, who lived at high latitudes in Europe and Asia and evolved to cope with seasonal variation in daylight.

Full Story: CNN

Lights attract migrating birds into cities at night

Light pollution draws migratory birds flying at night into developed areas where they risk colliding with buildings and facing food scarcity, according to a study of spring and fall bird migration in the continental US. The presence of light pollution is a better predictor of bird densities than factors such as temperature, precipitation or tree canopy cover.

Full Story: The Conversation

Clues for life on Saturn’s moon

Scientists using data from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft have discovered evidence of hydrogen cyanide on Enceladus, an icy ocean moon orbiting Saturn that is home to several key organic molecules. In addition to the confirmation of hydrogen cyanide, which is tied to the origin of life on Earth, researchers suggest that Enceladus’ ocean may be a source of chemical energy through methanogenesis, a process that creates methane.

Full Story: Gizmodo

Emissions may affect precipitation in the US Southwest

The US Southwest has seen less rain and snowfall amid drought since the 1980s, and industrial emissions of smoke, dust and water vapor may help explain the trend. Researchers linked lower precipitation to fluctuating sea temperatures in the Pacific altered by aerosol emissions, which is likely to exacerbate the Southwest’s megadrought.

Full Story: Newsweek

Hormone linked to severe morning sickness

High levels of a fetal hormone contribute to severe nausea and vomiting, or hyperemesis gravidarum, in pregnant people. People who had high levels of GDF15 before getting pregnant were less likely to experience hyperemesis gravidarum than those with low levels of the hormone, suggesting that giving GDF15 before pregnancy could prevent severe sickness in those at high risk.

Full Story: Nature

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