MI weekly selection #542

William DeSnoo/UC Davis

New archaeology method could confirm Bible event

Thermal demagnetization, a new method used on mud bricks that are thousands of years old, may help archaeologists understand information preserved in burned material. The technique could reveal how building materials were made, and the authors of the study say in this case it corroborates the Bible’s description of the violent destruction of the Philistine city of Gath.

Full Story: The Debrief

Echoing nature’s mirror-image molecules

Chemists have made progress in selecting the “handedness” of chiral, or mirror-image, molecules, a trait of organic molecules that’s difficult to mimic in a lab. The study published in Nature catalyzed the production of chiral cycloalkene molecules with a chiral organic acid, a method that could help harness hydrocarbons for medicines and materials.

Full Story: ScienceMag

Single-celled, non-algae microbe helps defend coral

A single-celled microbe boosts coral’s ability to endure warming oceans, a discovery that could help guide conservation by prioritizing coral for intervention. Researcher Javier del Campo, who examined sea whips, a soft coral that produces bioactive compounds, says the study shows the role of a non-algae microbe in coral surviving a heat-stress event.

Full Story: Earth

Closer study of 1983 discovery identifies T. rex cousin

Paleontologists have identified what could be the closest relative to the species Tyrannosaurus rex. Scientists had categorized the fossils as belonging to a member of T. rex when they were discovered in New Mexico in 1983, but in the past two decades, researchers have pinpointed key differences in the jaw and postorbital bone and named the species Tyrannosaurus mcraeensis.

Full Story: ABC News

Effects of migration on genetic disease risks

People of northern European descent have higher risks for multiple sclerosis than those of other ancestries, and a comparative DNA study suggests that a Bronze Age herding tribe called Yamnaya carried MS gene variants with them as they moved west from the west Asian steppes. The genetic variants also may have protected the Yamnaya from pathogens carried by cattle and sheep, according to a collection of studies in Nature.

Full Story: Nature

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