MI weekly selection #567

Denisovans, humans may have shared Tibetan Plateau

A 40,000-year-old rib bone from a cave on the Tibetan Plateau adds to limited fossil evidence of Denisovans and suggests modern humans coexisted with these close cousins in the region at the time. The fossil is the youngest Denisovan bone found to date, and researchers say modern Tibetans likely inherited a gene variant that helps them breathe at high altitudes from Denisovans.

Full Story: Science

Predator ruled Earth before dinosaurs arrived

A partial skull and backbone found with other fossil remains belong to a previously unidentified predator with sharp fangs and a wide flat head that dominated Earth’s waters 40 million years before dinosaurs’ arrival, according to a study in Nature. The salamanderlike tetrapod, named Gaiasia jennyae, was larger than a human, with a 60-centimeter-long skull, and its 280-million-year-old remains were discovered about 10 years ago in present-day Namibia, a region previously covered by ice and glaciers.

Full Story: The Associated Press

Shortcut to recycling clothing

Chemical and biomolecular engineers have developed a process to recycle textiles in a faster, less costly way, using a solvent that breaks the bonds of polyester to cotton, nylon or other materials. The process involves using zinc oxide as a catalyst and putting the clothing in a microwave. Flame-retardant chemicals block the bond-breaking mechanism and would have to be removed prior to processing.

Full Story: PhysOrg

Study links semaglutide to rare form of blindness

Researchers have found an increased risk of a rare form of blindness, non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy, in patients taking semaglutide medications like Ozempic and Wegovy, though the overall incidence of NAION remains very low. While the study suggests a link between semaglutide medications and NAION, it does not establish causation, and experts advise patients, particularly those with existing optic nerve issues, to discuss risks and benefits with their doctors.

Full Story: CNN

Brain map links neural activity to words

Researchers recruited 10 people with electrodes implanted in their brains — primarily to identify the source of their epilectic seizures — to record the activity of about 300 neurons as they listened to short sentences. They published a map of which neurons fired with which words, and researcher Ziv Williams said mapping overlapping sets of brain cells linked to words could lead to a “thesaurus of meaning.”

Full Story: Nature

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.Required fields are marked *