Working in a cave complex deep beneath South Africa's Malmani dolomites, an international team of scientists has brought to light an unprecedented trove of hominin fossils -- more than 1,500 well-preserved bones and teeth -- representing the largest, most complete set of such remains found to date in Africa.
The discovery of the fossils, cached in a barely accessible chamber in a subterranean labyrinth not far from Johannesburg, adds a new branch to the human family tree, a creature dubbed Homo naledi.
The remains, scientists believe, could only have been deliberately placed in the cave.
Are black voters more likely to vote for black candidates, regardless of political party affiliation? Not according to a paper by a scholar from the University of Cincinnati.
An independent report commissioned by the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) released yesterday has found bullying, sexual harassment and discrimination are commonplace in the culture of surgeons. Apologizing and committing to genuine action to address the “toxic culture” is a positive step, but the actual detox will require more radical surgery to some deeply held beliefs and a transplant of new attitudes about who is, and what it is to be, a doctor.-->
In the game of wheat genetics, Jorge Dubcovsky's laboratory at UC Davis has hit a grand slam, unveiling for the fourth time in a dozen years a gene that governs wheat vernalization, the biological process requiring cold temperatures to trigger flower formation.
Identification of the newly characterized VRN-D4 gene and its three counterpart genes is crucial for understanding the vernalization process and developing improved varieties of wheat, which provides about one-fifth of the calories and proteins that we humans consume globally.
The new study, reported online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, also shows how the spring growth habit in some wheat varieties traces back to ancient wheat that grew in what is now Pakistan and India.
The commonly prescribed antidepressant sertraline, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) marketed as Zoloft, may alter brain structures in depressed and non-depressed individuals in very different ways, according to new research conducted in monkeys. It significantly increased the volume of one brain region in depressed subjects but decreased the volume of two brain areas in non-depressed subjects.
In the study, 41 middle-aged female monkeys were fed a diet formulated to replicate that consumed by many Americans for 18 months, during which time depressive behavior in the animals was recorded. Female monkeys were chosen for this study because depression is nearly twice as common in women as men and the use of antidepressants is most common in women ages 40 to 59.
Every now and then you get a 3-1, 86 mph fastball down the middle of the plate. You just have to swing.
This exact pitch was thrown in Washington this week. Not the Nationals. By the Post. They ran a superbly silly story this week entitled "The dirtiest places on an airplane, ranked." I swung.-->
A table-top interferometer will not be able to detect gravity waves because there is too much noise in the surrounding environment and you need a really big laser interferometer to distinguish between gravitational waves and such mundane things as earthquakes, traffic passing by, or someone dropping a coffee mug in the kitchen. The LIGO, or Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, is an interferometer whose arms are four kilometers (well-nigh 2.5 miles) long.-->
As we grow older, we lose strength and muscle mass. However, the cause of age-related muscle weakness and atrophy has remained a mystery.
Scientists at the University of Iowa have discovered the first example of a protein that causes muscle weakness and loss during aging. The protein, ATF4, is a transcription factor that alters gene expression in skeletal muscle, causing reduction of muscle protein synthesis, strength, and mass. The UI study also identifies two natural compounds, one found in apples and one found in green tomatoes, which reduce ATF4 activity in aged skeletal muscle. The findings, which were published online Sept. 3 in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, could lead to new therapies for age-related muscle weakness and atrophy.
The misery of motion sickness could be ended within five to ten years thanks to a new treatment being developed by scientists.
The cause of motion sickness is still a mystery but a popular theory among scientists says it is to do with confusing messages received by our brains from both our ears and eyes, when we are moving. It is a very common complaint and has the potential to affect all of us, meaning we get a bit queasy on boats or rollercoasters. However, around three in ten people experience hard-to-bear motion sickness symptoms, such as dizziness, severe nausea, cold sweats, and more.
News that Sydney Swans star Lance “Buddy” Franklin, arguably the biggest name in the Australian Football League (AFL), is experiencing a mental health condition has garnered a lot of media attention. His story highlights not only the persistent stigma surrounding mental illness, but the potential of sport to help tackle it.-->
High levels of saturated fat in the blood could make an individual more prone to inflammation and tissue damage, a new study suggests.
Received wisdom on the health risks of eating saturated fat has been called into question recently. This new research supports the view that excessive consumption of saturated fat can be bad for us.
Scientists from Imperial College London studied mice that have an unusually high level of saturated fat circulating in their blood. The research, published today (3 September 2015) in Cell Reports shows that the presence of saturated fats resulted in monocytes - a type of white blood cell - migrating into the tissues of vital organs.
Contrary to popular belief, the worst injuries baseball catchers face on the field come from errant bats and foul balls, not home-plate collisions with base runners, according to findings of a study led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
The research, done in collaboration with Baltimore Orioles trainers Brian Ebel and Richard Bancells, involved analysis of all catcher injuries during major league baseball games over a 10-year period.
Researchers have identified a mutation in plants that allows them to break down TNT, an explosive that has become highly prevalent in soil in the last century, particularly at manufacturing waste sites, mines, and military conflict zones.
TNT, or 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene, is a toxic and persistent environmental pollutant that accumulates in the roots of plants, inhibiting growth and development. The identification of a plant mechanism that not only evades the negative impacts of TNT, but breaks down this harmful substance could lead to improved revegetation and remediation of TNT-contaminated sites.
Green frogs in the suburbs are seeing a gender revolution.
A new Yale study shows that estrogen in suburban yards is changing the ratio of male and female green frogs at nearby ponds. Higher levels of estrogen in areas where there are shrubs, vegetable gardens, and manicured lawns are disrupting frogs' endocrine systems, according to the study. That, in turn, is driving up the number of female frogs and lowering the number of male frogs.
The research appears in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. It is based on tests conducted at 21 ponds in southwestern Connecticut in 2012.
A team of researchers that has spent years searching for the earliest objects in the universe now reports the detection of what may be the most distant galaxy ever found. Adi Zitrin, a NASA Hubble Postdoctoral Scholar in Astronomy, and Richard Ellis, a professor of astrophysics at University College, London, have described evidence for a galaxy called EGS8p7 that is more than 13.2 billion years old.
The universe itself is about 13.8 billion years old.
A new study has revealed the presence of radioactive contaminants in coal ash from all three major U.S. coal-producing basins - levels of radioactivity in the ash were up to five times higher than in normal soil, and up to 10 times higher than in the parent coal itself because of the way combustion concentrates radioactivity.
The finding raises concerns about the environmental and human health risks posed by coal ash, which is currently unregulated and is stored in coal-fired power plants' holding ponds and landfills nationwide.
Many parents and caregivers believe that multi-sensory stimulation during infancy promotes developmental growth and learning, but researchers who conducted eye movement experiments on preverbal infants show that this is not always true.
The team discovered that 8 to 10 month old infants could learn basic abstract rules, such as sequences, but only when the audio and visual stimuli were “congruently” or “consistently” paired. If a smiling face was paired with a crying sound, the infants were confused, and they did not learn the rule.
The findings indicate that having both visual and audio inputs—or more than one sensory stimulation—does not guarantee successful learning. They have to match each others’ nature.