Month: December 2022

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Mini brains grown in a lab from stem cells spontaneously developed rudimentary eye structures, scientists reported in a fascinating 2021 paper. On tiny, human-derived brain organoids grown in dishes, two bilaterally symmetrical optic cups were seen to grow, mirroring the development of eye structures in human embryos. This incredible result could help us to better
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Cloaked by the shadows of enchanting Asian woodlands, strange growths can be seen peeking out from between leaf litter like the ghosts of long-dead flowers. The plant’s foliage lacks green pigment having forsaken photosynthesis in favor of an alternative source of nutrients on the forest floor, one stolen from fungi many other plants consider friends
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Catastrophic floods, crop-wilting droughts, and record heatwaves this year have shown that climate change warnings are increasingly becoming reality, and this is “just the beginning”, experts say, as international efforts to cut planet-heating emissions founder. The year did see some important progress, with major new legislation, particularly in the United States and Europe, as well
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In re-examining artifacts from a significant 4,000-year-old Bronze Age burial site near Stonehenge in the UK, archaeologists discovered a toolkit for working with gold objects and coatings that hadn’t previously been identified. The site of the find, the Upton Lovell G2a ‘Wessex Culture’ burial area, was excavated more than 200 years ago and is crucial
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The leading risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease in the United States appears to have shifted over the past decade. Back in 2011, the most prominent, modifiable risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease was physical inactivity, followed by depression and smoking. According to a recent cross-sectional analysis, however, physical inactivity is now second to obesity when it
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Invasive species have a notorious ability to spread rapidly through unprepared ecosystems, wreaking havoc along their way. The Asian hornet (Vespa velutina), is no exception, expanding its habitat by more than 80 kilometers (50 miles) a year while preying on honeybees, hoverflies and other insects. Nearly 20 years ago, the beefy little stingers – often
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Holiday favorite mistletoe – the kissing plant – hides a secret behind its romantic persona. It’s actually a hemi-parasite that attacks living trees. Phoradendron, a genus of mistletoe often used to decorate doors, aptly translates to Greek for “thief of the tree”. Descended from sandalwood, mistletoe has diversified into over a thousand global species. While
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An ancient and well-preserved skeleton – potentially a remnant of a ritual sacrifice practiced over 5,000 years ago – was discovered by archeologists in Denmark. Researchers at ROMU, an organization representing 10 museums in Denmark, had been excavating on the site of a planned housing development in the Egedal Municipality, near Copenhagen. During their survey,
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Scientists have discovered markers of Alzheimer’s disease in the brains of three different species of dolphin found deceased, stranded onshore. Evidence of mass cetacean strandings exists from before our own recorded history, yet why dolphins and whales beach themselves in groups is an enduring mystery. While a direct link has been found between naval sonar
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Around 120 million years ago, four-winged dinosaurs roughly the size of crows called Microraptors stalked the ancient woodlands of what is now China. While researchers have studied several Microraptor specimens, there’s still a lot we don’t know about these feathered bird-like creatures – including what and how they ate. Now an incredibly rare fossil has
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Mineral samples collected from the asteroid Ryugu continue to be a treasure trove of interesting information for scientists, with a new analysis revealing the object’s birth place. It turns out Ryugu originated towards the outer reaches of the Solar System, where comets usually form. A large team of researchers headed by a team from Hokkaido
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Scientists have discovered a new way to break apart ‘forever chemicals’, the notoriously stubborn pollutants that contaminate our waterways and threaten public health, contributing to a growing list of potential methods of dealing with the long-lived compounds. News of a simple, low-energy way to degrade some, but not all, forever chemicals came in August from