Wednesday, September 09, 2020

science news 9.9.2020

Today's selection of science news. Links are normally to press releases on EurekAlert (at the bottom end I may also add a couple of newspaper stories). I include quotes from the summary in italics in cases where the title alone doesn't reveal what the story is about. My own thoughts appear without italics if I have any.


Deep channels link ocean to Antarctic glacier
meaning warm water can lick it away


New fossil ape is discovered in India
A 13-million-year-old fossil unearthed in northern India comes from a newly discovered ape, the earliest known ancestor of the modern-day gibbon. The discovery fills a major void in the ape fossil record and provides important new evidence about when the ancestors of today's gibbon migrated to Asia from Africa.

Skeletal study suggests at least 11 fish species are capable of walking
See also my feature on evolution of lineages gaining or losing their legs

Thailand's cave angel fish, Cryptotora thamicola, is famous for its ability to walk, using a salamander-like gait. But it may not be alone: At least 10 relatives share its unusual pelvic shape.
Credit: Zachary Randall/Florida Museum


International study gets at the root of what makes deer migrate
Researchers found that the dynamics of springtime plant growth, specifically whether green-up progresses like a wave or not, explain where deer migration occurs in many ecosystems.

Gulls pay attention to human eyes
Herring gulls notice where approaching humans are looking, and flee sooner when they're being watched, a new study shows.
For a moment I thought the gulls were checking if you're watching your food ...


Lost frogs rediscovered with environmental DNA
Scientists have detected signs of a frog listed extinct and not seen since 1968, using an innovative technique to locate declining and missing species in two regions of Brazil.


High-intensity focused ultrasound _treatment_ for prostate cancer: First US study shows promising outcomes
The title originally didn't make it clear, but this is a new method of treating the cancer, instead of radiation or chemotherapy. It's not about diagnostic ultrasound.

Recharging N95 masks for continued usage
N95 masks achieve 95% efficiency at filtering out 0.3-micron particles, while maintaining reasonable breathability, thanks to a layer of polypropylene fibers incorporating electrical charges to attract particles. Extended usage and decontamination, provoked by severe shortages during the pandemic, can easily remove the charges and degrade filtration efficiency. In Physics of Fluids, researchers share a method to restore the filtration efficiency of N95 masks to out-of-box levels, as long as the mask is not structurally compromised.

Could singing spread COVID-19?
wear a mask, skip the consonants


The oldest Neanderthal DNA of Central-Eastern Europe
A new study reports the oldest mitochondrial genome of a Neanderthal from Central-Eastern Europe. The mitochondrial genome of the tooth, discovered at the site of Stajnia Cave in Poland, is closer to a Neanderthal specimen from the Caucasus than to the contemporaneous Neanderthals of Western Europe. Stone tools found at the site are also analogous to the southern regions suggesting that Neanderthals living in the steppe/taiga environment had a broader foraging radius than previously envisaged.

Ancient hunters stayed in frozen Northern Europe rather than migrating to warmer areas, evidence from Arctic fox bones shows


From the news media:

Oxford Covid vaccine trial on hold after adverse reaction in one participant.

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