What Were the Consequences of Early Human & Neanderthal Interbreeding?


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Ealy modern humans left Africa about 80,000 to 50,000 years ago. The question has long been whether the physically stronger Neanderthals, who possessed the gene for language and may have played the flute, were a separate species or could have interbred with modern humans. The answer is yes, the two lived in close association.


Antarctica’s Dry Valleys Point to Posssible Mars Biology




The McMurdo Dry Valleys (image above) are a row of valleys west of McMurdo Sound, Antarctica, named because of their extremely low humidity and lack of snow and ice cover. Photosynthetic bacteria have been found living in the relatively moist interior of rocks. NASA scientists consider the Dry Valleys to be the closest of any terrestrial environment to Mars.


Tuesday’s Debate: Jared Diamond, “The Rise and Fall of the Third Chimpanzee”



"Think again of those astronomers who beamed radio signals into space from Arecibo, describing Earth's location and its inhabitants. In its suicidal folly that act rivalled the folly of the last Inca emperor, Atahuallpa, who described to his gold-crazy Spanish captors the wealth of his capital and provided them with guides for the journey. If there really are any radio civilizations within listening distance of us, then for heaven's sake let's turn off our own transmitters and try to escape detection, or we are doomed. Fortunately for us, the silence from outer space is deafening."

– Jared Diamond, "The Rise and Fall of the Third Chimpanzee"

What do you think?


Is Biological Immortality Possible? New Research Suggests “Yes”



Researchers from The University of Nottingham have demonstrated how a species of flatworm overcomes the ageing process to be potentially immortal. The discovery, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, may shed light on the possibilities of alleviating ageing and age-related characteristics in human cells.

"Asexual planarian worms demonstrate the potential to maintain telomere length during regeneration," says  Dr Aziz Aboobaker from the University's School of Biology. "Our data satisfy one of the predictions about what it would take for an animal to be potentially immortal and that it is possible for this scenario to evolve. The next goals for us are to understand the mechanisms in more detail and to understand more about how you evolve an immortal animal."


EcoAlert: Earth was Stifling Hot During Peak Age of Dinosaurs


The first maps of the Earth's forests plotted by scientists at Royal Holloway, University of London after creating a database of more than two thousand fossilised forest sites from the Cretaceous period, when dinosaurs were at their peak. The patterns of vegetation, together with information about the rate of tree growth, support the idea that the Earth was stifling hot 100 million years ago. High temperatures and possibly more atmospheric carbon dioxide caused forests to extend much closer to the poles and grow almost twice as fast as they do today. The findings have obvious implications for understanding the long-term effects of global warming.



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