Today’s stories range from Who Were the Fist Humans to Our Search for Quantum Meaning to a 419-Million-Year-Old Chinese Fossil Shows Human Middle Ear Evolved From Fish Gills, and much more.
Humanity left an irreversible imprint upon Earth’s rocks, reports Andrew Curry for National Geographic. Here’s how. Studying everything from atomic bomb fallout to pesticide residues, scientists are close to defining the start of the Anthropocene—the geologic age of human impact.
Geology from 50 Light-Years: Webb Gets Ready to Study Rocky Worlds, reports NASA. Imagine if Earth were much, much closer to the Sun. So close that an entire year lasts only a few hours. So close that gravity has locked one hemisphere in permanent searing daylight and the other in endless darkness. So close that the oceans boil away, rocks begin to melt, and the clouds rain lava.
We know Homo sapiens were not the first humans. Who were? asks The Genetic Literacy Project. “Getting to the bottom of this is more complicated than it appears, says Tanya Smith, a human evolutionary biologist at Griffith University. Alongside fossils and other archaeological remains, traces of Neanderthals and Denisovans are found today as stretches of DNA in our genome, remnants of interbreeding through the ages — not just with us, but with each other too.
A Source of Comfort in Our Search for Quantum Meaning –Effective theories in physics can help us measure and examine reality, despite the many things we do not yet know, reports Harvard Physicist Lisa Randall for The New York Times.
Before Brains: This Animal’s Behavior Is Mechanically Programmed –Biomechanical interactions, rather than neurons, control the movements of one of the simplest animals. The discovery offers a glimpse into how animal behavior worked before neurons evolved, reports Quanta.
Flamingos stand on just one leg, and physics is the surprising reason why–There’s an enormous evolutionary advantage for flamingos to stand on one leg, but genetics doesn’t help. Only physics explains why, reports Big Think.
The Spooky Quantum Phenomenon You’ve Never Heard Of –Quantum computers may derive their power from the “magical” way that properties of particles change depending on the context, reports Quanta.
Beach Currents Don’t Have to Be This Deadly–Every year, hundreds of people drown after getting sucked into jets of seawater. Warning signs on their own can only do so much, reports The Atlantic.
Chinese scientists want to build a powerful telescope to find dark matter.The ambitious project – known as VLAST – aims to achieve 10 times the sensitivity of Nasa’s Fermi Large Area Telescope. Researchers say it could go into orbit by the end of this decade, but it still needs government approval, reports South China Morning Post.
419-Million-Year-Old Chinese Fossil Shows Human Middle Ear Evolved From Fish Gills, reports SciTechDaily. “Embryonic and fossil evidence proves that the human middle ear evolved from the spiracle of fishes. However, the origin of the vertebrate spiracle has long been an unsolved mystery in vertebrate evolution.”
Earth’s Core is Speeding Up and Slowing Down, reports Phil Plait for SyFy Wire. “A lot of what’s happening is just plain weird. For example, we know that the solid inner core of the Earth spins at a slightly different rate than the rest of the planet. Research from about 20 years ago showed it rotates a wee bit faster, moving ahead of the rest of the planet by about a degree per year, which meant it would lap the outer part of the planet’s rotation every 360 years or so. But a new paper just published shows this isn’t quite the case.”
A Roman-era ‘superhighway’ is disappearing. Italy has a plan to save it –The Appian Way symbolized the Roman Empire’s might. Now Italy is restoring the ancient road, hoping to create a pilgrimage route through history.
Comet twice the size of Mount Everest to pass by Earth next month –Dubbed C/2017 K2 (PanSTARRS), this colossal comet will make its closest approach to Earth on July 14 and will be close to the Sun on December 19, reports The Jerusalem Post.
A Chinese Telescope Did Not Find an Alien Signal. The Search Continues. China’s astronomers have been initiated into the search for extraterrestrial intelligence with the kind of false alarm that others in the field have experienced for decades, reports The New York Times.
Fossil-finding ants amass huge haul of ancient creatures –Paleontologists have just discovered 10 new species of ancient mammal thanks to the tiny mound-building insects, reports National Geographic.
Scientists head to one of the foggiest places on Earth to study mysterious phenomenon–Fog can be predicted only a few hours in advance, if at all, because it’s not well understood what causes it, reports The CBC.
Greek has at least 4 words for love. Arabic has 11. Here’s what they have in common. You can love a romantic partner, but also a pet, a book, God, or the sound of someone’s voice. We need many more words for love, reports Big Think.
Biologist Debunks The One Big Myth About Ostriches Burying Their Head In Sand, reports Thor Hanson in a Wired Video that answers all kinds of questions thrown at him from the Internet, including why corals are considered animals and a list of deadly plants you should always avoid.
On alien worlds, exotic form of ice may transport nutrients to hidden oceans, reports Keith Cooper for Space.com. A high-pressure form of water ice known as ice VII has been shown to be capable of transporting salts rather than expelling them.
A New Physics? At a 4,000-meter-long lab facility more than a mile beneath Russia’s Caucasus mountains, an experiment involving close to two dozen metallic disks composed of a rare radioisotope has revealed an anomaly that could reshape our understanding of physics.
Single Brain Scan Can Diagnose Alzheimer’s Disease Quickly and Accurately, reports SciTechDaily. New research breakthrough uses machine learning technology to look at structural features within the brain, including in regions not previously associated with Alzheimer’s.
Curated by The Daily Galaxy Editorial Staff