Keep your brain moving.
A tumbl about learning how to think, Naturopathic Medicine, aaaannd- of course- kittens.
Over 75% of Large Predators Declining
by Jeremy HanceThe world’s top carnivores are in big trouble: this is the take-away message from a new review paper published today in Science. Looking at 31 large-bodied carnivore species (i.e those over 15 kilograms or 33 pounds), the researchers found that 77 percent are in decline and more than half have seen their historical ranges decline by over 50 percent. In fact, the major study comes just days after new research found that the genetically-unique West African lion is down to just 250 breeding adults…
(read more: MongaBay)
photo by Sam Fraser-Smith, Kirsten Abley, and Norman S. Smith
'Elephant Shark' Takes Record for Slowest Evolution
by Bob Homes
It’s a living fossil to beat all others. The elephant shark, Callorhinchus milii, has the slowest-evolving genome of any vertebrate.
C. milii is not actually a true shark but belongs to a group known as ratfish, which diverged from sharks about 400 million years ago. When a team led by Byrappa Venkatesh of the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology in Singapore compared its genome with those of other vertebrates, they found it had changed less from its presumed ancestral form than any other.
C. milii outstrips the coelacanth, the fish that previously held the slow-evolution record.
Such limited change means the elephant shark’s genome is the closest yet to that of the first jawed vertebrate, which lived more than 450 million years ago and gave rise to many modern animals including humans. It makes the elephant shark an important reference point for unlocking how this long-lost ancestor evolved. As well as jaws, the earliest fish pioneered bony skeletons and a sophisticated immune system, but it is not known when or how these features appeared…
(read more: New Scientist)
photo: Kelvin Aitken/V and W/Image Quest Marine
Ancient European Genomes Reveal Jumbled Ancestry
Mysterious peoples from the north and Middle Easterners joined prehistoric locals.
by Ewen Callaway
Newly released genome sequences from almost a dozen early human inhabitants of Europe suggest that the continent was once a melting pot in which brown-eyed farmers encountered blue-eyed hunter-gatherers.
Present-day Europeans, the latest work shows, trace their ancestry to three groups in various combinations: hunter-gatherers, some of them blue-eyed, who arrived from Africa more than 40,000 years ago; Middle Eastern farmers who migrated west much more recently; and a novel, more mysterious population whose range probably spanned northern Europe and Siberia.
That conclusion comes from the genomes of 8,000-year-old hunter-gatherers — one man from Luxembourg and seven individuals from Sweden — as well as the genome of a 7,500-year-old woman from Germany. The analysis, led by Johannes Krause of the University of Tübingen, Germany, and David Reich of Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, was posted on the biology preprint website bioRxiv.org on 23 December 20131. The results have not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal…
(read more: Nature)
image: De Agostini Picture Library/Getty Images
Beware the 16-Foot Snow Shark!
by Sarah Laskow
The Bartz brothers, of New Brighton, Minn., have developed an annual tradition of building giant, sea-themed snow creatures.
It all began with the five-foot tall Puffy the Pufferfish. In 2012, they upped the ante and made a giant snow walrus. Now, older and increasingly ambitious, the brothers have made a giant snow shark…
(Go here to see them all: Grist.org)
Abandoned Military Hospital in Beelitz, Germany
The large complex was built at the end of the 1800s and helped Adolf Hitler recuperate from a leg wound incurred at the Battle of Somme in 1916. Parts of the complex remain in operation but most were abandoned after the Soviets withdrew from the hospital in 1995.
Taking a vacation to the island of Lesbos can have a strange effect on a girl…