Scientists have sequenced the oldest Homo sapiens DNA on record, showing that many of Europe’s first humans had Neanderthals in their family trees. Yet these individuals are not related to later Europeans, according to two genome studies of remains dating back more than 45,000 years from caves in Bulgaria and the Czech Republic1,2.
The research adds to growing evidence that modern humans mixed regularly with Neanderthals and other extinct relatives, says Viviane Slon, a palaeogeneticist at the University of Tel Aviv in Israel. “It’s different times, different places, and it happens again and again.”Read More »
Muons keep on misbehaving. An experiment in the United States has confirmed an earlier finding that the particles — massive, unstable cousins of the electron — are more magnetic than researchers originally expected. If the results hold up, they could ultimately force major changes in theoretical physics and reveal the existence of completely new fundamental particles.Read More »
After a two-decade wait that included a long struggle for funding and a move halfway across a continent, a rebooted experiment on the muon — a particle similar to the electron but heavier and unstable — is about to unveil its results. Physicists have high hopes that its latest measurement of the muon’s magnetism, scheduled to be released on 7 April, will uphold earlier findings that could lead to the discovery of new particles.Read More »
What is a derecho? An atmospheric scientist explains these rare but dangerous storm systems
Thunderstorms are common across North America, especially in warm weather months. About 10% of them become severe, meaning they produce hail 1 inch or greater in diameter, winds gusting in excess of 50 knots (57.5 miles per hour), or a tornado.
The U.S. recently has experienced three rarer events: organized lines of thunderstorms with widespread damaging winds, known as derechos.
Derechos occur mainly across the central and eastern U.S., where many locations are affected one to two times per year on average. They can produce significant damage to structures and sometimes cause “blowdowns” of millions of trees. Pennsylvania and New Jersey received the brunt of a derecho on June 3, 2020, that killed four people and left nearly a million without power across the mid-Atlantic region.Read More »
Planet Nine is dead; long live Planet Nine? For some years, scientists have debated the existence of an unseen planet at least five times the mass of Earth in the outer reaches of the Solar System. Now, the hypothesis has been dealt a blow by a new analysis of distant, icy objects, which questions the evidence that they are under the gravitational pull of a huge planet.
The findings do not rule out the possibility of a ninth planet orbiting the Sun, and astronomers say more data will be needed to put the debate to rest.Read More »
Art can be a powerful medium for exploring the deeper meaning of scientific endeavours. Collaborations between scientists and artists are under way around the world, and daily postings to social media with the #SciArt hashtag suggest that the often-disparate domains are merging in fresh and exciting ways. Although many such collaborations aim mainly to engage and educate the general public about science, scientists and artists are recognizing that creative partnerships can turn science into captivating art.Read More »
The million-year-old genome is here. Mammoth teeth preserved in eastern Siberian permafrost have produced the oldest ancient DNA on record, pushing the technology close to — but perhaps not past — its limits.
Genomic DNA extracted from a trio of tooth specimens excavated in the 1970s has identified a new kind of mammoth that gave rise to a later North American species. The findings were published in Nature on 17 February1.Read More »