We trekked through the Bolivian Amazon, drenched in sweat. Draped head to toe in bug repellent gear, we stayed just ahead of the clouds of mosquitoes as we sidestepped roots, vines and giant ants. My local research assistant Dino Nate, my partner Kelly Rosinger and I were following Julio, one of my Tsimane’ friends and our guide on this day. Tsimane’ are a group of forager-horticulturalists who live in this hot, humid region. Just behind us, Julio’s three-year-old son floated happily through the jungle, unfazed by the heat and insects despite his lack of protective clothing, putting my perspiration-soaked efforts to shame.
The China National Space Administration (CNSA) has revealed the first images from Mars taken by its Zhurong rover, which arrived on the planet’s surface on Saturday. Scientists say that the shots — which show the rover with its solar panels unfurled and the ramp from its lander deployed — hint that it has arrived at a safe, ideal site from which it can begin exploring.
“The first images show, first and foremost, a terrain that will be easy to drive over,” says Alfred McEwen, a planetary scientist at the University of Arizona in Tucson.Read More »
A devastating earthquake that rocked the Indonesian island of Sumatra in 1861 was long thought to be a sudden rupture on a previously quiescent fault. But new research finds that the tectonic plates below the island had been slowly and quietly rumbling against each other for 32 years before the cataclysmic event.
This decades-long, silent earthquake—known as a “slow-slip event”—was the longest sequence of its kind ever detected. It was too subtle and gradual to be noticed during its course, but a new study indicates it may have precipitated the massive 1861 temblor of at least magnitude 8.5, which in turn triggered a tsunami that killed thousands of people. The new study could help today’s scientists watch for dangerous quakes more effectively.Read More »
Now that they know the general landing location of China’s Zhurong Mars rover, scientists are rushing to analyse satellite images and geological maps to pinpoint intriguing features. Of particular significance is a possible mud volcano — a type of landform that no Mars rover has visited before.
“We want to propose the plan for the rover,” says Xiao Long, a planetary geologist at the China University of Geosciences in Wuhan, who says scientists across China will now have the tantalizing opportunity to influence Zhurong’s journey.Read More »
More than 1.2 million coronavirus genome sequences from 172 countries and territories have now been shared on a popular online data platform, which is a testament to the hard work of researchers around the world during the pandemic.
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 »