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Tag: human

'Shocking' human impact reported on world's protected areas

'Shocking' human impact reported on world's protected areas

Science
One third of the world's protected lands are being degraded by human activities and are not fit for purpose, according to a new study.Six million sq km of forests, parks and conservation areas are under "intense human pressure" from mining, logging and farming.Countries rich and poor, are quick to designate protected areas but fail to follow up with funding and enforcement. This is why biodiversity in still in catastrophic decline, the authors say. Global efforts to care for our natural heritage by creating protected zones have, in general, been a huge conservation success story. Since the Convention on Biological Diversity was ratified in 1992, the areas under protect...
Global warming 'led to the start of the human race'

Global warming 'led to the start of the human race'

Technology
Global warming during a "greenhouse interval" ultimately led to the start of the human race, scientists believe.New research suggests that sea temperatures of around 25C (77F) and a lack of permanent polar ice sheets fuelled an explosion of species diversity that eventually led to the human race.Scientists made the discovery while looking for clues in tiny fossil shells in blocks of Shropshire limestone thought to be around 510 million years old.The timeframe is referred to as the Cambrian explosion, when representatives of all the major animal groups first appeared.The surge in diversity allowed life to evolve into a multitude of complex forms, including fish, reptiles, birds and mammals.Scientists previously thought the Cambrian explosion must have been fuelled by warm temperatures, but ...
Miniature human brain implants survive, grow inside mice for months

Miniature human brain implants survive, grow inside mice for months

Science
April 16 (UPI) -- Miniature human brains, or human brain organoids, can survive and grow after being implanted in the skulls of mice. It's the first time human cerebral organoids have been installed inside another species.Researchers describe the breakthrough in a new paper published Monday in the journal Nature Biotechnology.Scientists grew the pea-sized brains from stem cells and then placed them inside the skulls of mice. Researchers removed a small amount of tissue to make room for the miniature brains. Tiny, transparent windows in the skulls of the test mice allowed scientists to keep tabs on the brain implants -- the organoids were also designed to express a green fluorescent protein, causing them to glow inside the mice skulls.Roughly 80 percent of the implants were successfully rec...
More than half your body is not human

More than half your body is not human

Health
More than half of your body is not human, say scientists. Human cells make up only 43% of the body's total cell count. The rest are microscopic colonists.Understanding this hidden half of ourselves - our microbiome - is rapidly transforming understanding of diseases from allergy to Parkinson's.The field is even asking questions of what it means to be "human" and is leading to new innovative treatments as a result. "They are essential to your health," says Prof Ruth Ley, the director of the department of microbiome science at the Max Planck Institute, "your body isn't just you".No matter how well you wash, nearly every nook and cranny of your body is covered in microscopic creatures.This includes bacteria, viruses, fungi and archaea (organisms originally misclassified as bacteria). The grea...
Finger bone points to early human exodus

Finger bone points to early human exodus

Science
New research suggests that modern humans were living in Saudi Arabia about 85,000 years ago.A recently discovered finger bone believed to be Homo sapiens was dated using radio isotope techniques. This adds to mounting evidence from Israel, China and Australia, of a widespread dispersal beyond Africa as early as 180,000 years ago.Previously, it was theorised that Homo sapiens did not live continuously outside Africa until 60,000 years ago.The study is published in Nature Ecology and Evolution.Previous digs in the Arabian interior have uncovered tools which could have been used by early Homo sapiens. But skeletal evidence of their presence has been lacking.A trace of evidenceResearchers working at the Al Wusta site in Saudi Arabia came across a single intermediate phalanx (the middle of the ...