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Killer of 400 cats thought to be a man in his 40s, but real culprits aren't human

Killer of 400 cats thought to be a man in his 40s, but real culprits aren't human

World
The mystery behind the killing and mutilation of more than 400 cats in London has been solved after a three-year investigation. The identity of the so-called "Croydon cat killer," named after a section of London, was thought by some to be a white male in his 40s but it turns out the culprits are cars and foxes, the Metropolitan Police found. “Following a thorough examination of the available evidence, officers working alongside experts have concluded that hundreds of reported cat mutilations in Croydon and elsewhere were not carried out by a human and are likely to be the result of predation or scavenging by wildlife on cats killed in vehicle collisions,” police said. The investigation into the cat killings was launched in September 2015 when Ukiyo, a 4-year-old ragdoll...
Goats 'drawn to happy human faces'

Goats 'drawn to happy human faces'

Science
Scientists have found that goats are drawn to humans with happy facial expressions. The result suggests a wider range of animals can read people's moods than was previously thought. The team showed goats pairs of photos of the same person, one of them featuring an angry expression, and the other a happy demeanour. The goats in the study made a beeline for the happy faces, the researchers report in the journal Open Science.The result implies that the ability of animals to perceive human facial cues is not limited to those with a long history of working as human companions, such as dogs and horses.Instead, it seems, animals domesticated for food production, such as goats, can also decipher human facial cues.The study was carried o...
First human trial of live, weakened Zika vaccine underway

First human trial of live, weakened Zika vaccine underway

Health
Aug. 16 (UPI) -- The first clinical trial of a live, weakened Zika vaccine in humans has begun, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases announced on Thursday. The vaccine for Zika, a disease mainly spread by mosquitoes, was developed by scientists at the NIAID, the agency announced. NIAIA is sponsoring the trial among 28 healthy, non-pregnant adults ages 18 to 50 at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Center for Immunization Research in Baltimore, Md., and at the Vaccine Testing Center at the Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont in Burlington. Twenty participants will receive the Zika vaccine and eight will get a placebo, according to ClinicalTrials.gov. No licensed vaccines for Zika virus infection are available, although several are ...
Being human: Big toe clung on longest to primate origins

Being human: Big toe clung on longest to primate origins

Science
Scientists have found that our big toe was one of the last parts of the foot to evolve, a study suggests.As our early ancestors began to walk on two legs, they would also have hung about in trees, using their feet to grasp branches. They walked differently on the ground, but were still able to move around quite efficiently. The rigid big toe that eventually evolved gives efficient push-off power during walking and running.The findings have been published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In this new study, scientists made 3D scans of the toe bone joints from living and fossil human relatives, including primates such as apes and monkeys, and then compared them to modern day humans. They overla...
Researchers isolate ancient parvovirus from human remains

Researchers isolate ancient parvovirus from human remains

Science
July 13 (UPI) -- Scientists have isolated an ancient sample of the parvovirus from human remains, which could provide researchers with detailed knowledge of extinct genetic diversity and viral phylodynamics. An international collaborative of researchers recently reported their analysis of ancient human parvovirus samples taken from the dental and skeletal remains of 1,578 people who lived between 500 and 6,900 years ago. They published the findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Airborne and bloodborne human parvovirus B19 is responsible for multiple illnesses, including the childhood rash known as fifth disease, chronic anemia in AIDS patients, arthritis in the elderly, aplastic crisis in people with bone marrow-related illness and hydrops fetalis in pregnant wo...