News That Matters

Tag: Humans

Viruses affected gene flow between humans, Neanderthals

Viruses affected gene flow between humans, Neanderthals

Science
Oct. 4 (UPI) -- Previous studies have confirmed interbreeding among humans and Neanderthals. Now, a new genetic survey has revealed gene flow between humans and Neanderthals was mediated by viral transmissions. "It's not a stretch to imagine that when modern humans met up with Neanderthals, they infected each other with pathogens that came from their respective environments," David Enard, an assistant professor in ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Arizona, said in a news release. "By interbreeding with each other, they also passed along genetic adaptations to cope with some of those pathogens." Scientists think humans first interacted with Neanderthals in Eurasia, after migrating out of Africa 70,000 years ago. Humans brought viruses that Neanderthals had no natural im...
New 'zombie' gene found in elephants could help humans fight cancer

New 'zombie' gene found in elephants could help humans fight cancer

Health
They may not be the fastest or the smartest or even the scariest, but when it comes to beating cancer, elephants are the superheroes of the living world. It's a phenomenon that has baffled scientists since the 1970s. After all, at their size, they should have a much higher rate of the disease. The larger a living thing, the more the cells, and the more the cells, the more chance one of them turns out to be cancerous -- which is why tall people are more vulnerable to the disease than short people and why Marmaduke is much more likely to get cancer than the Taco Bell Chihuahua. And yet, cancer rates among elephants is less than 5 percent, comparable to the rates in much smaller animals. The lifetime cancer mortality rate for humans is about 20 percent. So what gives? With all those cells...
Climate change driven by humans made heatwave 'twice as likely'

Climate change driven by humans made heatwave 'twice as likely'

Science
Climate change resulting from human activities made the current Europe-wide heatwave more than twice as likely to occur, say scientistsResearchers compared the current high temperatures with historical records from seven weather stations, in different parts of Europe.Their preliminary report found that the "signal of climate change is unambiguous," in this summer's heat.They also say the scale of the heatwave in the Arctic is unprecedented.The scale and breadth of the current heat being experienced across Europe has prompted many questions about the influence of global warming on extreme events. To try and see if there is a connection, researchers looked at data from seven weather stations, in Finland, Denmark, Ireland, the Nethe...
Humans may have left Africa earlier than thought

Humans may have left Africa earlier than thought

Technology
Primitive humans may have ventured out of Africa earlier than previously thought, new evidence suggests.  Stone tools found during an excavation in China are thought to be about 270,000 years older than the previous earliest evidence of a human presence outside Africa.Chinese and British researchers believe the tools were made by another member of the homo evolutionary group, rather than homo sapiens, as much as 2.1 million years ago.Until now, the oldest evidence of human-like creatures outside the continent came from 1.8 million-year-old artefacts and skulls found in Dmanisi in Georgia.The newly discovered artefacts were found on a plateau north of the Qinling mountains and include several chipped rocks, fragments and hammer stones.The research, published in the jour...
Earliest evidence of humans outside Africa

Earliest evidence of humans outside Africa

Science
Scientists say they've found the earliest evidence of a human presence outside Africa.Ancient tools discovered in China suggest primitive humans were in the region as early as 2.12 million years ago.They are about 270,000 years older than the previous earliest evidence, which consists of bones and stone tools from Dmanisi in Georgia.The research, by a Chinese-British team, appears in the journal Nature.The stone artefacts were discovered at Shangchen on a plateau in northern China.They comprise different types of stone tools constructed for a variety of purposes. All show signs of having been used.Most were made of quartzite and quartz rock that probably came from the foothills of the Qinling Mountains, five to 10 km to the south of the dig site.But we do...