AS WEEDS GO, Arabidopsis thaliana is a rather charming specimen. On a spring day, you might see it sprouting from the cracks of a parking lot, unleashing a small riot of white flowers that give it the common name “mouse ear cress.” But its rotund leaves often bear unwelcome passengers: among them, a bacteria called Pseudomonas syringae. It sits there looking for a way into the plant, usually the stomata through which the leaf takes in water and carbon dioxide, or through a wound. That’s when things get interesting.
Woolly mammoths were icons of the Ice Age. Starting 700,000 years ago to just 4,000 years ago, they trundled across the chilly steppe of Eurasia and North America. As ancient glaciers expanded across the Northern Hemisphere, these beasts survived the rapidly cooling temperatures with cold-resistant traits, a characteristic they came by not through evolution, as earlier thought. Woolly mammoths, a new Nature study finds, inherited the traits that made them so successful from a mammoth species closer to a million years old.
Northern Europeans who speak Uralic languages, such as Estonian and Finnish, can thank ancient migrating Siberian populations for their dialects, according to a fascinating new study that combined genetics, archaeology, and linguistics. Continue reading Analysis of Ancient DNA Suggests Finnish and Estonian Languages Came From Siberia
If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then scent, as revealed by a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is in not only a smeller’s nose, but their DNA. Continue reading New Study Reveals How One Person’s ‘Smellscape’ Can Differ From Another’s
Researchers working off the coast of Mexico have discovered evidence of arsenic-breathing life in oxygen-starved waters. These resilient microbes are a vestige of Earth’s ancient past, but they could also be a sign of things to come under the influence of climate change. Continue reading Evidence of Arsenic-Breathing Microbial Life Found in Pacific Ocean
When she was eight years old, Jo Cameron broke her arm and didn’t tell anyone for days; it just wasn’t bothering her. In the six-odd decades since, she has sustained numerous injuries and felt barely any pain. Sometimes, she accidentally leans on her stove, only to notice when she smells burning flesh. Continue reading A Scottish Woman Doesn’t Feel Pain or Stress. Now Researchers Think They Know Why
When a mosquito lands and your arm and starts taking a drink, it’s not just an unhappy accident. Mosquitoes use an array of chemical neuroreceptors to track down their next blood meal. Now, researchers have identified a key receptor that detects the lactic acid in human sweat, a finding that could eventually help people avoid becoming fast food for the insects. Continue reading Mosquitoes Can Smell Your Sweat