Scientists Crack the Macrauchenia Patachonica Case

Macrauchenia patachonica

The Macrauchenia patachonica lived during the last ice age and was recently added to the tree of life

Charles Darwin stumbled upon one of, what he called, the strangest animals ever encountered. The Macrauchenia patachonica was an extinct animal, whose fossils Darwin had found but neither him nor his colleague, Richard Owen, a British paleontologist, could figure it out. But now scientists have cracked down the Macrauchenia patachonica.

Scientists Crack the Macrauchenia Patachonica Case

The last member of the species died approximately 12,000 years ago. The Macrauchenia lived during the last ice age. It looked like a bulky camel without a hump, having the neck of a llama and a short trunk as a nose.

Ross MacPhee, study coauthor and a curator at the American Museum of Natural History, said about the animal that

“It was a fairly bulky quadruped, probably not very fleet of foot”.

He said that the most remarkable aspect of the Macrauchenia patachonica was its nose. The researchers do not know whether it was an actual trunk, as in the case of an elephant-like nose, or if it was more of an appendage, like the proboscis of a tapir, he added. Especially since the opening was, per MacPhee’s account, right between the eyes, not above its mouth.

In a previous study, for example, researchers tried to place the Macrauchenia patachonica on the tree of life by using ancient collagen. This was two years ago. MacPhee and his colleague, Michi Hofreiter, have built on the 2015-study by extracting mitochondrial DNA from a fossil found in South America. In addition to this, however, the researchers also used a different, new approach in order to recover the genome of the Macrauchenia patachonica.

Because the tests and results confirmed their hypothesis and approach, they have since included it in the tree of life, being related to the hypo, horse, and elephant. Their work regarding the Macrauchenia patachonica gave them hope for further research regarding other extinct species of whose fossils are still uncovered, discovered, and analyzed.

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The Lone Star Tick Bite Triggers Red Meat Allergy

tick bite triggers red meat allergy

The lone star tick bite triggers red meat allergy, immunologists say. They have yet to understand the underlying mechanisms for this situation

Immunologists have found an increased rate of meat allergy induced by the lone star tick. There isn’t much data on how the allergy is triggered or why the immune system triggers it, but there are worrisome reasons that urge healthcare agents to caution people that are bitten by this tick to carefully monitor any sort of joint or muscle pain or other signs of allergy.

This Tick Bite Triggers Red Meat Allergy

In the past 20 years, there have been increasing reports of people that, after a lifetime worth of meat eating, developed sudden meat allergy. And as Summers has set its sails, MDs and other health agents worry that the number of such cases will increase.

The reason for which this particular tick bite triggers red meat allergy is that red meat contains some protein-linked saccharides, among them the galactose-α-1,3-galactose. The alpha-gal is the main ingredient in triggering the meat allergy. This tick bite triggers red meat allergy which poses a life threating danger, as individuals can develop specific symptoms which, if not treated in due under specialized care, can kill them.

All that the researchers know is that the ticks feed on deer. When they bite humans, their victims are exposed to the alpha-gal allergen, which is found in the deer blood still present in the tick.  This is what Andrew Nickels, M.D., assistant professor of Medicine and Pediatrics and an allergist at ASAP, said.

 “A susceptible human’s immune system then develops molecules called IgE that are specific to the alpha-gal allergen. Once this occurs, they are prone to have allergic reactions”, he further said.

The alpha-gal syndrome is a recent discovery, having less than 10 years of research behind it. The tick bite allergy has been more tested in the recent period to help scientist understand how the tick bite triggers red meat allergy and how it changes the immune system’s reaction to the said protein. For the time being, however, there isn’t a cure that can help patients regain their normal red meat diet. But the symptoms can be controlled through diet, doctors hoping that it passes in time.

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Pictures Of Baby Animals Proven To Have Positive Effects On People

baby animals puppies

New research found that looking at pictures of baby animals could potentially improve relationships.

According to the latest study, looking at pictures of baby animals was proven to have a positive effect on people, possibly even going as far as helping somewhat improve their relationships.

The research team set out to determine if people could become ‘conditioned by repeated associations’. They did so to test out the theory that advances the following idea; can outside sources influence behavioral exchanges between partners?

As the team points out, misattributions processes can lead to an association between an event and a different source.

Baby Animals Pictures to Help Improve Relationships

The Florida State University research team employed the help of 144 married couples. These had been together for no more than 5 years, and the partners were younger than 40. Experiment participants were split into two groups. One of them, the control part, was shown “neutral” images.

The others were presented with “positive” stimuli, ones that showed them puppy pics and photographs of their spouses. It also used words such as “wonderful” or “superb”. The two groups were asked to view their stimuli three times a week, over 6 weeks.

Participants in “positive” incentives group returned a more “positive automatic reaction” to their partners when compared to those shown neutral images, such as a button. At the same time, the first category also presented an overall boost, and better relation, when compared to the beginning of the study. This applied even in cases when the situation was not that happy, to begin with, according to results.

“All the theory I reviewed on evaluative conditioning suggested it should, but existing theories of relationships, and just the idea that something so simple and unrelated to marriage could affect how people feel about their marriage, made me skeptical, ” stated James McNulty.

As such, McNulty, who is the study lead, also expressed his actual surprise at the positive results.

Study findings are available in the journal Psychological Science.

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Quantum Entanglement Can Lead to Faster and Safer Communication

quantum entanglement

A shot of the Milky Way. In it, quantum entanglement is an eerie phenomenon that scientists are trying to understand

Scientists have discovered a new way of sending tangled photons in such a way that they can observe directly and immediately if there is any sort of interference between the two. This is called quantum entanglement. And it is a breakthrough discovery that is a step forward in the evolution of cryptography and information transmission from end to end stations.

Quantum Entanglement – Definition and Explanation

Quantum entanglement was up until recently a sort of anomaly as far as standard physics is concerned. The bedrock rules are: nothing can travel faster than light and objects are only influenced by their immediate surroundings.

However, quantum entanglement breaks these rules because recent experiments have shown that it is possible to create entangled photons on a satellite orbiting 300 miles above Earth. And then sending them to two ground-based labs separated by 750 miles. Without losing the linkage of the entangled photons. This is a breakthrough because no one was able to produce quantum entanglement in space and be able to maintain it through the entire course of information transmission.

Jian-Wei Pan, a physicist at the University of Science and Technology of China in Shanghai, is the lead scientist behind this operation. His work can lead to better, faster and secure information sharing between two points. This, without the possibility of interfering with the said information.

“It’s a really stunning achievement, and I think it’s going to be the first of possibly many such interesting and exciting studies that this particular satellite will open up” (Shohini Ghose, a physicist at Wilfrid Laurier University in Canada)

Of course, there are still yet to be known factors, such as “how is quantum entanglement possible?”. And, out of 6 million photons, only 1 photon could be recovered. This in itself is still more promising that nothing. Ultimately, further research and the evolution of technology will lead to ways of understanding quantum entanglement. Then, to the means of creating it and harnessing its capabilities.

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Ancient Cat DNA – New Discoveries

Ancient cat DNA

Mutations in the ancient cat DNA lead to the next evolutionary step which brought us the modern cat

Scientists have discovered a staggering new thing about cats: that the domestication of cats started roughly 10,000 years ago, during the dawn of the Agricultural Age. This discovery was made during an expedition and analysis of 209 Ancient cat DNA samples taken from cats found in Hierakonpolis, Egypt. The study reveals the ways in which the Ancient wild cats took to human bonding.

Ancient Cat DNA Reveals Cat-Human Bonding

Naturally, it would be impossible to do away with the fact that it is highly unlikely for Ancient cats to bond with humans. But this was done because the wildcats hunted rodents feasting on the grain harvested by Neolithic farmers. Seeing that it was beneficial for them to keep the cats around, the Agricultural sapiens sought to make sure that cats remained in place.

The discovery was done a couple of years ago during research expeditions of Eva-Maria Geigl and her colleagues. According to her findings, the moment has its origins in modern-day Turkey. But, regardless of this, the process was a lengthy one.

As far as the research goes, it was only from and during the Middle Ages that some cats (the Felis silvestris) developed fur with patch-like patterns. And the next evolutionary step took place during the 19th, when they were bred to have fancy coats.

“This suggests that for a very long time, cats have not been subject to strong selection through breeding and that the present-day breeds, in particular, the fancy breeds, are mostly a modern ‘invention’ from the 19th century.” (Eva-Maria Geigl)

The process of sharing of the Ancient cat DNA started once with the commencement of trading. The main roots were Anatolia (corresponding with modern-day Turkey) and Egypt, later spreading through the Mediterranean. And, thus, everywhere humans would go, cats would follow. This, later, corresponded with the fact that these wildcats interbred with already present native cats. Thus, leading to mutations of certain genes within the Ancient cat DNA.

This is yet to be later covered. But it has sparked a, otherwise, postponed research initiative into the origins of the second most beloved pet after dogs.

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Massive Food Recalls Target Breaded Chicken And Pasta

massive food recalls chicken

Two massive food recalls both revolve around undeclared milk and target breaded chicken and spaghetti products.

Two massive food recalls have been announced over the weekend, one of them targeting breaded chicken products and the other spaghetti and meatball goods.

The breaded chicken products recall was issued by Tyson Foods Inc. and announced on June 09 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). On Friday, the authority revealed that the company issued a recall of almost 2,500,000 pounds of RTE (ready-to-eat) breaded chicken products.

These were recalled due to possible misbranding and also undeclared allergens. FSIS announced that such products contain milk, which is a very well known allergen but that is not declared on the label.

These RTE goods were produced and packaged over a larger period and on various dates from August 17, 2016, up to January 14, 2017. The FSIS release offers a complete list with the labels of the recalled products. These bear the “P-1325” establishment number inside the USDA’s mark of inspection.

The RTE breaded chicken goods were shipped nationwide. According to reports, the issues were detected on June 06, 2017, after a notification sent in by an ingredient supplier. Tyson Foods Inc. was notified that the bread crumbs it received and utilized in these RTE goods could potentially contain undeclared milk.

Presently, there are no confirmed cases of adverse reactions tied to these products. People should check and see if they purchased a recalled product. If they do, this should be thrown away or returned to its point of sale.

Two Massive Food Recalls Revolving Around Milk

The second of the two massive food recalls targets Conagra Brands Inc. spaghetti and meatball products. This includes over 700,000 pounds of such goods, also due to misbranding and potentially undeclared allergens. In its release, the FSIS points out the potential presence of milk, which was not declared on the product label.

These recalled goods were produced on January 05, 2017 and on January 12, 2017. They bear the “EST. 794M” establishment number inside the USDA’s mark of inspection. Conagra Brands’ products were also shipped nationwide. The issue was detected on the June 06, also by an ingredient supplier and targeted bread crumbs.

There are no confirmed cases of adverse reactions tied to the consumption of such products. Consumers that own recalled goods are urged not to consume them. Instead, they should be either thrown them away or return them to the place of purchase. A complete list of the labels to be recalled is available here.

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Sky Gazers Will Be Able To Spot A Strawberry Moon This Friday

strawberry moon

The Strawberry Moon is also called the minimoon and is the full moon period in June.

Friday, June 09, will be coming with a special treat for sky gazers as those interested will be able to spot and observe the Strawberry Moon. June’s full moon is known under a variety of names, but one of its most common appellation, the minimoon, comes from its particular position in its orbit.

For the first and only time in the year, the full moon in June will look slightly smaller than usual and significantly so when compared to a supermoon.

The Strawberry Moon, the Honey Moon, and Importantly, the Minimoon

This “Strawberry Moon” is also known as the “Honey Moon” thanks to its possible amber color. It is also called the “Rose Moon” or the “Planting Moon”. Most of these appellations come from Native American people, who used them to keep track of the changing month. However, they differ according to the local environment and customs and culture.

For example, Strawberry Moon comes from the native people living in Northeast U.S. This is the season in which wild strawberries ripened in their region. The Cherokees call this the “Green Corn Moon” as this is its growing season.

But its being known as the minimoon comes from the Moon’s orbit. In June, the full moon coincides or is near its apogee. It means that the natural satellite is at the farthest point in its orbit from Earth. This causes it to appear slightly smaller than it usually is. Also, minimoons may also seem a little less luminous when compared to most full moons.

The micromoon is also up to 14 percent smaller when compared to a supermoon. This latter occurs as the Moon is at its perigee, which means that the natural satellite is at its closest orbit point to Earth.

“The difference between the largest and smallest full moon is only 4 arcminutes, near the limit of what the naked eye can detect,” stated Ernie Wright, from the NASA Scientific Visualization Studio.

June’s full moon will reach its fullest phase at 1309 GMT or 09:09 a.m. Those wishing to make the most of this event are advised to check a moonset and moonrise calculator. The Strawberry Moon will be best seen in continental U.S. in the evening before and after its fullest phase.

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Sodium Content Was Noted To Be Falling Across The US

salt sodium content

A new study found that the sodium content of foods purchased across the US is falling.

According to a new study, sodium content levels have been falling across the United States as people are buying less sodium and also fewer packaged foods with high salt levels.

The research team claims that these are the results of combined actions from both the public and food manufacturers. Study results are available online in the JAMA Internal Medicine.

The Sodium Content is Falling, Is It Enough?

These new results are based on a long-term study carried out and involving the Nielsen Homescan Consumer Panel. It targeted the packaged food and beverage purchases from 2000 to 2014 of over 172,000 households. Research also took into account the nutritional label data of almost 1,500,000 products.

According to the research team, sodium content levels have been steadily falling across the targeted period. Overall, the median amount of sodium of the purchased goods accounts to 396 mg/per day/per person nowadays. Also, the salt content of such foods decreased by around 12 percent in the same period.

This new research notes that goods purchased nowadays also contain less salt than foods acquired at the beginning of the study. Food manufacturers have been reducing the sodium content of various products, from sauces and dips to condiments and even salty foods themselves.

Jennifer Poti and her colleagues, who conducted the study, stated that “almost all US households continue to have total packaged food purchases with excessive sodium density,” even if the overall amount is falling.

The research team states that the salt content of purchased foods is significantly lower than even in recent years. However, they also claim that these levels are still ‘higher than the recommended density’.

“Our findings support the need for more concerted nationwide efforts to accelerate the pace of sodium reduction,” states the team.

As it is, the researchers stress the need for further studies on the matter. They also point out the fact that lower sodium contents do not necessarily mean lower salt consumption levels.

This new research targeted the amount of salt in the purchased foods, so they point out the need to determine how this translates into the intake levels.

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Sunscreen And Other Ways Of Protecting The Skin From The Sun

woman protecting skin

Sunscreen and appropriate clothing are among the most useful ways of protecting the skin against the sun.

With summer just around the corner, it’s paramount to be prudent about protecting the skin from the sun. Sun protection is about much more than just avoiding a nasty burn. It’s about protecting oneself from skin cancer as well as premature aging.

According to some statistics, every 1 in 5 Americans could develop skin cancer in the course of their lifetime. When protecting the skin against the sun, people also prevent further, more serious problems as well.

Sunscreen is One of the Most Common Ways of Protecting the Skin

When it comes to protecting the skin from the sun, sunscreen is the most commonly used variant. It is also among the most widely available options. However, make sure you aren’t just choosing any sunscreen to slather on. People have to make sure this has an SPF of at least 15. SPF 15 is a safeguard against 93 percent of the sun’s UV rays. Anything less will likely not be enough to get the job done.

Sunscreen should be applied and used at least 30 minutes before going outside, so it has time to soak in. Also, use anytime after you get in the water or sweat heavily. It should also be reapplied every couple of hours.

Wearing protective clothing is also another way of avoiding sunburn. Although people tend to wear fewer clothes because of the heat, this is counter protective. They should wear long-sleeved but light shirts, hats, and sunglasses to protect themselves. If the heat gets to be too much in warm clothes, people should seek shaded areas where it’s easier to cool down.

Going outside is essential for the health and well-being. However, people should try avoiding the outdoors between the hours of 10 am and 2 pm, when the sun is at its strongest. If you do spend time outside during these hours, make sure to apply the suncream very liberally and seek shaded areas whenever possible.

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The Biggest Telescope In The World Is Now Officially Under Construction

the biggest telescope structure

The ELT is set to be the biggest telescope ever built in the world yet and should become operational in 2024.

The future biggest telescope in the world, named the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT), is now officially under construction as work on the device took off on May 26 in northern Chile. ESO or the European Southern Observatory expects to have it ready and functional sometime in 2024.

The ELT Will Be the As Yet Biggest Telescope in the World

The ELT will be housed by an 85-meter rotating dome, which started being raised near the Paranal Observatory. This marks the final leg of its journey, which began some 12 years ago. Over them, specialists planned and consulted as to the best methods and devices for raising this massive structure.

The telescope will be both infrared and optical. It will come with a primary mirror measuring coming very close to 128 feet. This will actually be composed of 798 smaller ones. Each will be shaped like a hexagon and about 2 inches thick. In total, they will have a light-collecting zone of 978 square meters.

The biggest telescope yet will be equipped with four major instruments. These are the HARMONI (High Angular Resolution Monolithic Optical and Near-infrared Integral field spectrograph) and the METIS (Mid-infrared ELT Imager and Spectrograph). It will also come with the MAORY (Multi-conjugate Adaptive Optics Relay for the ELT) and the MICADO (Multi-AO Imaging Camera for Deep Observations).

According to an ESO statement from Friday, it will be the “biggest eye” pointed towards the sky yet. Authorities also consider that it could help revolutionize our understanding and perception of the Universe.

“The ELT will produce discoveries that we simply cannot imagine today, and it will surely inspire numerous people around the world to think about science, technology and our place in the universe,” states Tim de Zeeuw, the ESO general director.

It could help offer new data on dark matter and dark energy. Also, it could bring new information on Earth-like exoplanets by probing them for signs of life. These are also just a few examples of the proposed uses of the ELT.

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