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My Picks From ScienceDaily

Britain’s Last Neanderthals Were More Sophisticated Than We Thought:

An archaeological excavation at a site near Pulborough, West Sussex, has thrown remarkable new light on the life of northern Europe’s last Neanderthals. It provides a snapshot of a thriving, developing population – rather than communities on the verge of extinction.

Microscopic ‘Clutch’ Puts Flagellum In Neutral:

A tiny but powerful engine that propels the bacterium Bacillus subtilis through liquids is disengaged from the corkscrew-like flagellum by a protein clutch, Indiana University Bloomington and Harvard University scientists have learned. Their report appears in Science on June 20.

DNA Study Unlocks Mystery To Diverse Traits In Dogs:

What makes a pointer point, a sheep dog herd, and a retriever retrieve? Why do Yorkshire terriers live longer than Great Danes? And how can a tiny Chihuahua possibly be related to a Great Dane?

New Findings On Immune System In Amphibians:

Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) genes produce proteins that are crucial in fighting pathogen assault. Researchers from the Jagiellonian University in Krakow and from the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) characterized genetic variation and detected more than one MHC class II locus in a tailed amphibian. Unlike mammals, not much has been known until now about the immune defence of amphibians.

World’s Only Captive Hairy-nosed Otter Gets New Home:

Dara, the world’s only captive hairy-nosed otter, is one of the rarest of otter species. He was recently released into his new home in a wildlife center in…

Unlocking Genome Of World’s Worst Insect Pest:

Scientists from CSIRO and the University of Melbourne in Australia, and the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, are on the brink of a discovery which will facilitate the development of new, safe, more sustainable ways of controlling the world’s worst agricultural insect pest – the moth, Helicoverpa armigera.

Infant Play Drives Chimpanzee Respiratory Disease Cycles:

The signature boom-bust cycling of childhood respiratory diseases was long attributed to environmental cycling. However, the effect of school holidays on rates of social contact amongst children is increasingly seen as another major driver. New research on chimpanzees suggests that this effect of social connectivity on disease cycling may long predate attendance of children at schools, with chimpanzee infant mortality rates cycling in phase with rates of social play amongst infants.

High Hormone Levels In Seabird Chicks Prepare Them To Kill Their Siblings:

The Nazca booby, a Galápagos Island seabird, emerges from its shell ready to kill its brother or sister. Wake Forest University biologists and their colleagues have linked the murderous behavior to high levels of testosterone and other male hormones found in the hatchlings.

Desert Plant May Hold Key To Surviving Food Shortage:

Scientists at the University of Liverpool are investigating how a Madagascan plant could be used to help produce crops in harsh environmental conditions. The plant, Kalanchoe fedtschenkoi, is unique because, unlike normal plants, it captures most of its carbon dioxide at night when the air is cooler and more humid, making it 10 times more water-efficient than major crops such as wheat. Scientists will use the latest next-generation DNA sequencing to analyse the plant’s genetic code and understand how these plants function at night.