Sunday, June 26, 2022

Science news: Fossils may rewrite history of evolution; first egg laying bird

Chicago area birds are nesting and laying eggs earlier than ever before. A mysterious meteor explodes over Papua New Guinea. A fossil can rewrite the evolutionary history of life on Earth. And a disturbing discovery about microplastics.

Joining “Chicago Tonight” to give us your insight into all the latest science headlines is University of Chicago paleontologist Neil Shubin.

Birds laying eggs earlier, may blame climate change

A new study published in the Journal of Animal Ecology finds that many birds in the Chicago area are laying their eggs and laying eggs much earlier than previously thought.

The researchers compared recent observations to centuries-old eggs preserved in the museum’s collection.

They determined that about a third of the bird species nesting in Chicago had increased their egg-laying by an average of 25 days. And as far as researchers can tell, the culprit in this shift is climate change.

“Egg collecting is such a fascinating tool for us to learn about bird ecology over time,” says John Bates, curator of birds at the Field Museum and lead author of the study. “I love the fact that this paper combines these old and modern datasets to look at these trends over about 120 years and really help answer important questions about how climate change is affecting birds.” “

Read more: These 100-year-old eggs from the Field Museum are shedding new light on climate change

interstellar meteor

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Meteors large and small are constantly bombarding Earth’s atmosphere, but in 2014 Harvard University researchers believe there is a very special meteor about the size of a dishwasher that burned in the skies over Papua New Guinea. .

He claimed the meteor originated from outside our solar system, based on information in a NASA database that uses data from US intelligence satellites that typically track missile launches. But those claims were initially met with skepticism and dismissed by astronomy magazine publishers on the grounds that there was insufficient public data to prove objects of alleged interstellar origin.

“We thought it was a lost cause,” one of the researchers, Amir Siraj, a Harvard graduate student studying astrophysics, told the New York Times.

But last month, the US Space Command issued a memo to NASA scientists to confirm that data from satellites used to track missile launches is “sufficient to pinpoint an interstellar trajectory” for the meteor. was accurate”.

Diverse lifeforms may have evolved earlier

Scientists at University College London believe that life on Earth may have begun 300 million years earlier than previously thought.

Their evidence is small filaments and tube formations in fist-sized rock from Quebec, Canada, estimated to be between 3.75 and 4.28 billion years old that appear to have been formed by bacteria.

According to the researchers, their findings suggest that a variety of microbial life may have existed on primitive Earth, potentially 300 million years after the planet formed.

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“This means that life could have started only 300 million years after the Earth was formed. Geologically, it is accelerated – about one revolution of the Sun around the Milky Way,” said lead author Dr. Dominic Papineau.

“These findings have implications for the possibility of extraterrestrial life,” Papinou said. “If life emerges relatively early, given the right conditions, it increases the chances of life on other planets being present.”

Microscopic plastic found in lungs of living humans

For the first time, scientists have found microplastic pollution deep in people’s lungs.

The disturbing discovery comes just a month after tiny plastic particles were detected in human blood. This is further evidence of the wide environmental distribution of microplastics found everywhere from the summit of Mount Everest to the oceans of Antarctica.

Researchers are concerned about the potentially harmful health effects of microplastics on humans.

“We did not expect to find the highest number of particles in the lower regions of the lungs or the size we found,” said Laura Sadofsky at Hull York Medical School in the UK, a senior author of the study. “This is surprising because the airways in the lower parts of the lungs are smaller and we expected that particles of these sizes would be filtered out or trapped before they got so deep.”


Nation World News Desk
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