Updated 1931 GMT (0331 HKT) February 9, 2020
A Snow Moon appeared at its fullest at 2:33 a.m. ET on Sunday, February 9.
According to the Farmers’ Almanac, northeastern Native American tribes referred to the second full moon of winter as the Snow Moon because of February’s heavy snow.
This month’s moon is also being called a supermoon by some experts, which means it will be one of the biggest moons of 2020 and will look especially large when rising and setting.
However, experts disagree on what constitutes a supermoon, according to EarthSky. While Fred Espenak, known as “Mr. Eclipse,” lists this weekend’s event as a supermoon, others argue it’s not, EarthSky says. Astrologer Richard Nolle counts this year’s first supermoon as occurring on March 9.
Frozen bird turns out to be 46000-year-old horned lark – EurekAlert
Scientists have recovered DNA from a well-preserved horned lark found in Siberian permafrost. The results can contribute to explaining the evolution of sub species, as well as how the mammoth steppe transformed into tundra, forest and steppe biomes at the end of the last Ice Age.
In 2018, a well-preserved frozen bird was found in the ground in the Belaya Gora area of north-eastern Siberia. Researchers at the Centre for Palaeogenetics, a new research center at Stockholm University and the Swedish Museum of Natural History, haves studied the bird and the results are now published in the scientific journal Communications Biology. The analyses reveals that the bird is a 46 000-year-old female horned lark.
“Not only can we identify the bird as a horned lark. The genetic analysis also suggests that the bird belonged to a population that was a joint ancestor of two sub species of horned lark living today, one in Siberia, and one in the steppe in Mongolia. This helps us understand how the diversity of sub species evolves,” says Nicolas Dussex, researcher at the Department of Zoology at Stockholm University.
The result has significance on another level as well. During the last Ice Age, the mammoth steppe spread out over northern Europe and Asia. The steppe was home to now extinct species such as the woolly mammoth and the woolly rhinoceros. According to one theory, this ecosystem was a mosaic of habitats such as steppe, tundra and coniferous forest. At the end of the last Ice Age, the mammoth steppe was divided into the biotopes we know today – tundra in the north, taiga in the middle and steppe in the south.
“Our results support this theory since the diversification of the horned lark into these sub species seems to have happened about at the same time as the mammoth steppe disappeared,” says Love Dalén, Professor at the Swedish Museum of Natural History and research leader at the Centre for Palaeogenetics.
In the slightly longer term the researchers´ ambition is to map the complete genome of the 46 000-year-old lark and compare it with the genomes from all sub species of horned larks.
“The new laboratory facilities and the intellectual environment at the Centre for Palaeogenetics will definitely be helpful in these analyses,” says Love Dalén.
The researchers at the Centre for Palaeogenetics have access to plenty of samples from similar findings from the same site in Siberia, including the 18 000-year-old puppy called “Dogor” which the researchers are are studying to determine if it is a wolf or a dog. Other findings include the 50 000-year-old cave lion cub “Spartak” and a partially preserved woolly mammoth.
Read the article in Communications Biology “Biomolecular analyses reveal the age, sex and species identity of a near-intact Pleistocene bird carcass” DOI 10.1038/s42003-020-0806-7
Visit the web site of the Centre for Palaeogenetics: palaeogenetics.com
Read more on the research at the new centre: Old genes in new centre https://www.su.se/english/research/research-news/old-genes-in-new-centre-1.484839
Love Dalén, Professor at the Swedish Museum of Natural History and research leader at the Centre for Palaeogenetics, firstname.lastname@example.org, phone: +46 (0)70 777 27 94
Nicolas Dussex, Researcher at the Department of Zoology, Stockholm University, and at the Centre for Palaeogenetics, email@example.com, phone: +46 (0)70 031 70 26
Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.
Well-preserved frozen bird found in Siberia is 46,000 years old – Tech Explorist
In 2018, a well-preserved frozen bird was found in the ground in the Belaya Gora area of north-eastern Siberia. Researchers at the Centre for Palaeogenetics, a new research center at Stockholm University and the Swedish Museum of Natural History, have studied the bird and found that the bird is a 46,000-year-old female horned lark.
Scientists recovered the DNA from the bird. The genetic analysis also suggests that the bird belonged to a population that was a joint ancestor of two sub species of horned lark living today, one in Siberia, and one in the steppe in Mongolia.
Nicolas Sussex, scientist at the Department of Zoology at Stockholm University, said, “The results can contribute to explaining the evolution of subspecies, as well as how the mammoth steppe transformed into the tundra, forest and steppe biomes at the end of the last Ice Age.”
“The study helps us understand how the diversity of subspecies evolves.”
The outcome has significance on another level too. During the last Ice Age, the mammoth steppe spread out over northern Europe and Asia. The steppe was home to now-extinct species, for example, the wooly mammoth and the wooly rhinoceros. As indicated by one hypothesis, this ecosystem was a mosaic of habitats, for example, steppe, tundra, and coniferous forest. Toward the finish of the last Ice Age, the mammoth steppe was divided into the biotopes we know today – tundra in the north, taiga in the middle, and steppe in the south.
Love Dalén, Professor at the Swedish Museum of Natural History, said, “Our results support this theory since the diversification of the horned lark into these sub species seems to have happened about at the same time as the mammoth steppe disappeared.”
In the future, scientists aim to map the complete genome of the 46,000-year-old lark and compare it with the genomes from all sub species of horned larks.
Love Dalén said, “The new laboratory facilities and the intellectual environment at the Centre for Palaeogenetics will be helpful in these analyses.”
The study is published in the journal Communications Biology.
NASA Reveals Shocking Ice Cap Melt in Antarctica After Record Heat – VICE
Two weeks ago, the temperature in Antarctica topped 18.3°C (64.9°F), making it the hottest weather on record for the icy southern continent. NASA has now released dramatic new images of the extensive ice melt caused by the recent heatwave, which ran from February 5 to 13.
Captured by NASA’s Landsat 8 satellite, the before-and-after snapshots expose the rapid greening of Eagle Island, a landmass at the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, over the course of nine days. The island is about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Esperanza Base, where the record-breaking temperature was recorded.
As the warm temperatures persisted, the island’s ice cap swiftly retreated and meltwater collected in pools that covered roughly a square mile. The heatwave shaved off about four inches of snow, a quarter of which melted on February 6, the day that broke the temperature record. In total, NASA estimates that this one heatwave caused 20 percent of the region’s entire seasonal snow accumulation to melt on Eagle Island.
“I haven’t seen melt ponds develop this quickly in Antarctica,” said Mauri Pelto, a glaciologist at Nichols College who has been studying the heatwave, in a NASA post. “You see these kinds of melt events in Alaska and Greenland, but not usually in Antarctica.”
The heatwave was particularly intense this year because of atypical weather patterns off the coast of South America. At the peak temperature, Antarctica was hotter than Orlando, Florida. As anomalous as that might sound, scientists expect it to become a more frequent occurrence due to the impacts of human-driven climate change.
This article originally appeared on VICE US.
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