Scientists in Hamilton say they have found a way to dissolve the rubber used in car tires, which could help keep what is typically a single-use item out of landfills.
In a study released today, researchers at McMaster University say their method could reduce the environmental and safety hazards related to stockpiled tires.
They say the properties that make tires durable on the road also make them difficult to break down and repurpose, so most end up in landfills and storage facilities, eventually leaching contaminants into the environment.
The new process, however, allows old tires to be turned into new products, potentially new tires.
The chemists say it works by breaking the sulfur-to-sulfur bond in the tire material.
They note, however, that the process is expensive for industrial applications.
“This is the first major step,” Michael Brook, the study’s lead author and a professor in the department of chemistry and chemical biology at McMaster, said in a statement.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 13, 2020
The Canadian Press
Ice age bird found frozen in Siberia dates back 46,000 years – The Loop
Scientists studying the remarkably well-preserved remains of an Ice Age bird have identified the specimen as a horned lark.
Buried and frozen in permafrost near the village of Belaya Gora in north-eastern Siberia, the bird was discovered by local fossil ivory hunters, who passed it on to a team of experts, including Nicolas Dussex and Love Dalén from the Swedish Museum of Natural History, for testing.
Radiocarbon dating revealed the bird lived around 46,000 years ago, and genetic analysis identified it as a horned lark (Eremophila alpestris), according to a paper published Friday in the journal Communications Biology.
Dalén told CNN that research showed the bird may be an ancestor to two subspecies of lark alive today, one in northern Russia and the other on the Mongolian steppe.
“This finding implies that the climatic changes that took place at the end of the last Ice Age led to formation of new subspecies,” he said.
The preservation of the bird is explained in large part by the cold of the permafrost, explained Dussex, but this specimen is in extraordinarily good condition.
“The fact that such a small and fragile specimen was near intact also suggests that dirt/mud must have been deposited gradually, or at least that the ground was relatively stable so that the bird’s carcass was preserved in a state very close to its time of death,” said Dussex.
The next stage of research involves sequencing the bird’s entire genome, said Dalén, which will reveal more about its relationship to present day subspecies and estimate the rate of evolutionary change in larks.
Scientists working in the area have also found carcasses and body parts from other animals such as wolves, mammoths and wooly rhinos.
Dussex described such findings as “priceless” as they allow researchers to retrieve DNA and sometimes RNA, a nucleic acid present in all living cells.
“This in turn will open new opportunities to study the evolution of ice age fauna and understand their responses to climate change over the past 50-10 thousands of years ago,” added Dussex.
The horned lark was discovered at the same site as an 18,000-year-old frozen puppy, which Dalén and Dussex are also studying.
Using carbon dating on the creature’s rib bone, experts were able to confirm that the specimen had been frozen for around 18,000 years, but extensive DNA tests have so far been unable to show whether the animal was a dog or a wolf.
Scientists can normally tell the difference relatively easy, and researchers hope that further tests on the remains will provide more insight into exactly when dogs were domesticated.
More on this story from CTVNews.ca
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.
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