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Mastodon migrations north offer clues about today's animal movements: McMaster study – CBC.ca

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The migration of extinct mastodon herds to Yukon and Alaska during warm periods between ice ages could hold clues and warning signs for today’s animals moving north during a warming climate, says a new research paper.

The paper from Hamilton’s McMaster University, published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications, says mastodon herds that migrated north during the warm periods were less genetically diverse, which made them more vulnerable to extinction.

Mastodons, similar to today’s elephants and extinct mammoths, roamed much of North America, including parts of Mexico. Mastodons went extinct about 11,000 years ago along with mammoths, large-toothed cats, giant beavers and western camels.

Emil Karpinski, a paleontologist at McMaster’s Ancient DNA Centre, said the report is the result of six years of research that examined the fossil bones and teeth of more than 30 different mastodons.

He said the research showed mastodons migrated north several times during periods between ice ages when the Earth warmed, but didn’t survive when ice ages returned.

“Mastodons were much more at home in these warmer, wooded wetland habitats with an abundance of shrubs and trees like spruce and pine for them to eat,” Karpinski told a panel discussion involving about a dozen mastodon experts.

“We wanted to see, which is kind of the end hope of all this research, if what we learn about these animals could be applied to present-day species,” he said.

“We’re observing very similar travels in species like moose, snowshoe hare, beavers, not just ones in the Arctic, but also various birds, fish and other species that are rapidly moving northward in response to climate warming.”

Karpinski said the research indicates the mastodon herds that migrated north were less genetically diverse and were more susceptible to extinction.

Grant Zazula, a Yukon government paleontologist and one of the report’s authors, said the research shows mastodon herds migrated north more than once with the same disastrous results.

He said the northern mastodons were decimated with the arrival of an ice age 250,000 years ago and were also wiped out by a second ice age about 100,000 years ago.

“Their populations would have peaked about 100,000 years ago and that’s when climates were essentially as warm as they are today and the environment looked very similar to today’s environment,” he said.

Zazula said mastodons were not equipped to survive the colder climates of the ice ages.

“What this is showing us is those populations kind of at the frontier of migrations and range extensions really lack genetic diversity,” he said. “It doesn’t take very much to wipe them out. It could be a change in climate. It could be hunting. It could be disease.”

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NASA Is Using Its Astronauts to Help Promote a Cosmetics Company – Futurism

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Later this month, NASA is scheduled to launch an unusual payload — 10 bottles of a face cream by cosmetics company Estée Lauder.

The idea is that NASA astronauts will take pictures of the bougie cream, which Estée Lauder will then use in a social media campaign, in a strange echo of the way influencers like the Kardashians take payments from brands in exchange for exposure on Instagram. As SpaceNews reports, the arrangement is prompting questions about whether it’s an appropriate use of NASA’s resources.

On Wednesday, for instance, New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen grilled NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine about the project.

“I’m a fan of Estée Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair, like anybody else who might want to benefit from its antigravity properties,” she said, according to SpaceNews. “I guess I’m having trouble understanding how Estée Lauder’s effort is going to support the commercialization efforts of NASA.”

“Can you talk about how shooting a cosmetics commercial advances NASA’s mission?” she asked.

Bridenstine, awkwardly, said he wasn’t aware of the project, but defended it anyway.

“I don’t think that shooting a cosmetics commercial is the intent of that particular mission,” he said.

Furthering the questions around the launch is that Estée Lauder is only paying NASA $128,000 for the launch, according to SpaceNews — chump change by the standards of space travel, and an amount that Shaheen said wouldn’t even cover the costs associated with it.

Astronauts won’t appear in the photos, and they won’t be paid extra for their participation in the stunt, but they will take the photos of the product.

The launch is taking place against the backdrop of the Trump administration’s edict for NASA to develop an economy in space. In one initiative, it’s offering payments to any private companies that can bag up Moon dirt. It’s also involved in a deal in which SpaceX will fly film star Tom Cruise and director Doug Liman to the International Space Station next year, where they’ll reportedly film scenes for an upcoming movie.

But those projects have at least some potential to break new ground or develop new technology. It’s less obvious how the Estée Lauder face cream will do that.

NASA director f commercial spaceflight development Phil McAlister, though, defended the project to SpaceNews.

“In order for those destinations to be sustainable,” he told the site, “they’re going to need customers other than NASA to support their operation. This Estée Lauder payload is one part of NASA’s overall strategy to help making that transition and to help commercial LEO development.”

READ MORE: NASA working with cosmetics company on space station commercialization [SpaceNews]

More on NASA: NASA Says It’s Almost Found the Leak on the International Space Station

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Is there really life on Venus? How do we find out? – KitchenerToday.com

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Last week, an unlikely research project made a startling discovery: Phosphine gas in the atmosphere of Venus. That’s something that, as far as we know, is created by living organisms. Our efforts to find signs of life on other worlds, and a lot of our space dreaming in general, tend to focus on Mars. But all of a sudden we need to take a closer look at our other planetary neighbour.

So how can we find out if there’s really life right next door? What do we know about Venus and why has it been so hard to figure out so far? What else could possibly cause the presence of Phosphine and what would it mean, to space exploration and everything else, if this is really true?

GUEST: Neel Patel, space reporter, MIT Technology Review

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Covid-19 Newmarket, York Region, and Ontario update

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Newmarket (reported Friday, Sept. 25, at 5 p.m.)

Schools

  • 0 school-related cases
  • 0 schools closed

Licensed child care facilities

  • 0 child care centre cases
  • 0 child care centres closed

York Region (reported Frisday, Sept. 25, at 5 p.m.)

Schools

  • 1 school outbreaks*
    • Blue Willow, Woodbridge (1 student, 1 staff)
  • 0 schools closed
  • 12 confirmed cases
  • 7 students
  • 5 staff/visitors
  • 8 (-2) schools under surveillance**:
    • Carrville Mills (1 staff), in Thornhill
    • Little Rouge (1 student), in Markham;
    • St. Michael the Archangel (1 staff); Tommy Douglas Secondary (1 student), Our Lady of Fatima (1 staff), in Woodbridge;
    • Maple High (1 student), Dr. Roberta Bondar (1 student) in Maple
    • Kleinburg P.S. (1 student) in Kleinburg
  • Surveillance closed for Sir Wilfrid Laurier (1 staff) and J. Addison (1 student), in Markham

*An outbreak is declared when 2 or more cases are confirmed within a 14-day period, with at least one case acquired in the school

**Schools with a laboratory-confirmed case that was not transmitted within the school

Licensed child care facilities

  • 4 child care centre outbreaks*
  • 2 active outbreaks
    • Childventures Early Learning Academy, Aurora (1 staff)
    • Montessori School House, Maple (1 child, 1 staff)
  • 1 case child
  • 4 cases staff/visitors

*An outbreak is declared with one or more confirmed case in children or staff

Ontario (reported Thursday, Sept. 24 at 10:30 a.m.):

Cases in schools

  • 238 (+29) school-related cases
  • 110 (+10) students; 50 (+10) staff
  • 78 (+9) individuals not identified
  • 198 (+20) of 4,828 schools with a case (4.10%)
  • 2 schools closed
    • Fellowes High School, Pembroke (1 student, 4 staff cases)
    • Monsignor Paul Baxter Catholic School, Ottawa (2 students, 2 staff)

Cases in child care centres and homes

  • 109 (+2) cases at child care centres and homes
  • 54 (+2) children
  • 55 staff
  • 36 (-1) of 5,111 child care centres with current cases (0.70%)
  • 10 (-1) child care centres currently closed (.20%)

York Region Public Health reminds parents and guardians to check your child daily for symptoms of COVID-19. For more information and resources, including how to protect yourself and others, visit york.ca/SafeAtSchool

You can download Canada’s COVID Alert in Apple and Google app stores or visit ontario.ca/covidalert

Source: – NewmarketToday.ca

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