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Two more Interior residents died from COVID-19, for a total of 57 – Vernon News – Castanet.net

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Yet another resident of Vernon’s Noric House care home has died from COVID-19, while another Interior resident has died in hospital.

The two new deaths bring the total COVID-19 deaths in the Interior to 57. Of these, 39 were residents of long-term care homes. Provincewide, the virus claimed the lives of 13 others in the past 24 hours.

“I know people are fatigued by the impact COVID-19 on our day-to-day lives. However, the ongoing challenges of this pandemic shows us we need to continue to be vigilant and compassionate,” said Susan Brown, president and CEO of Interior Health. “We all need to do our part to reduce the risk of COVID-19 in our communities.”

The single death at Noric House comes after IH announced two residents died there Wednesday. To date, five residents of the care home have died from the virus.

There remains outbreaks declared at seven Interior care homes:

  • Brocklehurst Gemstone in Kamloops – 17 residents (one new) and seven staff (two new), one death
  • Sunnybank in Oliver – 26 residents and nine staff, two deaths
  • Creekside Landing in Vernon – 20 residents and 15 staff (three new), one death
  • Williams Lake Seniors Village – one resident and one staff
  • Noric House in Vernon – 34 residents (two new) and 21 staff (two new), five deaths
  • Heritage Square in Vernon – 47 residents and 20 staff (two new), seven deaths
  • Heritage Retirement Residence in West Kelowna – 41 residents and five staff, three deaths

There remains 11 staff at Williams Lake’s Cariboo Memorial Hospital who’ve tested positive for the virus, while the outbreak connected to the Teck Mining operation remains contained to 17 Interior Health residents.

Meanwhile, a staff member at Vernon’s Carrington Place retirement residence recently tested positive for the virus, but an outbreak has not been declared there.

Interior Health said Thursday that the response to the COVID-19 outbreak at Oliver’s McKinney Place care home, where 17 residents died, is under a formal review. That outbreak, the worst in the Interior Health region, was declared over earlier this week.

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Painstaking study of 'Little Foot' fossil sheds light on human origins – National Post

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Sophisticated scanning technology is revealing intriguing secrets about Little Foot, the remarkable fossil of an early human forerunner that inhabited South Africa 3.67 million years ago during a critical juncture in our evolutionary history.

Scientists said on Tuesday they examined key parts of the nearly complete and well-preserved fossil at Britain’s national synchrotron facility, Diamond Light Source. The scanning focused upon Little Foot’s cranial vault – the upper part of her braincase – and her lower jaw, or mandible.

The researchers gained insight not only into the biology of Little Foot’s species but also into the hardships that this individual, an adult female, encountered during her life.

Little Foot’s species blended ape-like and human-like traits and is considered a possible direct ancestor of humans. University of the Witwatersrand paleoanthropologist Ron Clarke, who unearthed the fossil in the 1990s in the Sterkfontein Caves northwest of Johannesburg and is a co-author of the new study, has identified the species as Australopithecus prometheus.

“In the cranial vault, we could identify the vascular canals in the spongious bone that are probably involved in brain thermoregulation – how the brain cools down,” said University of Cambridge paleoanthropologist Amélie Beaudet, who led the study published in the journal e-Life.

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“This is very interesting as we did not have much information about that system,” Beaudet added, noting that it likely played a key role in the threefold brain size increase from Australopithecus to modern humans.

Little Foot’s teeth also were revealing.

“The dental tissues are really well preserved. She was relatively old since her teeth are quite worn,” Beaudet said, though Little Foot’s precise age has not yet been determined.

The researchers spotted defects in the tooth enamel indicative of two childhood bouts of physiological stress such as disease or malnutrition.

“There is still a lot to learn about early hominin biology,” said study co-author Thomas Connolley, principal beamline scientist at Diamond, using a term encompassing modern humans and certain extinct members of the human evolutionary lineage. “Synchrotron X-ray imaging enables examination of fossil specimens in a similar way to a hospital X-ray CT-scan of a patient, but in much greater detail.”

Little Foot, whose moniker reflects the small foot bones that were among the first elements of the skeleton found, stood roughly 4-foot-3-inches (130 cm) tall. Little Foot has been compared in importance to the fossil called Lucy that is about 3.2 million years old and less complete.

Both are species of the genus Australopithecus but possessed different biological traits, just as modern humans and Neanderthals are species of the same genus – Homo – but had different characteristics. Lucy’s species is called Australopithecus afarensis.

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“Australopithecus could be the direct ancestor of Homo – humans – and we really need to learn more about the different species of Australopithecus to be able to decide which one would be the best candidate to be our direct ancestor,” Beaudet said.

Our own species, Homo sapiens, first appeared roughly 300,000 years ago.

The synchrotron findings build on previous research on Little Foot.

The species was able to walk fully upright, but had traits suggesting it also still climbed trees, perhaps sleeping there to avoid large predators. It had gorilla-like facial features and powerful hands for climbing. Its legs were longer than its arms, as in modern humans, making this the most-ancient hominin definitively known to have that trait.

“All previous Australopithecus skeletal remains have been partial and fragmentary,” Clarke said.

(Reporting by Will Dunham in Washington, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)

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Painstaking study of 'Little Foot' fossil sheds light on human origins – The Telegram

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By Will Dunham

(Reuters) – Sophisticated scanning technology is revealing intriguing secrets about Little Foot, the remarkable fossil of an early human forerunner that inhabited South Africa 3.67 million years ago during a critical juncture in our evolutionary history.

Scientists said on Tuesday they examined key parts of the nearly complete and well-preserved fossil at Britain’s national synchrotron facility, Diamond Light Source. The scanning focused upon Little Foot’s cranial vault – the upper part of her braincase – and her lower jaw, or mandible.

The researchers gained insight not only into the biology of Little Foot’s species but also into the hardships that this individual, an adult female, encountered during her life.

Little Foot’s species blended ape-like and human-like traits and is considered a possible direct ancestor of humans. University of the Witwatersrand paleoanthropologist Ron Clarke, who unearthed the fossil in the 1990s in the Sterkfontein Caves northwest of Johannesburg and is a co-author of the new study, has identified the species as Australopithecus prometheus.

“In the cranial vault, we could identify the vascular canals in the spongious bone that are probably involved in brain thermoregulation – how the brain cools down,” said University of Cambridge paleoanthropologist Amélie Beaudet, who led the study published in the journal e-Life.

“This is very interesting as we did not have much information about that system,” Beaudet added, noting that it likely played a key role in the threefold brain size increase from Australopithecus to modern humans.

Little Foot’s teeth also were revealing.

“The dental tissues are really well preserved. She was relatively old since her teeth are quite worn,” Beaudet said, though Little Foot’s precise age has not yet been determined.

The researchers spotted defects in the tooth enamel indicative of two childhood bouts of physiological stress such as disease or malnutrition.

“There is still a lot to learn about early hominin biology,” said study co-author Thomas Connolley, principal beamline scientist at Diamond, using a term encompassing modern humans and certain extinct members of the human evolutionary lineage. “Synchrotron X-ray imaging enables examination of fossil specimens in a similar way to a hospital X-ray CT-scan of a patient, but in much greater detail.”

Little Foot, whose moniker reflects the small foot bones that were among the first elements of the skeleton found, stood roughly 4-foot-3-inches (130 cm) tall. Little Foot has been compared in importance to the fossil called Lucy that is about 3.2 million years old and less complete.

Both are species of the genus Australopithecus but possessed different biological traits, just as modern humans and Neanderthals are species of the same genus – Homo – but had different characteristics. Lucy’s species is called Australopithecus afarensis.

“Australopithecus could be the direct ancestor of Homo – humans – and we really need to learn more about the different species of Australopithecus to be able to decide which one would be the best candidate to be our direct ancestor,” Beaudet said.

Our own species, Homo sapiens, first appeared roughly 300,000 years ago.

The synchrotron findings build on previous research on Little Foot.

The species was able to walk fully upright, but had traits suggesting it also still climbed trees, perhaps sleeping there to avoid large predators. It had gorilla-like facial features and powerful hands for climbing. Its legs were longer than its arms, as in modern humans, making this the most-ancient hominin definitively known to have that trait.

“All previous Australopithecus skeletal remains have been partial and fragmentary,” Clarke said.

(Reporting by Will Dunham in Washington, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)

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Boeing Starliner test flight postponed – FRANCE 24

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Issued on: 02/03/2021 – 02:28Modified: 02/03/2021 – 02:26

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Washington (AFP)

An unmanned test mission of Boeing’s Starliner space capsule, which is eventually to transport astronauts to the International Space Station, has had to be postponed, NASA said Monday.

The test, which had previously been postponed until early April, will suffer another delay, this time due to unprecedented cold temperatures in Texas that caused extensive power outages in the southern US state.

“We did lose time with the weather in Houston. We lost about a week of time,” said Steve Stich, the manager of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, during a press conference.

NASA is “continuing to evaluate options” for the new test date.

The Starliner’s first crewed flight is currently scheduled for September, Stich added.

During an initial test flight in December 2019, the Starliner capsule failed to dock at the ISS and returned to Earth prematurely — a setback for aerospace giant Boeing.

Since then, its program has fallen far behind SpaceX, the other company — owned by Tesla CEO Elon Musk — chosen by NASA to develop a vessel to transport astronauts to the ISS.

SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule already carried astronauts to the station in June and November 2020. Four other astronauts, including Frenchman Thomas Pesquet, will return to the ISS in April.

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