November 22, 2018

    Even Dinosaurs were not spared of bloodsucking ticks © CDC/ Dr. Christopher Paddock, Public Health Image Library
    Even Dinosaurs were not spared of bloodsucking ticks
    Scientists discovered ticks in a 99 million-year-old amber which showed that it had a penchant for latching on to dinosaurs. This amber which dates way back to the Cretaceous period has an exciting specimen of a tick holding onto a dinosaur feather. Scientists claim that this is the first fossil evidence of parasitization of dinosaurs.

    Read the full story: https://www.cnet.com

    Bats can carry the SARS virus
    Bats can carry the SARS virus
    Researchers have found strains of SARS coronaviruses in a single population of horseshoe bats that are very similar to the deadly variant that killed over 800 people worldwide in 2003. This particular horseshoe bat population lives in caves in the remote province of Yunnan in China, and only one kilometre away from the nearest village. As genetics of SARS viruses change fast, there is a risk that SARS viruses might infect humans again, and produce a new outbreak of disease, the authors warn.

    Read full story: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-017-07766-9

    Scientific publication: http://journals.plos.org/plospathogens/article?id=10.1371/journal.ppat.1006698

    DNA helix encoding all the proteins in our body
    DNA helix encoding all the proteins in our body
    Our genetic information is coded on our DNA by four naturally occurring bases that together specify the 20 amino acids that make up the proteins of our body. Now biochemists have added two more foreign chemical bases to the DNA code, and show that they work together with the natural bases to make functional proteins in bacteria. This is an important step in synthetic biology, and might lead to the generation of completely new proteins that can be used in the treatment of diseases or solve antibiotic resistance.

    Read the full story: https://www.nature.com/news/alien-dna-makes-proteins-in-living-cells-for-the-first-time-1.23040

    Scientific publication: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature24659 (2017)

    Alkali Flies in Mono Lake, California. Photo: J. Gallagher, via Wikimedia Commons
    Alkali Flies in Mono Lake, California
    The alkali fly Ephydra hians can crawl into water, and dive up to eight meters deep. When they resurface, they are as dry as Sahara sand. Biologists of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena found out that these flies are covered in hairs that are coated with a special wax. This makes it possible that an air bubble forms around the body, not only to keep them dry but also to provide oxygen for breathing under water. The flies live in Mono Lake in California and are an important food source for migrating birds.

    Read the full story: http://www.nature.com/news/how-alkali-flies-stay-dry-1.23027

    Scientific publication: http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1714874114 (2017).

    New orangutan species discovered
    New orangutan species discovered
    A new great ape species has been discovered in the forests of the Indonesian island of Sumatra, for the first time in more than 80 years.

    vocal learning in bats
    vocal learning in bats
    Learning to communicate by repeating others (known as vocal learning), is only done by a handful of mammalian species, including humans. Typically, babies learn from their mother, but new research on bats demonstrates that bat babies can learn the dialect of the colony by repeating noises from the other colony members.

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