Astronomers Find New Way to Study Planets around Red Dwarf Stars

sci-news.com – Using the Low Frequency Array (LOFAR) radio telescope, astronomers have observed radio waves that carry the distinct signatures of extraterrestrial aurorae, caused by the interaction between the magnetic field of Gliese 1151, an M4.5-type dwarf star located approximately 26 light-years away, and a planet in orbit around it.

Source: H. K. Vedantham, et al. Coherent radio emission from a quiescent red dwarf indicative of star–planet interaction. Nature Astronomy, 2020.

46,000-Year-Old Horned Lark Found in Siberian Permafrost

sci-news.com – In a new study published today in the journal Communications Biology, an international team of researchers radiocarbon-dated an exceptionally well-preserved carcass of an ancient bird found in the Siberian permafrost and identified the species through reconstruction of its mitogenome.

Source: Graham Gower, et al. Widespread male sex bias in mammal fossil and museum collections. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2019.

The Earth formed much faster than previously thought

eurekalert.org – By measuring iron isotopes, researchers from the University of Copenhagen have shown that our planet originally formed much faster than previously thought. This finding provides new insights on both planetary formation and the likelihood of water and life elsewhere in the universe.

Source: Martin Schiller, Martin Bizzarro, Julien Siebert. Iron isotope evidence for very rapid accretion and differentiation of the proto-Earth. Science Advances, 2020.

Climate change is drying up the Colorado River

zmescience.com – During the 1913-2017 period the flow of the river decreased about 20%.

Source: P. C. D. Milly, K. A. Dunne. Colorado River flow dwindles as warming-driven loss of reflective snow energizes evaporation. Science, 2020.

African Killfish Can Put Aging on Pause. Do They Hold the Secrets of Longevity?

discovermagazine.com – As the fish's embryos enter a hibernation-like state, their DNA changes and keeps tissues from aging or deteriorating.

Source: Chi-Kuo Hu, et al. Vertebrate diapause preserves organisms long term through Polycomb complex members. Science, 2020.

Solar technology breakthrough at the University of Queensland

eurekalert.org – UQ researchers have set a world record for the conversion of solar energy to electricity via the use of tiny nanoparticles called 'quantum dots'. The technology has a huge range of potential applications, including the possibility to use it as a flexible, transparent skin to power cars, planes, homes and wearable technology.

Source: Mengmeng Hao, et al. Ligand-assisted cation-exchange engineering for high-efficiency colloidal Cs1−xFAxPbI3 quantum dot solar cells with reduced phase segregation. Nature Energy, 2020.

Duck-billed dinosaurs had the same bone tumors as people

popsci.com – Scientists have identified the oldest-known case of a unique kind of cancer in the tailbones of a duck-billed dinosaur. The abnormalities preserved in the ancient reptile’s bones match those seen in people today who are afflicted with this rare disease, the researchers announced February 10 in Scientific Reports.

Source: Bruce M. Rothschild, Darren Tanke, Frank Rühli, Ariel Pokhojaev, Hila May. Suggested Case of Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis in a Cretaceous dinosaur. Scientific Reports, 2020.

Ancient humans in the Sahara ate fish before the lakes dried up

newscientist.com – As a changing climate dried out the Sahara desert, ancient humans transitioned from eating lots of tilapia and catfish to more mammal-heavy meals

Source: Wim Van Neer, et al. Aquatic fauna from the Takarkori rock shelter reveals the Holocene central Saharan climate and palaeohydrography. PLOS ONE, 2020.

Will That Antidepressant Work For You? The Answer May Lie In Your Brain Waves

npr.org – Scientists say certain brain wave patterns can predict whether a person is likely to respond to a common antidepressant, or would do better with non-drug therapy.

Source: Wei Wu, et al. An electroencephalographic signature predicts antidepressant response in major depression. Nature Biotechnology, 2020.