Ultima Thule: Surprises in Science Results from New Horizons Mission

sci-news.com – The New Horizons team has just published the first peer-reviewed scientific results from the flyby, and they reveal some fascinating things about Ultima Thule.

Source: Initial results from the New Horizons exploration of 2014 MU69, a small Kuiper Belt object. Science, 2019.

Neanderthals were eating mussels, fish, seals 80K years ago

upi.com – Scientists have found evidence that Neanderthals were consuming mussels, fish, seals and other marine species at least 80,000 years ago.

Source: J. Zilhão, et al. Last Interglacial Iberian Neandertals as fisher-hunter-gatherers. Science, 2020.

Is factory farming to blame for coronavirus?

theguardian.com – Scientists are tracing the path of Sars-CoV-2 from a wild animal host – but we also need to look at the part played in the outbreak by industrial food production

Source: Peng Zhou, et al. A pneumonia outbreak associated with a new coronavirus of probable bat origin. Nature, 2020.

'Whiskey Webs' Could Be Used To Identify Counterfeit Spirits

science20.com – When a drop of liquid evaporates, solids are left behind in a pattern that depends on what the liquid is, what solids are in it and the environmental conditions. You may have seen a 'coffee ring' when overflow deposits solids along the edge of the puddle as it evaporates. The same things happen with other beverages.

Source: Adam D. Carrithers, et al. Multiscale Self-Assembly of Distinctive Weblike Structures from Evaporated Drops of Dilute American Whiskeys. ACS Nano, 2020.

Researchers find oldest ancestor of all animals so far

zmescience.com – It's tiny.

Source: Scott D. Evans, Ian V. Hughes, James G. Gehling, Mary L. Droser. Discovery of the oldest bilaterian from the Ediacaran of South Australia. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2020.

Urea In Astronaut Pee Could Be Used To Build Moon Bases

science20.com – I'm not all that excited about manned missions in space because it is a struggle for NASA to even build a space telescope without going 13 years over budget, but it's worth doing basic research on how an outpost on Luna might be built.It will require a lot of multi-purposing, and re-purposing.

Source: Shima Pilehvar, Marlies Arnhof, Ramón Pamies, Luca Valentini, Anna-Lena Kjøniksen. Utilization of urea as an accessible superplasticizer on the moon for lunar geopolymer mixtures. Journal of Cleaner Production, 2020.

Study Finds Our Ancestors Were Swinging Through Trees More Recently Than We Thought

discovermagazine.com – When did human ancestors come down from the branches? A look inside a fossilized hip joint shows how bones adapted for crouching and walking on all fours.

Source: Leoni Georgiou, et al. Evidence for habitual climbing in a Pleistocene hominin in South Africa. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2020.

Milky Way Dark Matter Signals in Doubt after Controversial New Papers

sciam.com – New analyses question whether mysterious gamma-ray and x-ray light in the galaxy actually stems from an invisible mass

Source: Christopher Dessert, Nicholas L. Rodd, Benjamin R. Safdi. The dark matter interpretation of the 3.5-keV line is inconsistent with blank-sky observations. Science, 2020.

Getting To The Heart Of The Coronavirus Pandemic

science20.com – Co-authored by by Lauren Philippi, Department of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences, University of GuelphIn late December 2019 an outbreak of pneumonia cases arose in Wuhan, China. Patients presented with an acute respiratory illness linked to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Source: Kai Kupferschmidt. WHO launches global megatrial of the four most promising coronavirus treatments. Science, 2020.