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5 July 2017

DNA of early Neanderthal gives timeline for new modern human-related dispersal from Africa [Phys]

Ancient mitochondrial DNA from the femur of an archaic European hominin is helping to resolve the complicated relationship between modern humans and Neanderthals. The genetic data recovered by the research team, led by scientists from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History and the University of Tübingen, provides a timeline for a proposed hominin migration out of Africa that occurred after the ancestors of Neanderthals arrived in Europe by a lineage more closely related to modern humans. These hominins interbred with Neanderthals already present in Europe, leaving their mark on the Neanderthals’ mitochondrial DNA. The study, published today in Nature Communications, pushes back the possible date of this event to between 470,000 and 220,000 years ago.

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4 July 2017

Cuckoos mimic the sound of musk hogs to avoid being eaten [New Scientist]

Bird or beast? A cuckoo seems to have learned how to mimic the sounds made by the pig-like peccaries it lives alongside, perhaps to ward off predators.

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4 July 2017

Chemical fingerprints of fossil plants reveal ancient relationships [Nature Ecology & Evolution - Behind the paper]

Who would have thought that 200 million year old fossil leaves would contain so much chemical and molecular information!?

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1 July 2017

Birds play sick jungle beat with drumsticks they make themselves [New Scientist]

Move over Ringo Starr. Male palm cockatoos have got rhythm too – and they also use their drumming skills to impress the ladies.

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30 June 2017

Floral curve test shows what’s great for a moth is not so good for a flower [ScienceNews]

3-D printed imaginary flowers reveal hidden pollinator-plant conflict over flower shape.

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