Traces of an Ancient Rainforest in Antarctica?
An interesting discovery was made in the Antarctic, after a team from the UK (Imperial College London) and Germany (Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research) analysed preserved roots, pollen and spors from the Cretaceous period (145.5 million years ago to 66 million years ago).
The article of Science Daily elaborates:
„The mid-Cretaceous was the heyday of the dinosaurs but was also the warmest period in the past 140 million years, with temperatures in the tropics as high as 35 degrees Celsius and sea level 170 metres higher than today.“
This is insofar significant, because prior to the finding it was assumed that the global carbon concentration was roughly 1,100 ppm (parts per million). The researchers have concluded that the average temperatures were around 12 degrees Celsius (for comparison: the mean temperature in today’s Germany is about 10°C).
Now, with this experiment, it can be corrected. The global carbon concentration must therefore have been between 1120 ppm and 1680 ppm, in order for the Antarctic to reach such high temperatures (relatively high, depending on the perspective).
More details: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/04/200401130825.htm
Warming Oceans as a driving force behind marine species relocation?
Since the industrial revolution, the temperature of the world’s oceans have warmed by 1°C. Although that may not sounds much to a human, it is a significant change for marine life. One result of this change seems to be the relocation toward the poles.
As the article explains:
„The findings show that large-scale changes in the abundance of species are well underway. They also suggest that marine species haven’t managed to adapt to warmer conditions. The researchers therefore suggest that projected sea temperature increases of up to 1.5°C over pre-industrial levels by 2050 will continue to drive the latitudinal abundance shifts in marine species, including those of importance for coastal livelihoods.“
Why is it important? Because it also affects the perfomrance of a species locally. For instance, European seabass is thriving at at their poleward edge where they historically were uncommon. This in turn means that the European seabass may relocate entirely to their poleward edge. In turn, it would mean that the ecosystem may change as well.
There are many other questions which we need to find answers to, as Glenn said:
„„We aim to get a better understanding of precisely how marine climate change drives abundance shifts,“ Genner says. „Is this mainly related to the physiological limits of the species, or instead due to changes in the species with which they interact?“„
More details: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/03/200326124155.htm
Covid-19 has a natural origin
Accusations have been made that the virus is actually a bioweapon, but an analysis of public genome sequence datea from SARS-CoV-2 and other related viruses have found no evidence that the virus was made in a laboratory or has otherwise been engineered.
As the article goes on, it points out two main evidences:
- The RBD portion of the SARS-CoV-2 spike proteins had evolved to effectively target a molecular feature on the outside of human cells called ACE2, a receptor involved in regulating blood pressure. The spike proteins of Covid-19 were even so effective at binding the human cells, that the scientists concluded it was the result of natural selection and not the end-product of genetic engineering.
- „If someone were seeking to engineer a new coronavirus as a pathogen, they would have constructed it from the backbone of a virus known to cause illness.“ However, the backbone of SARS-CoV-2 differed substantially from those of already known Coronaviruses. It also mostly similar to other viruses found in bats and pangolins.
Therefore, it can be ruled out that the virus was made in a laboratory.
„If the SARS-CoV-2 entered humans in its current pathogenic form from an animal source, it raises the probability of future outbreaks, as the illness-causing strain of the virus could still be circulating in the animal population and might once again jump into humans. The chances are lower of a non-pathogenic coronavirus entering the human population and then evolving properties similar to SARS-CoV-2.“
More details: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/03/200317175442.htm