Mummies found buried in boats in the Chinese desert have an unexpected origin

New techniques c ancient DNA analyzes provide increasingly painful details of prehistory, including some of the latest scientific discoveries in the last week.

I’m Katie Hunt, replacing Ashley Strickland, who is on vacation.

In the inhospitable desert of northwest China, hundreds of stunningly untouched mummies buried in boats, were discovered in the 1990s. Mummies from the Bronze Age date back to 4000 years ago. Their identity has long baffled archaeologists.

In a new study, scientists sequenced the genomes of 13 bodies and found that they are the descendants of Ice Age hunter-gatherers.

While this population was genetically isolated, the clothing of the mummies and the food in their unusual graves indicated that they had collaborated extensively with other groups living in the region at the same time. But the boats in which they were buried still remain a mystery.

The climate has changed

Ancient DNA that contains the secrets of the past is not just in old bones.

All animals, including humans, excrete genetic material when they lose hair, remove dead skin cells, pee, poop and bleed. This genetic material is poured into the soil, where it can remain for tens if not hundreds of thousands of years – when the conditions are right.

To trace the whereabouts of woolly mammoths and other giant creatures from the Ice Age, scientists took soil samples from locations across the Arctic, extracting DNA from permafrost and sediment. in an ambitious study.

Competition theories have been the subject of debate for a century, but what the research team has discovered shows that climate change has doomed mammoths to extinction. In fact, the last stall of this megafauna happened a unique Arctic ecosystem that does not exist today.

Other worlds

The first planet outside our solar system was discovered in 1995 – a feat that was rewarded Nobel Prize in Physics 2019.

We are currently they know more than 4,000 of these exoplanets. However, all the identified exoplanets revolve within the Milky Way, our place galaxies and are less than 3000 light-years away.

Now, NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory may have detected signs that the first planet has traversed the star off the Milky Way. A possible planet located in the Whirlpool galaxy would be about 28 million light-years away.

However, due to the large orbit, the next generation of astronomers will have to confirm whether scientists have discovered an extragalactic exoplanet using a strategy that includes X-ray wavelengths.

Fantastic creatures

This is perhaps the most unusually cute animal you’ve never heard of. Dicinodonts lived about 270 million to 201 million years ago, before the rise of the dinosaurs. These creatures had the size of a rat or elephant-like head in the shape of a turtle and tusks protruding from the upper jaw.

Their fossils illuminate the development of a surprising part of the anatomy that is common in mammals living today — think of hippos, warthogs, walruses, and elephants — but not found in birds, fish, or reptiles: Dicynodonts were the first animals to play sports with tusks.

Surprisingly, there was not a single moment in their evolutionary history when tusks evolved, they learned, but the variants had a common combination of traits found in today’s mammals.

The wild kingdom

This lemur has a rhythm.  The male indri is featured in the Andasibe-Mantadia National Park in Madagascar.

If you’ve ever caught Queen’s song “We Will Rock You,” you have more in common with lemurs in Madagascar than you think.

It turns out they share rhythmic patterns in this song interesting vocalizations of our primate cousin the Indri indri, an endangered species of lemur that is one of the few animal species with a sense of rhythm.

Finding this out wasn’t easy – researchers followed the indri for years to record their recordings of them singing in rain forest canopies. The results could further our understanding of the origin of rhythmic abilities.

A miracle

Before you go:

– For cases where great white sharks have bitten people, they thought it was the wrong identity – and now the latest research shows why this might really be happening.
Admire the enchanting images who won the British Ecological Society’s photo competition.
To mark Halloween, visit the science of fear – Whether you are a scared cat or like a good fear.

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