A University of Otago-led multidisciplinary team of scientists have shed new light on the diet, lifestyles and movements of the first New Zealanders by analysing isotopes from their bones and teeth.
In research published today in the prestigious international journal PLOS ONE, the team are able to identify what is likely to be the first group of people to colonise Marlborough’s Wairau Bar possibly from Polynesia around 700 years ago. They also present evidence suggesting that individuals from two other groups buried at the site had likely lived in different regions of New Zealand before being buried at Wairau Bar.
The researchers, co-ordinated by the Department of Anatomy’s Associate Professor Hallie Buckley, undertook isotopic analyses of samples recovered from the koiwi tangata (human remains) of the Rangitane iwi tupuna prior to their reburial at Wairau Bar in 2009. Read more at Voxy.co.nz.
Temperatures in central China are 10 to 14 degrees Fahrenheit hotter today than they were 20,000 years ago – an increase two to four times greater than many scientists previously thought.
20,000 years ago was an ice age but more rigorous understanding of baselines will help researchers develop more accurate models of past climate conditions and that will lead to better predictions about the future. Read more at Science 2.0.
At least 1.5 billion years after it last saw the surface, flowing liquid may host life
Drilling more than two kilometers into the ground beneath Canada, geologists have struck scientific gold: pockets of flowing water isolated underground for at least 1.5 billion years and perhaps as long as 2.64 billion years.
The water is rich in hydrogen and methane, which nourish microbes living today near hydrothermal vents on the seafloor. That means the deposits may harbor ancient lineages of life cut off from the surface for eons, the researchers report in the May 16 Nature. Read more at ScienceNews.org.
*Here’s another take on the same story.
Researchers used a multicollector ion microprobe to study hydrogen-deuterium ratios in lunar rock and on Earth. Their conclusion: The Moon’s water did not come from comets but was already present on Earth 4.5 billion years ago, when a giant collision sent material from Earth to form the Moon.
Water inside the Moon’s mantle came from primitive meteorites, new research finds, the same source thought to have supplied most of the water on Earth. The findings raise new questions about the process that formed the Moon. Read more at ScienceDaily.com.
Resonance Ionization Laser Ion Source of ISOLDE
An international team of scientists, including a University of York researcher, has carried out ground-breaking experiments to investigate the atomic structure of astatine (Z=85), the rarest naturally occurring element on Earth.
Astatine (At) is of significant interest as its decay properties make it an ideal short-range radiation source for targeted alpha therapy in cancer treatment.
The results of the project, which was conceived by Professor Andrei Andreyev, an Anniversary Professor in the Department of Physics at the University of York, and Dr Valentine Fedosseev, from CERN, the European laboratory for nuclear physics research in Geneva, are reported in Nature Communications. Read more at Phys.org.
A team of Irish scientists has just published the first information on the diet of fin and humpback whales in Ireland for one hundred years.
Until now, the only information on the diet of large baleen whales such as fin, humpback and minke whales in Irish waters, was gathered in 1913 by a Mr. Burfield in Belmullet, County Mayo, where two whaling stations were operated by a Norwegian enterprise at the time. These whaling stations caught mostly fin whales as they migrated along the shelf edge close to Co. Mayo. Two new studies published in Marine Ecology Progress Series and Marine Mammal Science used stable isotopes and mixed modelling to reveal the diet of fin and humpback whales in Ireland. Read more at Afloat.
Water is perhaps the most important molecule in the solar system, and determining its origin and distribution in planetary interiors has important implications for understanding the evolution of planetary bodies. Here, we report in-situ measurements of the isotopic composition of hydrogen dissolved in primitive volcanic glass and olivine-hosted melt inclusions recovered from the Moon by the Apollo 15 and 17 missions. After consideration of cosmic ray spallation and degassing processes our results demonstrate that lunar magmatic water has an isotopic composition that is indistinguishable from the bulk water in carbonaceous chondrites and similar to terrestrial water, implying a common origin for the water contained in the interiors of the Earth and Moon. Read more at ScienceMag.
We have theoretically analyzed the nuclear quantum effect on the nuclear magnetic shieldings for the intramolecular hydrogen-bonded systems of ?-hydroxy acyl aromatic species using the gauge-including atomic orbital technique combined with our multi-component density functional theory. The effect of H/D quantum nature for geometry and nuclear magnetic shielding changes are analyzed. Our study clearly demonstrated that the geometrical changes of hydrogen-bonds induced by H/D isotope effect (called geometrical isotope effect: GIE) is the dominant factor of deuterium isotope effect on 13C chemical shift. Read more here.
Researchers produce molybdenum-99 from irradiation of low-enriched uranium solution
Yesterday, Los Alamos National Laboratory announced that for the first time, irradiated uranium fuel has been recycled and reused for molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) production, with virtually no losses in Mo-99 yields or uranium recovery. This demonstrates the viability of the separation process, as well as the potential for environmentally- and cost-friendly fuel recycling. Medical isotope production technology has advanced significantly now that scientists have made key advances in separating Mo-99 from an irradiated, low-enriched uranium (LEU) solution. Read more at HeraldOnline.
Bone records show that endangered Hawaiian petrels are eating lower on the food chain than before the advent of industrialized fishing, report researchers.
Researchers analyzed the bones of Hawaiian petrels—birds that spend the majority of their lives foraging the open waters of the Pacific. They found that the substantial change in petrels’ eating habits, eating prey that are lower rather than higher in the food chain, coincides with the growth of industrialized fishing. Read more at futurity.org.