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Scientists have discovered a new ancient species of apes

A previously unknown human ancestor can change the history of the evolution of walking on two legs.

Madeleine Boehme from the University of Tübingen and her colleagues from Germany, Bulgaria and the United States discovered in Bavaria the remains of an ancient monkey, who lived 11.6 million years ago, in the Miocene era. The new species called Danuvius guggenmosi, informs Journal Nature.

Anthropologists have studied fragments of skeletons of at least four individuals: a male, two females and one cub. The most complete skeleton belonged to the male. In terms of body proportions, it can be compared with modern bonobos. According to the findings of scientists, the growth of primacy reached one meter, the females weighed about 18 kilograms, and the males – about 31 kilograms. Thanks to the completely preserved bones of the limbs, it became possible to reconstruct how Danuvius guggenmosi moved .

Head of femur, ulna and lower leg of male Danuvius guggenmosi

“For the first time, we were able to investigate several important joints, including the elbow, thigh, knee and ankle, in one fossil skeleton of this age, ”said Professor Boehme.

As it turned out, the primate spine with an S-shaped bend helped to keep the body upright, so that the monkey stood on two legs. Structure, posture and modes of Danuvius guggenmosi  is a unique movement, according to scientists.

Discovered fragments of the skeleton of a male ancient primate

Danuvius guggenmosi combines biped people dominated by the hind limbs, with climbing on the front extremities typical of modern monkeys, explained David Begun of University of Toronto. – The results show that human
bipedalism dates back to at least 11.6 million years ago. ”

In addition, as the authors of the discovery stated, unlike later hominins, who prefer the hind limbs, Danuvius guggenmosi possessed a powerful thumb, which allowed them to clutch at large and small branches, jump from tree to tree and, balancing, to maintain balance.

Suspected species D. guggenmosi

At the same time, these ancient primates had a wide and flat chest, and their lower back was elongated – all this helped them to correctly position the center of gravity over their elongated hips and knees, just like in humans. Thus anatomy of the D. guggenmosi indicates that the ancient primacy used both sets of limbs equally.

Scientists are also warned that the remains of  the D. guggenmosi were found in Europe, far from the place where, as many people think, ancient monkeys lived. The history of human evolution traditionally originates in Africa, but even before the appearance of some early humans, their primitive ancestors lived in forests that stretched across the Mediterranean.

“The skeletons found also indicate that the European ancestors of African monkeys and humans were different from the gorillas and chimpanzees living today,” concluded Professor Begun.

At the beginning of this year, scientists spent a comparison of neurons, which showed a possible cause of cognitive differences between monkeys and humans.


Science & Technology

They have discovered the secret of longevity and it is not a rejection of bad habits

Japanese scientists have examined more than 40,000 cells taken from many older adults over the age of 50.Among these people are seven “extra-long lives” who have passed their 110th anniversary. A unique immune system has been found in their blood, which effectively fights cancer cells and dangerous infections.

Most often, centenarians wonder what they eat and what their lifestyle is. It usually turns out that neither cigarettes nor alcohol prevent them especially from reaching adulthood. Also, longevity is not affected by special diets.

Now, scientists are learning that the key to longevity is not a lifestyle, but the presence of a special immune system. Seven Japanese superlongs have been found in the blood of more than ordinary whites T cells or CD4 cells that “hunt” viruses and cancer cells.

Each has a significant amount of these cells. These are the so-called T-helper or T-lymphocyte. They help other white blood cells fight infections.

But firstly, in the blood of these perennials are found much more than the norm of these T-cells and secondly, they have been so “toxic” that, in addition to infections, they aim to find and destroy potential cancer cells.

Such an immune system has helped these centenarians to live for over a hundred years without any problems. These people do not even have heart diseases.

This important study was conducted by specialists at the RIKEN Center for Integrative Medicine in Japan, Keio University (Keio University).

The lead scientist of the study – Dr. Kosuke Hashimoto says:

“Long-lived people usually spend their entire lives in good health. Their strong immune system protects them perfectly against tumors and infections. “

It seems that having such an immune system in the body is an innate genetic trait that gives these people a great advantage.

Some of the oldest people on the planet, such as Frenchwoman Jeanne Calment and American Richard Overton, have smoked and abused alcohol throughout their lives that has not affected their health.

Jeanne Kalman died in 1997, at the age of 122. You can find her pictures on the internet during her 117th birthday celebration. They are seen smoking as a steam engine and in good health. In addition, Kalman adored wine, olive oil and chocolate, considering these habits as key to her longevity.

Jeanne Kalman

Richard Overton died at the age of 112.

Richard Overton

Other centenarians say the key to sound health is through special diets, exercise, regular work, regular sex, avoiding stress, praying, observing moral principles, bathing frequently in hot tubs and even eating pig feet. In essence, all this turns out to be self-belief.

Pierre Carnancy, Deputy Director of the RIKEN Center says:

“We believe that the type of cells we find is a true guarantee of many years of life and good health, protecting organs from cancer and other diseases.”

That study is published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

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Science & Technology

Richard Dawkins: “Not accepting the theory of evolution is crazy!”

The great ethologist, evolutionary biologist and popularizer of modern science, Richard Dawkins, in 2012, met with Archbishop Rowan Williams on one of the airwaves, who convinced and continues to convince everyone around that life on Earth appeared by the will of God.

Richard Dawkins

Richard Dawkins carefully listened to the archbishop’s fantasies and conjectures, and then told his interlocutor about the theory of evolution and told the details of the origin of life on Earth. Airtime was limited, so Dawkins presented the information in a compressed form, but that was enough.

“I am inspired by the elegance of your explanation. Your arguments are beautiful and I can even agree with some of the above. However, the Universe, creating a person, was guided by clear principles and this can speak of a certain higher mind, ”said Rowan Williams.

“I can’t understand why believers do not want to see beauty in the fact that life could have been born from scratch and absolutely by accident. Isn’t that a stunning and not a great idea? Why does everything need to be distorted? Not accepting the theory of evolution is crazy, ”Dawkins responded.

The discussion between the archbishop and the scholar lasted more than an hour and at the end of the dialogue Dawkins admitted that on a 7-point scale he considers himself an atheist at 6.9. In other words, Richard Dawkins will be ready to believe in God if believers provide irrefutable evidence.

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Science & Technology

Fossil tooth sheds light on world’s largest ape

Image Credit: The Jungle Book – Mowgli And King Louie ©2015 Disney

That is one enormous ape. 

Standing up to three meters tall, Gigantopithecus was the largest ape to ever walk the face of the Earth.

More than twice the size of today’s great apes, this enormous primate was a veritable King Kong – a gargantuan hulking beast that would have put even the legendary Bigfoot to shame.

The species lived across parts of what is now Southern Asia and roamed the planet from around nine million years ago until its disappearance somewhere around 100,000 years ago.

Now scientists have succeeded in learning more about this prehistoric giant thanks to the discovery of a two million-year-old fossil tooth in a cave in China.

Incredibly, they were able to obtain skeletal protein samples from the tooth despite its extreme age.

It turns out that Gigantopithecus was actually related to today’s orangutans.

“It would have been a distant cousin (of orangutans), in the sense that its closest living relatives are orangutans, compared to other living great apes such as gorillas or chimpanzees or us,” said Dr Frido Welker from the University of Copenhagen.

It is hoped that tooth protein analysis could help scientists learn more from other fossils as well.

“This study suggests that ancient proteins might be a suitable molecule surviving across most of recent human evolution even for areas like Africa or Asia and we could thereby in the future study our own evolution as a species over a very long time span,” said Dr Welker.

Source: BBC News

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