By Claire Roth
Paleontology – Dino origins
Take everything you may (or may not) know about where dinosaurs originated and tell it to hit the road. Through the reexamination of dinosaur fossils, scientists from the University of Cambridge in England recently suggested that the dinosaur evolutionary tree of theropods, a family that includes Tyrannosaurus Rex, to have originated farther north and earlier in time than originally expected. One of the biggest implications of the discovery is that dinosaurs originally thought to be close together on the evolutionary tree may actually be very far apart, bringing up many more questions as to what exists in the tree’s gaps.
Source: New York Times
Archaeology – Clues from an ancient palace
Where did bureaucracies truly begin in the history of the world? The discovery of the remains of a royal palace that thrived around 2,200 years ago may have revealed some clues. The remains are located in southern Mexico and contain structures hinting of ancient governmental affairs, including a staircase leading to what would have been a central location in the structure that could have been used for decision making, feasts, or ritualistic human sacrifice.
Medicine – Spinach hearts
Scientists at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute recently reached a breakthrough in their attempt to grow human heart cells on spinach leaves. The leaves had beforehand undergone a process called decellularization where their plant cells were removed and only the vascular system of the leaf was left behind. This system was previously responsible for the transport of minerals and water to the spinach leaves and also the transport of food from the leaves to the rest of the plant. After decellularization, however, scientists were able to implant the type of human cells that line blood vessels into the spinach leaf’s vascular system, which is very similar to the vascular structures found within animals.
Source: Science Daily
Wildlife – Oldest dog breed returns
Until recently, New Guinea highland wild dog was thought to be a canine of the past. A population was discovered in a remote section of mountains in Papua, Indonesia, complete with breeding pairs of males and females with pups. About fifty years had passed since a confirmed sighting of a New Guinea highland wild dog, the only recent possibilities being unconfirmed photographs from 2005 and 2012. This discovery could lead to increased protection of the area in which the dogs live, including the ecosystems surrounding local mining operations.
Source: Business Insider