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Marián Cueto, Edgard Camarós, Pedro Castaños, Roberto Ontañón, Pablo Arias
Pleistocene skinning and exploitation of carnivore furs have been previously inferred from archaeological evidence. Nevertheless, the evidence of skinning and fur processing tends to be weak and the interpretations are not strongly sustained by the archaeological record. In the present paper, we analyze unique evidence of patterned anthropic modification and skeletal representation of fossil remains of cave lion (Panthera spelaea) from the Lower Gallery of La Garma (Cantabria, Spain). This site is one of the few that provides Pleistocene examples of lion exploitation by humans...
2016: PloS One
Christopher L Kirkland, Breandán A MacGabhann, Brian L Kirkland, J Stephen Daly
The Hellefjord Schist, a volcaniclastic psammite-pelite formation in the Caledonides of Arctic Norway contains discoidal impressions and apparent tube casts that share morphological and taphonomic similarities to Neoproterozoic stem-holdfast forms. U-Pb zircon geochronology on the host metasediment indicates it was deposited between 437 ± 2 and 439 ± 3 Ma, but also indicates that an inferred basal conglomerate to this formation must be part of an older stratigraphic element, as it is cross-cut by a 546 ± 4 Ma pegmatite...
2016: PloS One
Maxime Debuysschere
The earliest mammaliaforms are difficult to assess because the fossil record is poor and because their distinctive morphologies cannot be directly compared with more recent mammaliaforms. This is especially true for the haramiyid genus Theroteinus, only known in the Saint-Nicolas-de-Port locality (Rhaetian, France). This study presents a new definition of the type-species Theroteinus nikolai. A new species Theroteinus rosieriensis, sp. nov., is named and distinguished by the lingual shift of distal cusps, a larger size, and a stockier occlusal outline...
2016: PeerJ
Yilin Li, Xinhai Li, Zitan Song, Changqing Ding
We analyzed the synchronous relationship between forest cover and species distribution to explain the contraction in the distribution range of the brown eared-pheasant (Crossoptilon mantchuricum) in China. Historical resources can provide effective records for reconstructing long-term distribution dynamics. The brown eared-pheasant's historical distribution from 25 to 1947 CE, which included the three provinces of Shaanxi, Shanxi, and Hebei based on this species' habitat selection criteria, the history of the forests, ancient climate change records, and fossil data...
2016: PeerJ
Jonathan B Shurin, Michael D Burkart, Stephen P Mayfield, Val H Smith
Modern society is fueled by fossil energy produced millions of years ago by photosynthetic organisms. Cultivating contemporary photosynthetic producers to generate energy and capture carbon from the atmosphere is one potential approach to sustaining society without disrupting the climate. Algae, photosynthetic aquatic microorganisms, are the fastest growing primary producers in the world and can therefore produce more energy with less land, water, and nutrients than terrestrial plant crops. We review recent progress and challenges in developing bioenergy technology based on algae...
2016: F1000Research
Bruno Michel, Anne-Laure Clamens, Olivier Béthoux, Gael J Kergoat, Fabien L Condamine
In this study, we reconstruct the first time-calibrated phylogeny of the iconic antlion family, the Myrmeleontidae (Neuroptera: Myrmeleontiformia). We use maximum likelihood and Bayesian inference to analyse a molecular dataset based on seven mitochondrial and nuclear gene markers. The dataset encompasses 106 species of Neuroptera, including 94 antlion species. The resulting phylogenetic framework provides support for a myrmeleontid classification distinguishing four subfamilies: Acanthaclisinae, Myrmeleontinae, Palparinae, and Stilbopteryginae...
October 22, 2016: Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
Antonio Valle, Gema Cabrera, Domingo Cantero, Jorge Bolivar
The production of biodiesel has emerged as an alternative to fossil fuels. However, this industry generates glycerol as a by-product in such large quantities that it has become an environmental problem. The biotransformation of this excess glycerol into other renewable bio-energy sources, like H2 and ethanol, by microorganisms such as Escherichia coli is an interesting possibility that warrants investigation. In this work we hypothesized that the conversion of oxaloacetate (OAA) to phosphoenolpyruvate (PEP) could be improved by a controlled expression of the human mitochondrial GTP-dependent PEP carboxykinase...
October 22, 2016: New Biotechnology
Nicholas J Strausfeld, Xiaoya Ma, Gregory D Edgecombe
The discovery of fossilized brains and ventral nerve cords in lower and mid-Cambrian arthropods has led to crucial insights about the evolution of their central nervous system, the segmental identity of head appendages and the early evolution of eyes and their underlying visual systems. Fundamental ground patterns of lower Cambrian arthropod brains and nervous systems correspond to the ground patterns of brains and nervous systems belonging to three of four major extant panarthropod lineages. These findings demonstrate the evolutionary stability of early neural arrangements over an immense time span...
October 24, 2016: Current Biology: CB
William Schafer
Nematodes comprise one of the largest phyla in the animal kingdom, both in terms of individual numbers and species diversity. Although only 20,000-30,000 species have been described, it is estimated that the true number ranges between 100,000 and 10 million. Marine, freshwater, and terrestrial species are all widespread, and some nematodes have even been isolated from such inhospitable environments as deserts, hot springs, and polar seas. Some nematode species are parasitic, with either plant or animal hosts; other species are free-living microbivores, scavengers, or predators of insects or other nematodes...
October 24, 2016: Current Biology: CB
Zhenchuan Niu, Weijian Zhou, Peng Cheng, Shugang Wu, Xuefeng Lu, Xiaohu Xiong, Hua Du, Yunchong Fu
Six months to more than one year of atmospheric Δ14CO2 were measured in 2014-2015 at one global background site in Waliguan (WLG) and four regional background sites at Shangdianzi (SDZ), Lin'an (LAN), Longfengshan (LFS) and Luhuitou (LHT), China. The objectives of the study are to document the Δ14CO2 background levels at each site and to trace the variations in fossil fuel CO2 (CO2ff) inputs at regional background sites. Δ14CO2 at WLG varied from 7.1±2.9‰ to 32.0±3.2‰ (average 17.1±6.8‰) in 2015, with high values generally in autumn/summer and low values in winter/spring...
October 25, 2016: Environmental Science & Technology
Fang-Fang Li, Jason Lau, Stuart Licht
The electrolytic coproduction of CO and H2 is achieved from air, water, and a single beam of sunlight rather than from fossil fuels. H2 and CO cosynthesis is driven by a single concentrator photovoltaic to simultaneously drive molten hydroxide and molten carbonate electrolyses. The carbon neutral process captures carbon without the need for the preconcentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide.
November 2015: Advanced Science (Weinheim, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany)
M O'Sullivan, A Rap, C L Reddington, D V Spracklen, M Gloor, W Buermann
The global terrestrial carbon sink has increased since the start of this century at a time of growing carbon emissions from fossil fuel burning. Here we test the hypothesis that increases in atmospheric aerosols from fossil fuel burning enhanced the diffuse light fraction and the efficiency of plant carbon uptake. Using a combination of models, we estimate that at global scale changes in light regimes from fossil fuel aerosol emissions had only a small negative effect on the increase in terrestrial net primary production over the period 1998-2010...
August 16, 2016: Geophysical Research Letters
Richard C Harrington, Brant C Faircloth, Ron I Eytan, W Leo Smith, Thomas J Near, Michael E Alfaro, Matt Friedman
BACKGROUND: Flatfish cranial asymmetry represents one of the most remarkable morphological innovations among vertebrates, and has fueled vigorous debate on the manner and rate at which strikingly divergent phenotypes evolve. A surprising result of many recent molecular phylogenetic studies is the lack of support for flatfish monophyly, where increasingly larger DNA datasets of up to 23 loci have either yielded a weakly supported flatfish clade or indicated the group is polyphyletic. Lack of resolution for flatfish relationships has been attributed to analytical limitations for dealing with processes such as nucleotide non-stationarity and incomplete lineage sorting (ILS)...
October 21, 2016: BMC Evolutionary Biology
Shuchi K Talati, Haibo Zhai, G Page Kyle, M Granger Morgan, Pralit Patel, Lu Liu
This research assesses climate, technological, and policy impacts on consumptive water use from electricity generation in the Southwest over a planning horizon of nearly a century. We employed an integrated modeling framework taking into account feedbacks between climate change, air temperature and humidity, and consequent power plant water requirements. These direct impacts of climate change on water consumption by 2095 differ with technology improvements, cooling systems, and policy constraints, ranging from a 3%-7% increase over scenarios that do not incorporate ambient air impacts...
October 21, 2016: Environmental Science & Technology
Libin Yang, Kunyang Wang, Gu Du, Wenxin Zhu, Liang Cui, Chengxiao Zhang, Xuping Sun, Abdullah M Asiri
Hydrogen has been considered as an ideal energy carrier for replacing fossil fuels to mitigate global energy crises. Hydrolysis of sodium borohydride (NaBH4) is simple and effective for hydrogen production but needs active and durable catalysts to accelerate the kinetics. In this paper, we demonstrate that cobalt phosphide nanowall arrays supported on carbon cloth (CoP NAs/CC) efficiently catalyze the hydrolytic dehydrogenation of NaBH4 with an activation energy of 42.1 kJ mol(-1) in alkaline media. These monolithic CoP NAs/CC show a maximum hydrogen generation rate of [Formula: see text] and are robust with superior durability and reusability...
October 21, 2016: Nanotechnology
David J Daegling, Kristian J Carlson, Paul Tafforeau, Darryl J de Ruiter, Lee R Berger
Fossils attributed to Australopithecus sediba are described as having phylogenetic affinities with early Homo to the exclusion of other South African australopiths. With respect to functional anatomy of mastication, one implication of this hypothesis is that A. sediba mandibles should exhibit absolutely and relatively reduced stiffness and strength in comparison to Australopithecus africanus and Paranthropus robustus jaws. Examination of cortical bone distribution in the MH 1 and MH 2 mandibles of A. sediba (evaluated against samples of Pan, early and modern Homo as well as A...
November 2016: Journal of Human Evolution
David W Frayer, Ronald J Clarke, Ivana Fiore, Robert J Blumenschine, Alejandro Pérez-Pérez, Laura M Martinez, Ferran Estebaranz, Ralph Holloway, Luca Bondioli
Labial striations on the anterior teeth have been documented in numerous European pre-Neandertal and Neandertal fossils and serve as evidence for handedness. OH-65, dated at 1.8 mya, shows a concentration of oblique striations on, especially, the left I(1) and right I(1), I(2) and C(1), which signal that it was right-handed. From these patterns we contend that OH-65 was habitually using the right hand, over the left, in manipulating objects during some kind of oral processing. In living humans right-handedness is generally correlated with brain lateralization, although the strength of the association is questioned by some...
November 2016: Journal of Human Evolution
Terrence B Ritzman, Claire E Terhune, Philipp Gunz, Chris A Robinson
The fossils from Malapa cave, South Africa, attributed to Australopithecus sediba, include two partial skeletons-MH1, a subadult, and MH2, an adult. Previous research noted differences in the mandibular rami of these individuals. This study tests three hypotheses that could explain these differences. The first two state that the differences are due to ontogenetic variation and sexual dimorphism, respectively. The third hypothesis, which is relevant to arguments suggesting that MH1 belongs in the genus Australopithecus and MH2 in Homo, is that the differences are due to the two individuals representing more than one taxon...
November 2016: Journal of Human Evolution
Yohannes Haile-Selassie, Stephanie M Melillo, Timothy M Ryan, Naomi E Levin, Beverly Z Saylor, Alan Deino, Ronald Mundil, Gary Scott, Mulugeta Alene, Luis Gibert
Australopithecus afarensis is the best-known and most dimorphic species in the early hominin fossil record. Here, we present a comparative description of new fossil specimens of Au. afarensis from Nefuraytu, a 3.330-3.207 million-years-old fossil collection area in the Woranso-Mille study area, central Afar, Ethiopia. These specimens include NFR-VP-1/29, one of the most complete mandibles assigned to the species thus far and among the largest mandibles attributed to Au. afarensis, likely representing a male individual...
November 2016: Journal of Human Evolution
Ethan L Fulwood, Doug M Boyer, Richard F Kay
The pterion, on the lateral aspect of the cranium, is where the zygomatic, frontal, sphenoid, squamosal, and parietal bones approach and contact. The configuration of these bones distinguishes New and Old World anthropoids: most extant platyrrhines exhibit contact between the parietal and zygomatic bones, while all known catarrhines exhibit frontal-alisphenoid contact. However, it is thought that early stem-platyrrhines retained the apparently primitive catarrhine condition. Here we re-evaluate the condition of key fossil taxa using μCT (micro-computed tomography) imaging...
November 2016: Journal of Human Evolution
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