News Briefs from around the World: November 2022

News Briefs from around the World: November 2022

The beginnings of agriculture in Turkey, the bitter origins of watermelon, a giant deep-sea isopod found in Mexico and more in this month’s Quick Hits

Credit: NASA

BULGARIA

Scientists determined that two teeth, left uncatalogued in a museum for decades, belong to a long-extinct European panda. The habitat of the beast was likely a swampy forest. Its bamboo-eating modern counterparts were far more suitable.

KENYA

The worst drought in 40 years killed 179 elephants–20 times more than poachers did in the past year–making climate change the bigger threat to the animals.

LIBYA

Genome sequencing of 6,000-year-old seeds from a watermelon relative suggests the fruit was prized for these nutritious seeds, not for its flesh–which was bitter, unlike today’s refreshingly sweet varieties.

MEXICO

A new species of giant deep-sea isopod–a cousin to the common pill bug but more than 10 inches long–was found hiding in plain sight. It was originally captured off the Yucatan Peninsula. Genome sequencing revealed that it was not the same species as other isopods until it was identified as something else.

Tanzania

Social media is coming to the heights of Mount Kilimanjaro with the the installation of high-speed fiber-optic Wi-Fi. The new system will make it easier for climbers and others to upload selfies or call for assistance, but the coverage for those living in the shadow of the mountain will not be expanded.

TURKEY

Skeletal DNA from more than 700 people who lived in Anatolia 10,000 years ago suggests that agriculture developed as different migrating populations intermingled, rather than solely from local hunter-gatherers switching to farming. These migrations may have also brought Indo-European languages into the region.

This article was originally published with the title “Quick Hits” in Scientific American 327, 5, 24 (November 2022)

doi: 10. 1038/scientificamerican1122-24a

ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)

    Fionna M. D. Samuels was a 2022 AAAS Mass Media Fellow at Scientific A

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