Hexbyte Glen Cove Zen stones naturally placed atop pedestals of ice: A phenomenon finally understood thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Zen stones naturally placed atop pedestals of ice: A phenomenon finally understood

Hexbyte Glen Cove

A laboratory reproduction of the Zen stone phenomenon in a lyophilizer. Credit: © Nicolas Taberlet / Nicolas Plihon

Like a work of art enshrined in a museum, some stones end up on a pedestal of ice in nature, with no human intervention. This “Zen stone” phenomenon, named after the stacked stones in Japanese gardens, appears on the surface of frozen lakes, Lake Baikal (Russia) in particular. These structures result from the phenomenon of sublimation, which causes a body, in this case ice, to change from solid to gaseous form without the intermediary form of a liquid.

This was recently demonstrated by researchers from the CNRS and l’Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1, who reproduced the phenomenon in the laboratory.

They showed that the shade created by the stone hinders the that sublimates the ice, thereby sculpting the pedestal. This research has helped bring to light and understand a rare phenomenon of sublimation within a natural context on Earth.

It was published in the journal PNAS during the week of 27 September 2021.

A video of the phenomenon reproduced in the laboratory:







Credit: CNRS


More information:
Sublimation-driven morphogenesis of Zen stones on ice surfaces, PNAS (2021). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2109107118

Citation:
Zen stones naturally placed atop pedestals of ice: A phenomenon finally understood (2021, September 27)
retrieved 28 September 2021
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Hexbyte Glen Cove New lava lake lets DR Congo volcano 'breathe', experts say thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove New lava lake lets DR Congo volcano ‘breathe’, experts say

Hexbyte Glen Cove

After the eruption in late May, the disappearance of lava from the crater had sparked fears that it remained buried under Goma.

The reappearance of a lava lake in the crater of the Nyiragongo volcano in eastern DR Congo is a good sign, experts said Sunday, four months after a major eruption killed 32 people.

Nyiragongo’s eruption on May 22-23 spewed out lava that buried homes in its wake, stopping just short of the northern outskirts of Goma, a city of some 600,000 people.

Celestin Kasereka Mahinda, the scientific director of the Goma Volcanology Observatory, said the “reappearance of the lava lake in Nyiragongo’s crater” dates from September 18.

“It is not a phenomenon that presents an imminent risk of a new eruption, but rather a phenomenon that allows the volcano to breathe,” he told AFP.

“It is a natural sign. The appearance of this lake of fire in the crater will minimise earthquakes in the volcanic area of Goma.”

Nyiragongo, a strato-volcano nearly 3,500 metres (11,500 feet) high, straddles the East African Rift tectonic divide.

In the days following the eruption in May, mighty tremors shook Goma, and scientists feared a rare but potentially —a “limnic eruption” under nearby Lake Kivu that would send , dissolved in the depths of the water, up to the surface and suffocate everyone in the vicinity.

The Democratic Republic of Congo authorities ordered the evacuation of 400,000 people as a precaution. The residents have largely returned since fell back.

After the eruption, the disappearance of lava from the crater sparked fears that it remained buried under Goma.

“Today Nyiragongo found a way to breathe, which is a good sign,” Mahinda said.

“Fear would have persisted if the volcanic chimney remained blocked.”

In the previous in 2002, around 100 people died and swathes of eastern Goma were destroyed.

Nyiragongo’s deadliest , in 1977, claimed more than 600 lives.



© 2021 AFP

Citation:
New lava lake lets DR Congo volcano ‘breathe’, experts say (2021, September 26)
retrieved 27 September 2021
from https://phys.org/news/2021-09-lava-lake-dr-congo-volcano.html

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Hexbyte Glen Cove 'Ancestor' of Mediterranean mosaics discovered in Turkey thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove ‘Ancestor’ of Mediterranean mosaics discovered in Turkey

Hexbyte Glen Cove

The assembly of over 3,000 stones was unearthed in the remains of a 15th century BC Hittite temple, 700 years before the oldest known mosaics of ancient Greece.

The discovery of a 3,500-year-old paving stone, described as the “ancestor” of Mediterranean mosaics, offers illuminating details into the daily lives of the mysterious Bronze Age Hittites.

The assembly of over 3,000 stones—in natural shades of beige, red and black, and arranged in triangles and curves—was unearthed in the remains of a 15th century BC Hittite temple, 700 years before the oldest known mosaics of ancient Greece.

“It is the ancestor of the classical period of mosaics that are obviously more sophisticated. This is a sort of first attempt to do it,” says Anacleto D’Agostino, excavation director of Usakli Hoyuk, near Yozgat, in central Turkey.

At the site three hours from Turkey’s capital Ankara, first located in 2018, Turkish and Italian archaeologists painstakingly use shovels and brushes to learn more about the towns of the Hittites, one of the most powerful kingdoms in ancient Anatolia.

“For the first time, people felt the necessity to produce some geometric patterns and to do something different from a simple pavement,” D’Agostino says.

“Maybe we are dealing with a genius? Maybe not. It was maybe a man who said ‘build me a floor’ and he decided to do something weird?”

The discovery was made opposite Kerkenes mountain and the temple where the mosaic is located was dedicated to Teshub, the storm god worshipped by the Hittites, equivalent to Zeus for the ancient Greeks.

“Probably here the priests were looking at the picture of Kerkenes mountain for some rituals and so on,” D’Agostino adds.

Turkish and Italian archaeologists painstakingly use shovels and brushes to discover more about the powerful Hittite kingdom.

Lost city’s treasures?

The archaeologists this week also discovered ceramics and the remains of a palace, supporting the theory that Usakli Hoyuk could indeed be the lost city of Zippalanda.

A significant place of worship of the storm god and frequently mentioned in Hittite tablets, Zippalanda’s exact location has remained a mystery.

“Researchers agree that Usakli Hoyuk is one of two most likely sites. With the discovery of the palace remains alongside the luxurious ceramics and glassware, the likelihood has increased,” D’Agostino says.

“We only need the ultimate proof: a tablet carrying the name of the city.”

The treasures of Usakli Hoyuk, for which cedar trees were brought from Lebanon to build temples and palaces, were swallowed up like the rest of the Hittite world towards the end of the Bronze Age.

Excavation director Anacleto D’Agostino describes the discovery as ‘the ancestor of the classical period of mosaics’

The reason is still not known.

But some believe a change in climate accompanied by social unrest is the cause.

‘Spiritual connection’

Nearly 3,000 years after their disappearance, the Hittites continue to inhabit Turkish imagination.

A Hittite figure representing the sun is Ankara’s symbol. And in the 1930s, the founder of the modern Turkish republic, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, presented Turks as the direct descendants of the Hittites.

“I don’t know if we can find a connection between ancient Hittites and people living here now. Centuries and millenia have passed, and people moved from one place to another,” D’Agostino says.

“But I would like to imagine that some sort of spiritual connection exists.”

In an attempt to honour this connection, the excavation team recreated Hittite culinary traditions, trying ancient recipes on ceramics produced as they would have been at the time using the same technique and clay.

“We reproduced the Hittite ceramics with the clay found in the village where the site is located: we baked dates and bread with them as the Hittites used to eat,” says Valentina Orsi, co-director of the excavation.

“It was very good.”



© 2021 AFP

Citation:
‘Ancestor’ of Mediterranean mosaics discovered in Turkey (2021, September 26)
retrieved 27 September 2021
from https://phys.org/news/2021-09-ancestor-mediterranean-mosaics-turkey.html

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Hexbyte Glen Cove California fights fire with fire to protect giant sequoias thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove California fights fire with fire to protect giant sequoias

Hexbyte Glen Cove

Flames got close to the General Sherman, the world’s biggest tree, but were pushed back thanks to years of controlled burns that starved the fire of fuel.

The so-far successful battle this month in California to save the world’s biggest trees from ever-worsening forest blazes seems to offer an important lesson: You can fight fire with fire.

Human-caused climate change has made the western United States hotter, drier and more vulnerable to increasingly destructive wildfires, which have this year taken a horrific toll on the region’s forests.

That has included threatening huge sequoias like the General Sherman, which looms 275 feet (83 meters) above the .

Firefighters were able to beat back the flames as they ate into California’s Giant Forest, thanks to decades of prescribed burns that starved the blaze of fuel.

“It sounds a little strange to say this, but there actually has not been enough fire in California for about a century,” said Rebecca Miller, a researcher at the University of Southern California.

“There were policies in place at the federal and the state level throughout much of the 20th century to prevent fire, because there was an incorrect belief that fire was bad for the environment.”

Fires are part of the natural cycle of life, clearing away excess vegetation, purging pests, and making space for new growth.

In the wilderness, these fires eventually burn themselves out.

But as has encroached further into formerly wild spaces, tolerance for these fires has diminished and firefighters are under instructions to put out all blazes as soon as possible.

Parts of the Sequoia National Forest have burned in the most recent blazes.

Now there is a growing realization that this policy is actually contributing to the worsening of forest fires—giving them so much more fuel and making them hotter, faster and more destructive.

Instead, the thinking goes, we should actually be helping smaller fires to burn.

The practice was key to protecting Giant Forest, home to the General Sherman, says Mark Garrett, a spokesman for the force trying to tame the still-active KNP Complex fire.

‘Best tool we have’

The sequoias of Giant Forest, some of which are up to 3,000 years old, have survived countless previous fires.

Their thick bark protects them from flames, and their cones actually need the heat of smaller fires to open up and spread their seeds.

But even these imposing giants cannot cope with the mega blazes tearing through California’s parched landscape.

Around 10,000 of them—up to 14 percent of the world’s total—perished in a huge fire last year.

So there was considerable nervousness when flames from the KNP Complex started eating into the Sequoia National Forest.

Sequoias can survive – and even thrive – in low-level fires, using the heat to open their cones and spread their seeds, but can be killed in the hotter, faster fires that are gripping California.

Garrett says it was the first time an uncontrolled fire had come so close to the General Sherman, which was wrapped in a protective foil.

But thanks to years of controlled burns, the fire couldn’t get much of a purchase, said Garrett.

“We’re seeing things we haven’t seen before, like near 300-foot trees being killed because of the smaller trees in between them that are carrying that fire,” he told AFP.

Controlled burns are “the best tool we have right now.”

The next General Sherman

But not everyone agrees.

“It is not an effective strategy and it’s been very much overblown,” says ecologist George Wuerthner.

Controlled burning has to be so widespread and so regular that it’s prohibitive.

“We just can’t be doing the whole landscape at that kind of frequency. It’s misleading to suggest that that’s a panacea for preventing large fires.”

California redwood trees grow taller – over 100 metres – but sequoias are the largest trees by volume in the world.

Former forest service official Andy Stahl says worthwhile controlled burns would cost billions of dollars.

“You can’t just burn it, walk away from it and say, ‘Well I don’t have to do that again for another 100 years.”

“No, you have to go back there in another five or 10 years and do it again,” said Stahl, who is executive director of FSEEE, an organization focused on ethical forest management.

Which explains why there are very few areas in the western United States where the practice is common—apart from around Giant Forest.

“It’s a very, very small footprint in a small National Park.”

For Garrett, there is simply no choice: “We need more money. We need more people. This needs to be done, all over the mountains and the federal lands.

“We don’t have a lot of brand new sequoia trees in the Giant Forest because it hasn’t seen in so long.

“We need that new generation to replace the General Sherman 2,000 years from now.”



© 2021 AFP

Citation:
California fights fire with fire to protect giant sequoias (2021, September 26)
retrieved 27 September 2021
from https://phys.org/news/2021-09-california-giant-sequoias.html

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Hexbyte Glen Cove Volcanic ash cloud closes La Palma airport; new vent emerges thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Volcanic ash cloud closes La Palma airport; new vent emerges

Hexbyte Glen Cove

Two people walk as lava spews from a volcano on the Canary island of La Palma, Spain in the early hours of Saturday Sept. 25, 2021. A volcano in Spain’s Canary Islands is keeping nerves on edge several days since it erupted, producing loud explosions, a huge ash cloud and cracking open a new fissure that spewed out more fiery molten rock. The prompt evacuations are credited with helping avoid casualties but scientists say the lava flows could last for weeks or months. Credit: AP Photo/Daniel Roca

The airport on the Spanish island of La Palma shut down Saturday because of an ash cloud spewing out of a volcano that has been erupting for a week, and scientists said another volcanic vent opened up, exposing islanders to possible new dangers.

The intensity of the eruption that began Sept. 19 has increased in recent days, prompting the evacuation of three additional villages on the island, part of Spain’s Canary Islands archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean off northwest Africa. Almost 7,000 people have been forced to abandon their homes.

The recent volcanic eruption is the first since 1971 on La Palma, which has a population of 85,000.

La Palma Airport operator Aena said the was “inoperative” due to the accumulation of ash. Other airports in the Canary Islands were still operating Saturday but some airlines were suspending flights, Aena said.

Emergency crews pulled back from the volcano Friday as explosions sent molten rock and ash over a wide area. The Canary Islands Volcanology Institute said another vent opened early Saturday.

Rivers of lava have been sliding down the mountainside toward the southwestern coast of the island, destroying everything in their path, including hundreds of homes. The speed of the flow has slowed down considerably, however, and the lava is now barely moving forward, with about 2 kilometers left to reach the sea, said Miguel Ángel Morcuende, head of the Canary Island Volcanic Emergency Plan.

  • Vehicles are covered by ashes from a volcano eruption at the island of La Palma in the Canaries, Spain, Friday, Sept. 24, 2021. A volcano on a small Spanish island in the Atlantic Ocean erupted on Sunday, forcing the evacuation of thousands of people. Experts say the volcanic eruption and its aftermath on a Spanish island could last for up to 84 days. Credit: AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti
  • Lava spews from a volcano on the Canary island of La Palma, Spain in the early hours of Saturday Sept. 25, 2021. A volcano in Spain’s Canary Islands is keeping nerves on edge several days since it erupted, producing loud explosions, a huge ash cloud and cracking open a new fissure that spewed out more fiery molten rock. The prompt evacuations are credited with helping avoid casualties but scientists say the lava flows could last for weeks or months. Credit: AP Photo/Daniel Roca
  • Lava flows in an eruption on the island of La Palma in the Canaries, Spain, Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021. A volcano on the small Spanish island in the Atlantic Ocean erupted on Sunday, forcing the evacuation of thousands of people. Experts say the eruption and its aftermath could last for up to 84 days. Credit: AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti
  • Residents look from a hill as lava continues to flow from an erupted volcano, on the island of La Palma in the Canaries, Spain, Friday, Sept. 24, 2021. A volcano in Spain’s Canary Islands continues to produce explosions and spew out lava, five days after it erupted. Two rivers of lava continue to slide slowly down the hillside of La Palma on Friday. Credit: AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti
  • Lava spews from a volcano on the Canary island of La Palma, Spain in the early hours of Saturday Sept. 25, 2021. A volcano in Spain’s Canary Islands is keeping nerves on edge several days since it erupted, producing loud explosions, a huge ash cloud and cracking open a new fissure that spewed out more fiery molten rock. The prompt evacuations are credited with helping avoid casualties but scientists say the lava flows could last for weeks or months. Credit: AP Photo/Daniel Roca
  • Lava from a volcano eruption flows on the island of La Palma in the Canaries, Spain, Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021. A volcano on a small Spanish island in the Atlantic Ocean erupted on Sunday, forcing the evacuation of thousands of people. Experts say the volcanic eruption and its aftermath on a Spanish island could last for up to 84 days. Credit: AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti, Pool
  • Lava from a volcano eruption flows on the island of La Palma in the Canaries, Spain, Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021. A volcano on a small Spanish island in the Atlantic Ocean erupted on Sunday, forcing the evacuation of thousands of people. Experts say the volcanic eruption and its aftermath on a Spanish island could last for up to 84 days. Credit: AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti, Pool
  • Lava from a volcano eruption flows on the island of La Palma in the Canaries, Spain, Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021. A volcano on a small Spanish island in the Atlantic Ocean erupted on Sunday, forcing the evacuation of thousands of people. Experts say the volcanic eruption and its aftermath on a Spanish island could last for up to 84 days. Credit: AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti, Pool
  • Lava from a volcano eruption surrounds a house on the island of La Palma in the Canaries, Spain, Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021. A volcano on a small Spanish island in the Atlantic Ocean erupted on Sunday, forcing the evacuation of thousands of people. Experts say the volcanic eruption and its aftermath on a Spanish island could last for up to 84 days. Credit: AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti, Pool
  • Lava from a volcano eruption engulfs houses on the island of La Palma in the Canaries, Spain, Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021. A volcano on a small Spanish island in the Atlantic Ocean erupted on Sunday, forcing the evacuation of thousands of people. Experts say the volcanic eruption and its aftermath on a Spanish island could last for up to 84 days. Credit: AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti, Pool

“I don’t dare to tell you when it’s going to get there, nor do I dare to make a forecast,” Morcuende told reporters in a news conference.

A more immediate concern for the residents of La Palma is the huge that is rising from the volcano and being carried by the wind to other parts of the island. In addition to being a significant danger to aviation, he said volcanic ash can cause damage to people’s airways, lungs and eyes. The local government has urged residents in affected areas to avoid going outside and only do so wearing masks and goggles.



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Volcanic ash cloud closes La Palma airport; new vent emerges (2021, September 25)
retrieved 26 September 2021
from https://phys.org/news/2021-09-volcanic-ash-cloud-la-palma.html

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Hexbyte Glen Cove Zoo Miami: Orangutan dies following dental surgery thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Zoo Miami: Orangutan dies following dental surgery

Hexbyte Glen Cove

This photo provided by Zoo Miami shows orangutan Kumang. Kumang, a 44-year-old Bornean orangutan, died Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021, during recovery from anesthesia. Credit: Ron Magill/Zoo Miami via AP

An orangutan has died at Zoo Miami following a dental surgery, officials said.

Kumang, a 44-year-old Bornean , died Thursday during recovery from anesthesia, according to a statement from the South Florida zoo.

“We at Zoo Miami are heartbroken over this terrible loss and our deepest condolences go out to the staff that provided Kumang with such great care over the years,” the statement said.

The had been anesthetized for the removal of two teeth, which were damaged and causing an infection in her gums, official’s said. The anesthesia, examination and went as planned. Kumang was closely monitored by veterinarians, veterinary technicians and a human cardiologist. Her vitals remained stable, said.

After the procedure, Kumang was returned to her enclosure, where she began to recover. Zoo workers said she was able to sit up and climb to her platform bed. But then for unknown reasons, she lied down and stopped breathing, officials said. Efforts to resuscitate Kumang, including CPR, were unsuccessful. Officials said a thorough necropsy will be performed to determine the cause of death.

This photo provided by Zoo Miami shows orangutan Kumang, left. Kumang, a 44-year-old Bornean orangutan, died Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021, during recovery from anesthesia. Credit: Ron Magill/Zoo Miami via AP

Kumang leaves behind an 8-year-old daughter named Bella, who continues to reside at Zoo Miami.

Bornean orangutans are considered endangered, with a global population of just over 100,000. They can be found in the wild in Malaysia and Indonesia on the Asian island of Borneo.



© 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

Citation:
Zoo Miami: Orangutan dies following dental surgery (2021, September 25)
retrieved 26 September 2021
from https://phys.org/news/2021-09-zoo-miami-orangutan-dies-dental.html

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Hexbyte Glen Cove Flights scrapped as new  volcanic eruptions hit Canaries thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Flights scrapped as new volcanic eruptions hit Canaries

Hexbyte Glen Cove

The Cumbre Vieja volcano keeps spewing out lava and smoke.

Fresh volcanic eruptions in Spain’s Canary Islands prompted the cancellation of flights, airport authorities said Friday, the first since the Cumbre Vieja volcano came to life again.

New evacuations were also ordered as large explosions and new openings were reported at the volcano on La Palma island on Friday.

A large cloud of thick, black ash spewed into the air, forcing several airlines to call off flights.

La Palma had six inter-island flights scheduled for Friday operated by Binter, Canaryfly and Air Europa, while the national carrier Iberia had a single service from Madrid to the mainland. All were scrapped.

They were the first flights to be cancelled since the volcano erupted on Sunday.

“It is not yet possible to say when we can resume flights,” Spanish carrier Binter said on Twitter.

Authorities also ordered new evacuations, adding to the 6,100 people already forced to leave to area this week, including 400 tourists.

The compulsory evacuation order was issued in parts of El Paso town on La Palma island “given the for the population due to the current eruptive episode”, the regional government said.

According to the European Union’s Copernicus Earth Obervation Programme, the lava has so far destroyed 390 buildings and covered more than 180 hectares (445 acres) of land.

More than 6,100 people have already been evacuated, including 400 tourists.

Video footage from the civil guard showed a garden in the area completely covered in thick ash.

Visiting the island, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced La Palma would be declared a zone affected by a catastrophe” which opens financial aid to residents.

Toxic gas fears

The speed of the lava flowing from the mouth of the volcano has steadily slowed in recent days, and experts are hoping it will not reach the coast.

If the molten lava pours into the sea, experts fear it will generate clouds of toxic gas into the air, also affecting the marine environment.

The flow of lava now covers more than 180 hectares of La Palma island.

Authorities set up a no-go zone this week to head off curious onlookers.

No casualties have been reported so far but the damage to land and property has been enormous, with the Canaries regional head Angel Victor Torres estimating the cost at well over 400 million euros ($470 million).

Some 390 buildings have already been destroyed by the lava on La Palma.

The eruption on La Palma, home to 85,000 people, was the first in 50 years.

The last eruption on the island came in 1971 when another part of the same volcanic range—a vent known as Teneguia—erupted on the southern side of the island.

Two decades earlier, the Nambroque vent erupted in 1949.



© 2021 AFP

Citation:
Flights scrapped as new volcanic eruptions hit Canaries (2021, September 25)
retrieved 26 September 2021
from https://phys.org/news/2021-09-flights-scrapped-volcanic-eruptions-canaries.html

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Hexbyte Glen Cove The origin and legacy of the Etruscans thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove The origin and legacy of the Etruscans

Hexbyte Glen Cove

Sleep and Death Carrying off the Slain Sarpedon (cista handle), 400-380 BC, Etruscan, bronze – Cleveland Museum of Art. Credit: Daderot, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Etruscan civilization, which flourished during the Iron Age in central Italy, has intrigued scholars for millennia. With remarkable metallurgical skills and a now-extinct, non-Indo-European language, the Etruscans stood out from their contemporary neighbors, leading to intense debate from the likes of the ancient Greek historian Herodotus on their geographical origins.

Now, a new study by a team of scholars from Germany, Italy, U.S., Denmark and the U.K., sheds light on the origin and legacy of the enigmatic Etruscans with genome-wide data from 82 ancient individuals from central and southern Italy, spanning 800 BCE to 1000 CE. Their results show that the Etruscans, despite their unique cultural expressions, were closely related to their italic neighbors, and reveal major genetic transformations associated with historical events.

An intriguing phenomenon

With an that is only partly understood, much of what was initially known about Etruscan civilization comes from the commentary of later Greek and Roman writers. One hypothesis about their origins, the one favored by Herodotus, points to the influence of ancient Greek cultural elements to argue that the Etruscans descended from migrating Anatolian or Aegean groups. Another, championed by Dionysius of Halicarnassus, proposes that the Etruscans originated and developed locally from the Bronze Age Villanovan culture and were therefore an autochthonous population.

Although the current consensus among archaeologists supports a local origin for the Etruscans, a lack of ancient DNA from the region has made genetic investigations inconsistent. The current study, with a time transect of ancient genomic information spanning almost 2000 years collected from 12 archaeological sites, resolves lingering questions about Etruscan origins, showing no evidence for a recent population movement from Anatolia. In fact, the Etruscans shared the genetic profile of the Latins living in nearby Rome, with a large proportion of their genetic profiles coming from steppe-related ancestry that arrived in the region during the Bronze Age.

Considering that steppe-related groups were likely responsible for the spread of Indo-European languages, now spoken around the world by billions of people, the persistence of a non-Indo-European Etruscan language is an intriguing and still unexplained phenomenon that will require further archaeological, historical, linguistic and genetic investigation.

“This linguistic persistence, combined with a genetic turnover, challenges simple assumptions that genes equal languages and suggests a more complex scenario that may have involved the assimilation of early Italic speakers by the Etruscan speech community, possibly during a prolonged period of admixture over the second millennium BCE,” says David Caramelli, Professor at the University of Florence.

Geographic map of the Italian peninsula (right) including a zoom-in (left) indicating the maximum extension of Etruscan territories and the location and number of individuals for each archeological site newly analyzed in this study. Credit: Michelle O’Reilly, MPI SHH

Periods of change

Despite a few individuals of eastern Mediterranean, northern African, and central European origins, the Etruscan-related gene pool remained stable for at least 800 years, spanning the Iron Age and Roman Republic period. The study finds, however, that during the subsequent Roman Imperial period, central Italy experienced a large scale genetic shift, resulting from admixture with eastern Mediterranean populations, which likely included slaves and soldiers relocated across the Roman Empire.

“This genetic shift clearly depicts the role of the Roman Empire in the large-scale displacement of people in a time of enhanced upward or downward socioeconomic and geographic mobility,” says Johannes Krause, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.

Looking at the more recent Early Middle Ages, the researchers identified northern European ancestries spreading across the Italian peninsula following the collapse of the Western Roman Empire. These results suggest that Germanic migrants, including individuals associated with the newly established Longobard Kingdom, might have left a traceable impact on the genetic landscape of central Italy.

In the regions of Tuscany, Lazio, and Basilicata the population’s ancestry remained largely continuous between the Early Medieval times and today, suggesting that the main gene pool of present-day people from central and southern Italy was largely formed at least 1000 years ago.

Although more ancient DNA from across Italy is needed to support the above conclusions, ancestry shifts in Tuscany and northern Lazio similar to those reported for the city of Rome and its surroundings suggests that historical events during the first millennium CE had a major impact on the genetic transformations over much of the Italian peninsula.

“The Roman Empire appears to have left a long-lasting contribution to the genetic profile of southern Europeans, bridging the gap between European and eastern Mediterranean populations on the genetic map of western Eurasia,” says Cosimo Posth, Professor at the University of Tübingen and Senckenberg Centre for Human Evolution and Palaeoenvironment.



More information:
The origin and legacy of the Etruscans through a 2000-year archeogenomic time transect, Science Advances (2021). DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abi7673

Provided by
Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History

Citation:
The origin and legacy of the Etruscans (2021, September 24)
retrieved 25 September 2021
from https://phys.org/news/2021-09-legacy-etruscans.html

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Hexbyte Glen Cove In a gene tied to growth, scientists see glimmers of human history thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove In a gene tied to growth, scientists see glimmers of human history

Hexbyte Glen Cove

Infographic showing that some modern humans have the GHRd3 deletion, while all four archaic hominins studied — three Neanderthals and one Denisovan — had the deletion. Credit: Credit: Rebecca Farnham / Marie Saitou / University at Buffalo. Genome assembly diagrams generated by the Integrative Genomics Viewer (IGV, https://igv.org/doc/IGVdesktop).

A new study delves into the evolution and function of the human growth hormone receptor gene, and asks what forces in humanity’s past may have driven changes to this vital piece of DNA.

The research shows, through multiple avenues, that a shortened version of the gene—a known as GHRd3—may help people survive in situations where resources are scarce or unpredictable.

Findings will be published on Sept. 24 in Science Advances.

Here’s the story the study tells: GHRd3 emerged about 1-2 million years ago, and was likely the overwhelmingly predominant version of the gene in the ancestors of modern humans, as well as in Neanderthals and Denisovans.

Then, “In the last 50,000 years or so, this variant becomes less prevalent, and you have a massive decrease in the frequency of this variant among East Asian populations we studied, where we see the estimated allele frequency drop from 85% to 15% during the last 30,000 years,” says University at Buffalo evolutionary biologist Omer Gokcumen. “So the question becomes: Why? Was this variant favored in the past, and it fell out of evolutionary favor recently? Or is what we are observing just a blip among the complexity of genomes?”

The research provides new insights into the function of GHRd3 that may help explain why these evolutionary changes occurred, demonstrating that the variant may be useful in coping with nutritional stress.

“We think that this variant is beneficial where there are periods of starvation, which was the case for most of human evolution,” says Gokcumen, Ph.D., associate professor of biological sciences in the UB College of Arts and Sciences. With regard to GHRd3’s waning prominence in recent human history, he speculates that, “Maybe the rapid technological and cultural advances over the past 50,000 years have created a buffer against some of the fluctuations in resources that made GHRd3 so advantageous in the past.”

“GHRd3 is interesting because it is a very common deletion that is variable between you and me among humans,” says Marie Saitou, Ph.D., tenure-track investigator at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences and a former postdoctoral researcher in Gokcumen’s lab at UB. “Normally, these kinds of important fundamental genes do not change between human to human, and are highly conserved in other animals even.”

The work was led by Saitou; Skyler Resendez, Ph.D., a recent UB graduate in biological sciences who is now a postdoctoral fellow in biomedical informatics in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB; Xiuqian Mu, MD, Ph.D., associate professor of ophthalmology in the Jacobs School at UB and at the Ross Eye Institute; and Gokcumen. An international team of collaborators contributed perspectives in this study, which integrated advanced population genetics methods with research in a to understand the complicated history and function of a genetic variant.

A close look at possible functions of GHRd3

The growth hormone receptor gene plays a major role in controlling the body’s response to growth hormone, helping to activate processes that lead to growth.

To study the gene’s evolutionary history, scientists looked at the genomes of many modern humans, as well as those of four archaic hominins—three Neanderthals from different parts of the world, and one Denisovan. (All four had the GHRd3 variant.)

The team also investigated GHRd3’s modern functions. For example, the researchers found that the GHRd3 variant was associated with better outcomes in a group of children who had endured and survived severe malnutrition.

Additionally, studies on mice supported the idea that GHRd3 helps to regulate the body’s response to food scarcity. Male mice with the variant had some biological similarities to mice that had reduced access to food—traits that may be beneficial in surviving nutritional stress, the study found.

And when scientists placed with GHRd3 on a low-calorie diet, the animals were smaller at 2 months old than counterparts without the variant. This may be beneficial in times of nutritional stress, as smaller bodies need less food. Because the effects of GHRd3 were not as prominent in females, male and female mice carrying the variant ended up being the same size when they were on a low-calorie diet (usually, males are significantly larger than females).

“Our study points to sex- and environment-specific effects of a common genetic variant. In the mice, we observed that Ghrd3 leads to a ‘female-like’ expression pattern of dozens of genes in male livers under calorie restriction, which potentially leads to the observed size reduction,” Saitou says.

“Females, already smaller in size, may suffer from negative evolutionary consequences if they lose body weight. Thus, it is a reasonable and also very interesting hypothesis that a genetic variant that may affect response to nutritional stress has evolved in a sex-specific manner,” Mu says.

“Despite its prevalence in human populations, this unique genetic deletion has not been observed in any other living species,” Resendez says. “This makes it difficult to study. However, scientific advancements now give us the ability to edit genomes in a targeted fashion. This allowed us to generate a mouse model containing the deletion so that we could observe its effects closely in a controlled manner.”

“It is an exciting time for doing research on , where it is now possible to integrate data from ancient genomes, gene editing technologies, and advanced mathematical approaches to tell the human story in all its messy glory,” Gokcumen says.



More information:
Sex-specific phenotypic effects and evolutionary history of an ancient polymorphic deletion of the human growth hormone receptor, Science Advances (2021). DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abi4476

Citation:
In a gene tied to growth, scientists see glimmers of human history (2021, September 24)

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Hexbyte Glen Cove Spanish volcano still packs a punch 5 days after eruption thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Spanish volcano still packs a punch 5 days after eruption

Hexbyte Glen Cove

Residents look from a hill as lava continues to flow from an erupted volcano, on the island of La Palma in the Canaries, Spain, Friday, Sept. 24, 2021. A volcano in Spain’s Canary Islands continues to produce explosions and spew out lava, five days after it erupted. Two rivers of lava continue to slide slowly down the hillside of La Palma on Friday. Credit: AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti

A volcano in Spain’s Canary Islands kept nerves on edge Friday for a fifth day since it erupted, producing loud explosions, a huge ash cloud and cracking open a new fissure that spewed out more fiery molten rock.

The archipelago’s emergency services ordered the evacuation of scores of people from three villages on the island of La Palma and ordered residents to stay indoors in another. Already this week, almost 7,000 people have had to leave their homes. The prompt evacuations are credited with helping avoid casualties.

Loud bangs from the volcano’s mouth sent shock waves echoing across the hillsides. Explosions hurled molten rock and ash over a wide expanse. As a precaution, emergency services pulled back from the area.

Regional airline Binter temporarily halted flights due to a huge ash cloud that rose 6 kilometers (almost 4 miles) into the sky.

More encouragingly, Spain’s National Geographic Institute said it hadn’t recorded any earthquakes in the area for 24 hours, after registering 1,130 over the past week amid intense seismic activity before and after the eruption on the Cumbre Vieja volcanic ridge.

Also, the advance of the main river of lava slithering toward the sea slowed to 1 meter (about 3 feet) per hour.

Both of the main lava flows are at least 10 meters (33 feet) high at their leading edges and have been destroying houses, farmland and infrastructure in their path since Sunday.

  • Residents look from a hill as the lava from a volcano eruption flows on the island of La Palma in the Canaries, Spain, Friday, Sept. 24, 2021. A volcano on a small Spanish island in the Atlantic Ocean erupted on Sunday, forcing the evacuation of thousands of people. Experts say the volcanic eruption and its aftermath on a Spanish island could last for up to 84 days. Credit: AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti
  • Lava from a volcano eruption surrounds a house on the island of La Palma in the Canaries, Spain, Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021. A volcano on a small Spanish island in the Atlantic Ocean erupted on Sunday, forcing the evacuation of thousands of people. Experts say the volcanic eruption and its aftermath on a Spanish island could last for up to 84 days. Credit: AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti, Pool
  • Residents leave their house as lava continues to flow from an erupted volcano, in La Mancha on the island of La Palma in the Canaries, Spain, Friday, Sept. 24, 2021. A volcano in Spain’s Canary Islands continues to produce explosions and spew out lava, five days after it erupted. Two rivers of lava continue to slide slowly down the hillside of La Palma on Friday. Credit: AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti
  • Residents watch from a hill as lava continues to flow from an erupted volcano, on the island of La Palma in the Canaries, Spain, Friday, Sept. 24, 2021. A volcano in Spain’s Canary Islands continues to produce explosions and spew out lava, five days after it erupted. Two rivers of lava continue to slide slowly down the hillside of La Palma on Friday. Credit: AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti

The lava has destroyed almost 400 buildings on La Palma, including many homes, on the western side of the island of 85,000 people, a European Union monitoring program said.

It said the lava stretches over 180 hectares (almost 20,000 square feet) and has blocked 14 kilometers (9 miles) of roads. Islanders make a living mostly from farming and tourism, and some may lose their livelihoods.

On a visit to La Palma, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced a package of measures to help get the island back on its feet and “rebuild lives.”

The Spanish government will provide aid for rebuilding homes and public infrastructure, such as roads, irrigation networks and schools, as well as relaunching the island’s tourism industry, Sánchez said. He did not say how much money would be made available, but said a Cabinet meeting next week would provide more details.

Scientists say the flows could last for weeks or months.



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Spanish volcano still packs a punch 5 days after eruption (2021, September 24)
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