How’s this for impressive: a genome pieced together from a 30,000-year-old finger bone contains fewer errors than genomes generated using samples from living people. The genome, published online today, is from an extinct group of hominins called the Denisovans.
Fossils of the Denisovans, close relatives of the Neanderthals, werediscovered in Siberia in 2008. A draft genome was released in 2010 by Svante Pääbo of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, which revealed that Denisovans interbred with modern humans. However, each position in the genome was read only twice, so the fine detail was unreliable.
The new genome covers each position 30 times over. Pääbo plans to use it to estimate how much genetic variation was present among the Denisovans, revealing whether they suffered population crashes.
Radiolarian (by FEI Company)
A fossilized single cell organism from the Barbados Islands.
Imaged gold coated and coloured in post production.
Courtesy of Linnea Rundgren
This once swam in a Devonian Sea…. (by David Cartier)
The northern Yukon Territory’s Ogilvie Mtns. encompass a vast, beautifully barren and rocky landscape, a bit lunar in aspect, full of bizzarre limestone formations, caves, arches, castle-like ridges and is permeated with the lithified remains of the sea life of 300 Million years ago.
This feathery, plantlike fossil is the delicate feeding tendril of a marine animal of the Hydrozoan class, . It is a Medusa, similiar to modern Jellyfish. This rare and lovely-to-find fossil organism is known as “Plumalina Plumaria’
The ancient fauna preserved in the rock of ages up there includes trilobites, graptolites, corals, crinoids and a variety of weird and exotic ammonoids ( penny included for scale).
ScienceShots (via Star Gulp Gives Black Hole Indigestion)
A giant black hole in the constellation Draco bit off more than it could chew. On 25 March, NASA’s Swift satellite detected an x-ray flare when a black hole 3.9 billion light-years from Earth tore a passing star to shreds. The flare arose because friction and gravity roasted the star’s remains and made them glow brilliantly before the black hole swallowed them.The black hole in Draco resides at the center of a far-off galaxy and is about the same size as the 4-million-solar-mass black hole marking the Milky Way’s heart.
The Moon Seen from the International Space Station (by NASA: 2Explore)
ISS028-E-020073 (31 July 2011) —- Photographed by an Expedition 28 crew member onboard the International Space Station, this image shows the moon at center, with the limb of Earth near the bottom transitioning into the orange-colored troposphere, the lowest and most dense portion of the Earth’s atmosphere. The troposphere ends abruptly at the tropopause, which appears in the image as the sharp boundary between the orange- and blue- colored atmosphere. The silvery-blue noctilucent clouds extend far above the Earth’s troposphere.
iss028e033315 (by NASA: 2Explore)
City lights illuminate this night time view of southern California, Mexico’s Baja California and the Gulf of Cortez, as photographed by one the Expedition 28 crew members onboard the International Space Station flying at altitude of approximately 220 miles. A 15-mm focal length was used to capture the time lapse image. The thin line of Earth’s atmosphere is visible above the horizon.