Prehistoric human skeleton in the Chan Hol Cave near Tulúm on the Yucatán peninsula prior to looting by unknown cave divers. Picture: Tom Poole, Liquid Jungle Lab
Heidelberg researchers date prehistoric skeleton found in a cave in Yucatán
A prehistoric human skeleton found on the Yucatán Peninsula is at least 13,000 years old and most likely dates from a glacial period at the end of the most recent ice age, the late Pleistocene. A German-Mexican team of researchers led by Prof. Dr Wolfgang Stinnesbeck and Arturo González González has now dated the fossil skeleton based on a stalagmite that grew on the hip bone. “The bones from the Chan Hol Cave near the city of Tulúm discovered five years ago represent one of the oldest finds of human bones on the American continent and are evidence of an unexpectedly early settlement in Southern Mexico,” says Prof. Stinnesbeck, who is an earth scientist at Heidelberg University. The research findings have now been published in PLOS ONE.
* By studying the effect of 1000 medicines, researchers discovered that medicine against asthma and blood pressure is linked to the risk of getting Parkinson´s disease.
* While the use of asthma medicine halves the risk of getting Parkinson's, one type of medicine against high blood pressure doubles the risk.
* The researchers examined more than 100 million prescriptions ordered over the last 11 years in Norway.
* These discoveries could be the start of a radically new treatment of Parkinson's patients.
Parkinson´s disease is a chronic disease with unknown causes. The disease destroys the brain cells that control body movements. Shivering, stiff arms and legs and poor coordination are typical symptoms of Parkinson's. The symptoms may develop slowly, and it sometimes takes time to make a correct diagnosis. Researchers at the Department of Global Public Health and Primary Care (IGS) at the University of Bergen (UiB) have completed a large study that included data from the Norwegian Prescription Database, in cooperation with researchers at Harvard University.
Climate warming reduces the number of plant species in the tundra, but plant-eating animals, such as reindeer and voles, can turn this negative effect into something positive. The results of a study coordinated from Umeå University in Sweden are now published in Nature Communications. “By eating tall and wide-leaved plants, reindeer can increase light availability and thus allow more plant species to co-exist and benefit from warmer conditions,” says Elina Kaarlejärvi, post-doctoral researcher at Umeå University, who led the study. Earlier studies suggest that tundra plant diversity will decrease in response to a warmer climate. However, it is important to know whether the response depends on the abundance of grazing animals, particularly reindeer, voles and lemmings, which are very common in tundra ecosystems. Researchers at Umeå University in Sweden, and Oulu University in Finland, tested this through experimental warming of vegetation on tundra meadows with and without reindeer and voles.
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