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HomeScientiFixCanadian start-up predicted Coronavirus outbreak in China back in December

Canadian start-up predicted Coronavirus outbreak in China back in December

ScientiFix, our weekly feature, offers you a summary of the top global science stories of the week, with links to their sources.

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Tech start-up had warned people not to travel to China’s Wuhan

The new strain of coronavirus has spread to even more countries, including Cyprus, UK, Russia, and of course, India. It has come to light that an AI model built by a Canadian tech start-up called BlueDot predicted the Coronavirus outbreak in December 2019. The algorithm trawls the internet and picks up large amounts of data about animal and plant disease networks, and warned people to avoid traveling to Wuhan. More on Mashable.

Material older than the Sun found in meteorite

A meteorite that struck Chihuahua in Mexico was studied by a team of researchers, who announced that grains of dust found on the meteorite are older than the Sun. The finding comes just days after another team had announced that 5 to 7 billion-year-old dust grains were found in a meteorite that landed in Australia in 1969. The sun is 4.6 billion years old, making the earlier discovery the oldest material ever found on Earth. These new findings are shedding more light on the early solar system and how our planets evolved. More on Futurism.

Two satellites narrowly avoid collision

Last week, two unused satellites came close to crashing into each other and setting off a catastrophic reaction in space. LeoLabs, a company that tracks satellites and space debris by radar, predicted this week that two decommissioned satellites orbiting the earth had a 1 in 100 chance of collision, which later increased to 1 in 20. Humans do not have the technology to stop such a collision, but thankfully, nothing happened, and no new debris was detected. More details on BBC.

Citizen scientists discover new form of northern lights

A group of amateur sky-watchers in Finland got together to identify and track a new kind of northern lights, with a more unique pattern and colours. A professor leading a group studying space weather from the University of Helsinki made her students capture photographs of the new kind of lights at exactly the same second, but from different locations in the country. Using this photographic data, researchers were able to calculate its type and a scientific explanation for its form and location in the ionosphere. More on NPR.

Neanderthal gene found for the first time in African populations

For the longest time, we’ve believed that neanderthals, our extinct human cousins, were found outside of Africa. And thus, as the human population migrated out in Europe and Asia, our ancestors interbred with Neanderthals, giving us the evidence for it in our DNA. But a new study found that there is neanderthal DNA even in today’s African populations. This implies that human migration out of Africa started much earlier than we believed. Modern humans might have left Africa as early as 200,000 years ago instead of 60,000 years ago as we believed. This means that through this interbreeding, neanderthals were already carrying modern human genes when the second wave of migration happened 60,000 years ago. More on The New York Times.

Also read: Australia’s beloved Platypus at risk of extinction & chocolate cookies baked in space


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