Tuesday, 18 January, 2022
HomeScientiFixIndian subcontinent’s collision with Asia changed the world for good

Indian subcontinent’s collision with Asia changed the world for good

ScientiFix, our weekly feature, offers you a summary of the top global science stories of the week, with links to the best sources to read them. It's your fix to stay on top of the latest in science.

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Subcontinent’s collision with Asia increased oxygen in oceans, drastically improving life

About 50 million years ago, the Indian subcontinent slammed into Asia, creating the Himalayan range and changed the face of the continents. But it now appears that the large scale continental floor changes created by this collision event, and the closing in of the prehistoric Tethys Sea actually increased the oxygen content in the earth’s oceans. This happened about 10 million years after the dinosaurs died. More details on Phys.org.

Humans are growing a ‘painful’ bone that evolution had earlier removed

At some point in history, human anatomy lost a bone in the knees called the fabella to evolution. But researchers have noticed that the bone, linked to knee problems and pain, is now making a comeback. It serves no purpose at all and seems to be the equivalent of an appendix for the skeleton system, but doctors report that there is a higher chance of finding the bone among patients with arthritis. Scientists believe improved nutrition among humans is one of the reasons for its resurgence. More here.

Emperor penguin colony that was visible from space wiped out overnight

New information has come to light about a violent and catastrophic event that occurred in Antarctica about three years ago. A super colony of emperor penguins, with nearly 25,000 pairs of breeding penguins that thrived there for decades, disappeared overnight when the sea-ice they were on broke up and young chicks hadn’t yet developed the right wings to swim. The colony doesn’t seem to be trying to grow back, and the species is at a risk of losing over 50 per cent of its population by the end of this century. More on BBC.

Dark matter scientists spot rarest decay process

Xenon-124, an isotope of the gas used in bulbs, has a half-life that is over a trillion times longer than the age of the universe (14 billion years). Researchers in Italy working on discovering dark matter underground in the XENON1T detector, which is filled with liquid xenon, managed to catch signatures of this rarest decay event in process. They were able to do so as they could potentially monitor nearly all the trillions of atoms of liquid xenon in their detector. More on Cnet.

New brain implant could convert thoughts to speech

Researchers at University of California have created an electrode that could be implanted into the brain, which can then convert thoughts to speech. This is done by the device first picking up electric signals in the brain that control the motion of the lips, tongue, jaw, and the voice box. The movements are then simulated and the speech generated directly. This ‘exhilarating’ technology, if perfected even to a moderate degree, could help a number of victims of stroke, motor neurone disease, throat cancer, and more. Full story on BBC.

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