This month in PLoS ONE: Bathroom germs, yawn contagion and more!
The specific locations and breeds of bacteria found in public restrooms was recently revealed when researchers at the University of Colorado took samples from public restrooms on campus, and used a genetic sequencing tool to identify 19 of the most common bacteria. This article was covered by CBS News, Scientific American and NPR.
Researchers from the University of Pisa explore possible causes associated with yawn contagion. The results indicate that yawns are most contagious between family members, followed by friends and then acquaintances. The scientists attribute this phenomenon to emotional bonds, suggesting that we empathize and thus mimic, individuals we know better. The BBC, Fox News and International Business Times covered this article.
An archaeological excursion to Dhofar, Oman reveals artifacts dating back roughly 74,000 to 128,000 years. This new evidence suggests that the exodus from Africa may have occurred significantly earlier than previously estimated, and that early humans traveled inland, across valleys, rather than along the coast line. This article was covered by CBS News, ABC News and The Examiner . The image above comes from Figure 6 in the manuscript and shows Nubian Type 1 cores from Aybut Al Auwal.
Roughly 7,500 feet under the sea, a team of scientists capture video of the recently discovered ‘Yeti Crab’ (Kiwa puravida). The lack of sun at extreme ocean depths has forced many species to develop unique feeding methods. The Yeti Crab hosts nutrient-rich bacteria on its claws, and waves them near hydrothermal vents, that release hydrogen sulfide and methane. The bacteria ‘feed’ on these compounds, which the Yeti Crab then consumes. Wired, National Geographic and Scientific American covered this article.
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