The Sciences

News Roundup: Where We're From, Apple for Life, Elephants & Teamwork

80beatsBy Patrick MorganMar 8, 2011 11:51 PM


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  • Out of Africa: Touted as a "landmark study," new genetic research suggests that the first humans came from southern Africa. In the study, they found more genetic diversity in the southern part of the dark continent---an indicator of longevity. Experts had previously pinned eastern Africa as the starting line for the human race.

  • An apple a day keeps the fruit fly alive: Researchers discovered that fruit fly lifespans increase by about 10 percent when they're fed a daily bit of apple. And the benefits don't stop there: The apple's healthful antioxidants also helped the flies' walking and climbing abilities. Scientists note that because this research agrees with past apple studies on other animals, it should encourage more apple eating by humans too.

  • Want to know your risk of lung cancer? Look down. The nicotine levels in your toenail clippings give an accurate idea of future lung cancer risk, according to new research: The men with the highest nicotine levels (mostly smokers, but also some second-hand smokers) were more than three times as likely to develop lung cancer as those with the lowest levels.

  • Lending a helping trunk: An experiment involving elephants lugging a platform by a rope demonstrates, according to researches, that elephants understand when they need help from a partner---giving us a more complex view of elephant behavior.

  • Not just politics: A Wikileaks release indicates that in 2005, up to 90 percent of the mahogany wood Peru exported to the U.S. was imported with the help of bribery and falsified documents.

  • Facebook is getting another face-lift---this time for the silver screen: Warner Bros. has announced that it will begin testing a new service where Facebookers can rent and even buy movies via the social networking site. It all starts with The Dark Knight.

Related Content: Gene Expression: Accelerated adaptive human evolution news DISCOVER: Oldest Asians in China Gene Expression: Out of Africa---archaeology DISCOVER: Out of Africa, All of Us

Image: flickr / Schlaeger

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