Cats buried in a 6000 year old pit in Hierakonpolis, Egypt (Photo courtesy Hierakonpolis Expedition. All rights reserved)

An article published in the journal “Nature Ecology & Evolution” describes a genetic research on wild and domestic, ancient and modern cats. A team of researchers from the Belgian University of Leuven and the Belgian Royal Institute of Natural Sciences led by the paleogeneticist Claudio Ottoni analyzed the DNA of over 200 cats found in archaeological sites in the Near East, Africa and Europe with an age between 100 and 9,000 years to conclude that they were domesticated in two main waves in the Near East and Egypt.

A bush turkey, a kangaroo and a reconstruction of a Progura gallinacea (Image courtesy Elen Shute / Kim Benson / Tony Rodd / Aaron Camens)

An article published in the journal “Royal Society Open Science” describes a research on megapodes, a family of birds widespread in many parts of Oceania that includes various extinct species. A team of paleontologists at Flinders University reviewed several Australian fossils and proposed a new classification in five extinct species with various relationships with extant species.

Effendi by Jon Courtenay Grimwood

The novel “Effendi” by Jon Courtenay Grimwood was published for the first time in 2002. It’s the second novel in the Arabesk trilogy and is the sequel to “Pashazade”.

Ashraf (Raf) al-Mansur was named Chief of Detectives of the Police in El Iskandryia (Alexandria of Egypt) in the Ottoman Empire but his first case quickly turns out to be a big headache. An investigation leads to the discovery of the past of Hamzah Effendi, the richest man in the city and the father of the girl Raf was supposed to marry.

Hamzah Effendi ends up being charged with war crimes in a case that goes far beyond the borders of the Ottoman Empire and draws the attention of both European powers and the USA. International political clashes start provoking chaos in El Iskandryia when various nations start using a number of means to increase their influence in North Africa.

Stephen Furst in 2014

The news came that actor Stephen Furst died on June 16 following complications related to the diabetes he had long been suffering from.

After starting his acting career with some small roles, Stephen Furst was cast to play Kent “Flounder” Dorfman in the movie “National Lampoon’s Animal House”, a role he remained famous for also because he reprised it in the tV show “Delta House”.

During the 1980s, Stephen Furst had many roles in both cinema and television productions and lent his moice to animated shows’ characters. In 1994 he started playing another of the roles he remained famous for, Vir Cotto in the TV show “Babylon 5”.

Stephen Furst was active as a spokeswoman for the American Diabetes Association and spreading useful tips and recipes to keep diabetes under control. For years he used his fame to help other people suffering from same disease, unfortunately for him his problems turned out to be too serious. He’s survived by his wife Lorraine, their sons Nathan and Griff and a lot of fans who appreciated him as an actor.

The new possible elephant family tree (Image courtesy Asier Larramendi Eskorza / Julie McMahon)

An article published in the journal “eLife” describes a genetic analysis on elephants based on genetic analysis of the three existing species and the straight-tusked elephant (Palaeoloxodon antiquus), which is extinct but sampling of DNA from its bones was accomplished. A team of researchers led by Matthias Meyer of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, proposes a new family tree for elephants different from the one currently used.