American alligator

Two articles, one published in the “Journal of Herpetology” and another in the journal “Palaeogeography, palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology”, describe a research about the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis). A team of researchers led by Dr. Evan Whiting of the University of Minnesota states that 8 million years ago they looked the same as today and even 30 million years ago they were not very different so they’re older than expected.

Dani tribesman from Papua New Guinea

Three articles published in the journal “Nature” describe as many genetic studies that aim to reconstruct the genetic history of modern humans’ migrations. The results agree that non-African populations show traces of a single expansion started from Africa about 75,000 years ago. However, one study suggests that at least 2% of the DNA of the inhabitants of today’s Papua New Guinea comes from a previous migration. One of the studies shows that Aboriginal Australians split from the Papuans about 37,000 years ago.

H.G. Wells photographed by George Charles Beresford in 1920

Herbert George Wells was born on September 21, 1866 in Bromley, a suburb of Greater London, England. Thanks to a number of novels H.G. Wells was already considered one of the fathers of what at the time was called scientific romance, the forerunner of today’s fiction. Wells was trying to give his stories a certain plausibility, however, he also developed psychological and social elements. The scientific part of his stories was important but the ethical and moral ones they were even more so. H.G. Wells died on August 13, 1946, leaving a huge legacy composed of many works of various literary genres but also essays and various type of articles.

Flight of Exiles by Ben Bova (Italian edition)

The novel “Flight of Exiles” by Ben Bova was published for the first time in 1972. It’s the second book in the Exiles trilogy and follows “Exiled from Earth”.

After a journey that lasted decades, the great spaceship the scientists exiled from Earth left on is about to reach the Alpha Centauri triple system. However, the long journey was tough for the on-board systems, which were not built for an interstellar expedition. To save resources, many people were placed in a cryogenic stasis but a fire causes the death of part of them.

Larry Belsen and Dan Christopher grew up like brothers but this latest incident becomes a reason of disagreement between them that can have important consequences on the continuation of the journey when they have to decide whether to try to colonize a planet in the system or continue the journey on a spaceship that is already at its limits. The origin of the division between the two of them is, however, in their common love for Valery.

Fossil of Psittacosaurus

An article published in the journal “Current Biology” describes a research on a dinosaur belonging to the genus Psittacosaurus that lived in modern China at the beginning of the Cretaceous period, about 120 million years ago. A team from the University of Bristol examined the skin remains of a very well preserved specimen cataloged as SMF R 4970 concluding that its coloration provided it some camouflage.