2018

Ingentia prima

An article published in the journal “Nature Ecology & Evolution” describes the discovery of a sauropod dinosaur, a herbivore of the long-necked type dating back to the Late Triassic period. Named Ingentia prima by the team led by Dr. Cecilia Apaldetti of the Instituto y Museo de Ciencias Naturales in San Juan, Argentina, it was a giant herbivore that lived in today’s South America about 205 million years ago, 25 million earlier than thought.

BovB

An article published in the journal “Genome Biology” describes a research on some transposons, commonly called jumping genes because they can move within the DNA of an organism, typically leaving copies of themselves in the original location. A team of researchers looked for traces of two transposons, identified as L1 and BovB, in 759 species of plants, animals and fungi. Their theory is that they have become parts of mammalian DNA through a horizontal gene transfer, which means acquiring them from another species.

Tomorrow's Kin by Nancy Kress (Italian edition)

The novel “Tomorrow’s Kin” by Nancy Kress was published for the first time in 2017. It’s the first book in the Yesterday’s Kin trilogy.

Dr. Marianne Jenner is celebrating the publication of a scientific article about a rare mutation in human mitochondrial DNA when FBI agents burst in to ask her politely but also really firmly to come with them to New York. The only explanation she gets is that her presence was requested by the aliens who arrived some time earlier on Earth.

Involved in the first face-to-face encounter with the aliens, Marianne Jenner hears from them that a cosmic cloud containing a lethal virus is heading towards the Earth. The virus has already exterminated two alien colonies that crossed the cloud so the Denebs, as the aliens have been called because they come from the direction of the star with that name, and the Earthlings have to work together to create a vaccine.

Skull of a Hòabìnhian individual (Photo courtesy Fabio Lahr. All rights reserved)

An article published in the journal “Science” describes the results of a genetic research on the populations of Southeast Asia. A team of researchers sequenced the DNA of 26 human beings that lived up to 8,000 years ago in various parts of that area and subsequent analysis led them to conclude that today’s populations descended from at least four ancient populations. This expands a research published in May, again in “Science”, which found three migrations, and contradicts at least two of the theories that have been discussed during the last century.

The short story “The Ethical Treatment of Meat” by Claude Lalumière was published for the first time in 2003.

Raymond and George think that adopting a fleshie could be a good idea for their family. It’s not an easy choice as they’re the first to do it in their neighborhood. However, that growing trend also leads to some social problems because the most radical people think that eating fleshies’ brains when they grew up isn’t right.