April 2021

The Homo erectus fossil cataloged as KNM-ER 2598

An article published in the journal “Nature Communications” reports a research on a fossil bone attributed to a Homo erectus that led to the discovery of two other fossils in the same area, near the east shore of Lake Turkana, Kenya. A team of researchers led by Ashley Hammond, assistant curator in the American Museum of Natural History’s Division of Anthropology, conducted an investigation to try to understand whether that skull bone really was the oldest fossil of Homo erectus or, as some suspected, it came from a more recent layer and got moved by water or wind. The survey supports the age attributed to the fossil of nearly 1.9 million years.

Transgalactic by James Gunn

The novel “Transgalactic” by James Gunn was published for the first time in 2016. It’s the second book in the Transcendental trilogy and follows “Transcendental”.

When Riley awakens in the Transcendental Machine, he discovers that he is on a planet inhabited by creatures similar to carnivorous dinosaurs. A sentient species also inhabits it, but what interests Riley most is that the Machine builders left a still-functioning starship. Together with one of the natives, he sets out in search of Asha.

When Asha awakens in the Transcendental Machine, she discovers that she is on a planet inhabited by a humanoid species who treats her as a kind of deity. She’s only interested in leaving the planet, and luckily for her, it’s not isolated but there’s a Dorian embassy. Asha convinces the local ambassador to lend her a starship and she, along with one of the natives, sets out in search of Riley.

A lower molar of one of the modern humans discovered in Bacho Kiro Cave

An article in the journal “Nature” reports a genetic study on some human beings who lived in Bacho Kiro Cave, in today’s Bulgaria, the most ancient modern humans dated so far with reasonable certainty. A team of researchers managed to obtain DNA from the available bones, which was analyzed at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. The comparison with the genetic characteristics of today’s European and Asian populations shows how those ancient humans spread and that they had some Neanderthal ancestors.

The Medusa Chronicles by Stephen Baxter and Alastair Reynolds

The novel “The Medusa Chronicles” by Stephen Baxter and Alastair Reynolds was published for the first time in 2016. It’s the official sequel to the novella “A Meeting with Medusa” by Arthur C. Clarke.

The contact with Jupiter’s “medusae” was an extraordinary feat for Howard Falcon, but being a cyborg capable of doing things impossible for a normal human being leaves him even more isolated. Despite this, he’s sometimes considered useful to accomplish some very special missions, for example when some machines become sentient.

In 1968, the space race is a part of the cold war between the USA and the USSR and the Moon missions are an important part of it. When an asteroid is spotted en route to Earth, the hostility between the two superpowers must give way to a collaboration to save the world from catastrophe.

Melissa McBride

On April 4 the 10th season’s extra episodes of the show “The Walking Dead” ended.

The episode “A Certain Doom” was supposed to be the 10th season finale of the TV show “The Walking Dead”. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, not only has it become a special episode broadcast six months after the previous ones but the producers decided to extend the season. In the period that the second part of a season of this show normally airs, six extra episodes aired.