Science & Environment

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Volcano erupts on central Philippine island; hundreds evacuated
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Jim Gomez
Published Jun 04, 2024 • 2 minute read

This grab taken from video footage recorded with a thermal camera on June 3, 2024, and provided by DOST-PHIVOLCS, shows the Kanlaon volcano erupting in Canlaon City, Negros, Philippines.
This grab taken from video footage recorded with a thermal camera on June 3, 2024, and provided by DOST-PHIVOLCS, shows the Kanlaon volcano erupting in Canlaon City, Negros, Philippines. PHOTO BY JOEAL CALUPITAN/DOST-PHIVOLCS /THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
MANILA, Philippines — A volcano belched a plume of ash and steam into the night sky in the central Philippines in a powerful explosion that sent more than 700 people fleeing to evacuation camps.


The explosion of Mount Kanlaon Monday night on Negros Island triggered sirens across Canlaon, a city of nearly 60,000 people south of the volcano.

Hundreds fled in government trucks to safety, Canlaon Mayor Jose Chubasco Cardenas said, adding more than 150 people were in two evacuation centres while others moved to relatives’ homes away from the volcano. No casualties were reported.

The eruption prompted authorities to raise an alert level to two in a five-step warning system, indicating a “moderate level of volcanic unrest.” Kanlaon is one of the country’s 24 most-active volcanoes.

“The explosion was very strong according to villagers, some of whom were screaming in fear,” Cardenas told The Associated Press by telephone. “They felt like they were in a war zone because they could hear the sound of the ashfall hitting their roofs.”


President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said at least 796 people from 170 families were moved to evacuation centres in Canlaon and other cities and towns around the volcano and gave assurances that government aircraft were on standby if needed.

Similar volcanic eruptions elsewhere in the Philippines have drawn tourists, but Cardenas said he ordered the temporary closure of resorts in the city, including those that offer mountain-viewing and trail-hiking, to minimize the chances of injuries in case Kanlaon erupts again.

He said police will strictly enforce a no-entry regulation in a 4 -kilometre permanent danger zone around the 2,435-metre (7,988-foot) Kanlaon, the highest peak in the central Philippines.

Teresito Bacolcol, who heads the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, told AP that Monday night’s eruption scattered ash as far as 10 kilometres. It was difficult to say if Kanlaon’s restiveness would worsen or the volcano, which has erupted several times in recent decades, would settle down, he said.

Located in the so-called Pacific “Ring of Fire,” a region prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, the Philippines is also lashed by about 20 typhoons and storms a year, making the Southeast Asian nation one of the world’s most disaster-prone.
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Three boys found a T. rex fossil in North Dakota. Now a Denver museum works to fully reveal it
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Heather Hollingsworth
Published Jun 04, 2024 • 3 minute read

Two young brothers and their cousin were wandering through a fossil-rich stretch of the North Dakota badlands when they made a discovery that left them “completely speechless”: a T. rex bone poking out of the ground.


The trio announced their discovery publicly Monday at a Zoom news conference as workers at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science prepare to begin chipping the fossil out of its rock cast at a special exhibit called Discovering Teen Rex. The exhibit’s opening on June 21 will coincide with the debut of the film “T.REX,” about the July 2022 find.

It all started when Kaiden Madsen, then 9, joined his cousins, Liam and Jessin Fisher, then 7 and 10, on a hike through a stretch of land owned by the Bureau of Land Management around Marmarth, North Dakota. Hiking is a favorite pastime of the brothers’ father, Sam Fisher.

“You just never know what you are going to find out there. You see all kinds of cool rocks and plants and wildlife,” he said.


Liam Fisher recalled that he and his dad, who accompanied the trio, first spotted the bone of the young carnivore. After its death around 67 million years ago, it was entombed in the Hell Creek Formation, a popular paleontology playground that spans Montana, Wyoming and the Dakotas. The formation has yielded some of the most well-preserved T. rex fossils ever. Among them is Sue, a popular attraction at the Field Museum in Chicago, and Wyrex, a star at the Houston Museum of Natural Science.

But none of them knew that then. Liam said he thought the bone sticking out of the rock was something he described as “chunk-osaurus” — a made-up name for fragments of fossil too small to be identifiable.

Still, Sam Fisher snapped a picture and shared it with a family friend, Tyler Lyson, the associate curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.


Initially, Lyson suspected it was a relatively common duckbill dinosaur. But he organized an excavation that began last summer, adding the boys and a sister, Emalynn Fisher, now 14, to the team.

It didn’t take long to determine they had found something more special. Lyson recalled that he started digging with Jessin where he thought he might find a neck bone.

“Instead of finding a cervical vertebrae, we found the lower jaw with several teeth sticking out of it,” Lyson said. “And it doesn’t get any more diagnostic than that, seeing these giant tyrannosaurus teeth starring back at you.”

A documentary crew with Giant Screen Films was there to capture the discovery.

“It was electric. You got goosebumps,” recalled Dave Clark, who was part of the crew filming the documentary that later was narrated by Jurassic Park actor Sir Sam Neill.


Liam said his friends were dubious. “They did not believe me at all,” he said.

He, Jessin and Kaiden — who the brothers consider to be another sibling — affectionately dubbed the fossil “The Brothers.”

Based on the size of the tibia, experts estimate the dino was 13 to 15 years old when it died and likely weighed around 3,500 pounds (1,587.57 kilograms) — about two-thirds of the size of a full-grown adult.

Ultimately, a Black Hawk helicopter airlifted the plaster-clad mass to a waiting truck to drive it to the Denver museum.

Lyson said more than 100 individual T. rex fossils have been unearthed, but many are fragmentary. It is unclear yet how complete this fossil is. So far, they know they have found a leg, hip, pelvis, a couple of tailbones and a good chunk of the skull, Lyson said.

The public will get to watch crews chip away the rock, which the museum estimates will take about a year.

“We wanted to share the preparation of this fossil with the public because it is a remarkable feeling,” Lyson said.

Jessin, a fan of the Jurassic Park movies and an aspiring paleontologist, has continued looking for fossils, finding a turtle shell just a couple days ago.

For other kids, he had this advice: “Just to put down their electronics and go out hiking.”
 

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Canada aims to protect cattle industry as U.S. avian flu outbreak spreads
Author of the article:Canadian Press
Canadian Press
Amanda Stephenson
Published Jun 05, 2024 • Last updated 1 day ago • 3 minute read

As an outbreak of avian influenza in dairy herds south of the border continues to spread, Canadian officials say they are doing everything they can to protect this country's livestock industry.
As an outbreak of avian influenza in dairy herds south of the border continues to spread, Canadian officials say they are doing everything they can to protect this country's livestock industry.
CALGARY — As an outbreak of avian influenza in dairy herds south of the border continues to spread, Canadian officials say they are doing everything they can to protect this country’s livestock industry.


Since March — when a highly contagious strain of A(H5N1), or bird flu, was first discovered in dairy cows in Texas — a total of 68 herds in nine U.S. states have confirmed cases of infection.

Last week, a third human case of the virus was identified in a dairy farm worker in Michigan.

So far, not a single case of the disease has been found in Canadian cows. But the possibility that it could show up here is real, said Dr. Martin Appelt, senior director of animal health programs for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

“The risk is certainly there,” Appelt said.

“And that certainly puts Canadian dairy producers in an awkward position, which I fully appreciate, which is what happens if it happens?”

The CFIA is preparing for the possible emergence of cases of avian flu in livestock on this side of the border through enhanced surveillance and testing. Lactating dairy cattle being imported from the U.S. to Canada require a negative test for the virus before they can cross the border, and the CFIA is also conducting tests of milk destined for retail sale to look for traces of the virus.


While the science around avian flu and its transmission is still evolving, there are indications that the virus can replicate rapidly in the mammary glands of lactating cows, which may be why dairy cattle have proved to be particularly vulnerable to catching the disease.

Signs to watch for in dairy cattle that could indicate infection include a decrease in milk production, thicker milk consistency and a loss of appetite.

Fortunately for Canadian dairy producers, avian flu appears to onlycause mild and transitory illness. And while traces of the virus have been found in the milk of infected U.S. cows, pasteurization _ which is required for all Canadian milk sold in stores — has been shown to effectively kill the virus.


That means even if the disease turned up in Canadian cows, commercially sold milk and milk products would remain safe to consume, Appelt said.

In an emailed statement, the Dairy Farmers of Canada industry group said it is in “close communication” with the CFIA as it monitors the situation.

The Canadian Cattle Association, which represents beef farmers and ranchers, said in its own statement it is “watching this issue very closely.”

It remains unclear if the virus poses a threat to beef cattle, Appelt said. But he added the CFIA is working to develop a comprehensive plan that would expand the agency’s surveillance efforts beyond birds and dairy cattle to potential “other eventualities.”

“We definitely want beef producers to consider the possibility (of virus transmission),” he said.


Dr. Rob Tremblay, an Ontario-based bovine health specialist who has been advising Dairy Farmers of Canada on the avian flu issue, said farmers who are concerned about the virus can reduce the likelihood of their animals being exposed by maintaining a “closed herd” for the immediate future.

“That means don’t purchase animals, at least for the time being, unless it’s absolutely necessary,” he said.

When avian flu is found on a poultry farm in Canada, the CFIA places the farm under quarantine and orders the birds destroyed to prevent spread of the disease. (The disease spreads rapidly between birds and carries a high bird mortality rate).

When the illness appears in cattle, it tends to be milder and the animals generally recover on their own so infected cows don’t need to be culled, Tremblay said.


In addition, the World Organization for Animal Health does not recommend international trade restrictions or import bans on dairy or beef products from countries that have had cases.

Tremblay said that means if Canada were to have its own outbreak of avian flu in a domestic dairy herd, the economic implications would be less severe than certain other animal illnesses. The deadly pig disease African swine fever, for example, has never been found in Canada but a single case could result in countries around the world shutting their doors to Canadian pork products. That would not happen in the event of avian flu.

Still, for an individual farmer, a discovery of avian flu in their dairy herd would be a significant blow, Tremblay added.

“The loss of milk, the extra work, the cost of dealing with animals that are sick and the stress that’s associated with that — I think it could be personally devastating, for sure,” he said.

“And it would have a financial impact at the farm level.”

— With files from The Associated Press.
 

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Low Earth Orbit
Canada aims to protect cattle industry as U.S. avian flu outbreak spreads
Author of the article:Canadian Press
Canadian Press
Amanda Stephenson
Published Jun 05, 2024 • Last updated 1 day ago • 3 minute read

As an outbreak of avian influenza in dairy herds south of the border continues to spread, Canadian officials say they are doing everything they can to protect this country's livestock industry.
As an outbreak of avian influenza in dairy herds south of the border continues to spread, Canadian officials say they are doing everything they can to protect this country's livestock industry.
CALGARY — As an outbreak of avian influenza in dairy herds south of the border continues to spread, Canadian officials say they are doing everything they can to protect this country’s livestock industry.


Since March — when a highly contagious strain of A(H5N1), or bird flu, was first discovered in dairy cows in Texas — a total of 68 herds in nine U.S. states have confirmed cases of infection.

Last week, a third human case of the virus was identified in a dairy farm worker in Michigan.

So far, not a single case of the disease has been found in Canadian cows. But the possibility that it could show up here is real, said Dr. Martin Appelt, senior director of animal health programs for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

“The risk is certainly there,” Appelt said.

“And that certainly puts Canadian dairy producers in an awkward position, which I fully appreciate, which is what happens if it happens?”

The CFIA is preparing for the possible emergence of cases of avian flu in livestock on this side of the border through enhanced surveillance and testing. Lactating dairy cattle being imported from the U.S. to Canada require a negative test for the virus before they can cross the border, and the CFIA is also conducting tests of milk destined for retail sale to look for traces of the virus.


While the science around avian flu and its transmission is still evolving, there are indications that the virus can replicate rapidly in the mammary glands of lactating cows, which may be why dairy cattle have proved to be particularly vulnerable to catching the disease.

Signs to watch for in dairy cattle that could indicate infection include a decrease in milk production, thicker milk consistency and a loss of appetite.

Fortunately for Canadian dairy producers, avian flu appears to onlycause mild and transitory illness. And while traces of the virus have been found in the milk of infected U.S. cows, pasteurization _ which is required for all Canadian milk sold in stores — has been shown to effectively kill the virus.


That means even if the disease turned up in Canadian cows, commercially sold milk and milk products would remain safe to consume, Appelt said.

In an emailed statement, the Dairy Farmers of Canada industry group said it is in “close communication” with the CFIA as it monitors the situation.

The Canadian Cattle Association, which represents beef farmers and ranchers, said in its own statement it is “watching this issue very closely.”

It remains unclear if the virus poses a threat to beef cattle, Appelt said. But he added the CFIA is working to develop a comprehensive plan that would expand the agency’s surveillance efforts beyond birds and dairy cattle to potential “other eventualities.”

“We definitely want beef producers to consider the possibility (of virus transmission),” he said.


Dr. Rob Tremblay, an Ontario-based bovine health specialist who has been advising Dairy Farmers of Canada on the avian flu issue, said farmers who are concerned about the virus can reduce the likelihood of their animals being exposed by maintaining a “closed herd” for the immediate future.

“That means don’t purchase animals, at least for the time being, unless it’s absolutely necessary,” he said.

When avian flu is found on a poultry farm in Canada, the CFIA places the farm under quarantine and orders the birds destroyed to prevent spread of the disease. (The disease spreads rapidly between birds and carries a high bird mortality rate).

When the illness appears in cattle, it tends to be milder and the animals generally recover on their own so infected cows don’t need to be culled, Tremblay said.


In addition, the World Organization for Animal Health does not recommend international trade restrictions or import bans on dairy or beef products from countries that have had cases.

Tremblay said that means if Canada were to have its own outbreak of avian flu in a domestic dairy herd, the economic implications would be less severe than certain other animal illnesses. The deadly pig disease African swine fever, for example, has never been found in Canada but a single case could result in countries around the world shutting their doors to Canadian pork products. That would not happen in the event of avian flu.

Still, for an individual farmer, a discovery of avian flu in their dairy herd would be a significant blow, Tremblay added.

“The loss of milk, the extra work, the cost of dealing with animals that are sick and the stress that’s associated with that — I think it could be personally devastating, for sure,” he said.

“And it would have a financial impact at the farm level.”

— With files from The Associated Press.
Shouldnt it be bovine?

Will it kill unicows? I saw a unicow today.
 

spaminator

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Hail stone size of a pineapple found in Texas. It likely sets state record
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Published Jun 05, 2024 • 1 minute read

This photo provided by KWTV shows a hail stone
This photo provided by KWTV shows a hail stone, Sunday, June 2, 2024, near Vigo Park, Texas. PHOTO BY VAL CASTOR/KWTV /Associated Press
VIGO PARK, Texas — Storm trackers in the Texas Panhandle recovered a massive hail stone that researchers say is likely to be a new state record.


Val and Amy Castor, veteran storm chasers with Oklahoma City television station KWTV, discovered a piece of hail more than 7 inches (17.78 centimetres) long Sunday along the side of the road near Vigo Park while they were chasing a major thunderstorm system.

Val Castor said the stone was about the size of a pineapple.

“That’s the biggest hail I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been chasing storms for more than 30 years,” Castor said.

Castor said several baseball-sized hail stones fell while he was driving, including one that cracked his windshield, before he spotted the big piece in a ditch on the side of the road.

“I could see it from probably 100 yards away,” he said.

The massive hail stone is believed to be a new state record, topping a 6.4-inch (16.25-centimetre) hail stone found in Hondo in 2021. It still must be confirmed by a group of researchers that includes the Texas state climatologist, said Jordan Salem, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Lubbock.

The heaviest hail stone on record in the United States had a reported diameter of 11 inches (27.94 centimetres) and weighed nearly 2 pounds (907 grams). It was discovered near Vivian, South Dakota, in July 2010, according to the National Centers for Environmental Information.
hailstone-2024-06-05[1].jpg
 

spaminator

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Rare 7-foot fish washed ashore on Oregon’s coast garners worldwide attention
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Published Jun 07, 2024 • 1 minute read

Oregon Rare Fish
This image provided by Seaside Aquarium shows a hoodwinker sunfish that washed ashore on June 3, 2024, on a beach in Gearhart, Ore. PHOTO BY TIFFANY BOOTHE /Seaside Aquarium via AP
GEARHART, Ore. (AP) — A massive rare fish thought to only live in temperate waters in the southern hemisphere has washed up on Oregon’s northern coast, drawing crowds of curious onlookers intrigued by the unusual sight.

The 7.3-foot (2.2 meter) hoodwinker sunfish first appeared on the beach in Gearhart on Monday, the Seaside Aquarium said in a media release. It was still on the beach on Friday and may remain there for weeks, the aquarium said, as it is difficult for scavengers to puncture its tough skin.

Photos provided by the aquarium showed a flat, round, gray fish lying on its side in the sand. Photos of a person kneeling next to it, and another of a pickup truck parked next to it, gave a sense of its large scale and size.



The stir it has created on social media prompted a New Zealand-based researcher who has studied sunfish to contact the aquarium. After looking at photographs of the fish, Marianne Nyegaard was able to confirm that it was indeed a hoodwinker sunfish _ rarer than the more common ocean sunfish — and said she believed it may be the largest such fish ever sampled, according to the aquarium.

In research published in 2017, Nyegaard discovered through genetic sampling and observation that the hoodwinker sunfish, or Mola tecta, was a different species than the ocean sunfish, Mola mola. “Tecta” in Latin means hidden or disguised, referring to a new species that had been hiding in plain sight.

In previous years, the hoodwinker sunfish has washed ashore on the California coast. It’s also again washed ashore more recently in California and Alaska, challenging the theory that it only lives in the southern hemisphere, the aquarium said. It’s also likely that the fish has washed ashore in other parts of the Pacific Northwest but was mistaken for the more common ocean sunfish at the time, the aquarium added.
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Toronto Public Health recommends meningococcal vaccine amid rise in cases
Author of the article:Canadian Press
Canadian Press
Published Jun 07, 2024 • Last updated 2 days ago • 1 minute read

Public health officials in Toronto are recommending that people get vaccinated for meningococcal disease in light of an increase in cases.


Toronto Public Health says there have been 13 cases of invasive meningococcal disease reported so far this year — more than the total cases seen in any year since 2002.

The agency says two of the 13 cases have been fatal.

It says several countries, including the United States, are reporting a rise in cases of the potentially life-threatening bacterial infection this year.

TPH says the disease can affect people of any age, but it’s most common in children under five, teens and young adults who aren’t immunized against it.

The agency says outbreaks can occur during big gatherings, and people who are travelling for the Hajj pilgrimage or attending Pride events should make sure they are protected.

Symptoms typically begin with fever, joint pain, headache, a stiff neck and increased sensitivity to light.
 

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Fossil-hunting diver says he found a large section of mastodon tusk off Florida’s coast
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Curt Anderson
Published Jun 06, 2024 • 2 minute read

This April 2024 photo taken by Blair Morrow and provided by Alex Lundberg shows a large section of tusk from a long-extinct mastodon that Lundberg and his diver companion found on the sea floor off Florida's Gulf coast. They first thought it was just a large piece of wood.
This April 2024 photo taken by Blair Morrow and provided by Alex Lundberg shows a large section of tusk from a long-extinct mastodon that Lundberg and his diver companion found on the sea floor off Florida's Gulf coast. They first thought it was just a large piece of wood. PHOTO BY BLAIR MORROW VIA AP /The Associated Press
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — At first, fossil-hunting diver Alex Lundberg thought the lengthy object on the sea floor off Florida’s Gulf Coast was a piece of wood. It turned out to be something far rarer, Lundberg said: a large section of tusk from a long-extinct mastodon.


Lundberg and his diver companion had found fossils in the same place before, including mammoth teeth, bones of an ancient jaguar and parts of a dire wolf. They also have found small pieces of mastodon tusk, but nothing this big and intact.

“We kind of knew there could be one in the area,” Lundberg said in an interview, noting that as he kept fanning away sand from the tusk he found in April “it just keeps getting bigger and bigger. I’m like, this is a big tusk.”

The tusk measures about 4 feet (1.2 metres) and weighs 70 pounds (31 kilograms), Lundberg said, and was found at a depth of about 25 feet (7.6 metres) near Venice, Florida. It’s currently sitting in a glass case in his living room, but the story may not end there.

Mastodons are related to mammoths and current-day elephants. Scientists say they lived mainly in what is now North America, appearing as far back as 23 million years ago. They became extinct about 10,000 years ago, along with dozens of other large mammals that disappeared when Earth’s climate was rapidly changing — and Stone Age humans were on the hunt.


Remains of mastodons are frequently found across the continent, with Indiana legislators voting a couple years ago to designate the mastodon as its official state fossil. Mastodons are on exhibit at the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles, one of the most significant locations in the world for fossils of the bygone era.

The age of the tusk Lundberg found has not yet been determined.

Under Florida law, fossils of vertebrates found on state lands, which include near-shore waters, belong to the state under authority of the Florida Museum of Natural History. Lundberg has a permit to collect such fossils and must report the tusk find to the museum when his permit is renewed in December. He’s had that permit since 2019, according to the museum.


“The museum will review the discoveries and localities to determine their significance and the permit holder can keep the fossils if the museum does not request them within 60 days of reporting,” said Rachel Narducci, collections manager at the museum’s Division of Vertebrate Paleontology. “This may be a significant find depending on exactly where it was collected.”

Lundberg, who has a marine biology degree from the University of South Florida and now works at a prominent Tampa cancer centre, is optimistic he’ll be able to keep the tusk.

“You don’t know where it came from. It’s been rolling around in the ocean for millions of years. It’s more of a cool piece,” he said.
tusk[1].jpg
 

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Boys find rare T. rex fossil during family hike in North Dakota
Author of the article:postmedia News
Published Jun 09, 2024 • 2 minute read

The big find in North Dakota.
A group of youngsters found a rare juvenile Tyrannosaurus rex fossil in 2022 during a hike in North Dakota. PHOTO BY HANDOUT /DR. TYLER R. LYSON
A trio of boys had a dino-mite day while on a family hike in North Dakota.


The Denver Museum of Nature and Science revealed earlier this month that the group of youngsters were on an outing in 2022 when they found a rare juvenile Tyrannosaurus rex fossil.

Jessin and Liam Fisher were hiking in the badlands with their dad Sam Fisher and cousin Kaiden, a news release from the museum said, per People.

Liam was seven at the time, while Jessin was 10 and Kaiden was nine, ABC News reported.

“You just never know what you are going to find out there,” Sam told the outlet. “You see all kinds of cool rocks and plants and wildlife.”



Upon landing on their fantastic find, the family contacted the museum’s curator of paleontology, Tyler Lyson, who knew the Fisher patriarch from high school, to help with identification.


The following summer, Lyson and the boys went back to the site with a team of paleontologists to dig up the fossil.

“By going outside and embracing their passions and the thrill of discovery, these boys have made an incredible dinosaur discovery that advances science and deepens our understanding of the natural world,” Lyson said.

The fossil will be displayed in the Denver museum’s temporary exhibition “Discovering Teen Rex,” which opens to the public on June 21. Behind-the-scenes footage from the discovery was documented in the 40-minute movie T. REX, which will screen in the museum’s Infinity Theater.

“I’m excited for museum guests to dig into the ‘Teen Rex Discovery’ experience, which I think will inspire the imagination and wonder, not only our community, but around the world,” Lyson added.


In an interview with the New York Post, Liam recalled that special day.

“I went up to a ledge with my dad and then he and I spotted the bones,” the boy told the outlet. “We called for Jessin and Kaiden and Jessin said, ‘That’s a dinosaur.'”

Jessin said that he had previously found “buffalo and cow bones” and said that the dinosaur remains were “definitely bigger.”

The news release called it a “significant moment for science as only a handful of juvenile T. rex skeletons have ever been found.”
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Sugar substitute xylitol linked to increased risk of heart attack, stroke
The researchers cautioned that these studies do not show that xylitol causes these events

Author of the article:Washington Post
Washington Post
Caren Chesler
Published Jun 10, 2024 • Last updated 1 day ago • 6 minute read

Xylitol - sugar substitute for diabetics.
Xylitol - sugar substitute for diabetics.
The popular sugar substitute xylitol, commonly used by those wanting to lose weight or who are diabetic, is associated with an increased risk of a cardiovascular event such as a heart attack and stroke, according to a study published in the European Heart Journal on Thursday.


The facts
– Researchers conducted several studies. In one, they analyzed saved plasma samples of participants of an earlier study – more than 3,000 subjects who had been fasting. These subjects had been followed over three years, during which some of them had suffered a cardiovascular event such as a heart attack or stroke. In the new study, researchers found that those who had suffered a cardiovascular event had high blood levels of xylitol.

– Researchers also studied xylitol’s effect on clotting using human whole blood and platelets, and found that xylitol caused platelets in the blood to clot. They then tested how fast the blood clots in the presence of xylitol on mice models, by injuring the animal’s carotid artery, and found xylitol enhanced the rate of clot formation at the sites of arterial injury. Blood clots that travel to the arteries or veins in the body’s organs such as the heart can cause heart attacks, strokes and even death.


– In another study, researchers tested blood-clotting susceptibility by collecting blood from 10 healthy volunteers before and 30 minutes after drinking a xylitol-sweetened drink. Ten other volunteers were given a glucose- or sugar-sweetened drink. Researchers found that those who drank the xylitol beverage showed a marked increase in clotting ability of their blood right after they ingested it. No change in blood clotting ability was found in subjects who had ingested the glucose. “I think we have to figure out whether or not this is something that is a common behavior of all the sugar alcohols versus just a subset,” said Stanley Hazen, a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic. “So far, it appears to be all, but we need to do more research, and others need to.”


– The researchers cautioned that while these studies show that xylitol is linked with a higher risk of cardiovascular events, they do not show that it causes these events.

Background
Sugar alcohols such as xylitol and erythritol are widely used as sugar substitutes in processed foods such as candy, gums and baked goods. Sugar alcohols have fewer calories and carbs, and don’t cause sudden blood sugar spikes, studies show.

The researchers noted that while xylitol is not as commonly used in keto or sugar-free food products in the United States, it is prevalent in other countries. “We were trying to discover the next cholesterol, another pathway that contributes to heart disease that’s naturally occurring in our bodies,” said Hazen, also the chair of cardiovascular and metabolic sciences at the Cleveland Clinic’s Lerner Research Institute. “And we think that’s what we have, is that erythritol or xylitol, these sugar alcohols, are linked to causing heart disease, or at least they’re linked to being associated with future development of cardiac events.”


The same research team found a similar link between erythritol and cardiovascular risk last year.

Use of sugar substitutes is rising
The findings come as use of sugar alcohols such as xylitol is trending upward, as keto and low-carb diet trends are generating growth in alternative sweeteners billed as “natural.” Some $1.19 billion in xylitol products were sold in 2021, and that market is expected to grow to about $1.48 billion by 2030, according to the research firm Custom Market Insights.

“There’s this unusual situation in the last one or two decades where people are experiencing levels of xylitol that has never been experienced in our evolution before,” Hazen said.

The results challenge the popular understanding of sugar alcohols such as xylitol and erythritol as healthy, natural sugar alternatives. People view them as natural because our bodies produce them as part of our energy metabolism; however, our cells produce them at much lower levels. When these sugar alcohols are manufactured, they are industrially prepared, using bacteria or yeast that’s put through brewing and fermentation processes to create a chemical that tricks our taste buds, Hazen said.


“Even though it is a natural compound, it’s used in a very unnatural way, at a level that is massively, massively higher than could ever appear under normal conditions” in our bodies, Hazen said.

Researchers also found that an elevated xylitol level may be worse for your heart than cholesterol. By eating a high-cholesterol diet, we might increase our blood cholesterol levels by 10 to 30 percent, Hazen said.

By eating a product high in xylitol, researchers found, the chemical levels in the blood went up 1,000-fold – or 100,000 percent – and remained elevated for four to six hours.

Another way of putting it is that, among the thousands of people Hazen sees in his preventive cardiology clinic, those whose cholesterol levels are in the top 25 percent have a 30 percent increase in the risk of a cardiovascular disease event compared with those whose cholesterol levels are in the bottom 25 percent. But those whose blood xylitol level is in the top 25 percent had a 200 percent higher risk of having a cardiovascular disease event compared with those whose xylitol levels were in the bottom 25 percent.


The Calorie Control Council, which represents manufacturers and suppliers of low- and reduced-calorie foods and beverages, rejected the study’s findings.

“The results of this study are contrary to decades of scientific evidence substantiating the safety and efficacy of low-calorie sweeteners such as xylitol by global health and regulatory ‎agencies,” Carla Saunders, the council’s president, said in a statement.‎

“Xylitol has been trusted as a great tasting low-calorie sweetener for over 60 years. It has proven dental benefits, including preventing plaque build-up and tooth decay, and is naturally occurring in foods such as strawberries, lettuce, and oats,” she said.

What the experts say
“This study adds to a growing body of literature on the potential physiological problems caused by artificial sweeteners,” Marion Nestle, emeritus professor of nutrition at New York University, wrote in an email. “Researchers are finding problems with one after another, now xylitol.”


While she believes the study needs repeating, it suggests that xylitol may not be benign. The benefits of artificial sweeteners in general are uncertain, she wrote.

“It’s beginning to look more and more that they pose risks,” she wrote. “My preference is to avoid them, but I don’t like the way they taste anyway.”

Rob van Dam, a professor of exercise and nutrition sciences at George Washington University, said that while the paper’s findings are compelling and add to existing research on the risks of artificial sweeteners, scientists may not have been able to properly test the link between consumed xylitol and cardiac risk, given that they used blood from people who had been fasting, which means the blood probably contained xylitol produced in the body itself, metabolically.


“So the question then is, are these elevated xylitol levels really reflecting that dietary intake of xylitol is bad?” van Dam asked. “Or does it just mean that something is wrong in people’s metabolism that leads to higher xylitol levels?”

The researchers acknowledge this issue and performed a follow-up experiment, where they gave 10 people xylitol and water to see what happened with their blood platelets, and they observed that the platelets did seem to aggregate more.

“I think, by itself, it wouldn’t be very alarming, but there’s this accumulating evidence that some of these artificial sweeteners may not be as innocuous as we may have thought,” van Dam said. “If it would just be about something that people don’t consume much, nobody would really care that much. But the context is, this is something that hundreds of millions of people are exposed to, sometimes every day, so every piece of evidence that raises some concern is quite relevant for public health.”

What’s next
Given that the medical community is widely recommending the use of sugar substitutes instead of sugar as an option for those who are obese or trying to lose weight, or for diabetics or those with metabolic syndrome, this study should be a red flag, Hazen said.

“I hope this is a call for coming to arms, for fellow researchers to start studying this, because this is a huge public health concern, given how much of this stuff we are pumping into our food pyramid, thinking that it’s a safe thing,” Hazen said.
 

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Processed vegan food can increase risk of heart disease: Study
Author of the article:Denette Wilford
Published Jun 12, 2024 • 2 minute read

While many argue that a diet free of animal products is beneficial to one’s health and the environment, a new study suggests the opposite when it comes to people’s heart health.


Researchers from the University of Sao Paulo and Imperial College London found that ultra-processed vegan foods are bad for the ticker.

Packaged products of drinks, cereals and ready-to-eat items that contain colours, flavours, emulsifiers and other additives are included in the group.

They were found to contain high amounts of sugar, saturated fat and salt, and lacked sufficient vitamins and fibre.

The study, published on Monday in the Lancet Regional Health journal, analyzed the diets of more than 118,000 Brits between 40 and 69 years of age.

The data found that a plant-based eating plan promotes overall heart health but only when that died features fresh foods such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains and legumes.


For every 10% increase in plant-based foods, the risk of death from heart disease fell by 20%, according to the study.

But once the freshness is removed from the food and eaters turn to ultra-processed options, the scientists found a 12% increase in heart disease-related deaths.


“Food additives and industrial contaminants present in these foods might cause oxidative stress and inflammation, further aggravating the risks,” lead study author Fernanda Rauber explained of the composition and processing methods of UPFs, which can lead to higher blood pressure and cholesterol.

“Those shifting towards plant-based foods should also think about the degree of processing involved before making their choices.”


Dr. Eszter Vamos, one of the study’s co-authors, pointed out how sneaky marketing of plant-based products contributes to public’s healthy perception of them.

“While ultra-processed foods are often marketed as healthy foods, this large study suggests that plant-based ultra-processed foods do not seem to have protective health effects and are linked to poor health outcomes,” Vamos noted.



Replacing ultra-processed plant-based foods with whole foods known to have health and environmental benefits can cut deaths from heart disease by 15% and reduce the likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease by 7%, the study found.

The researchers claim to be the first to show that ultra-processed plant foods are linked to an increase in the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

They want nutritional guidelines that promote plant-based diets to include a warning about the packaged food.

“Eating plant-based products can be beneficial, acting as protection against health problems, or it can represent a risk,” researcher Renata Levy said. “It all depends on the level of processing of these foods.”
 

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Rare fish washes ashore in Oregon
Author of the article:Washington Post
Washington Post
Jonathan Edwards
Published Jun 11, 2024 • 4 minute read

Marine biologist Marianne Nyegaard takes samples on Saturday from a 2,000-pound hoodwinker sunfish that washed up on a beach in Gearhart, Ore., five days earlier. In 2017, Nyegaard was part of a team of researchers that discovered and identified the hoodwinker as a separate species than other sunfish. MUST CREDIT: Allysa Casteel/Seaside Aquarium
Marine biologist Marianne Nyegaard takes samples on Saturday from a 2,000-pound hoodwinker sunfish that washed up on a beach in Gearhart, Ore., five days earlier. In 2017, Nyegaard was part of a team of researchers that discovered and identified the hoodwinker as a separate species than other sunfish. MUST CREDIT: Allysa Casteel/Seaside Aquarium jpg, vsun_prod
Seaside Aquarium thought a common sunfish had washed up on the Oregon coast last week and posted photos of its 2,000-pound carcass on social media. But a New Zealand-based marine biologist who saw the photos suspected they had stumbled upon something far more rare — a hoodwinker sunfish.


The aquarium’s mistake was understandable. It’s one people and scientists made for more than a century, until it was identified as a different species. In fact, it’s why marine biologist Marianne Nyegaard had given it a name alluding to its ability to fool people. Last week, she came across the Seaside, Ore.-based aquarium’s photos and contacted employees there to let them know she believed they had found one of the tricksters.

“I saw this and went ‘Wow! This is a hoodwinker,'” she told The Washington Post.

The carcass of the fish, which the aquarium believes to be one of the largest specimens ever documented, is just over 7 feet in length and bizarre-looking – like a bloated skipping stone with dead eyes and a lipless mouth. Its creepy appearance notwithstanding, the corpse has drawn sizable crowds in person and online ever since came ashore a week ago, said Seaside Aquarium general manager Keith Chandler, adding that the number of spectators numbers in the thousands.


“It’s been a crowd pleaser,” he said, adding, “The social media went crazy on it.”

It’s the latest twist in Nyegaard’s career studying sunfish, one that’s spanned more than a decade and thousands of miles as she’s tried to identify the hoodwinker, which she named Mola tecta, with “tecta” meaning covered or hidden. In doing so, she’s had to differentiate it from the common sunfish Mola mola, which was identified in 1758.

In 2009, Japanese researchers released a genetic study that revealed evidence of an unknown sunfish species called Mola species C, according to Nyegaard’s 2017 research paper published in Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. “But the fish kept eluding the scientific community because we didn’t know what it looked like,” Nyegaard said in a Murdoch University news release announcing the discovery she and her team had made.


“Finding these fish and storing specimens for studies is a logistical nightmare due to their elusive nature and enormous size, so sunfish research is difficult at the best of times,” Nyegaard wrote.

Its existence would take time and effort to confirm. Over three years, Nyegaard and her co-authors collected data from 27 specimens of what would become known as the hoodwinker sunfish, traveling thousands of miles or relying on other researchers to take samples of sunfish found stranded on remote beaches, according to the university’s statement.

“The new species managed to evade discovery for nearly three centuries by ‘hiding’ in a messy history of sunfish taxonomy,” Nyegaard said.

Hoodwinkers look superficially similar to other species of sunfish but are easily distinguishable upon examination, she said. For example, Mola mola have wrinkly skin, whereas hoodwinkers are completely smooth. One of the reasons it took so long to differentiate species of sunfish is that there’s not a lot of money flowing into researching them.


“We only gain knowledge when someone’s actually looking at it,” she said.

According to Nyegaard’s team, the hoodwinker was the first new species of sunfish discovered in more than 125 years.

At first, Nyegaard believed that hoodwinkers lived exclusively in the southern hemisphere, she told fellow sunfish researchers in 2021. She had found evidence of them in temperate waters off the coasts of Chile, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, and thought a large band of warmer water blocked them from going north.

But in 2019, one washed ashore in California, and since then, they’ve been found up the West Coast into the Pacific Northwest and as far north as Alaska, she said during her 2021 presentation.

Upon hearing the news of a new hoodwinker specimen, Nyegaard, who happened to be traveling in Seattle last week, made the 4½-hour drive to Gearhart to investigate, Chandler from the aquarium said Monday. Once there, she took samples, including the fish’s ovaries, while spending two hours answering any and all questions spectators had about the species she had recently discovered, Chandler said.

“She was just as happy as any person I have ever seen,” he said.

The carcass withstood the elements and scavengers because of its tough skin, Chandler said. But after Nyegaard cut into it, he suspects bald eagles, sea gulls and the like will start to pick away at it. Still, he said he’s glad it’s drawn crowds out into nature and, for a lucky few, exposed them to an interactive learning session with a researcher actively gutting a specimen.

“If it gets people off their phones out of their basements onto the beach,” Chandler said, “it’s a great thing.”
oregon-fish[1].jpg
 

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Phase one of building small nuclear reactor in Ontario is complete
Author of the article:Canadian Press
Canadian Press
Published Jun 13, 2024 • Last updated 2 days ago • 1 minute read

The first phase of building a small nuclear reactor east of Toronto is complete.


Ontario Power Generation is building four small modular reactors at its Darlington site in Clarington.

New Energy and Electrification Minister Stephen Lecce says the first phase of construction on one of those reactors has been completed on time and on budget.

The reactors will produce 1,200 megawatts of electricity, enough to power more than one million homes.

Lecce also says a subsidiary of Ontario Power Generation has secured a $360-million deal to help refurbish a nuclear plant in Romania.

As part of the Romanian deal, Ontario nuclear workers will provide their expertise on the refurbishment after the federal government came to an agreement with the European country to provide work on its lone nuclear plant.
 

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Talc users want cancer checks even if it cost billions
Author of the article:Bloomberg News
Bloomberg News
Jef Feeley
Published Jun 18, 2024 • 2 minute read

Johnson & Johnson should be on the hook for potentially billions of dollars in medical fees for women who used its talc-based baby powders and want to monitor their future health over cancer fears, according to a lawsuit.


Lawyers representing ex-talc users asked a New Jersey federal judge Monday to set up a so-called “medical-monitoring class” to cover the expenses of doctor’s visits and tests for women worried about gynecological and ovarian cancers.

The suit is the latest salvo in the ongoing legal battle between J&J and former talc users, who allege the world’s largest maker of health-care products hid the cancer risks of its iconic baby powder for almost half a century. J&J is seeking the backing from thousands of people who have sued is over the product for an $11-billion settlement of the claims.

“This kind of monitoring system, especially if covers thousands of women, will be expensive since it goes on for the rest of their lives,” said Carl Tobias, a University of Richmond professor who teaches about mass-tort law. “It could cost J&J hundreds of millions, if not billions, to cover these costs.”


‘Frivolous’ Claim
J&J officials Monday dismissed the proposed class action as a “meritless complaint.” Erik Haas, J&J’s lead in-house lawyer on the talc cases, said the suit was another attempt by the plaintiffs to “disseminate false messaging in an effort to thwart their clients from voting on” the company’s proposed settlement.

Such medical-surveillance programs have been approved in other mass-tort cases, including claims that Dutch manufacturer Koninklijke Philips NA hid flaws in its line of machines designed to treat sleep apnea. The company agreed as part of a $1.1-billion settlement earlier this year to set up a health-monitoring program for users.

J&J now faces more than 61,000 lawsuits blaming talc used in baby power and similar products for different types of cancers. Many of those cases have been consolidated before the judge in New Jersey who is overseeing the proposed medical-monitoring class-action case. Other cases are set for trial in state courts.


Damage Verdicts
Since 2014, at least a dozen juries have awarded a total of more than $6.5 billion in damages to consumers blaming the powder for their cancers, according to data compiled by Bloomberg News. Many of those awards later were reduced or thrown out on appeal.

J&J maintains its talc-based products don’t cause cancer and it has marketed its baby powder appropriately for more than a century. The company has won a number of cases in court and had other suits dismissed before trial. J&J withdrew its talc-based powders worldwide at the end of 2023 and replaced it with a cornstarch version.

Plaintiffs want the judge to certify a class that covers U.S. women who’ve used talc from 1960 to now, and who haven’t already filed an individual suit. They also want their spouses, parents and dependent children included in the class.

Former talc users want the judge to order J&J to set up a fund to cover monitoring expenses, including “baseline assessments, diagnostic testing, and preventative measures,” according to the 137-page complaint.
 
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Collecting sex-crazed zombie cicadas on speed: Scientists track bug-controlling super-sized fungus
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Seth Borenstein
Published Jun 19, 2024 • Last updated 2 days ago • 3 minute read

LISLE, Illinois — With their bulging red eyes and their alien-like mating sound, periodical cicadas can seem scary and weird enough. But some of them really are sex-crazed zombies on speed, hijacked by a super-sized fungus.


West Virginia University mycology professor Matt Kasson, his 9-year-old son Oliver, and graduate student Angie Macias are tracking the nasty fungus, called Massospora cicadina. It is the only one on Earth that makes amphetamine — the drug called speed _ in a critter when it takes over. And yes, the fungus takes control over the cicada, makes them hypersexual, looking to spread the parasite as a sexually transmitted disease.

“They’re zombies, completely at the mercy of the fungus,” said University of Connecticut cicada researcher John Cooley.

This particular fungus has the largest known genome of any fungus. It has about 1.5 billion base pairs, about 30 times longer than many of the more common fungi we know, Kasson said. And when these periodical cicadas live underground for 17 years (or 13 years in the U.S. South), the spores generally stay down there with them.


“This was a mycological oddity for a long time,” Kasson said. “It’s got the biggest genome. It produces wild compounds. It keeps the host active — all these quirks to it.”

Kasson decided to ask people from around the country to send in infected cicadas this year. And despite an injured leg, Kasson, his son and Macias travelled from West Virginia to the Morton Arboretum outside Chicago, where others have reported the fungus that takes over a cicada’s nether parts, dumping the genitalia and replacing it with a white, gummy yet flaky plug that’s pretty noticeable. The spores then fall out like salt from a shaker.

Infected cicadas are supposed to be hard to find.

Ten seconds after she hops off the golf cart, Macias is in the trees, looking. She emerges victorious, hand in the air with a cicada, yelling “I got one.”


“That was just lucky,” Oliver whines.

“Luck, huh? Let’s see you get one,” Macias replies.

Ten seconds later at a neighboring bush, Oliver finds another. And just a bit after that a photographer finds a third.

Kasson and his small team collected 36 infected cicadas in his brief Chicago area jaunt with people sending him another 200 or so from all over. He’s still waiting for an RNA analysis of the fungus.

Some cicada experts have estimated maybe one in 1,000 of the periodical cicadas are infected with this fungus, but it’s not much more than a guess. Mount St. Joseph University’s Gene Kritsky, a biologist who wrote the book on this year’s unique dual emergence, said it might be skewed because the healthy cicadas stay higher up in the trees.


This year “the fungus is about how it always is,” Cooley said in an email. “It’s not super common.”

There’s debate among scientists if the fungus infects more cicadas deep in the soil coming out of the ground after 13 or 17 years or if it infects the newly hatched nymphs on the way underground for more than a decade.

This fungus isn’t the type of parasite that kills its host, but instead it needs to keep it alive, Kasson said. Then the infected cicadas attempt to mate with others, spreading the spores to its mate/victim. The males even pretend in their hypersexualized state to be females to entice and infect other males, he said.

The cousin to this fungus which infects annual cicadas out west also makes a psychoactive compound in the cicadas but it is more akin to psychedelics like magic mushrooms, Kasson said. So sometimes people, even experts, mix up the amphetamine that the infected 17- and 13-year cicadas produce with the more trippy compounds of the annual bugs, he said.

Either way, don’t try it at home. Even though cicadas themselves are edible, not so much the infected ones.

In the interest of science, Kasson tried one during this emergence, making sure they were from the inside of a female so more antiseptic.

“Man, it was so bitter,” Kasson said, explaining that he immediately rinsed his mouth out. “It tasted like something you would consider poisonous.”
 

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Chimpanzees seen self-medicating with healing plants when sick or injured
Researchers were surprised at the range of the ailments the chimps turned to plants for

Author of the article:Washington Post
Washington Post
Frances Vinall
Published Jun 22, 2024 • Last updated 1 day ago • 4 minute read

The chimpanzee was sick. It had diarrhea and tapeworms – not unusual for a wild chimpanzee in the Budongo Forest of Uganda. What intrigued the watching research team was what the ape did about it.


Soon after its symptoms developed, the male traveled with two others away from the community’s home to a site in the forest with a particular type of tree. It collected some dead wood from the Alstonia boonei and chewed it. The plant has long been used in traditional medicine, and when the scientists tested it, they confirmed it had high antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. The chimp made a full recovery.

The chimp’s behaviour was one of many instances observed over eight months that suggest chimpanzees could be using the forest as a natural drugstore. The study, published Thursday in the journal PLOS One, was carried out by a team led by Elodie Freymann of the University of Oxford and Fabien Schultz of Neubrandenburg University of Applied Sciences in Germany, which found that chimpanzees were consuming a variety of plants with medicinal effects but little other nutritional value, often when they had a health issue such as an injury or a parasite.


The findings offered strong support for “novel self-medicative behaviours in wild chimpanzees,” the researchers wrote, adding that further study of the animals’ behaviour could “benefit our own species, potentially leading to the discovery of novel human medicines.”

The next area of investigation will be the “most interesting plant extracts” consumed by the chimpanzees, Schultz said in an email. There are “lots of ‘ifs,'” he said, but theoretically, “one day the knowledge of chimpanzees could save human lives.”

He was particularly interested in the potential application of the chimps’ go-to plants in addressing antibiotic-resistant bacteria and chronic inflammatory diseases — though he cautioned that there is a long road between this study and any possible drug breakthroughs.


The team observed two chimpanzee communities in the Budongo Forest for four months each. They tracked what the great apes ate and analyzed components of 13 plant species that seemed wholly unappetizing to a chimpanzee, such as bark and resin, to determine whether the materials had healing effects.

“Pharmacological results suggest that Budongo chimpanzees consume several species with potent medicinal properties,” the authors wrote.

Those struggling the most with parasites — something the scientists ascertained through testing their feces — had eaten plant material with the strongest antibacterial properties. An injured chimpanzee had eaten a fern with anti-inflammatory effects that was otherwise rarely consumed by the groups. All plant species, when tested in a laboratory, inhibited bacterial growth of E. coli, and some had been found in previous studies to have cancer-fighting or analgesic properties.


The authors noted that 11 of the 13 plant species had recorded uses in traditional medicine.

The researchers were surprised at the range of the ailments the chimps turned to plants for — and by the plants’ potency. “Maybe it shouldn’t have been as much of a surprise,” Freymann said in an email, “because the chimpanzees are incredibly smart and it makes perfect sense they would have figured out by now which plants can help them when ill or injured.”

She said the research showed it was “highly unlikely” the chimpanzees were eating the medicinal plants coincidentally as part of their diet. “In many of these cases, the ill or injured chimps sought out these resources when no other member of their group did,” she said.

The study adds to a body of research that suggests some animals may use plants or insects to self-medicate. Our closest cousins, the apes, have often played a starring role in this field, called zoopharmacognosy.


Last month, scientists published their observation in the journal Scientific Reports of an orangutan in Indonesia applying the juice and chewed-up leaves of a plant known for its medicinal effects to an injury on its face — which then healed without signs of infection. Two years ago, a different study of chimpanzees, in the Loango National Park in Gabon, said the animals had been seen repeatedly applying insects to wounds.

Isabelle Laumer, a primatologist and cognitive biologist at the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior in Germany who was the orangutan report’s lead author but was not involved in the PLOS One study, said in an interview that the new study has contributed “really important findings” that opened up avenues for further research.


“It’s always very fascinating to find out that our closest relatives are showing behaviours that we humans also show,” she said. “I think this study, again, points towards the similarities that we share.”

The authors of the PLOS One study called for strong conservation efforts to allow the continuation of such research, and to explore its potential benefits to humans in finding plants with medicinal properties. “It is imperative that we urgently prioritize the preservation of our wild forest pharmacies as well as our primate cousins who inhabit them,” they said.