Science

Ocean on Jupiter’s moon ‘could be habitable,’ researchers say

With NASA slated to explore Jupiter’s moon Europa sometime in the next decade, researchers are increasingly confident that the ocean on the celestial satellite “could be habitable.” Speaking at the 2020 Goldschmidt Conference earlier this month, NASA researchers said they have developed a model that shows Europa, the sixth largest moon in the Solar System, could support life. “We were able to model the composition and physical properties of the core, silicate layer, and ocean,” NASA JPL researcher and the study’s lead author, Mohit Melwani Daswani, said in a statement. “We find that different minerals lose water and volatiles at different depths and temperatures. We added up these volatiles that are estimated to have been lost from the interior, and found that they are consistent with the current ocean’s predicted mass, meaning that they are probably present in the ocean.” The ocean is under a dense layer of frozen crust that is largely believed to be at least six and as many as 19 miles thick. The surface temperature on Europa is exceptionally cold as well, approximately -260 degrees Fahrenheit at the equator and -370 degrees Fahrenheit at the poles, according to Space.com. While the ocean is widely believed to be warm, researchers are only just learning that it likely formed due to the minerals being broken down by either tidal forces or radioactive decay, according to Universe Today. “Indeed it was thought that this ocean could still be rather sulfuric,” Daswani explained, “but our simulations, coupled with data from the Hubble Space Telescope, showing chloride on Europa’s surface, suggests that the water most likely became chloride rich. In other words, its composition became more like oceans on Earth. We believe that this ocean could be quite habitable for life.” In August 2019, NASA confirmed it would launch a mission to Europa, a trek that could answer whether the icy celestial body could be habitable for humans and support life. The Europa Clipper, which could launch as soon as 2023 but has a baseline commitment of a “launch readiness date by 2025,” will have a mass spectrometer on the craft, used to determine the mass of ions in an atom. The mission for the solar-powered Clipper is expected to cost around $4 billion, according to NASA. The space agency has previously said the purpose of the mission will be to investigate whether Europa, the sixth-largest of Jupiter’s 79 known moons, “could harbor conditions suitable for life, honing our insights into astrobiology.” A 2018 study expressed concerns that Europa’s surface may be extremely porous, which could harm any probe that touches down on its surface. In December 2019, a study suggested that if there is life on Europa, it would be indigenous to the moon and not related to humans.

Fascinating!!  For more on Europa, click on the text above.     🙂

Mysterious repeating radio signals from outside our galaxy discovered

Astronomers recently discovered a strange repeating rhythm of fast radio bursts coming from outside our galaxy. The radio bursts come from 500 million light-years away, according to a statement released by MIT, which participated in the research. A light-year, which measures distance in space, equals about 6 trillion miles. Details of the radio bursts emerged earlier this year. The research has now been published in the journal Nature. “Fast radio bursts, or FRBs, are short, intense flashes of radio waves that are thought to be the product of small, distant, extremely dense objects, though exactly what those objects might be is a longstanding mystery in astrophysics,” the researchers explained in the statement. “FRBs typically last a few milliseconds, during which time they can outshine entire galaxies.” The fast radio burst source has been cataloged as FRB 180916.J0158+65. Experts say that it is the first to produce a periodic, or cyclical, pattern of bursts. “The pattern begins with a noisy, four-day window, during which the source emits random bursts of radio waves, followed by a 12-day period of radio silence,” the researchers said. The 16-day pattern appeared consistently over a 500-day period. “This FRB we’re reporting now is like clockwork,” said Kiyoshi Masui, assistant professor of physics in MIT’s Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research, in the statement. “It’s the most definitive pattern we’ve seen from one of these sources. And it’s a big clue that we can use to start hunting down the physics of what’s causing these bright flashes, which nobody really understands.” Usually, fast radio bursts are “one-offs,” according to experts, although in some cases they have come from the same source. The Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) radio telescope in British Columbia was the first to pick up the signals from FRB 180916.J0158+65. The telescope picked up 38 signals from the source between September 2018 and February 2020. Astronomers say that they traced the signal to a star-churning region on the outskirts of a massive spiral galaxy. Spiral galaxies, like our Milky Way, have a central nucleus and “spiral arms” containing stars, gas and cosmic dust. “These periodic bursts are something that we’ve never seen before, and it’s a new phenomenon in astrophysics,” said Masui in the statement. In a paper published in the journal Nature, the scientists discuss the possible scenarios that created the radio bursts. “One possibility is that the periodic bursts may be coming from a single compact object, such as a neutron star, that is both spinning and wobbling — an astrophysical phenomenon known as precession,” they explained in the statement. “Another possibility involves a binary system, such as a neutron star orbiting another neutron star or black hole.” A third scenario involves a radio-emitting star orbiting a central source. “If the star emits a wind or cloud of gas, then every time the source passes through the cloud, the gas from the cloud could periodically magnify the source’s radio emissions,” the scientists explain. One possibility is that the fast radio bursts come from magnetars — neutron stars that are thought to possess a powerful magnetic field. Masui is part of the CHIME/FRB Collaboration, which also includes experts from the University of British Columbia, McGill University, the University of Toronto and the National Research Council of Canada. In a separate project, scientists used the Lovell telescope in the U.K. to discover a fast radio burst from deep space that has a 157-day repeating pattern. FRB 121102 shows activity for 90 days and then goes silent for 67 days, according to a study that was recently published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Things that make ya’ go, “hmm.”  For more, click on the text above.       🙂

Mars’ mysterious moon Phobos captured in new NASA images

There are more than 200 moons in the Solar System, including Phobos and Deimos, which orbit Mars. NASA’s Odyssey orbiter has snapped new pictures of Phobos, giving new insight into the celestial satellite. In a blog post, NASA JPL notes Odyssey took three new views of the 16-mile wide Phobos this past winter and spring. The new pictures show that heat distribution across the moon’s surface varies in different conditions, which could give researchers new insight into what comprises Phobos. “We’re seeing that the surface of Phobos is relatively uniform and made up of very fine-grained materials,” said Christopher Edwards of Northern Arizona University, who is leading the processing and analysis of the Phobos images, in a statement. “These observations are also helping to characterize the composition of Phobos. Future observations will provide a more complete picture of the temperature extremes on the moon’s surface.” The images were taken using the orbiter’s Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) camera, which is capable of measuring temperature. Mars’ moons have been of interest to researchers in recent memory. A study published earlier this month suggested that Mars may have also once been a ringed planet. The researchers pointed out that one of Mars’ moons, Deimos, has a slightly altered orbit that suggests there was something responsible for its slight tilt. Researchers are learning more about Mars’ ancient past. A study published in March suggested the Red Planet had two unique reservoirs of ancient water that once flowed deep beneath the planet’s surface. NASA’s long-term goal is to send a manned mission to Mars in the 2030s. Click here to see Odyssey’s photos of Phobos.

Very cool!!      🙂

Get set for strawberry moon: NASA’s top tips for June skywatchers

The next full moon, known as the strawberry moon, will light up the sky this week. Here are NASA’s top tips for June skywatchers. The moon will be full on Friday, June 5, at 3:12 p.m. EDT. “The Moon will appear full for about 3 days around this time, from early Thursday morning into early Sunday morning,” NASA explains on its website. Citing the Maine Farmer’s Almanac, NASA notes that the June full moon was dubbed the strawberry moon by Algonquin tribes. “The name comes from the relatively short season for harvesting strawberries in the north-eastern United States,” the space agency explains. “An old European name for this full Moon is the Mead Moon or the Honey Moon.” Mead is an alcoholic drink made from a fermented mixture of honey and water. “Some writings suggest that the time around the end of June was when honey was ripe and ready to be harvested from hives or from the wild, which made this the ‘sweetest’ Moon,” explains NASA. The Old Farmer’s Almanac notes that the name strawberry moon was used by every Algonquin tribe. The celestial event was also known as the rose moon in Europe, it adds. The June full moon may also be linked to the phrase “honeymoon,” according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac. “In the past, June has been the most popular month for weddings, leading some to suggest that the Moon’s honey-colored appearance in June was the origin of the ‘honeymoon’ phrase,” it explains on its website. “Nowadays, however, the most popular wedding months are August, September, and October, plus a little research shows that the Moon’s color never did have anything to do with that expression.” The strawberry moon, however, will not be a supermoon. The May full moon, known as the flower moon, was the last supermoon of 2020. In April, skywatchers enjoyed the super pink moon, which was the largest supermoon of the year. NASA notes that a partial eclipse is also on deck for June 5, although this will not be visible for most people in the Americas. “The Moon will be close enough to opposite the Sun that it will pass through part of the partial shadow of the Earth, called a partial penumbral eclipse of the Moon,” it explains on its website. “During this eclipse the Moon will not be in the sky for most of the Americas. If we could see the Moon, the slight dimming during this eclipse will not be noticeable without instrumentation.” “It’s the most subtle kind of lunar eclipse, one that most people won’t even notice,” adds the EarthSky website. The summer solstice will occur later this month, on June 20. “As spring ends and summer begins, the daily periods of sunlight reach their longest on the solstice, then begin to shorten again,” explains NASA on its website. “Summer Solstice will be on Saturday, June 20, at 5:43 PM. This will be the day with the longest period of sunlight, 14 hours, 53 minutes, and 41.5 seconds,” it adds. The ancient site of Stonehenge in Southern England has become synonymous with solstices. Some scientists believe that Stonehenge was built to mark the summer and winter solstices. NASA also offers other skywatching tips for this month. “As twilight ends on the evening of the full Moon on Friday, June 5, (at 9:42 PM EDT for the Washington, DC area), the planet Mercury will appear about 6 degrees above the horizon in the west-northwest,” it explains, on its website. “The bright star appearing nearest to directly overhead will be Arcturus, appearing (for Washington, DC and similar latitudes) 68 degrees above the horizon in the south-southeast. Also near to directly overhead will be the constellation Ursa Major, also known as the Great Bear or the Big Dipper.”

For more info, click on the text above.  And, remember to check for that Strawberry Moon this Friday afternoon at 1:12p MDT, for those of us here in sunny Colorado.     🙂

 

SpaceX, NASA, astronauts making final preparations: ‘We’re go for launch’

SpaceX is making final preparations for Wednesday’s Demo-2 mission to launch NASA astronauts from U.S. soil for the first time since 2011. A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft will transport astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the International Space Station on the historic mission. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said he texted the two astronauts Monday and told them, “‘If you want me to stop this thing for any reason, say so. I will stop it in a heartbeat if you want me to.’ They both came back and they said, ‘We’re go for launch.'” Hurley and Behnken are scheduled to launch at 4:33 p.m. EDT from launch pad 39A of the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, which was also used for the Apollo and space shuttle programs. The launch will be the first time a private company, rather than a national government, sends astronauts into orbit. “Team is performing additional pre-flight checkouts of Falcon 9, Crew Dragon, and the ground support system ahead of tomorrow’s Demo-2 mission,” SpaceX tweeted earlier Tuesday. The weather forecast for launch is 60 percent favorable, SpaceX added. “Dragon Dawn,” tweeted SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, with a time-lapse video of Crew Dragon on the launch pad next to the access arm that Hurley and Behnken will use to board the spacecraft. “I’ve often said that our astronauts are the best America has to offer,” Bridenstine tweeted Tuesday. Hurley and Behnken, he added, “are truly the best of us.” The launch is eagerly anticipated. “Looking forward to tomorrow’s historic mission – it’ll be a day all Americans and space fans everywhere will never forget! T minus 1 day and counting!,” Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin tweeted Tuesday. Speaking during a news briefing Tuesday, Bridenstine described the launch as “a unique opportunity” to bring all of America together in one moment in time. Both NASA and SpaceX have been diligent about making sure everyone in the launch loop knows they’re free to halt the countdown if there’s a concern, Bridenstine added. Some 45 seconds from liftoff the SpaceX launch director will give the final go after everyone has been polled on Wednesday. However, Bridenstine noted that NASA has the “right to intervene” if it sees something it disagrees with. President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are expected at Kennedy for the planned liftoff, but “our highest priority” will remain the astronauts’ safety, according to Bridenstine. Launched atop the Falcon 9 rocket, Crew Dragon will accelerate to approximately 17,000 mph, according to NASA, placing the capsule on course for the International Space Station. The duration of the astronauts’ stay on the International Space Station is yet to be determined. Under normal circumstances, large crowds would have been expected to witness the historic launch but, citing concerns about the coronavirus pandemic, NASA has urged people to stay away. Hundreds of thousands of people flocked to the area near Kennedy Space Center for the last shuttle launch in July 2011, according to Spaceflight Now. STS-135, the last space shuttle mission, launched from Kennedy Space Center on July 8, 2011. The space shuttle Atlantis carried four NASA astronauts on the mission to resupply the ISS, as well as an experiment for robotically refueling satellites in space. Since then, the U.S. has relied on Russian Soyuz rockets launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to get astronauts into space. Russia charges the U.S. about $75 million to send an astronaut into space. NASA recently agreed to pay Russian space agency Roscosmos $90 million for one final seat on one of its Soyuz rockets.

How exciting!!  Weather permitting, liftoff is under 4 hrs from now!  The President, First Lady, and Vice President will be in attendance.  For more, click on the text above.  Go SpaceX!!      🙂

SpaceX’s first astronaut launch breaking ground with new look: ‘It is really neat’

The first astronauts launched by SpaceX are breaking new ground for style by unveiling hip spacesuits, gull-wing Teslas and even a sleek rocketship with a black and white trim. The color coordination is credited to Elon Musk, the driving force behind SpaceX and Tesla who is also a science fiction fan. NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken approved the “fresh new look,” The Associated Press reported on Monday. The pair will catch a ride to the launch pad in a Tesla Model X electric car. “It is really neat, and I think the biggest testament to that is my 10-year-old son telling me how cool I am now,” Hurley told the outlet. The 53-year-old noted “SpaceX has gone all out” on the capsule’s appearance. “And they’ve worked equally as hard to make the innards and the displays and everything else in the vehicle work to perfection,” Hurley added. According to the outlet, Hurley and Behnken will climb aboard a SpaceX Dragon capsule atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on Wednesday, and both equipment and weather permitting, shoot into space. The move will mark the first astronaut launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center since the last shuttle flight in 2011. It will also mark the first attempt by a private company to send astronauts into orbit. Only governments in Russia, the U.S., and China have done so. SpaceX also shared the historic send-off deserves to look good. Musk, 48, named his rocket after the “Star Wars” Millennium Falcon. The capsule name stems from “Puff the Magic Dragon,” a jab from the tech entrepreneur aiming at his doubters when he first started SpaceX in 2002. And style wasn’t ignored in the launch. SpaceX designed and built its own custom-fit suits. “It’s important that the suits are comfortable and also are inspiring,” said SpaceX’s mission director Benji Reed. “But above all, it’s designed to keep the crew safe,” he shared. But the signature bulky, orange ascent and entry suits worn by shuttle astronauts have their own allure, insisted Behnken, 49. Both he and Hurley wore them for his two previous missions. Hollywood has also relied on the orange suits for movies like “Armageddon” and “Space Cowboys.” On launch day, Hurley and Behnken will get ready inside Kennedy’s remodeled crew quarters, which dates back to the two-man Gemini missions of the mid-1960s. SpaceX techs will also help the astronauts into their one-piece, two-layer pressure suits. The men will also emerge through the same double doors previously used on July 16, 1969, by Apollo 11’s Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins. The Operations and Checkout Building bear Armstrong’s name. Instead of the traditional Astrovan, the two will climb into the back seat of a Tesla Model X for the nine-mile ride to Launch Complex 39A, also known as the same pad used by the moonmen and most shuttle crews. It’s while they board the Tesla that they’ll see their wives and young sons for the last time before the flight. Making a comeback after three decades is NASA’s worm logo — wavy, futuristic-looking red letters spelling NASA, the “A” resembling rocket nose cones. The worm adorns the Astro-Tesla, Falcon and even the astronauts’ suits, along with NASA’s original blue meatball-shaped logo. The white-suited Hurley and Behnken will transfer from the white Tesla to the white Dragon atop the equally white Falcon 9. “It’s going to be quite a show,” said Reed.

And we’re excited to see it!  Launch is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon, Wed. May 27th.  For more, click on the text above.  Go SpaceX!!      🙂

Astronomer puts odds on extraterrestrial life existing: ‘Universe teeming with life … the favored bet’

Despite no clear-cut evidence, mankind has wondered for eons whether we’re alone in the universe. One astronomer, however, is almost sure that extraterrestrial life exists. In a new study, Columbia University astronomer David Kipping used the Bayesian model to determine the odds that life should exist on Earth. He found the odds are 9:1 or higher, despite scientists still not clearly understanding “how life occurred” on the planet, even if it’s widely accepted life started billions of years ago. “The rapid emergence of life and the late evolution of humanity, in the context of the timeline of evolution, are certainly suggestive,” Kipping said in a statement. “But in this study it’s possible to actually quantify what the facts tell us.” The Earth itself is widely believed to be approximately 4.5 billion years old. The Bayesian statistical inference, which is used to “update the probability for a hypothesis as evidence or new information becomes available,” found that intelligent life on Earth likely formed against the odds. The model looked at four possible answers: life is common and often develops intelligence; life is rare but often develops intelligence; life is common and rarely develops intelligence; lastly, life is rare and rarely develops intelligence. Kipping noted the “common-life scenario is always at least nine times more likely than the rare one,” but the odds of life being intelligent are weak. “[T]he possibility that intelligence is extremely rare and Earth ‘lucked out’ remains quite viable,” Kipping wrote in the study. “Overall, we find a weak preference, 3:2 betting odds, that intelligence rarely emerges given our late arrival.” “If we played Earth’s history again, the emergence of intelligence is actually somewhat unlikely,” he added in the statement. However, Kipling pointed out that the analysis “purely concerns the Earth,” and should not be applied to “potentially exoplanets being discovered.” “The analysis can only provide statistical probabilities, but the case for a universe teeming with life emerges as the favored bet,” Kipping explained in the statement. “The search for intelligent life in worlds beyond Earth should be by no means discouraged.” The research has been published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. As of April 2020, more than 4,000 exoplanets have been identified, including a “one in a million” super-Earth that was recently discovered. In early March, an astronomy student from the University of British Columbia discovered 17 new exoplanets, including one that is roughly the same size as Earth. Known as KIC-7340288 b, the exoplanet is “small enough to be considered rocky,” at just 1.5 times the size of Earth, and is in the habitable zone of the star it orbits. Another recently discovered exoplanet, K2-18b, is also “potentially habitable” and is just 124 light-years from Earth.

Mr. Kipping is saying what we’ve been saying here for many years; that the likelihood of life out there, on another planet, is FAR greater than not…given just how vast space is.     🙂

Researchers: New UV Technology ‘Safe for Humans,’ Potentially Lethal for Coronavirus

A Columbia University researcher this week said new ultraviolet technology he helped develop is a “game changer” that has shown promise for killing the novel coronavirus in indoor places without harming human skin. The findings echo other studies that found UV technology could potentially sterilize the novel coronavirus on surfaces and the air. This week, the media and their Democrat allies lambasted U.S. President Donald Trump for suggesting that health officials could use UV light to treat coronavirus. David Brenner, a professor of radiation biophysics and director of Columbia University’s Center for Radiological Research, helped develop technology that uses lamps to emit a wavelength of ultraviolet light known as far-UVC the could be lethal to the novel coronavirus. He believes the technology is showing promise for hindering the person-to-person spread of the novel coronavirus illness (COVID-19) in indoor settings. “Far-UVC light has the potential to be a ‘game-changer,’” Brenner said, Columbia News reported on Tuesday. “It can be safely used in occupied public spaces, and it kills pathogens in the air before we can breathe them in.” He added: Our system is a low-cost, safe solution to eradicating airborne viruses minutes after they’ve been breathed, coughed or sneezed into the air. Not only does it have the potential to prevent the global spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, but also future novel viruses, as well as more familiar viruses like influenza and measles. The far-UVC lamps, already in production by several companies, cost between $500 and $1000 each, the researcher noted, adding that the prices would likely drop once they are mass-produced…

This is great news!!   And, looks like Trump may have the last laugh on this issue after all…  Earlier in the week, the liberal media beat him up over some comments he made regarding this.  Granted he probably shouldn’t have said what he said regarding disinfectants and sunlight and so on.  But, as Dr. Deborah Birx later noted, he had just come out of briefing where this HAD been discussed and a lot of info had just been thrown at him right before that press briefing.  Anyway, for more, click on the text above.

Army researchers at Fort Detrick who helped discover Ebola treatment seek coronavirus vaccine

Army researchers at Fort Detrick are fast at work growing batches of COVID-19 to help test treatment options and eventually find a coronavirus vaccine. “They take some of the virus and put it onto cells,” Dr. Kathleen Gibson, a core laboratory services division chief at the U.S. Army’s Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases [USAMRIID], explained through a triple-glass window as Army researchers wearing protective gear worked with the deadly virus. “They look for the virus that will actually kill portions of the cells and they’ll count those killed portions.” These are the same army scientists who helped develop vaccines for anthrax, the plague and Ebola. Now, they have been working double shifts growing large amounts of the COVID-19 virus at this sprawling lab complex. “We have more capacity to run more studies at the same time,” Col. E. Darrin Cox, the commander of USAMRIID, explained. “We can be running things in parallel rather than having to do things sequentially, and that’s helped speed up the process of the science.” Fort Detrick has one of the country’s few labs with biosafety level 4-specialized equipment, allowing researchers to work on the most deadly viruses. It’s taken two weeks to grow a lot of COVID-19. Fort Detrick received its first vial of the virus from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] a month ago. Its scientists have started the genetic sequencing of the virus, using machines capable of fast, large-scale drug testing as well. “We have a large capacity to be able to test a very large number of products. Most other places don’t have that infrastructure to be able to develop or test as many products at a time,” according to Dr. John Dye, the USAMRIID viral immunology chief. “There are at least eight different companies that are developing vaccines that all can be assessed looking for safety in humans… Having multiple shots on goal is our best chance of being able to basically battle this virus.” Army researchers have shot compounds such as chloroquine into vials of COVID-19 to see how it’s reacted. “We can test about 300 drugs or compounds in each plate,” Dr. Sheli Radoshitzky said. “We add the compounds using this robotic system and then we transfer the plates into bio-containment where we add the virus.” Since 1969, this warren of Army research labs known as USAMRIID has served as the Defense Department’s lead laboratory for medical biological defense research. It has worked with biotech firms such as Gilead to discover drugs including Remdesivir — an antiviral to fight Ebola — which may work on COVID-19. USAMRIID has worked with the CDC, National Institutes of Health [NIH] and private drug companies to bring these drugs to market. This past December, a vaccine for Ebola produced in conjunction with Merck received its license, a key step in Food and Drug Administration [FDA] approval. It was several years in the making, but these Army labs found the key particle that led to the discovery Men and women in these hallways were some of the first boots on the ground during the first Ebola outbreak. The Army scientists working with COVID-19 have used level 3 gear because the virus is less lethal than Ebola, but still highly contagious.

Major kudos to the men and women at Fort Detrick, MD for literally putting their lives on the line every day searching for a vaccine for this Wuhan virus.  We can all take comfort in knowing these folks are the best in the world at what they do, and they WILL find a cure.  It’s just a matter of when.  For more on this story, click on the text above.

Neanderthals ate dolphins and seals, researchers reveal

More than 80,000 years ago, Neanderthals were eating a wide range of food from the sea, according to the latest research, even hunting dolphins and seals. The study, which was led by the University of Gottingen in Germany, sheds new light on our extinct relatives. Excavation of a cave at Figueira Brava in Portugal provided evidence that Neanderthals looked to the sea for their food, as well as the land. “Their diet included mussels, crustaceans and fish as well as waterfowl and marine mammals such as dolphins and seals,” the researchers explain in a statement. A paper on the research has been published in the journal Science. Scientists were able to study deposits of calcite, a mineral, during the excavation of the cave, nearly 19 miles south of Lisbon. This meant that experts were able to date the excavated layers of the Figueira Brava cave to between 86,000 and 106,000 years, during the Neanderthal era. “The use of the sea as a source of food at that time has so far only been attributed to anatomically modern humans (Homo sapiens) in Africa,” the researchers explain. “Food from the sea is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and other fatty acids that promote the development of brain tissue.” The findings increase our knowledge of Neanderthals. “The recent results of the excavation of Figueira Brava now confirm that if the habitual consumption of marine life played an important role in the development of cognitive abilities, this is as true for Neanderthals as it is for anatomically modern humans,” the researchers explained. The scientists have also noted that, more than 65,000 years ago, Neanderthals made paintings in three caves in the Iberian Peninsula. They also said that perforated and decorated seashells can be attributed to Neanderthals. In another recent study, experts analyzed seashells fashioned into tools that were discovered in Italy in 1949 to reveal how some Neanderthals had a much closer connection to the sea than was previously thought. In a separate study released last year, a team led by anthropologist Erik Trinkaus of Washington University reported that many Neanderthals suffered from “swimmer’s ear,” bony growths that form in the ear canal through regular exposure to cold water or chilly air. Experts have been gaining new insight into Neanderthals in recent years. In 2018, for example, archaeologists in Poland identified the prehistoric bones of a Neanderthal child eaten by a large bird. In another study released in 2018, scientists suggested that climate change played a larger part in Neanderthals’ extinction than previously thought. Last year researchers in France reported that climate change drove some Neanderthals to cannibalism. The closest human species to homo sapiens, Neanderthals lived in Eurasia for around 350,000 years. Scientists in Poland report that Neanderthals in Europe mostly became extinct 35,000 years ago. However, there are a number of theories on the timing of Neanderthals’ extinction, with experts saying that it could have occurred 40,000, 27,000 or 24,000 years ago.

Fascinating!!  …until they just had to throw in the climate change part, without explaining how, or backing it up.  Typical..