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How small genetic change in Yersinia pestis changed human history
While studying Yersinia pestis, the bacteria responsible for epidemics of plague such as the Black Death, scientists found a single small genetic change that fundamentally influenced the evolution of the deadly pathogen, and thus the course of human history. They demonstrated how the acquisition of a single gene caused the shift of Y. pestis from causing a primarily gastrointestinal infection to a more serious and often fatal respiratory disease and how later modifications lead to infections associated with the bubonic plague.
Exit dinosaurs, enter fishes
A pair of paleobiologists have determined that the world's most numerous and diverse vertebrates -- ray-finned fishes -- began their ecological dominance of the oceans 66 million years ago, aided by the mass extinction event that killed off dinosaurs.
340 undiscovered meteorite impact sites on Earth, geologists calculate
Researchers have calculated the number of undiscovered meteorite impact sites on Earth's surface. Geologists say a total of 188 have been confirmed so far, and 340 are still awaiting discovery. Meteorite impacts have shaped the development of the Earth and life repeatedly in the past. The extinction of the dinosaurs, for instance, is thought to have been brought on by a mega-collision at the end of the Cretaceous period. But how many traces of large and small impacts have survived the test of time?
NEH: Bonfires, Greased Pig Races, Pickle Contests, and More: Historic Fourth of July Celebrations from Chronicling America
From the National Endowment for the Humanities comes an exploration of Independence Day traditions in days past drawing on the Chronicling America historic newspapers archive, 1836-1922 (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/). From recitations to picnics to velocipede racing, Americans over the centuries have celebrated July 4th with joyful exuberance as well as solemn commemoration... Read more about it and follow us on Twitter @librarycongress #ChronAm!
Daily Quiz for June 30, 2015
The first spacewalk took place in this year.
Was the Death Toll on the Underground Railroad Higher Than in Civil War Armies?
I heard the death toll in the Underground Railroad during the Civil War exceeded that of the actual soldiers that died in the armies. Is this true? What are the statistics? Brent Weathers ? ? ? Dear Mr. Weathers, I don’t know from whence you “heard” that Underground Railroad casualties exceeded those of the Civil […]
Largest freshwater lake on Earth was reduced to desert dunes in just a few hundred years
Researchers used satellite images to map abandoned shore lines around Palaeolake Mega-Chad, and analyzed sediments to calculate the age of these shore lines, producing a lake level history spanning the last 15,000 years.
Spiky monsters: New species of 'super-armored' worm
A newly-identified species of spike-covered worm with legs, which lived 500 million years ago, was one of the first animals on Earth to develop armor for protection.
Daily Quiz for June 29, 2015
The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ended this war.
Daily Quiz for June 28, 2015
These two famous bank robbers were killed on May 23, 1934.
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