Scientists study why the blind salamander lives so long

first_img © 2010 PhysOrg.com This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Scientists develop resource to study animal aging More information: Extreme lifespan of the human fish (Proteus anguinus): a challenge for ageing mechanisms, Biology Letters, Published online before print July 21, 2010, doi:10.1098/rsbl.2010.0539 The blind salamander (Proteus anguinus), also known as the olm, has the longest lifespan of any amphibian, often living to over 70 in zoos, and with a predicted maximum age of over 100. It reaches sexual maturity during its fifteenth year and lays about 35 eggs every 12.5 years.The amphibian spends its entire life in water in the dark limestone caves in southern Europe. Its eyes are atrophied and it has almost no skin pigments. The skin looks pink because the blood shows through, leading to the olm sometimes being called the “human fish”.The olm is a snake-like creature 25-30 cm long and weighing only up to 20 grams. Most tiny creatures have short lifespans, which is thought to be due to having higher metabolisms that in essence burn the creatures out more quickly, but the olm has a similar metabolic rate to its closest relatives, which have much shorter lifespans. There is also no unusual antioxidant activity in the olm that might explain its longevity.Scientists at a cave station set up at Moulis, Saint-Girons in France have been studying the olm, an endangered species, since 1952. The cave is a faithful reproduction of the olm’s natural habitat and has over 400 salamanders in residence. It is the only successful breeding program of the amphibian, and the project is operated by the National Center for Scientific Research in France. Data on deaths and breeding activity have been recorded at the cave station since 1958.Ecophysiologist Yann Voituron and colleagues, from the Université Claude Bernard Lyon, have been studying the salamanders to try to understand why they live so long in comparison to their relatives. Voituron said they would like to look at the “usual genes associated with increases in lifespan, and maybe hope to detect something new.” They would also like to analyze the creatures on a cellular level and examine their mitochondria, for example, but this would necessitate killing the animals, and they do not want to do this because they have so few to work with.The scientists estimated the maximum age from the knowledge the oldest inhabitants of the cave are now at least 48 and probably in their mid or late fifties, and in related species the average lifespan is between 10 and 67 percent of the longest lifespan known for the species. This gives a conservative estimate of a maximum lifespan of 102 years for the olm, or almost double the maximum lifespan of other long-lived amphibians such as the Japanese giant salamander, with a maximum of 55 years.Voituron said the studies have shown the olm is extremely inactive and rarely moves except to feed and to reproduce (which only happens every 12.5 years). There are no predators in the caves, so they live a stress-free life. The researchers think the salamander’s limited activity and an adjusted physiology may be a way to reduce production of reactive oxygen species (that damage cells as they age) without increased antioxidants or a lower basal metabolic rate. The paper, published online in the journal Royal Society Biology Letters concludes the olm raises questions about agiing and “appears as a promising model” to study mechanisms preventing aging processes in vertebrates. Citation: Scientists study why the blind salamander lives so long (2010, July 22) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2010-07-scientists-salamander.html Explore further (PhysOrg.com) — Scientists have long been intrigued by the longevity of a tiny amphibian known as the blind salamander, but it now seems it may live a long time because it basically has no life. Proteus anguinus. Image crecit: CNRSlast_img read more

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Researchers suggest Little Foot is an entirely new species of early human

first_img © 2018 Science X Network Citation: Researchers suggest ‘Little Foot’ is an entirely new species of early human (2018, December 10) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-12-foot-species-early-human.html South African skeleton shows humans learned to walk upright in the trees This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. The curved left forearms bones of the StW 573 Australopithecus skeleton shown with superior toward the top of the image. The ulna (left) is near-lateral view and radius (right) is in anterior view. Credit: Bilateral Asymmetry of the Forearm Bones as Possible Evidence of Antemortem Trauma in the StW 573 Australopithecus Skeleton from Sterkfontein Member 2 (South Africa), The skeleton first became known when Ronald Clarke of the University of Witwatersrand looked through a bone collection back in the 1990s—he came across foot bones that were labeled as monkey bones. After determining that they were not ape, he and colleagues ventured to the Sterkfontein caves near Johannesburg in 1994, where the bones had been found, and began digging. Because of the challenges involved, it took the team approximately 10 years to fully extricate the skeleton from the rock in which it was embedded. It took another 10 years to fully clean and study the skeleton. Four teams with ties to Clarke have written papers describing aspects of the skeleton, all of which conclude that it represents a unique species. Clarke and his team have therefore given it a name: Australopithecus Prometheus. The researchers are offering some details of their findings as their papers make their way first onto bioRxiv, and then presumably into a journal.The researchers report that the skeleton was from an elderly woman with an arm bowed due to injury. They also report that the woman would have stood just over four feet tall and had legs that were longer than her arms—a hallmark of bipedalism. She was also vegetarian. The details regarding the skeletal remains have been released prior to publication because other groups have recently been granted access to the remains, and the original team does not want to be scooped.The researchers have told the press that Little Foot’s face is flatter than the faces of members of A. africanus (which includes Lucy). There are also other differences in skull shape and tooth arrangement and size. They suggest differences in the hip bone alone are enough to support their claim that Little Foot is a new species. More information: Robin Huw Crompton et al. Functional Anatomy, Biomechanical Performance Capabilities and Potential Niche of StW 573: an Australopithecus Skeleton (circa 3.67 Ma) From Sterkfontein Member 2, and its significance for The Last Common Ancestor of the African Apes and for Hominin Origins, (2018). DOI: 10.1101/481556 Ronald J Clarke et al. The skull of StW 573, a 3.67 Ma Australopithecus skeleton from Sterkfontein Caves, South Africa, (2018). DOI: 10.1101/483495 Laurent Bruxelles et al. A multiscale stratigraphic investigation of the context of StW 573 Little Foot and Member 2, Sterkfontein Caves, South Africa, (2018). DOI: 10.1101/482711 A.J. Heile et al. Bilateral Asymmetry of the Forearm Bones as Possible Evidence of Antemortem Trauma in the StW 573 Australopithecus Skeleton from Sterkfontein Member 2 (South Africa), (2018). DOI: 10.1101/486076 Explore further Several teams of researchers have announced that the skeletal remains of a hominin believed to have lived approximately 3.67 million years ago represent a new species of early human. The researchers report that the specimen, known as “Little Foot,” has characteristics that make it unlike any other known species.last_img read more

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Floating solar plants to be set up in state Sobhandeb

first_imgKolkata: In a significant boost to the renewable energy sector, the Bengal government has come up with a unique idea of installing floating solar plants in the state.State Power minister Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay on Saturday said the first solar floating projects with a capacity of 5 MW each will be set up at Sagardighi in Murshidabad and Bakreshwar in Birbhum. There is a plan to install another 100 MW floating solar project in Bankura’s Mukutmanipur in phases. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeWhile talking to reporters on the sidelines of a seminar on “Sustainable Initiatives in Power: Creating Values for Future” organised by the Merchants’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the minister said that the three floating solar projects will be completed within the next year. Availability of land is, however, a major issue.Chattopadhyay said: “A Detailed Project Report (DPR) has already been prepared for the Sagradighi floating solar project which is expected to be commissioned in the next six months. Another 5 MW floating solar project is coming up at Bakreshwar followed by a 100 MW floating solar project in Mukutmanipur.” The 100 MW floating solar project will be installed on an irrigation reservoir located at Mukutmanipur. The West Bengal Power Development Corporation Limited (WBPDCL) is the implementing agency of the project. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedA N Biswas, Commissioner, department of Power and NES, said: “We have sought a list of waterbodies from the state Irrigation Department where the floating solar projects could be set up. We begin at Sagardighi on an experimental basis. The other projects will be initiated later. Bengal is the first state in the country to implement this project.” It was learnt that it requires 4.5 acre of land for setting up a solar plant which could produce 1 MW of solar energy. Availability of land, therefore, remains a serious issue for the state government. According to an estimate, the 5 MW floating solar plant would cost the government around Rs 28 crore.Meanwhile, it may be mentioned that Chattopadhyay said the state government has introduced advanced machinery to reduce the emission of harmful gas coming out of the old coal-based power plants at Kolaghat, Bandel and other locations.last_img read more

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