Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Alcohol Consumption Traced To Ape Ancestor

The taste for alcohol may be an ancient craving. The ability to metabolize ethanol — the alcohol in beer, wine and spirits — might have originated in the common ancestor of chimpanzees, gorillas and humans roughly 10 million years ago, perhaps when this ancestor became more terrestrial and started eating fruits fermenting on the ground.

Chemist Steven Benner of the Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution in Gainesville, Fla., reached that conclusion by “resurrecting” the alcohol-metabolizing enzymes of extinct primates. Benner and his colleagues estimated the enzymes’ genetic code, built the enzymes in the lab and then analyzed how they work to understand how they changed over time.


Full story here.
-----------------------------------------

Friday, February 01, 2013

Speculation Over Iran's Monkey Launch As A Fake

...a series of photographs that show differences in the monkey's appearance, before and after the launch, appear to show two different monkeys.

Before the launch, several state-controlled media branches posted photographs of the monkey with a distinctive red mole above its right eye. It also had light fur round its head.

Upon the monkey's "return" from space, the mole had vanished, as had the fur.

The photographs have led to speculation that either they launched the capsule into space, but it never returned, or that the launch never took place.

The US state department at the time expressed doubts about whether it had ever happened.

Iranian state television showed still pictures of the capsule and of a monkey being fitted with a vest and then placed in a device similar to a child's car-seat.


Full story here.
-----------------------------------------