SMCC Heads Up | August 14, 2018

Asteroid rocks | Foot mechanics + evolution | SMCC Heads Up | Embargoed and recently published research with a Canadian focus, curated by SMCC for science journalists. Read more>

Women with intellectual and developmental disabilities have double the rate of repeat pregnancy

Canadian Medical Association Journal Published August 13, 2018 (Media release from CMAJ) Women with intellectual and developmental disabilities have nearly double the rate of having another baby within a year of delivering compared to women without such disabilities. Such rapid repeat pregnancy within one year of a previous live birth is associated with smaller babies, preterm […]

Insight into how the human foot evolved

PNAS Published August 13, 2018 To determine how human foot function evolved from a grasping to a propulsive structure, researchers analyzed the feet of human-like primates, including fossil apes, and early hominin-foot fossils, including the oldest hominin for which good foot fossils exist. Structures such as dorsal metatarsal-head expansion corroboratethe evolution of terrestrial bipedalism in hominins. […]

Asteroid strikes birthed ancient Canadian rock

Nature Geoscience Published August 13, 2018 (Media release from Nature Research Press) Earth’s oldest-known evolved rocks, which are four billion years old, may be the result of asteroids slamming into the Earth’s crust and causing it to melt. The study found that Earth’s oldest evolved, or granitic, rocks, which form part of the Acasta Gneiss […]

New method determines the snakiness of plesiosaur necks

Royal Society Open Science Using computed tomography and three-dimensional modelling, researchers assessed the range of motion of the plesiosaur Nichollssaura borealis neck. They measured intervertebral mobility by manipulating the models in the lateral and dorsoventral directions, with results suggesting that N. borealis may have preferred moving its neck sideways. Three-dimensional modelling is an effective tool […]

Methadone linked to lower death rates among opioid-addicted convicted offenders

PLOS Researchers analyzed data from 1998 to 2015 on 14,530 people with criminal convictions who had been prescribed methadone in British Columbia. They found offenders were five times less likely to die from infectious diseases and nearly three times less likely to die from overdoses during periods when they were dispensed methadone, even after controlling […]

Island living makes for brainy birds

Nature Communications  Using a dataset of brain sizes for 11,554 specimens from 1,931 bird species, researchers found that birds living on mid-ocean islands tend to have larger brains than their mainland relatives. Island environments are less predictable, with limited opportunities for species to disperse when conditions deteriorate. This may force individual birds to explore and rely on […]

SMCC Heads Up – July 31, 2018

Island-bird smarts | Snakey-necked plesiosaurs | Methodone benefits | SMCC Heads Up | Embargoed and recently published research with a Canadian focus, curated by SMCC for science journalists. Read more>  

White clover becomes less toxic in the city

Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences Researchers show that across 20 cities, towns and villages in southern Canada, common white clover repeatedly adapts to city environments by evolving to have less toxic defences. The results show adaptation to cities may be common, and this evolutionary change may have important consequences for maintaining healthy […]

Proteins in ancient tooth plaque reveal long-ago diets

Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences Researchers found a new way to identify ancient diet from proteins preserved in ancient people’s teeth. After extracting proteins from 100 plaque samples from teeth ranging in age from the Iron Age to the Post-Medieval period in Britain, the researchers found the plaque contained proteins from cereals, […]

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