Seven days; lots of science in the news. Here’s our roundup of this week’s most notable and quotable items:
Chimpanzees seem to have a natural inclination for murder. The tiny, dense galaxy M60-UCD1 was found to have a humongous black hole that accounts for 15 percent of its mass. T. Rex died for your fall leafpeeping excursion: Scientists now believe the meteorite that wiped out the dinosaurs also remade Earth’s landscape, favoring deciduous flowering plants over the once-dominant evergreens. An ancient Egyptian woman was buried 3,300 years ago wearing a complex hairstyle involving 70 separate hair extensions.
In mice, artificial sweeteners seem to encourage glucose intolerance, which leads to higher-than-normal blood sugar levels and is a known precursor to diabetes. Scientists discovered the modernEuropean gene pool is a mixture of three distinct types of ancestors that combined within the last 7,000 years: blue-eyed, darker-skinned hunters and fairer, brown-eyed farmers from the Near East, plus a third population from Siberia. A new analysis of King Richard III’s skeleton (discovered underneath a parking lot in 2012) shows he died after suffering 11 stab wounds, nine of them to his head. Syphilis cases are spiking in Australia.
Genetically engineered tobacco plants contain enzymes from blue-green algae that allow them to perform photosynthesis faster than normal plants. Earth’s population could hit 12 billion by 2100. The Rosetta spacecraft team has selected a site that the Philae lander will touch down on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, corresponding roughly to the “head” of the comet’s rubber ducky shape. Scientists dissected an 11-foot-long, 770-pound colossal squid before a live webcam audience. People are much better at running on the moon than previously assumed.