Science News Roundup: China begins construction of its fifth rocket launch site; Scientists call for new probe into COVID-19 origins and more

Devdiscourse News Desk | Updated: 09-04-2021 10:45 IST | Created: 09-04-2021 10:30 IST
Science News Roundup: China begins construction of its fifth rocket launch site; Scientists call for new probe into COVID-19 origins and more
Representative image Image Credit: Flickr

Following is a summary of current science news briefs.

Scientists call for new probe into COVID-19 origins - with or without China

A joint China-World Health Organization (WHO) study into COVID-19 has provided no credible answers about how the pandemic began, and more rigorous investigations are required - with or without Beijing's involvement, a group of international scientists and researchers said on Wednesday. The joint study, released last week, said the likeliest transmission route for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, involved bats and other wildlife. It all but ruled out the possibility it had leaked from a laboratory.

Vaccinating adults appears to protect children around them; bar opening event linked to 46 COVID-19 cases

The following is a roundup of some of the latest scientific studies on the novel coronavirus and efforts to find treatments and vaccines for COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus. Vaccinating adults appears to protect children as well

Beast of five teeth: Chilean scientists unearth skunk that walked among dinosaurs

A fossil of a skunk-like mammal that lived during the age of dinosaurs has been discovered in Chilean Patagonia, adding further proof to recent evidence that mammals roamed that part of South America a lot earlier than previously thought. A part of the creature's fossilized jawbone with five teeth attached were discovered close to the famous Torres del Paine national park.

Shrinking sea meadows store more carbon than forests. Scientists are racing to track what's left

Hundreds of miles from the nearest shore, ribbon-like fronds flutter in the ocean currents sweeping across an underwater mountain plateau the size of Switzerland. A remote-powered camera glides through the sunlit, turquoise waters of this corner of the western Indian Ocean, capturing rare footage of what scientists believe is the world's largest seagrass meadow.

China begins construction of its fifth rocket launch site

A port city in eastern China has launched an ambitious plan to build the country's fifth rocket launch site, under a longer-term goal to ramp up space infrastructure to meet the demands of an expected boom in commercial missions. An engineering company in eastern Zhejiang province won a tender on April 1 to construct the launch pad in Ningbo city, as well as a section of the command centre and an assembly and testing facility, according to a document posted on the website of the Ningbo Free Trade Zone.

Bulgarian cave remains reveal surprises about earliest Homo sapiens in Europe

DNA extracted from remains found in a Bulgarian cave of three people who lived roughly 45,000 years ago is revealing surprises about some of the first Homo sapiens populations to venture into Europe, including extensive interbreeding with Neanderthals and genetic links to present-day East Asians. Scientists said on Wednesday they sequenced the genomes of these three individuals - all males - using DNA obtained from a molar and bone fragments discovered in Bacho Kiro Cave near the town of Dryanovo, as well as one female who lived roughly 35,000 years ago at the same site.

(With inputs from agencies.)


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