Reading teeth

first_imgScientists are painting the clearest picture yet of what life may have been like for Neanderthals living in Southern France some 250,000 years ago, and to do it, they’re using an unlikely day-to-day record of what their environment was like — their teeth.A team of researchers showed that examining the teeth of Neanderthal infants could yield insight into nursing and weaning behavior as well as winter and summer cycles. The study even found evidence that the Neanderthals had been exposed to lead — the earliest such exposure ever recorded in any human ancestor.The study from researchers Daniel Green, a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard-affiliated Forsyth Institute; Tanya Smith, a former Harvard professor now at Griffith University in Australia; and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai researchers Christine Austin and Manish Arora, who is also a former postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, was recently published in Science Advances.“Humans are very different from other apes,” said Green, one of the first authors of the study. “We are curious to understand what made us different in evolutionary history, and a lot of people have looked to the climate to understand those differences.“Obviously, we are changing the climate today, but in the past the climate was shaping us, and a number of theories suggest that changes in the seasonal availability of water drove us to take one part of our behavioral repertoire — stone-tool-making — and use that much more frequently,” he continued. “But that idea is hard to test … because we don’t know what rainfall was like 2, 3, or 4 million years ago. It turns out teeth are a really good way of addressing this problem because they grow in rings, like a tree, but those rings are formed every day.”And much like tree rings, he said, changes in the environment — such as winters and summers — are recorded in the chemical composition of teeth, giving modern scientists a window into the seasonal patterns with which Neanderthals contended. “We can see that one of the Neanderthals was born in the spring and weaned from mother’s milk in the fall, and we can see they were exposed to lead a number of discrete times in the winter. That was a striking result … we don’t actually know where that lead comes from.” — Daniel Green The study builds partly on research Green conducted several years ago as part of his Ph.D., in which he raised a flock of 10 sheep at Harvard’s Concord Field Station.“What we did was collect 700 gallons of glacial melt water from Montana, so we could give it to the sheep and contrast it with Boston water as a way to create these artificial, experimental seasons,” Green said. “Everything was carefully controlled — we were measuring their body chemistry in real time, their environmental chemistry in real time, and we built a computational and statistical model to predict, based on measurements we can make in the teeth, what the seasons were like when they were living.”The technique proved to be so effective, Green said, that not only could he identify the seasonal differences between the two water supplies, he was even able to spot short-lived environmental changes like snowstorms.“Everything was working, but we were seeing one small blip,” he said. “When we went back to the animals’ lives … it turned out that there had been two big snow storms that were not a planned part of the experiment. The sheep had eaten snow from the ground, and that was reflected in their tooth chemistry. So the system worked so well that it actually ended up re-creating storm events, and teaching us about our own experiment.”Informed by these findings, and adding barium and lead measurements to the oxygen isotope analyses in teeth, Smith and her international team of archaeologists, biological anthropologists, Earth scientists, and public health specialists were able to identify a similar seasonal pattern in Neanderthal teeth.“We can see that one of the Neanderthals was born in the spring and weaned from mother’s milk in the fall, and we can see they were exposed to lead a number of discrete times in the winter,” Green said. “That was a striking result, and there is still a lot of mystery about it. We don’t actually know where that lead comes from … but we do know that later, during the Roman period and onward, there were lead mines in the area, so it’s possible that lead in the ground had contaminated some water or food sources.”What is known, Green said, is that teeth may be an important new resource for understanding the lives of our extinct relatives.“The oxygen analysis used in this study is a new type that has been used only a few times previously,” Green said. “So to validate that work, and show we can pick out these seasonal cycles from Neanderthal teeth, we looked at some of the analyses I had done for my Ph.D., used them to validate the technique, and we then applied it to Neanderthals.”Going forward, Green hopes to trace the source of lead exposure found in the Neanderthal teeth, but also believes the finding may set other scientists on the path to searching for similar exposures in other early populations. The ability to track these exposures in teeth opens the door to using the technique in contemporary populations as well, he said.“If people are saying they have been exposed to lead or that their water isn’t clean, we could go to that community and look at the teeth children are losing naturally,” Green said. “We could use this type of analysis to understand who has been exposed, by how much, and what kind of interventions are needed to deal with those issues.”Green also said he hopes to see researchers apply the technique to other early human ancestors, particularly those in Africa, in an effort to understand the environmental challenges they faced as they evolved.“I didn’t expect that the very detailed and technical geochemical work I did would apply to such a salient question about the lives of Neanderthals and in Europe, so this has been very rewarding for me,” he said. “It’s very exciting to have these cousins who are so closely related to us, and who contributed to our DNA, and to see these very precise moments in their lives and place them in some sort of environmental and seasonal context.”This research was supported with funding from Griffith University, the Australian National University, and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.last_img read more


5 easy ways to show your staff they’re appreciated

first_img 50SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Wendy Moody Wendy Moody is a Senior Editor with CUInsight.com. Wendy works with the editorial team to help edit the content including current news, press releases, jobs and events. She keeps … Web: www.cuinsight.com Details When you’re a leader and you’re caught up in your daily routine, it can be difficult to remember to express your gratitude to your staff. You may think to yourself how appreciative you are of them, but unless you actually show them, they may not know you are thankful. Here are five easy ideas for making sure your team knows you’re appreciative of their many efforts.Give them time offThis may seem like an obvious idea, but many companies don’t actually provide their employees with enough paid time off. You don’t have to go overboard, but allowing your staff periodic days off to regroup and relax will speak volumes. Aside from giving monetary bonuses (which is often not in the company’s budget) this is usually the next best thing. Approach an employee that has been working especially hard or has recently achieved a goal and have them pick a day they’d like to have off. They will see you’ve noticed their job performance and will be grateful that they’re being recognized.Surprise them with small rewardsWho doesn’t love a tasty treat? Small actions like bringing donuts in the morning, taking employees to lunch, or even just keeping a stocked break room will demonstrate that you are thinking of them. Good food makes people happy and it can also be a catalyst for employee camaraderie as the team enjoys a treat together.Ask for feedbackThere’s something important to be said for asking your staff for their input, not only on your performance but on the efficiency of the office as a whole. When you approach them for feedback, they will know you value their opinions and feelings. Giving them a sounding board will show them that you trust them and hold them in high regard.Plan fun team activitiesThere are so many benefits to team building exercises, whether your office is large or small. It’s promotes collaboration, allows employees to have fun together, and encourages open communication. Plan fun activities that your staff can do together outside the office. Volunteer for a local charity, attempt an escape room, take a city Segway tour, or go to a local sporting event.Be specific with praiseIt is extremely important to congratulate your team on their successes, but it is even better to point out specific achievements of certain employees. This can be done during a team meeting or communicated directly to the employee. Even if they are proud of themselves for accomplishing a goal, receiving high praise from their superior is truly invaluable.last_img read more


Ainsley Maitland-Niles sends warning to Hector Bellerin ahead of next season

first_img Metro Sport ReporterMonday 18 Mar 2019 12:53 pmShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link29Shares Advertisement Advertisement Bellerin played 19 games this season before getting injured (Picture: Getty)More: Arsenal FCArsenal flop Denis Suarez delivers verdict on Thomas Partey and Lucas Torreira movesThomas Partey debut? Ian Wright picks his Arsenal starting XI vs Manchester CityArsene Wenger explains why Mikel Arteta is ‘lucky’ to be managing Arsenal‘When Hector comes back maybe it’ll be a good challenge for me and him.‘It all depends on how he comes back. Hector is a fantastic player and I wouldn’t want to force anybody out of the team, it’s more about healthy competition with him.’Arsenal’s next fixture is against Newcastle on April 1 before a clash against Everton on April 7.MORE: Arsenal target on-loan Monaco star Gelson Martins in summer transfer moveWill Arsenal finish in the top four this season?Yes0%No0%Share your resultsShare your resultsTweet your results Comment Maitland-Niles scored in Arsenal’s recent game against Rennes (Picture: Getty)Ainsley Maitland-Niles insists he’s ready to challenge Hector Bellerin to a starting berth in Arsenal’s team next season when the Spaniard returns from injury.Bellerin was ruled out for the rest of the season in January after he suffered a serious knee injury against Chelsea.With the 23-year-old being forced to the sidelines, Maitland-Niles has come in to fill in at right-back and has put in a string of impressive performances.More: FootballRio Ferdinand urges Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop Manchester United starChelsea defender Fikayo Tomori reveals why he made U-turn over transfer deadline day moveMikel Arteta rates Thomas Partey’s chances of making his Arsenal debut vs Man CityHe now remains in the running to take Bellerin’s usual position in the team on a full-time basis once he’s back from injury.ADVERTISEMENTHowever, the Englishman insists he has work to do remain in the team but he’s stated he’s all for the competition for places.AdvertisementAdvertisement‘I’m still adapting to [the position] but the manager and coaching staff are helping me a lot at the moment,’ Maitland-Niles told football.london.‘My best qualities are going forward, creating. I’ve spoken to the manager and he seems to think the same as me. Ainsley Maitland-Niles sends warning to Hector Bellerin ahead of next seasonlast_img read more