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Archaeology: 120,000 years ago, homo sapiens already made clothes

An international team made up of researchers from the Institute of Human Origins at Arizona State University and the Pan-African Evolution Research Group “Lise Meitner” from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History (MPI- SHH) discovered a 120,000-year-old animal bone tool in Morocco.

The discovery takes place in the Smugglers Cave, near the Atlantic coast of Morocco, reports The National News . “The bone tools in the Smugglers’ Cave demonstrate that around 120,000 years ago, Homo sapiens began to intensify the use of bone to make formal tools and use them for specific tasks, including work. leather and fur, ”said study researcher Dr. Emily Hallett. This versatility seems to be at the root of our species and not a characteristic that emerged after the expansions in Eurasia. « 

She identified a pattern of cut marks on the bones of carnivores. According to her, the occupants of the cave skinned these bones for fur rather than turning them into meat. According to experts, the manufacture of clothes and the tools necessary to create clothes and shoes are milestones in the history of mankind, which makes it possible to discover the advances made by people in cultural and cognitive evolution. They believe that the clothes and tools used to make them were essential in enabling people to expand their niche from Pleistocene Africa to new environments that brought new ecological challenges.

Comparing the tools she identified with others in the archaeological records, Dr Hallett found that they had the same shapes and markings as the leather tools described by other researchers. « The combination of carnivore bones with skin marks and bone tools likely used for fur processing provides very suggestive indirect evidence for the earliest garments in the archaeological records, » she said. But given the level of specialization of this assemblage, these tools are likely part of a larger tradition with earlier examples that have yet to be found. « 

The researchers made another discovery, that of the tip of a whale or dolphin tooth that was compatible with use as a pressure flaker, a device used to shape stone tools. This is the first documented use of a marine mammal tooth by humans and the rest of the only Pleistocene marine mammal in North Africa.

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United States: for the 20th anniversary of September 11, Biden calls for « unity »

The United States honor this Saturday the memory of the victims of the attacks of September 11, 2001, which left 2,977 dead.

Unity is strength. This, in essence, is the message sent to Americans by Joe Biden in a video published this Friday, on the eve of the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of September 11 .

“In the days following September 11, 2001, we saw something far too rare: true national unity (…) This is for me the central lesson of September 11. It is that when we are the most vulnerable (…), unity is our greatest strength, ”declared the American president, filmed at the White House, in a message of a little over six minutes. He also paid tribute to the 2,977 victims and their loved ones , but also to all those who lost their lives « in the minutes, hours, months and years that followed » the attacks while trying to rescue victims or clearing the land. the places .

« Unity doesn’t mean we all have to believe the same thing, but it’s essential that we respect each other, and have faith in each other, » Joe Biden said in his video message to America. deeply divided.

No speaking

The president and his wife Jill Biden are due to visit, this Saturday, the three emblematic places of the attacks of September 11, 2001: in New York, on the Pentagon site and in Pennsylvania, where a plane hijacked by jihadists crashed. twenty years ago.null

But it is not expected that Joe Biden, much criticized for his management of the withdrawal from Afghanistan and who is struggling to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, to speak in public during the ceremonies . He will preside – in silence, therefore – the tribute to the 2,977 dead (including 2,753 in New York alone) from the impressive Manhattan memorial built at the foot of new skyscrapers, on « Ground Zero », where s ‘once stood the twin towers of the World Trade Center.

A musical tribute, several minutes of silence and the reading of all the names of the victims are planned near the two huge black basins which replaced the base of the towers. The commemorations will start at 8.46am in the United States – the time at which the first plane hacked by five of the 19 terrorists had struck the north tower of the World Trade Center

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US: Two new victims identified twenty years after 9/11

The head of the forensic institute in New York said in a statement that his laboratory had identified the 1646 th and 1647 th people who had lost their lives in the World Trade Center.

Two more victims killed in the New York attacks have been officially identified.
Two more victims killed in the New York attacks have been officially identified. BRAD RICKERBY / REUTERS

A few days before the commemoration of the jihadist attacks of 9/11, two more victims killed in the attacks in New York have been officially identified, thanks to new DNA sequencing technology, the city announced on Tuesday. The head of the forensic institute in New York said in a statement that his laboratory had identified the 1646 th and 1647 th people who had lost their lives in the World Trade Center.

A total of 2,753 people died after an al-Qaida commando threw two airliners into Manhattan’s Twin Towers on September 11, 2001. Of these, 1,106 people have yet to be identified, some 40% of those. and those who died in New York.

“Twenty years ago, we promised the families of World Trade Center victims that we would do whatever we could – however long it takes – to identify their loved ones. With these two new identifications, we continue to meet our compelling obligations ,  wrote New York Forensic Institute chief Barbara Sampson.

The first was a woman, Dorothy Morgan, living on Long Island and whose remains found in 2001 were subjected to DNA testing. The second victim was a man whose remains were found in 2001, 2002 and 2006, but whose identity will remain secret at the request of his family.

For Barbara Sampson, the process and techniques put in place over the past two decades to identify every victim at the World Trade Center represent  » the largest and most complex forensic investigation in US history . » It was made possible in particular thanks to a new technology of DNA sequencing, known as new generation, according to the Forensic Institute of New York.

The United States must commemorate Saturday the deadliest attacks in history, around a Joe Biden weakened by the chaotic end of the war in Afghanistan, a conflict triggered precisely by the attacks of September 11. The US president has planned to visit the three sites where a total of nearly 3,000 people perished.

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Since 1982, the former player of the France team, Jean-Pierre Adams, was in a deep coma, following a failed operation.

Jean-Pierre Adams, who passed through Olympic Nîmes (1970-73), OGC Nice (1973-77) and PSG (1977-79), is no more. « Jean-Pierre Adams left this morning at the University Hospital of Nîmes, » announces Jacques Vendroux, who had written a letter to Bernadette Adams, wife of Jean-Pierre Adams, in the midst of the Vincent Lambert affair two years ago.

Victim of a medical error during anesthesia, Jean-Pierre Adams fell into a deep coma 39 years ago, in 1982, after a benign knee operation. Prisoner of his vegetative state for all these years, the former French international (22 selections), born in Dakar, Senegal, left us for good this Monday, September 6 at the age of 73.

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Covid-19: a new variant called « Mu » monitored by the WHO

PANDEMIC – The health institution is keeping an eye on this new strain of Covid-19 which presents mutations that could indicate a risk of « immune escape ».

With each new variant, the same worry. The World Health Organization (WHO) is monitoring a new strain of the coronavirus, dubbed « Mu », which was first detected in Colombia in January. This is what the institution indicated on the night of Tuesday to Wednesday. Its code name: B.1.621. For now, this variant has been classified as « variant to follow, » said the WHO in its weekly epidemiological bulletin on the evolution of the pandemic. But what do we know about this new mutation? 

The WHO specifies that the variant has mutations that could indicate a risk of  » immune escape » – in other words resistance to vaccines. However, the Geneva-based institution stresses that further studies are needed to better understand its characteristics. All viruses, including the SARS-CoV-2 responsible for Covid-19, mutate over time. Note that most mutations have little or no effect on the properties of the virus.

However, certain mutations can affect the properties of the virus and influence, for example, how easily it spreads, the severity of the disease it causes, or the effectiveness of vaccines, drugs, diagnostic tools or other social and public health measures.

The « Mu » variant detected in Latin America and Europe

The « Mu » variant was first recorded in Colombia in January. It has since been reported in other South American countries and in Europe. « Although the global prevalence of the Mu variant among sequenced cases has declined and is currently less than 0.1%, its prevalence in Colombia (39%) and Ecuador (13%) has steadily increased, » the WHO explained. .

The appearance, at the end of 2020, of variants that presented an increased risk to global public health led the WHO to characterize variants to be monitored and variants of concern, in order to prioritize surveillance and research activities at the global level. 

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Major General Chris Donahue, the last American soldier to leave Afghan soil

Major General Chris Donahue, the last American soldier to leave Afghan soil, at Hamid-Karzai International Airport in Kabul on August 30, 2021.
Major General Chris Donahue, the last American soldier to leave Afghan soil, at Hamid-Karzai International Airport in Kabul, August 30, 2021. US ARMY / REUTERS

After twenty years of military presence and five months of wandering the Biden administration, the last American soldiers have left Kabul

Promised by the new president upon his arrival at the White House, the withdrawal of the United States from Afghanistan was concluded on Monday, August 30, in an atmosphere of debacle and excitement.

The photo is blurry, taken at night, with greenish tones. It distinguishes Major General Chris Donahue, commander of the 82 th  Airborne Division, setting foot aboard a cargo plane C-17 end of the runway at the international airport Hamid-Karzai in Kabul. Chris Donahue makes history. He is the last American soldier to leave Afghan soil.

There are no more US military forces in Afghanistan. The announcement was made late in the afternoon in Washington, Monday, August 30, by General Kenneth McKenzie , head of the central command. Either twenty-four hours before the planned deadline with the Taliban.

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The northernmost island on the planet has just been discovered by chance

On the site of the University of Copenhagen, a research team announced at the end of August 2021 the discovery of a new island. But the latter is not classic: at present, it is the most northerly island on the planet.

The discovery was made by chance. It is the result of an expedition carried out in July 2021 by a team of scientists affiliated with this university. Originally, their objective was to collect samples from the farthest point – the most northerly precisely – from Greenland. It’s successful, but not quite as expected.

Scientists headed for Oodaaq, the most distant territory recorded so far in the North. Except that it was not Oodaaq, but an island located 780 meters even further north. The identification could have taken place in part thanks to participatory science. Expedition leader Morten Rasch posted pictures of the place on his social media, until island hunters noticed that it seemed highly unlikely that it was Oodaaq.The northernmost island ever discovered is 30 meters by 60 meters. // Source: Morten Rasch

Morten Rasch and his team then decided to contact an expert in the matter. They were able to see, thanks to the latter, that the field GPS was wrong in reporting this location as Oodaaq. They then checked with the helicopter’s GPS. This is how they were finally able to identify the territory they were standing on as a new island to add to the repertoire, and the most northerly ever discovered.null

For how long ?

This island, which does not yet have a name, is very small: it stretches 30 by 60 meters, with a thickness of 3 to 4 meters compared to the level of the pack ice. It has just extended Greenland and Danish territory by one iota.

The island was formed by the aggregation of mounds of gravel and silt (a rocky material forming certain soils, consisting of grains intermediate between sand and clay and sometimes mixed with these two other materials).  »  It may be the result of a great storm which, with the help of the sea, gradually gathered material from the seabed,   » suggest its discoverers.

It remains to be seen whether scientists will have the time to name this remote island. What a mighty storm has done, it can undo just as quickly before long.

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United States: Igor Vovkovinskiy, tallest man in the country, died at 38

Igor Vovkovinskiy was 2 meters 35 because a tumor triggered in him an excessive secretion of growth hormones

His height of 2.35 meters was actually the visible part of his poor health. The tallest man in the United States died of heart disease at the age of 38 in Minnesota on Friday, his mother announced on Facebook.

American of Ukrainian origin, Igor Vovkovinskiy lived a life marked by illness, a tumor triggering in him an excessive secretion of growth hormones. It is for this reason that his family had settled, in his childhood, in Rochester, a northern city of the United States known for its pole of health.

A record at 2.72 m

According to the Guinness Book, the tallest man in the world is currently the Turkish Sultan Kösen (2.51 meters). But the tallest man in modern history is an American, Robert Wadlow, who reached the height of 2.72 m. Also suffering from an abnormally high production of growth hormones, he died in 1940, aged only 22.WORLD

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How do mosquitoes choose the skin they bite?

As soon as a mosquito roams the room, you already know that the bite will be for you. Even if you are surrounded by the whole family. But then, is it true that there are « mosquito skins »? Let’s disentangle the true from the false.

At night you hear the incessant buzz of a mosquito and when you wake up, a beautiful bite adorns your cheek. Your partner slept very well. While out for a walk with friends you spend your time feeling small attacks on your legs, your arms, your back. Like vampires thirsty for fresh blood, mosquitoes would therefore have a particular attraction for certain skin types … including yours! In fact, you will see that the reality is a little more complex than that.

Mosquitoes do not smell sugar in the blood, but are sensitive to odors

We often hear that mosquitoes are particularly attracted to sweet blood. An assertion that has absolutely no scientific basis, insects do not have the ability to hate high blood sugar levels. On the other hand, they are sensitive to odors. And we’re not talking about perfume or vanilla shampoo here, but body odors.

So perspiration is particularly attractive to mosquitoes and on this point, we are not all equal. Some will have a very smelly sweat, others not at all.

In 2017, neuroscientist Helen Shen explained in the journal PNAS that « humans send hundreds of scent molecules into the air ». Molecules to which insects are sensitive and which are therefore useful for them to target us.  » These are the smells that attract the mosquito, its sense of smell being very powerful. Indeed, it can detect nearly 150 different issues from the human body », explained Gregory L’Ambert, head of the Methods and Research unit at the Entente. interdepartmental for mosquito control of the Mediterranean coast, in Sciences et Avenir in 2014.

Mosquitoes, sensitive to carbon dioxide

But smells aren’t the only things that attract mosquitoes to one skin more than another. Insects are indeed very sensitive to the level of CO2 that we breathe out. They would even be able to detect these CO2 emissions up to 30 meters away. And several elements influence the quantity of carbon dioxide present in the exhaled air: alcohol consumption, overweight, body temperature.

One category of the population is even particularly targeted by mosquitoes for this reason: pregnant women. According to a study published in the British Medical Journal in 2000, pregnant women emit 21% more CO2 than an average person.

The group O blood-hungry tiger mosquito

The tiger mosquito , Aedes Albopictus, which can transmit dengue or chikungunya in particular, would be sensitive to the blood group. A Japanese study carried out in 2004 showed that the tiger mosquito was more attracted to individuals of blood group O. People of this blood group have an 85% increased risk of attracting mosquitoes, compared to only 45% of risk for others. blood groups.


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Afghanistan: the story behind the photo of the American plane and its 640 passengers

The image of the interior of the American C-17 filled with passengers sitting on the ground has traveled the world. The snapshot was taken Sunday, August 15 in Kabul, which had just fallen into the hands of the Taliban.

Some 640 people boarded an American C-17.
Some 640 people boarded an American C-17. US AIR FORCE / REUTERS

If there was just one picture to be taken of the chaotic evacuation of Kabul, it would be this. In the metal carcass of an American plane, a compact crowd crowds to escape the Taliban entering the city. Shoulder to shoulder, we can make out men, women and children, sitting on the floor. The snapshot was taken on Sunday evening, August 15, as the Afghan capital fell into the hands of the Taliban.

According to the specialized site Defense One , this C-17 Globemaster III of the US Air Force embarked some 640 Afghans in the direction of Qatar. According to this specialized site; “ This is one of the largest numbers of people ever on board the C-17 ”. The C-17 is a military transport aircraft developed by the manufacturer Boeing and operated by the United States and its allies.

« The crew made the decision to leave »

A US defense official at Defense One

Designed to carry up to 134 soldiers, the plane – whose call sign was Reach 871 – was not supposed to carry so many people, but when boarding, hundreds of Afghans cleared to evacuate gathered in precipitated in the apparatus. Rather than releasing some of the passengers,  » the crew made the decision to leave,  » a US defense official told Defense One.  » About 640 Afghan civilians disembarked from the plane when it arrived at its destination,  » he added, and not 800, as the first estimates of the pilots indicated on Sunday evening, which can be heard in this audio .

« The unusually high number of passengers on board this aircraft […] was the result of a dynamic security environment that required swift decisions from the crew, » said Karen Roxberry, spokesperson for US Central , in a statement. Command, the US command center managing operations in the region. « Ultimately, this allowed these passengers to be safely evacuated from the country. »

A precedent in 2013 in the Philippines

This procedure is however provided and known under the name of “ Floor loading ”, or “ loading on the ground ”, according to the user manual of the device. It consists of removing the seats to seat the passengers on the ground, which are held in place by means of loading straps which run from one wall of the aircraft to the other. According to the official quoted by Defense One, this operation was already carried out in 2013, in the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan . A C-17 then carried 670 passengers.

To date, the US military has evacuated more than 3,200 people from Afghanistan, including US personnel, according to a White House official. In addition to these 3,200 people, nearly 2,000 Afghan refugees were evacuated to the United States. The United States plans to evacuate more than 30,000 people via an airlift between Kabul and its bases in Kuwait and Qatar.