England Current Affairs - 2020

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Fossil links human hands to fins for the first time in Human Evolution

The Paleontologists of Canada have linked human hands to the fins of fish. The researchers examined a fossil of “Elpistostege”.

About the findings

The Elpistostege represents the pivotal stage of transition of fish into land vertebrates. The transition was supported by the front fins of the fish called the pectoral fins. These fins had radial bones that were arranged in a row like that of fingers. These bones should have given the flexibility to bear weight on land.

Elpistostege

The Elpistostege was completely aquatic. It had a crocodile-like body, flat triangular head, numerous teeth around jaws. The paleontologists believe that during its era, Elpistostege was the top predator in brackish estuary ecosystem. The Elpistostege lived during Devonian period. The four-limbed animals that evolved from these Elpistostege were called tetrapods.

Devonian Period

The Devonian Period spans for 60 million years and is around 419 million years ago. It is named after the place Devon, England where the rocks of the era were first found.

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Scientists Discover Oil-Eating Bacteria at the Bottom of the Ocean

Scientists from Ocean University in Qingdao, China and the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England have discovered a bacteria that eats oil.

Oil-Eating Bacteria

  • The oil eating bacteria was discovered in the western Pacific Ocean’s 10,994-meter-deep Mariana Trench.
  • The team from collected samples from the trench. In the samples, they found microorganisms that eat compounds similar to those in oil.

The expedition was organised by marine explorer and film director James Cameron.

Significance of the Discovery

Hydrocarbons are organic compounds that are made of only hydrogen and carbon atoms. They are found in many places, including crude oil and natural gas. These types of microorganisms which essentially eat compounds similar to those in oil and then use it for fuel can play a significant role in degrading oil spills in natural disasters such as BP’s 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

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