In a Tooth, DNA From Some Very Old Cousins, the Denisovans

A tooth fossil discovered in a Siberian cave has yielded DNA from a vanished branch of the human tree, mysterious cousins called the Denisovans, scientists said on Monday.

Their analysis pushes back the oldest known evidence for Denisovans by 60,000 years, suggesting that the species was able to thrive in harsh climates for thousands of generations. The results also suggest that the Denisovans may have interbred with other ancient hominins, relatives of modern humans that science has yet to discover.

Todd Disotell, a paleoanthropologist at New York University who was not involved in the new study, said the report added to growing evidence that our species kept company with many near relatives over the past million years. The world, Dr. Disotell said, “was a lot like Middle-earth. There you’ve got elves and dwarves and hobbits and orcs.” Read more.

Narwhals: Their Tusks Act Like Sensors, Not Hunting Spears

Although their tusk does not help narwhals hunt, it does perform several vital functions. Martin Nweeia and a team of researchers concluded that the animal’s unicorn-like horn is actually a very unique and sensitive tooth – its only tooth – that is softer on the outside and harder and denser on the inside. Its main functions are sensing temperature, pressure, and hydration status. Researcher confirmed this sensory ability by examining significant changes in heart rate when the tusk was either exposed to high-salt or fresh water. This suggests their tusks act like antennas, searching through the water.


A video recording the exciting moment when a diver looking for Megalodon teeth, finds a massive, 6 ¼", fossil tooth off the coast of the Carolinas.

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We were at MCM Comic Con London yesterday. I wonder what’s going on here? Aha! The children can’t open the toothbox.

But Tooth can! She shows them all the pretty teeth, with little blood and gum on them!

For me this was the most adorable moment of the whole con- amidst all the hubbub of costume parading, gaming and trading in this little spot it was just Tooth and the children and a little bit of magic, and that was, for the moment, all that mattered.

How I wish someone could show this to Jeffrey Katzenburg!