Biology

Holding his half-full gourd of “chicha,” Walter Lewis smiles, wishing he didn’t have to drink another drop. It tastes so sour, like a combination of yogurt, warm beer and mashed potatoes. But the headman — the apu of the Achuar Jivura village in the Peruvian Amazon jungle — is looking him right in the eye. To refuse this friendship ceremony drink would be an insult to his hosts. Lewis...

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featured question

Q: With regard to genetics and anthropology I'm having a hard time understanding the difference between MRCA (Most Recent Common Ancestor), the IAP (Identical Ancestors Point), Mitochondrial Eve, and Y-Chromosomal Adam. I've checked Wikipedia and it still leaves me confused. Could you please explain the above clearly?

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In the news

Unlocking the secrets of amber’s toughness

July 12, 2014

Amber is fossilized tree sap, an organic polymer that lasts millions of years, far longer than any plastic. A new analysis technique delveloped by scientists at the Canadian Conservation Institute in Ottawa explains how amber achieves its strength and durability, and could help humans mimic it in their own materials.  Scientists have been able to isolate the building blocks – including communol, ozol and succinic acid. Now we are beginning to understand how exactly how they fit together. More at the Science Media Centre of Canada.

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