اكتشافات وانجازات علمية في العام ٢٠١٨ infographic
Graphic shows key scientific achievements in 2018.
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اكتشافات وانجازات علمية في العام ٢٠١٨

December 31, 2018 - This year saw astronomers discover the brightest object in our universe, while the oceans revealed the first warm-blooded fish. Steroid molecules in an ancient fossil showed that the earliest animal in the geological record lived on Earth 558 million years ago.

Astronomers using the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) system of 10 radio telescopes in New Mexico discover the brightest object in our universe. The quasar, named P352-15, is 13 billion light-years away from Earth and started when the cosmos was less than a billion years old – just seven per cent of its age today.

“This quasar’s brightness and its great distance make it a unique tool to study the conditions and processes that prevailed in the first galaxies in the Universe,” Chris Carilli of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory said.

Distant quasar providing clues to early-universe conditions (EurekAlert)

Fisheries biologist Nick Wegner from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration discovers that the common opah (Lampris guttatus) is warm-blooded, enabling it to be a vigorous predator in frigid ocean depths.

Scientists discovered a warm-blooded fish (Science)

Scientists from the Australian National University, Russia and Germany identify steroid molecules in an ancient fossil, revealing the earliest animal in the geological record lived on Earth 558 million years ago.

Dickinsonia was a flat, oval-shaped creature that ranged in size from some two centimetres to 1.4 metres wide, and is characterised by a series of raised bands -- known as modules -- on its surface. These animals are of interest to palaeontologists because they are the first to become large and complex, to move around, and form communities. The study suggests that animals evolved millions of years before the so-called Cambrian Explosion of animal life.

Ancient steroids establish the Ediacaran fossil Dickinsonia as one of the earliest animals (Science)

Researchers at Radboud University Medical Centre in the Netherlands develop a wearable biosensor which measures beat-to-beat variation in heart rate to detect hypoglycemia -- low blood sugar -- in type 1 diabetes.

Endocrinology fellow Olde Bekkink and her colleagues tested the feasibility of detecting hypoglycemia using a commercially available biosensor called the HealthPatch from California-based VitalConnect. Wireless technology transmitted heart rate data to a mobile device. The researchers detected more than 70 percent of low blood sugar events, using an algorithm they developed themselves. The team will now refine the algorithm to increase its accuracy and precision.

Wearable heart rate monitor could signal low blood sugar in type 1 diabetes (EurekAlert)

Paleogeneticists of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, discover that a woman who died 90,000 years ago was parented by two different species of human.

According to genome analysis of a bone fragment found in Denisova Cave in the Altai Mountains of Russia, the woman was half Neanderthal, half Denisovan.

Scientists already knew that Denisovans and Neanderthals must have bred with each other -- and with Homo sapiens -- but no one had previously found the first-generation offspring from such pairings.

Mum’s a Neanderthal, Dad’s a Denisovan: First discovery of an ancient-human hybrid (Nature)

Researchers from Arizona State University and China’s National Centre for Nanoscience and Technology inject tiny, nanometre-sized robots made from folded sheets of DNA into the bloodstream of mice with human breast cancer tumours.

Within 48 hours, the bots had successfully grabbed onto vascular cells at the tumour sites, causing blood clots in the tumour’s vessels and cutting off their blood supply, leading to tumour’s death.

Curing cancer: New DNA nanorobots can kill cancer tumors (CIO Bulletin)

PUBLISHED:13/12/2018; STORY: Graphic News; ADDITIONAL ARTWORK: Dr Mike Baxter, University of California/Riverside, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, NOAA Fisheries/Southwest Fisheries Science Center, VitalConnect
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