SciCombinator

Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

366

Operation Reinhard (1942-1943) was the largest single murder campaign of the Holocaust, during which some 1.7 million Jews from German-occupied Poland were murdered by the Nazis. Most perished in gas chambers at the death camps Belzec, Sobibor, and Treblinka. However, the tempo, kill rates, and spatial dynamics of these events were poorly documented. Using an unusual dataset originating from railway transportation records, this study identifies an extreme phase of hyperintense killing when >1.47 million Jews-more than 25% of the Jews killed in all 6 years of World War II-were murdered by the Nazis in an intense,100-day (~3-month) surge. Operation Reinhard is shown to be an extreme event, based on kill rate, number, and proportion (>99.9%) of the population murdered in camps, highlighting its singularly violent character, even compared to other more recent genocides. The Holocaust kill rate is some 10 times higher than estimates suggested by authorities on comparative genocide.

360

To compare prevalent and incident morbidity and mortality between those with the HFE p.C282Y genetic variant (responsible for most hereditary haemochromatosis type 1) and those with no p.C282Y mutations, in a large UK community sample of European descent.

346

To study circadian rhythm aspects, national holidays, and major sports events as triggers of myocardial infarction.

345

Carnivorans are a highly diverse and successful group of mammals, found on the top of the food chain. They originated in the Palaeocene (ca. 60 Ma) and have developed numerous lifestyles, locomotion modes and hunting strategies during their evolutionary history. Mechanosensory organs, such as the inner ear (which houses senses of equilibrium and hearing), represent informative anatomical systems to obtain insights into function, ecology and phylogeny of extant and extinct vertebrates. Using µCT scans, we examined bony labyrinths of a broad sample of various carnivoran species, to obtain new information about hunting behaviours of ancient carnivorans. Bony labyrinths were digitally reconstructed and measurements were taken directly from these 3D models. Principal component analyses generally separated various hunting strategies (pursuit, pounce, ambush and occasional), but also support their phylogenetic relationships (Canoidea vs. Feloidea). The height, width and length of all three semicircular canals show functional morphological adaptations, whereas the diameter of the canals, the height of the cochlea and particularly the angle between the lateral semicircular canal and the cochlea indicate a phylogenetic signal. The results demonstrate that the bony labyrinth provides a powerful ecological proxy reflecting both predatory habits as well as phylogenetic relationships in extinct and extant carnivorans.

331

Complex social structure is a prominent feature in several mammal species. Such structure may lead to behavioural diversity not only among populations, but also within a single population, where different subsets of a population may exhibit different types of behaviour. As a consequence, understanding social structure is not only interesting biologically, but may also help conservation and management efforts, because not all segments of a population necessarily respond to or interact with human activities in the same way, or at the same time. In this study, we examined the social structure of common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in the Gulf of Trieste and adjacent waters (northern Adriatic Sea), based on a 9-year dataset, using social network metrics and association indices. We assessed whether different segments of the population show differences in behaviour and interactions with fisheries. Dolphin social network was structured into distinct social clusters of mixed sexes. We found no evidence of male alliances. The two largest social clusters overlapped spatially, but not temporally, as they used the same area at different times of day. Such diel temporal partitioning does not appear to have been documented in cetaceans previously. The two clusters also differed in ways they interact with fisheries, as one regularly interacted with trawlers, while the other did not. This study demonstrates how different segments of animal populations can interact differently with human activities and in turn respond differently to anthropogenic impacts.

331

To test the effectiveness of a brief behavioural intervention to prevent weight gain over the Christmas holiday period.

319

The drug epidemic in the United States continues to evolve. The drug overdose death rate has rapidly increased among women (1,2), although within this demographic group, the increase in overdose death risk is not uniform. From 1999 to 2010, the largest percentage changes in the rates of overall drug overdose deaths were among women in the age groups 45-54 years and 55-64 years (1); however, this finding does not take into account trends in specific drugs or consider changes in age group distributions in drug-specific overdose death rates. To target prevention strategies to address the epidemic among women in these age groups, CDC examined overdose death rates among women aged 30-64 years during 1999-2017, overall and by drug subcategories (antidepressants, benzodiazepines, cocaine, heroin, prescription opioids, and synthetic opioids, excluding methadone). Age distribution changes in drug-specific overdose death rates were calculated. Among women aged 30-64 years, the unadjusted drug overdose death rate increased 260%, from 6.7 deaths per 100,000 population (4,314 total drug overdose deaths) in 1999 to 24.3 (18,110) in 2017. The number and rate of deaths involving antidepressants, benzodiazepines, cocaine, heroin, and synthetic opioids each increased during this period. Prescription opioid-related deaths increased between 1999 and 2017 among women aged 30-64 years, with the largest increases among those aged 55-64 years. Interventions to address the rise in drug overdose deaths include implementing the CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain (3), reviewing records of controlled substance prescribing (e.g., prescription drug monitoring programs, health insurance programs), and developing capacity of drug use disorder treatments and linkage to care, especially for middle-aged women with drug use disorders.

300

Committed warming describes how much future warming can be expected from historical emissions due to inertia in the climate system. It is usually defined in terms of the level of warming above the present for an abrupt halt of emissions. Owing to socioeconomic constraints, this situation is unlikely, so we focus on the committed warming from present-day fossil fuel assets. Here we show that if carbon-intensive infrastructure is phased out at the end of its design lifetime from the end of 2018, there is a 64% chance that peak global mean temperature rise remains below 1.5 °C. Delaying mitigation until 2030 considerably reduces the likelihood that 1.5 °C would be attainable even if the rate of fossil fuel retirement was accelerated. Although the challenges laid out by the Paris Agreement are daunting, we indicate 1.5 °C remains possible and is attainable with ambitious and immediate emission reduction across all sectors.

296

One of the features that distinguishes modern humans from our extinct relatives and ancestors is a globular shape of the braincase [1-4]. As the endocranium closely mirrors the outer shape of the brain, these differences might reflect altered neural architecture [4, 5]. However, in the absence of fossil brain tissue, the underlying neuroanatomical changes as well as their genetic bases remain elusive. To better understand the biological foundations of modern human endocranial shape, we turn to our closest extinct relatives: the Neandertals. Interbreeding between modern humans and Neandertals has resulted in introgressed fragments of Neandertal DNA in the genomes of present-day non-Africans [6, 7]. Based on shape analyses of fossil skull endocasts, we derive a measure of endocranial globularity from structural MRI scans of thousands of modern humans and study the effects of introgressed fragments of Neandertal DNA on this phenotype. We find that Neandertal alleles on chromosomes 1 and 18 are associated with reduced endocranial globularity. These alleles influence expression of two nearby genes, UBR4 and PHLPP1, which are involved in neurogenesis and myelination, respectively. Our findings show how integration of fossil skull data with archaic genomics and neuroimaging can suggest developmental mechanisms that may contribute to the unique modern human endocranial shape.

278

Inspired by the social and economic benefits of diversity, we analyze over 9 million papers and 6 million scientists to study the relationship between research impact and five classes of diversity: ethnicity, discipline, gender, affiliation, and academic age. Using randomized baseline models, we establish the presence of homophily in ethnicity, gender and affiliation. We then study the effect of diversity on scientific impact, as reflected in citations. Remarkably, of the classes considered, ethnic diversity had the strongest correlation with scientific impact. To further isolate the effects of ethnic diversity, we used randomized baseline models and again found a clear link between diversity and impact. To further support these findings, we use coarsened exact matching to compare the scientific impact of ethnically diverse papers and scientists with closely-matched control groups. Here, we find that ethnic diversity resulted in an impact gain of 10.63% for papers, and 47.67% for scientists.