The best from the science journals: We’ll be counting stars

Stargazers at work capturing a starry sky in the interiors of Araku Valley near Visakhapatnam

An international team of researchers has now shown that sophisticated tool making (Levallois technology) emerged in East Asia earlier than previously thought. They studied artifacts from the Guanyindong Cave site in southwest China and concluded that carved stone tools dated to approximately 170,000–80,000 years ago.

In two minds, literally

Published in PNAS

Have you noticed how you start tapping your feet even before the music starts? This is called anticipatory behaviour and now scientists have decoded how our brains do it. It uses two clocks – one that uses past memories and another that depends on rhythm. Both these clocks work together and help predict the near future.

Microfiber menace

Published in PLOS ONE

File photo of an event to raise awareness about micro pollution.

File photo of an event to raise awareness about micro pollution.   | Photo Credit: AP

By studying seafloor sediments from 29 stations in the southern European seas, researchers from the University of Barcelona have shown that coloured textile microfibres were found as deep at 3500 metres. Though extremely fine (less than 0.1 mm in diameter and up to 8 mm in length), these are a potential threat to the marine ecosystems. The researchers point that most of these fibers come from domestic and industrial washing machines.

Mighty termites

Published in Current Biology

If you were searching for an example for something small yet powerful, we have an answer – termites. Researchers have now described in detail a vast array of soil mounds constructed by termites (Syntermes dirus). The mounds are about 4000 years old and cover an area of 230,000 sq. km. They found this magnificent mound in the dry tropical forest Northeast Brazil.