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Big Cat Species face the Same Challenges as their Ancestors that went extinct towards the end of the last Ice Age: Study

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A Tiger, Wikimedia

London, May 11, 2017: Big cat species, especially African lion and Sunda clouded leopard, face the same challenges as their ancestors that went extinct towards the end of the last Ice Age, a new study says.

The team researched the cause of extinction of seven large cats from the Ice Age including four different types of sabre-toothed cats.

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The seven big cats that went extinct during that period are those which lost the greatest proportion of their prey, showed the study published in the journal Ecography.

Using a new global database of felid diets called FelidDiet, the researchers assessed whether Ice Age extinction trends could be applied to populations of big cat species now.

They discovered that if all the currently threatened and declining prey species within big cat natural ranges were to go extinct, only 39 percent of the African lion’s prey and 37 percent of Sunda clouded leopard’s would remain.

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The researchers believe that if this prey loss trend continued, this would pose a high risk of extinction to these two big cat species in particular.

Prey decline puts tiger, leopard and cheetah at risk too, the researchers said.

“If primary big cat prey continues to decline at such a rate, then big cats, including lion, Sunda clouded leopard, tiger and cheetah, are at high risk of extinction,” said Chris Sandom from the University of Sussex in Britain.

“The Churchillian aphorism that those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it was painfully in mind when we saw how many of the prey of lions and in East Africa and of clouded leopards in Indo-Malaya look set to go down the same drain which their counterparts in other regions have already been flushed,” said Professor David Macdonald, Director of the University of Oxford’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit.

“We need to buck this Ice Age trend once and for all and to reinforce the urgent need for governments to protect both big cat species and their prey,” Sandom added. (IANS)

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‘India Won the 1962 War and Gandhiji was not Murdered’: Are New Textbooks in India Misinforming the Youth?

How can the youth know the struggles of the ancestors of the nation if they believe that we have a all-too-glorified past?

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New School Textbooks in India are not telling the real history to youth. Wikimedia

August 25, 2017: Fake news has become the biggest evil to true information. Exaggerated/ altered facts to support an ideological agenda has become increasingly common, combined with photoshopped images and fabricated videos.

But this misinformation when breaches the sacredness of education and knowledge, it takes the form of the most dangerous thing. Such fabricated tales are now available in the new textbooks in India.

History, in particular, has been twisted and told to young students of India. It is unfortunate that the textbooks which are to shape the able youth of the nation and telling outright lies.

ALSO READ: Politics and Education: A Relationship that contributes a lot in shaping our Future

Below are some of the incidents that have been explained differently than the reality:

THE MUGHALS

The Hindus have always hated the Mughal chapter of the Indian History. The Mughal Dynasty came to India for conquest and occupied the majority of the nation. The Dynasty which came from Central Asia ruled over the Indian subcontinent from 1526-1857 after which the White people took over. The slavery of Hindus in their own nation is a sad but true fact. The Mughal rule was also perceived as the authoritarian nature of Islam, although the interests that the dynasty was pursuing were purely political. The people who opposed the Mughal Dynasty in India included Chattrapati Shivaji, the Maratha King, along with Assam Kings Commander Lachit Borphukan, are well respected among the Hindu sect.

There was also an incident involving Mughal King Akbar and Rajput Chieftain Maharana Pratap. Maharana Pratap rejected becoming subordinate to Akbar. Hence, a war was waged which later came to be known as the Battle of Haldighati. Although Maharana’s Rajput forces gave a tough fight, it was outnumbered by Akbar’s huge military.

In July 2017, India Today reported that in the Class X textbooks of history, it is said that it was the Rajput forces that defeated the Mughals in the battle. This change was approved by the Rajasthan Board of Secondary Education during the period of revising state textbooks.

MAHATMA GANDHI

Nowhere in the Class VIII textbooks do the students find the story of Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination. The book does explore Gandhi’s life span, but it does not inform how the father of the nation was killed by Nathuram Godse. The Rajasthan Rajya Pathyapustak Mandal has published the textbook.

JAWAHARLAL NEHRU

The same textbook that has omitted Godse’s name has also forgotten Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first PM and the longest one at that. While Nehru’s decisions during his leadership are of various debates, the book has not discussed the first PM and his role in reconstructing a newly independent and divided nation. However, the book has extensively mentioned the First President Rajendra Prasad and Sardar Patel. Indian Express reported how the political ideology has played a role here to hide the true picture of history. Nehru, for all his secular ideas and a different idea of the country, which was not so popular among some sects.

1962 WAR BETWEEN INDIA AND CHINA

India was taken off guard by an attack from the Chinese troops in 1962. India, which was still recovering from independence, lost embarrassingly. In the recent Dokhlam standoff, Chinese media has reminded India of the humiliating defeat. Needless to say, the 1962 Indo-Sino war left a mark on Indians.

But in Madhya Pradesh’s Sanskrit Textbooks for Class VIII students, it is claimed that India won the war. The book titled ‘Sukritika’ explicitly states, “What famously came to be known as Sino-India war of 1962 was won by India against China,” reports Times of India. The textbook is published by Kriti Prakashan and is used at CBSE affiliated schools in Madhya Pradesh.

THE UNFORTUNATE REALITY

Indian Express had also reported the dire need for improvement in Maharashtra. Important events of world history (and not just western history) such as the French and American Revolution, Magna Carta, Greek Academia, etc. are all replaced by the glorification of the Maratha dynasty.

These incidents are shameful when viewed from a citizen’s lens. How can one expect to believe knowledge and intellect when information itself is a lie? How can the youth know the struggles of the ancestors of the nation if they believe that we have an all-too-glorified past?


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New Research Suggests Modern Apples Evolved from Kazakhstan 10,000 years ago

The birth of the modern apples ultimately led to 7,500 varieties of the fruit

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Modern Day Apples evolved from Kazakhstan. Wikimedia
  • The latest research suggests that the modern apples originated from Kazakhstan
  • The study was carried out by researchers from Boyce Thompson Institute in the United States
  • It was the genetic exchange from traders who used the Silk Road that the modern apples emerged in Kazakhstan

US, August 17, 2017: A new study suggests that the modern apples that are so crisp, yet so juicy, actually originated from Kazakhstan 10,000 years ago.

The study by researchers at Boyce Thompson Institute (BTI) in the US reveal that during the back and forth traveling by traders on the Silk Road, the genetic exchange occurred that led to the emergence of modern day apples in Kazakhstan’s mountainous regions. Malus Domestica is the scientific name for our modern domesticated apples.

The Silk Road connected the East to the West. Hence, it led to an exposure of knowledge and ideas. Researchers hypothesize that this exchange of ideas resulted in the birth of the tasty Malus Domestica.

Lead Author of the study and Professor at Boyce Thompson Institute, Zhangjun Fei, explains his team’s study which is published in the journal Nature Communications.

ALSO READ: Fruits responsible for larger Brain size in Primates: Researchers

To carry out the study, the team of researchers sequenced 117 different apples and compared their genomes. These included the wild species extracted from Europe, North America, Central and East Asia.

The birth of the modern apples ultimately led to 7,500 varieties of the fruit. Interestingly, the quality of the fruit changed as from region to region as it first traveled from the East to the West. When the apples returned to go back to the west, the dropped seeds on the way helped the growth of trees in wild places.

M Sylvestris was dominant in the Apple’s growth. It’s ancestor, M Sieversii is found predominantly in Kazakhstan.

Our modern day apples have well-balanced sugar and higher organic acid contents. Hence, it is no wonder now that Apple is one of the favorite fruits for many people.

– prepared by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394


NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt. 

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The Reason Why Dog is Man’s Best Friend

The dog is said to be a man's best friend and is often the most popular domestic pet around the world

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Man's best friend
Dogs are among the most popular domestic animals. Wikimedia
  • Dogs are often called the Man’s best friend
  • A recent study shows that friendly dogs share a similar gene structure with people who are socially hyper
  • These people, who suffer from William-Beuren Syndrome, seem to have the best relationship with dogs

July 22, 2017: A recent study has established genetic similarities between friendly dogs and people who are socially hyper. These people, who suffer from William-Beuren Syndrome, are opposite of autistic. Thus, the often heard phrase that dog is a man’s best friend is now backed by science.

William-Beuren Syndrome makes people more social, outgoing, extrovert, empathetic, and overall more interesting.

The recent study has also determined how dogs departed from their wolf family and became domesticated animals. The genetic setup in dogs makes them crave for social recognition and contact.

The study, which has been published in the journal Science Advances, involved 10 captive wolves and 18 domesticated dogs. The animals were studied on their problem-solving skills as well as their social skills.

The animals were first given the task of lifting a box lid to access sausage (their treat) while the researchers observed which animal would turn to human help. The gray wolves were able to access their treats more comfortably, while the dogs were observed staring at humans in the room.

The animals were studied on their problem-solving skills as well as their social skills. Click To Tweet

The co-author of the research, Monique Udell, told News18, “Where the real difference seems to lie is the dog’s persistent gazing at people and a desire to seek prolonged proximity to people, past the point where you expect an adult animal to engage in this behavior.”

Upon studying the blood samples of dogs and wolves, two genes were identified to have variations. The genes GTF2I and GTF2IRD1 make dogs different from wolves. These genes in dogs make them more social than their family line. These are the same genes that heighten the William-Beuren Syndrome in humans.

This gene variation in dogs and wolves is the actual reason that dogs departed from their family line of wolves and became such a popular part of domestic pets.

Also Read: Taiwan bans Slaughter of Dogs and Cats for Human Consumption

Dogs separated from wolves around 40,000 years ago. Rather than the belief that humans tamed wolves, it is now more likely that the differentiated line came to humans in search of protection.

– Prepared by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394