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Soil Erosion: Scientists discover Earliest Human Impact on Environment

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Soil Erosion has a huge impact on environment. VOA
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  • Scientists have discovered wide rates of erosion dating back to 11,500 years ago from the Dead Sea in Israel
  • the erosion occurred during the Neolithic Revolution
  • The discovery took place as part of the Dead Sea Deep Drilling Project

New York, June 6, 2017: Scientists have discovered wide rates of erosion dating back to 11,500 years ago from the Dead Sea in Israel — touted as the oldest geological evidence of man-made impact on the environment.

The discovery took place as part of the Dead Sea Deep Drilling project, which harnessed a 1,500-foot-deep drill core to delve into the Dead Sea basin.

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The core sample, which provided the researchers with a sediment record of the last 220,000 years, showed basin-wide erosion rates dramatically opposite to the known tectonic and climatic regimes of the period.

We noted a sharp threefold increase in the fine sand that was carried into the Dead Sea by seasonal floods. This intensified erosion is incompatible with tectonic and climatic regimes during the Holocene, the geological epoch that began after the Pleistocene some 11,700 years ago, said lead author Shmuel Marco, Professor at the Tel Aviv University in Israel.

The study, published in the journal Global and Planetary Change, showed that the erosion occurred during the Neolithic Revolution, the wide-scale transition of human cultures from hunting and gathering to agriculture and settlement. The shift resulted in an exponentially larger human population on the planet.

Natural vegetation was replaced by crops, animals were domesticated, grazing reduced the natural plant cover, and deforestation provided more area for grazing, Marco said.

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All these resulted in the intensified erosion of the surface and increased sedimentation, which we discovered in the Dead Sea core sample, he added.

The researchers are currently in the process of recovering the record of earthquakes from the same drill core.

We have identified disturbances in the sediment layers that were triggered by the shaking of the lake bottom. It will provide us with a 220,000-year record — the most extensive earthquake record in the world, Marco said. (IANS)

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Testosterone Level Determined by Environment During Childhood, Says Study

Bangladeshis in Britain also reached puberty at a younger age and were taller than men who lived in Bangladesh throughout their childhood

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Testosterone Level Determined by Environment During Childhood, Says Study
Testosterone Level Determined by Environment During Childhood, Says Study. (IANS)

Men who grew up in challenging conditions like prevalence of infectious diseases or poor nutrition may have lower levels of testosterone — male sex hormone — in later life, says a study.

The findings suggest that the differences may be linked to energy investment. For instance, in environments where people are more exposed to disease or poor nutrition, developing males direct their energy towards survival at the cost of testosterone.

While high testosterone levels may up the risk of ageing, muscle mass, prostate enlargement and cancer, lower levels may cause lack of energy, erectile dysfunction etc. Thus, the researchers suggest that any screening for risk profiles may need to take a man’s childhood environment into account.

“Very high and very low testosterone levels can have implications for men’s health and it could be important to know more about men’s childhood circumstances to build a fuller picture of their risk factors for certain conditions or diseases,” said Gillian Bentley from Britain’s Durham University.

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Representational image.

For the study, published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution, the team collected data from 359 men born and still resident in Bangladesh; Bangladeshi men who moved to London as children; Bangladeshi men who moved to London as adults; second-generation, Britain born men whose parents were Bangladeshi migrants; and Britain born ethnic Europeans.

The results showed that Bangladeshi men who grew up and lived as adults in Britain had significantly higher levels of testosterone compared to relatively well-off men who grew up and lived in Bangladesh as adults.

Also Read: Attractiveness in Males is Not Associated With Female’s Hormone Levels, says Study

Bangladeshis in Britain also reached puberty at a younger age and were taller than men who lived in Bangladesh throughout their childhood.

Further, it was also found that the aspects of male reproductive function remain changeable up to the age of 19 and are more flexible in early rather than late childhood, but no longer heavily influenced by their surroundings. (IANS)