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Latest Max Planck Institute Stories

Did Sumerians Really Produce Beer?
2012-01-18 05:57:08

Even though there is evidence of Ancient Sumerians having the ingredients to make beer - barley, malt and emmer (a type of wheat) - there is no textual evidence of the processes used to make the mysterious brew. Peter Damerow (1939-2011), a historian of science and cuneiform writing from the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, examined the beer brewing technologies of the Sumerians in a scholarly paper, casting doubt on the myth that what they brewed was even beer....

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2011-12-31 08:50:05

Chimpanzees might be able to determine whether or not their fellow chimps need to hear a specific message, according to a new study published in the journal Current Biology. According to Guardian Science Correspondent Ian Sample, researchers from the University of St. Andrews, the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, and the Budongo Conservation Field Station in Uganda, observed the creatures selectively sounding a warning call, apparently based on whether or not they...

2011-12-16 14:13:45

The majority can benefit when individuals are uninformed From shoals of fish to human society: social organisms need to make collective decisions. And it is not always the majority that prevails. In some cases, a small, resolute group may succeed in bending the whole community to their will. Using computer models and behavioral studies of fish, a team of scientists, including researchers from the Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems in Dresden, has discovered that...

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2011-12-05 06:34:47

Inhaling streams of electrically charged gas known as cold plasma could help cure the common cold, researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Germany are claiming. According to a December 4 report by the Deccan Chronicle, an English-language publication in India, the scientists say that they have discovered that a stream of the ionized gas "deactivates" virus, including those that cause colds. In fact, when those viruses were exposed to cold plasma for...

Ravens Use Gestures To Signal Potential Partners
2011-11-30 06:37:06

Ravens use their beaks and wings to point and hold up objects in order to attract attention, much like humans use our hands to make gestures, according to a new study by German and Austrian experts. The study is the first time researchers have observed such gestures in the wild by animals other than primates, suggesting that ravens (Corvus corax) may be far more intelligent than previously believed. Simone Pika from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology and Thomas Bugnyar from the...

Image 1 - So That's What Dreams Are Made Of
2011-10-28 10:54:01

Scientists measure dream content for the first time and find that dreams activate the brain in a similar way to real actions. The ability to dream is a fascinating aspect of the human mind. However, how the images and emotions that we experience so intensively when we dream form in our heads remains a mystery. Up to now it has not been possible to measure dream content. Max Planck scientists working with colleagues from the Charité hospital in Berlin have now succeeded, for...

2011-10-18 13:14:01

Ciliary beating of Platynereis gives insights into an ancestral state of nervous system evolution As planktonic organisms the larvae of the marine annelid Platynereis swim freely in the open water. They move by activity of their cilia, thousands of tiny hair-like structures forming a band along the larval body and beating coordinately. With changing environmental conditions the larvae swim upward and downward to their appropriate water depth. Scientists of the Max Planck Institute for...

Image 1 - New Evolutionary Link Between Australopiths And Humans
2011-09-09 10:51:52

  [ View Video] New analysis of two-million-year-old hominid bones found in South Africa provide the clearest evidence of evolution´s first major step toward modern humans, evidence that is leading some experts to believe the findings will change longstanding views on the origins of humans. The well-preserved bones, from Australopithecus sediba, are from a part-human, part-ape species that have never been seen before now. The hands are similar to man, it has sophisticated...

2011-09-07 14:01:50

Feedback mechanism coordinates cellular respiration and the degradation of free oxygen radicals Oxygen-consuming organisms obtain energy through cellular respiration, which is the transformation of carbohydrates and oxygen into carbon dioxide and water. This process also produces toxic oxygen radicals which must be decomposed immediately, as they would otherwise cause damage to cells. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin have now discovered a mechanism,...

2011-09-01 12:49:48

Max Planck researchers analyze the structure of an iron storage protein Microbes are omnipresent on earth. They are found as free-living microorganisms as well as in communities with other higher organisms. Thanks to modern biological techniques we are now able to address the complex communities and study the role of individual microorganisms and enzymes in more detail. Microbacterium arborescens is a bacterium, which can be found in the guts of herbivorous caterpillars. The Department...


Word of the Day
siliqua
  • A Roman unit of weight, 1⁄1728 of a pound.
  • A weight of four grains used in weighing gold and precious stones; a carat.
  • In anatomy, a formation suggesting a husk or pod.
  • The lowest unit in the Roman coinage, the twenty-fourth part of a solidus.
  • A coin of base silver of the Gothic and Lombard kings of Italy.
'Siliqua' comes from a Latin word meaning 'a pod.'
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