Discovered: Pandas descended from a species in Spain; Ebola could be transmitted through air; how pollutants end up in Antarctica; targeting sea lice in Canadian salmon.
Pandas have Spanish ancestors. Pandas are now linked in the public imagination with their natural habitats in central China. Many bears held in captivity even get cute Chinese names. But long before the panda showed up in Asia, it may have roamed Europe. That's what researchers from Spain's National Museum of Natural Sciences found when they studied fossils of great pandas found in their northeast Spain. "The new genus we describe in this paper is not only the first bear recorded in the Iberian Peninsula, but also the first of the giant panda's lineage," says paleontologist Juan Abella. [The Christian Science Monitor]
Ebola could go airborne. Up until now, scientists believed that the only way for primates and humans to transmit Ebola was through bodily fluids mixing. But now, researchers associated with Gary Kobinger of the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg suggest that it could also be passed from pigs to macaques, and it could make that leap through the air. The researchers were able to show in a lab setting that piglets and macaques housed in the same room could transmit the virus to each other through their respiratory tracts. However, before anyone gets too alarmed, Kobinger notes that, "It’s definitely not an efficient route of transmission." And Ebola has only been shown to infect pigs within the confines of laboratories No pigs in the wild have yet turned up with traces of Ebola antibodies in their blood. [ScienceNews]