Science News Roundup: Astronaut study reveals effects of space travel on human bones; For pandas, it’s two thumbs up for millions of years

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Here is a summary of current scientific news.

Astronaut study reveals effects of space travel on human bones

A study of bone loss in 17 astronauts who flew aboard the International Space Station provides insight into the effects of space travel on the human body and the steps that can mitigate them, crucial knowledge ahead of potential future ambitious missions. Research has amassed new data on bone loss in astronauts caused by the microgravity conditions of space and the extent to which bone mineral density can be traced back to Earth. It involved 14 male and three female astronauts, with an average age of 47, whose missions lasted four to seven months in space, with an average of around 5.5 months.

For pandas, it’s two thumbs up for millions of years

Fossils discovered in China are helping scientists better understand one of the wonders of evolution: the giant panda’s false thumb, which helps this vegetable-loving bear chew the bamboo that makes up most of its diet. Researchers said on Thursday they discovered near the city of Zhaotong in northern Yunnan province, fossils about 6 million years old of an extinct panda called Ailurarctos that bore the oldest known evidence of the figure. additional improvised – actually a greatly enlarged wrist bone called the radial sesamoid.

(With agency contributions.)

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