Hindu Notes from General Studies-01
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Fossil shows modern humans left Africa earlier than thought
- Scientists have announced the discovery of a fossilised human jawbone in a collapsed cave in Israel that they said is between 1,77,000 and 1,94,000 years old.
- If confirmed, the find may rewrite the early migration story of our species, pushing back by about 50,000 years the time that Homo sapiensfirst ventured out of Africa.
- Previous discoveries in Israel had convinced some anthropologists that modern humans began leaving Africa between 90,000 and 120,000 years ago. But the recently dated jawbone is unravelling that narrative.
- The upper jawbone which includes seven intact teeth and one broken incisor, provides fossil evidence that lends support to genetic studies that have suggested modern humans moved from Africa far earlier than had been suspected.
- By dating burned flint flakes found at the site, archaeologists had determined that it was occupied 2,50,000 to 1,60,000 years ago, during an era known as the Early Middle Palaeolithic.
- Evidence, including bedding, showed that the people who lived there used it as a base camp.
- There scientists were able to assess whether the bone belonged to a modern human or a Neanderthal, thought to have also occupied the region during that time period.
- Using high resolution micro-CT scanning, Mr. Weber created a 3D replica of the upper left maxilla that allowed him to investigate its surface and, virtually, to remove enamel from the teeth.
- He then performed a morphological and metric test that compared the Misliya fossil with about 30 other specimens, including fossils of Neanderthals, Homo erectus, more recent Homo sapiens , and other hominins who lived in the Middle Pleistocene in Asia, Africa Europe and North America.
- The team dated the tooth dentin and enamel, the sediment stuck to the upper jaw, and tools found near the fossil.
- Together, the techniques put the jawbone at between 177,000 and 194,000 years old, in line with what was already known about the period during which the cave was inhabited.
Hindu Notes from General Studies-02
India should be pro-active: ASEAN
- Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said that,all leaders at the just concluded ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit had urged India to play a proactive role in the Asia-Pacific region.
- In an official statement at the conclusion of two days of diplomatic engagements that included the Summit and the celebrations of the Republic Day where the ten ASEAN leaders were Guests of Honour.
- Secretary in charge of eastern affairs in the MEA Preeti Saran said that, “All the leaders felt that India is a very important component of peace, stability and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific region.”
- The official statement complements Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s comments that the Indo-Pacific region will be “indispensable” India’s future.
- The comments from the Prime Minister and the MEA officials are significant as they come just months after India joined the quadrilateral grouping of Australia, Japan and the U.S. for maintaining freedom of navigation in the Asia-Pacific region.
- During the summit, India announced 1,000 PhD fellowships in the IITs for students from the ASEAN countries.
- Apart from countering ‘traditional and non-traditional’ threats to freedom of navigation, India plans to work closely with Malaysia and Indonesia on handling radicalisation. A conference on de-radicalisation will be held soon, said the official.
Hindu Notes from General Studies-03
Robotic technology deployed to test railway bridges.
- The Southern Railway has deployed a Robotic Remote Operated Vehicle to assess the strength of bridge substructures under water.
- The new technology provides accurate images and data of damage such as erosion or formation of cavities on pillars under water.
- Earlier, bridge engineers deployed divers who carried cameras to check the stability of bridges and take photographs of any damage. But the process was not only time-consuming but not accurate as well.
- Railways officials said said that,the robotic technology produced desired results when put to use in Pamban bridge connecting Rameswaram to the mainland and Bhavani river bridge in Mettupalayam.
- Impressed with the results, a high-level safety review committee has recommended that a trial be conducted in the Yamuna river bridge in New Delhi and the technology be deployed across the railway network.
- The findings are accurate and corroborated with photographs and videos.
- They are now able to get the dimensions and exact location of cavities for corrective measures.