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Sthenurine kangaroos (Marsupialia, Diprotodontia, Macropodoidea) were an extinct subfamily within the family Macropodidae (kangaroos and rat-kangaroos). These “short-faced browsers” first appeared in the middle Miocene, and radiated in the Plio-Pleistocene into a diversity of mostly large-bodied forms, more robust than extant forms in their build. The largest (Procoptodon goliah) had an estimated body mass of 240 kg, almost three times the size of the largest living kangaroos, and there is speculation whether a kangaroo of this size would be biomechanically capable of hopping locomotion. Previously described aspects of sthenurine anatomy (specialized forelimbs, rigid lumbar spine) would limit their ability to perform the characteristic kangaroo pentapedal walking (using the tail as a fifth limb), an essential gait at slower speeds as slow hopping is energetically unfeasible. Analysis of limb bone measurements of sthenurines in comparison with extant macropodoids shows a number of anatomical differences, especially in the large species. The scaling of long bone robusticity indicates that sthenurines are following the “normal” allometric trend for macropodoids, while the large extant kangaroos are relatively gracile. Other morphological differences are indicative of adaptations for a novel type of locomotor behavior in sthenurines: they lacked many specialized features for rapid hopping, and they also had anatomy indicative of supporting their body with an upright trunk (e.g., dorsally tipped ischiae), and of supporting their weight on one leg at a time (e.g., larger hips and knees, stabilized ankle joint). We propose that sthenurines adopted a bipedal striding gait (a gait occasionally observed in extant tree-kangaroos): in the smaller and earlier forms, this gait may have been employed as an alternative to pentapedal locomotion at slower speeds, while in the larger Pleistocene forms this gait may have enabled them to evolve to body sizes where hopping was no longer a feasible form of more rapid locomotion.

Concepts: Foot, Anatomy, Human anatomy, Walking, Human leg, Locomotion, Marsupial, Kangaroo


People perform better on tests of delayed free recall if learning is followed immediately by a short wakeful rest than by a short period of sensory stimulation. Animal and human work suggests that wakeful resting provides optimal conditions for the consolidation of recently acquired memories. However, an alternative account cannot be ruled out, namely that wakeful resting provides optimal conditions for intentional rehearsal of recently acquired memories, thus driving superior memory. Here we utilised non-recallable words to examine whether wakeful rest boosts long-term memory, even when new memories could not be rehearsed intentionally during the wakeful rest delay. The probing of non-recallable words requires a recognition paradigm. Therefore, we first established, via Experiment 1, that the rest-induced boost in memory observed via free recall can be replicated in a recognition paradigm, using concrete nouns. In Experiment 2, participants heard 30 non-recallable non-words, presented as ‘foreign names in a bridge club abroad’ and then either rested wakefully or played a visual spot-the-difference game for 10 minutes. Retention was probed via recognition at two time points, 15 minutes and 7 days after presentation. As in Experiment 1, wakeful rest boosted recognition significantly, and this boost was maintained for at least 7 days. Our results indicate that the enhancement of memory via wakeful rest is not dependent upon intentional rehearsal of learned material during the rest period. We thus conclude that consolidation is sufficient for this rest-induced memory boost to emerge. We propose that wakeful resting allows for superior memory consolidation, resulting in stronger and/or more veridical representations of experienced events which can be detected via tests of free recall and recognition.

Concepts: Amygdala, Memory, Boost Mobile


Bisphenol A (BPA) is an endocrine disrupting environmental contaminant used in a wide variety of products, and BPA metabolites are found in almost everyone’s urine, suggesting widespread exposure from multiple sources. Regulatory agencies estimate that virtually all BPA exposure is from food and beverage packaging. However, free BPA is applied to the outer layer of thermal receipt paper present in very high (∼20 mg BPA/g paper) quantities as a print developer. Not taken into account when considering thermal paper as a source of BPA exposure is that some commonly used hand sanitizers, as well as other skin care products, contain mixtures of dermal penetration enhancing chemicals that can increase by up to 100 fold the dermal absorption of lipophilic compounds such as BPA. We found that when men and women held thermal receipt paper immediately after using a hand sanitizer with penetration enhancing chemicals, significant free BPA was transferred to their hands and then to French fries that were eaten, and the combination of dermal and oral BPA absorption led to a rapid and dramatic average maximum increase (Cmax) in unconjugated (bioactive) BPA of ∼7 ng/mL in serum and ∼20 µg total BPA/g creatinine in urine within 90 min. The default method used by regulatory agencies to test for hazards posed by chemicals is intra-gastric gavage. For BPA this approach results in less than 1% of the administered dose being bioavailable in blood. It also ignores dermal absorption as well as sublingual absorption in the mouth that both bypass first-pass liver metabolism. The elevated levels of BPA that we observed due to holding thermal paper after using a product containing dermal penetration enhancing chemicals have been related to an increased risk for a wide range of developmental abnormalities as well as diseases in adults.

Concepts: Metabolism, Liver, Bisphenol A, Skin, Disinfectant, Endocrine disruptor, Hand sanitizer, Disinfectants


We present the high-quality genome sequence of a ∼45,000-year-old modern human male from Siberia. This individual derives from a population that lived before-or simultaneously with-the separation of the populations in western and eastern Eurasia and carries a similar amount of Neanderthal ancestry as present-day Eurasians. However, the genomic segments of Neanderthal ancestry are substantially longer than those observed in present-day individuals, indicating that Neanderthal gene flow into the ancestors of this individual occurred 7,000-13,000 years before he lived. We estimate an autosomal mutation rate of 0.4 × 10(-9) to 0.6 × 10(-9) per site per year, a Y chromosomal mutation rate of 0.7 × 10(-9) to 0.9 × 10(-9) per site per year based on the additional substitutions that have occurred in present-day non-Africans compared to this genome, and a mitochondrial mutation rate of 1.8 × 10(-8) to 3.2 × 10(-8) per site per year based on the age of the bone.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Genetics, Cell, Human, Genome, Chromosome, Autosome


In a 2005 paper that has been accessed more than a million times, John Ioannidis explained why most published research findings were false. Here he revisits the topic, this time to address how to improve matters. Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary.

Concepts: Academic publishing, Research, Writing, Literature, Publishing, Publication, Editors, Mercury Prize


The relationship between low socioeconomic status (SES) and aggressiveness of end-of-life (EOL) care in cancer patients of working age (older than 18 years and younger than 65 years) is not clear. We assessed the association between aggressiveness of EOL care and differences in SES among working-age terminal cancer patients from Taiwan between 2009 and 2011.

Concepts: Death, Socioeconomic status, Palliative care, Palliative medicine


DPP-4 is responsible for degradation of GLP-1 and GIP, the endogenous incretins that stimulate glucose-dependent insulin secretion. The objective was to evaluate preclinical profile of a novel DPP-4 inhibitor ZYDPLA1.

Concepts: Insulin, Diabetes mellitus, Fiction, Peptide hormones


The holotype of Deinocheirus mirificus was collected by the 1965 Polish-Mongolian Palaeontological Expedition at Altan Uul III in the southern Gobi of Mongolia. Because the holotype consists mostly of giant forelimbs (2.4 m in length) with scapulocoracoids, for almost 50 years Deinocheirus has remained one of the most mysterious dinosaurs. The mosaic of ornithomimosaur and non-ornithomimosaur characters in the holotype has made it difficult to resolve the phylogenetic status of Deinocheirus. Here we describe two new specimens of Deinocheirus that were discovered in the Nemegt Formation of Altan Uul IV in 2006 and Bugiin Tsav in 2009. The Bugiin Tsav specimen (MPC-D 100/127) includes a left forelimb clearly identifiable as Deinocheirus and is 6% longer than the holotype. The Altan Uul IV specimen (MPC-D 100/128) is approximately 74% the size of MPC-D 100/127. Cladistic analysis indicates that Deinocheirus is the largest member of the Ornithomimosauria; however, it has many unique skeletal features unknown in other ornithomimosaurs, indicating that Deinocheirus was a heavily built, non-cursorial animal with an elongate snout, a deep jaw, tall neural spines, a pygostyle, a U-shaped furcula, an expanded pelvis for strong muscle attachments, a relatively short hind limb and broad-tipped pedal unguals. Ecomorphological features in the skull, more than a thousand gastroliths, and stomach contents (fish remains) suggest that Deinocheirus was a megaomnivore that lived in mesic environments.

Concepts: Phylogenetics, Cladistics, Dinosaur, Theropoda, Ornithomimosauria, Deinocheirus, Nemegt Formation, Ornithomimosaurs


Reproduction in jawed vertebrates (gnathostomes) involves either external or internal fertilization. It is commonly argued that internal fertilization can evolve from external, but not the reverse. Male copulatory claspers are present in certain placoderms, fossil jawed vertebrates retrieved as a paraphyletic segment of the gnathostome stem group in recent studies. This suggests that internal fertilization could be primitive for gnathostomes, but such a conclusion depends on demonstrating that copulation was not just a specialized feature of certain placoderm subgroups. The reproductive biology of antiarchs, consistently identified as the least crownward placoderms and thus of great interest in this context, has until now remained unknown. Here we show that certain antiarchs possessed dermal claspers in the males, while females bore paired dermal plates inferred to have facilitated copulation. These structures are not associated with pelvic fins. The clasper morphology resembles that of ptyctodonts, a more crownward placoderm group, suggesting that all placoderm claspers are homologous and that internal fertilization characterized all placoderms. This implies that external fertilization and spawning, which characterize most extant aquatic gnathostomes, must be derived from internal fertilization, even though this transformation has been thought implausible. Alternatively, the substantial morphological evidence for placoderm paraphyly must be rejected.

Concepts: Male, Reproduction, Sex, Phylogenetics, Vertebrate, Chordate, Gnathostomata, Placodermi


Theoretical advances in the science of consciousness have proposed that it is concomitant with balanced cortical integration and differentiation, enabled by efficient networks of information transfer across multiple scales. Here, we apply graph theory to compare key signatures of such networks in high-density electroencephalographic data from 32 patients with chronic disorders of consciousness, against normative data from healthy controls. Based on connectivity within canonical frequency bands, we found that patient networks had reduced local and global efficiency, and fewer hubs in the alpha band. We devised a novel topographical metric, termed modular span, which showed that the alpha network modules in patients were also spatially circumscribed, lacking the structured long-distance interactions commonly observed in the healthy controls. Importantly however, these differences between graph-theoretic metrics were partially reversed in delta and theta band networks, which were also significantly more similar to each other in patients than controls. Going further, we found that metrics of alpha network efficiency also correlated with the degree of behavioural awareness. Intriguingly, some patients in behaviourally unresponsive vegetative states who demonstrated evidence of covert awareness with functional neuroimaging stood out from this trend: they had alpha networks that were remarkably well preserved and similar to those observed in the controls. Taken together, our findings inform current understanding of disorders of consciousness by highlighting the distinctive brain networks that characterise them. In the significant minority of vegetative patients who follow commands in neuroimaging tests, they point to putative network mechanisms that could support cognitive function and consciousness despite profound behavioural impairment.

Concepts: Psychology, Brain, Cognition, Consciousness, Graph theory, Functional magnetic resonance imaging, Graph, Persistent vegetative state