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Concept: Great Britain

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The human settlement of Europe during Pleistocene times was sporadic and several stages have been recognized, both from paleaoanthropological and archaeological records. If the first phase of hominin occupation (as early as 1.4 Ma) seems mainly restricted to the southern part of the continent, the second phase, characterized by specific lithic tools (handaxes), is linked to Acheulean settlements and to the emergence of Homo heidelbergensis, the ancestor of Neanderthals. This phase reached northwestern Europe and is documented in numerous sites in Germany, Great Britain and northern France, generally after 600 ka. At la Noira (Brinay, Central France), the Middle Pleistocene alluvial formation of the Cher River covers an archaeological level associated with a slope deposit (diamicton). The lithic assemblage from this level includes Large Cutting Tools (LCTs), flakes and cores, associated with numerous millstone slabs. The lithic series is classified as Acheulean on the basis of both technological and typological analyses. Cryoturbation features indicate that the slope deposits and associated archaeological level were strongly frozen and disturbed after hominin occupation and before fluvial deposition. Eight sediment samples were dated by the electron spin resonance (ESR) method and the weighted average age obtained for the fluvial sands overlying the slope deposits is 665±55 ka. This age is older than previous chronological data placing the first European Acheulean assemblages north of 45(th) parallel north at around 500 ka and modifies our current vision of the initial peopling of northern Europe. Acheulean settlements are older than previously assumed and the oldest evidences are not only located in southern Europe. La Noira is the oldest evidence of Acheulean presence in north-western Europe and attests to the possibility of pioneering phases of Acheulean settlement which would have taken place on a Mode 1-type substratum as early as 700 ka. The lithic assemblage from la Noira thus provides behavioral and technological data on early Acheulean occupation in Europe and contributes to our understanding of the diffusion of this tradition.

Concepts: United Kingdom, Europe, Great Britain, France, Western Europe, Archaeology, Northern Europe, Acheulean

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Surveys in various countries suggest 17% to 80% of doctors prescribe ‘placebos’ in routine practice, but prevalence of placebo use in UK primary care is unknown.

Concepts: United Kingdom, Birmingham, England, Primary school, Great Britain, Wales, Scotland, Decolonization

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Red deer (Cervus elaphus) have played a key role in human societies throughout history, with important cultural significance and as a source of food and materials. This relationship can be traced back to the earliest human cultures and continues to the present day. Humans are thought to be responsible for the movement of a considerable number of deer throughout history, although the majority of these movements are poorly described or understood. Studying such translocations allows us to better understand ancient human-wildlife interactions, and in the case of island colonizations, informs us about ancient human maritime practices. This study uses DNA sequences to characterise red deer genetic diversity across the Scottish islands (Inner and Outer Hebrides and Orkney) and mainland using ancient deer samples, and attempts to infer historical colonization events. We show that deer from the Outer Hebrides and Orkney are unlikely to have originated from mainland Scotland, implying that humans introduced red deer from a greater distance. Our results are also inconsistent with an origin from Ireland or Norway, suggesting long-distance maritime travel by Neolithic people to the outer Scottish Isles from an unknown source. Common haplotypes and low genetic differentiation between the Outer Hebrides and Orkney imply common ancestry and/or gene flow across these islands. Close genetic proximity between the Inner Hebrides and Ireland, however, corroborates previous studies identifying mainland Britain as a source for red deer introductions into Ireland. This study provides important information on the processes that led to the current distribution of the largest surviving indigenous land mammal in the British Isles.

Concepts: United Kingdom, Great Britain, Scotland, Orkney, Outer Hebrides, Shetland, Inner Hebrides, Hebrides

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Climate change is known to affect ecosystems globally, but our knowledge of its impact on large and widespread mammals, and possibly population-specific responses is still sparse. We investigated large-scale and long-term effects of climate change on local population dynamics using the wild boar (Sus scrofa L.) as a model species. Our results show that population increases across Europe are strongly associated with increasingly mild winters, yet with region-specific threshold temperatures for the onset of exponential growth. Additionally, we found that abundant availability of critical food resources, e.g. beech nuts, can outweigh the negative effects of cold winters on population growth of wild boar. Availability of beech nuts is highly variable and highest in years of beech mast which increased in frequency since 1980, according to our data. We conclude that climate change drives population growth of wild boar directly by relaxing the negative effect of cold winters on survival and reproduction, and indirectly by increasing food availability. However, region-specific responses need to be considered in order to fully understand a species' demographic response to climate change.

Concepts: Demography, Great Britain, Pig, Wild boar, Domestic pig, Suidae, Pork, Beech

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Electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) use is associated with smoking initiation among young people; however, it is also possible that smoking is associated with e-cigarette initiation. This study explores these associations among young people in Great Britain.

Concepts: Smoking, Tobacco, Cigarette, Nicotine, The Association, Electronic cigarette, Great Britain, Cigarettes

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Sexual minorities suffer worse mental health than the sexual majority but little is known about differences in mental health within sexual minorities. We aimed to describe inequality in mental health indicators among gay and bisexual men.

Concepts: United States, United Kingdom, England, Great Britain, Wales, Scotland, Inequality, Irish Sea

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As the age of the population increases in many nations, age-related degenerative diseases pose significant socioeconomic challenges. One of the key degenerative diseases that compromise quality of life is age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD is a multi-faceted condition that affects the central retina, which ultimately leads to blindness in millions of people worldwide. The pathophysiology and risk factors for AMD are complex, and the symptoms manifest in multiple related but distinct forms. The ability to develop effective treatments for AMD will depend on a thorough understanding of the underlying pathophysiology, risk factors, and driver molecular pathways, as well as the ability to develop useful animal models. This review provides an overview of the aforementioned aspects in AMD. Copyright © 2013 Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Concepts: Retina, John Wiley & Sons, Macular degeneration, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Great Britain, Kingdom of Great Britain, Ireland, Accessible publishing

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To determine how ‘overdiagnosis’ is currently conceptualised among adults in the UK in light of previous research, which has found that the term is difficult for the public to understand and awareness is low. This study aimed to add to current debates on healthcare in which overdiagnosis is a prominent issue.

Concepts: Understanding, United Kingdom, Great Britain, Incandescent light bulb, Radio, Anarchy in the U.K., Decolonization