New Delhi, Nov 21, 2014 (Agency)
The five-phase assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir begins Nov 25.
Here are some facts about the first phase:
Total electorate: 1,051,642 (Men 550,350, women 501,281, Third Gender-11)
Assembly constituencies: 15
Total candidates: 123
Women candidates: 2
Constituency with maximum number of candidates: Bhaderwah and Bandipora (13 each)
Constituency with minimum number of candidates: Leh (2)
Political parties: Bharatiya Janata Party, Congress, Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party, People's Democratic Party, National Conference
Largest assembly constituency (electorate wise): Bhaderwah
Smallest assembly constituency (electorate wise): Nubra
Washington, Nov 21, 2014 (Agency)
Working at the edge of a coal mine in Gujarat, a team of Johns Hopkins researchers and colleagues has discovered a treasure trove of fossils that suggest that the ancestor of horses and rhinos originated on the Asian subcontinent when it was still an island.
Modern horses, rhinos and tapirs belong to a biological group called Perissodactyla - animals that have an uneven number of toes on their hind feet and a distinctive digestive system.
The coal mine yielded over 200 fossils that turned out to belong to an animal dubbed Cambaytherium thewissi about which little has been known.
The researchers dated the fossils to about 54.5 million years old, making them slightly younger than the oldest known Perissodactyla remains.
But it provides a window into what a common ancestor of all Perissodactyla would have looked like.
"Many of Cambaytherium's features like the teeth, the number of sacral vertebrae and the bones of the hands and feet, are intermediate between Perissodactyla and more primitive animals. This is the closest thing we have found to a common ancestor of the Perissodactyla order," said Ken Rose, professor of functional anatomy and evolution at Johns Hopkins University's school of medicine.
Cambaytherium and other finds from the coal mine also provide tantalising clues about India's separation from Madagascar, lonely migration and eventual collision with the continent of Asia as the Earth's plates shifted, Rose added.
In 1990, two researchers David Krause and Mary Maas of Stony Brook University published a paper suggesting that several groups of mammals that appear at the beginning of the Eocene Period, including primates, might have evolved in India while they were isolated.
Cambaytherium is the first concrete evidence to support that idea, Rose noted.
Around Cambaytherium's time, we think India was an island, but it also had primates and a rodent similar to those living in Europe at the time.
"One possible explanation is that India passed close by the Arabian Peninsula or the Horn of Africa and there was a land bridge that allowed the animals to migrate. But Cambaytherium is unique and suggests that India was indeed isolated for a while," Rose suggested.
The research appeared in the online journal Nature Communications.
London, Nov 21, 2014 (Agency)
Modern hand dryers are worse than paper towels when it comes to spreading germs, according to new University of Leeds research.
Both jet and warm air hand dryers spread bacteria into the air and onto users and those nearby.
Airborne germ counts were 27 times higher around jet air dryers compared to the air around paper towel dispensers, said the scientists.
"Next time you dry your hands in a public toilet using an electric hand dryer, you may be spreading bacteria without knowing it. You may also be splattered with 'bugs' from other people's hands," said Mark Wilcox, professor at the University of Leeds.
For the study, the team contaminated hands with a harmless type of bacteria called Lactobacillus, which is not normally found in public bathrooms.
This was done to mimic hands that have been poorly washed.
Subsequent detection of Lactobacilli in the air proved that it must have come from the hands during drying.
Bacterial air counts around jet air dryers were 4.5 times higher than around warm air dryers and 27 times higher compared to air around paper towels.
Lactobacilli were detected in the air 15 minutes after hand drying, found the study.
"These findings are important for understanding the ways in which bacteria spread, with the potential to transmit illness and disease," Wilcox said.
The findings were published in the Journal of Hospital Infection.