Mid-week rec reads: plague paleogenomics, bats, art, get new skin, & more

I’m doing an experiment today to see if people enjoy a mid-week splash of a few Wednesday recommended science reads and the first one collides with art. You can see Sunday’s recommended weekly reads here too.

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This is extremely cool work by artist Marguerite Humeau. It in turn reminds me of de-extinction (at least virtual via art) and cloning. My book with my daughter Julie How To Build a Dragon or Die Trying also came to mind as well.

Marguerite Humeau science art
The Dancers III & IV by Marguerite Humeau. 2019). Art consists of polystyrene, polyurethane resin, fiberglass, steel skeleton, and pollutions particles.

For a taste of her art see the image above and, here’s this striking passage from NYT:

“In exhibitions that variously evoke luxury cloning facilities, alien blood banks and primeval caverns, Humeau confronts viewers with bizarre sights: pink hippopotamus milk pumping through artificial veins; rose-colored carpets dyed with every chemical in the human body; bulging, voluptuous tangles of bronze inspired by manatee brains and Paleolithic Venus-style figurines.”

Analysis of ancient human teeth charts our history with plagues

How long have humans been dealing with pandemics? Much longer than scientists originally had thought. From the WaPo, “Ancient teeth show history of epidemics is much older than we thought.”

Paleogenomics is an emerging field that can teach us quite a bit about our history including disease and health. In thousands of years will scientists be studying our biological samples to learn more about COVID-19 or will our digital records of this pandemic survive in a few millennia?

“North American bats may be susceptible to SARS-CoV-2”

Can bats on various continents be infected with and potentially transmit the novel coronavirus? New work suggests “yes” for North America. I hope people don’t take it out on bats.

Stretch your skin stem cells to get more new skin?

From Nature, we have an overview News & Views piece Stretch exercises for stem cells expand the skin and the original article.

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