Women explored, men stayed put
In modern times, men explored the New World. But two million years earlier, the men among our pre-human forerunners stayed put and it was the women who traveled to start new families, a study of fossil teeth from Africa suggests. The findings, published in today's edition of the journal Nature, indicate females from two pre-human species seemed to move out of their birth homes and journey elsewhere, probably to prevent inbreeding, researchers said. Scientists not involved in the research said the tooth sample of 19 teeth may be too small to draw that conclusion. Chimpanzees, our closest living primate relative, also have females that travel to mate and raise families. That's in contrast to lower primates and most mammals, where it is the males that have the wanderlust.
'Worms from hell' cause scientific stir
For the first time, scientists have found complex, multicelled creatures living a mile and more below the planet's surface, raising new possibilities about both the spread of life on Earth and potential subsurface life on other planets and moons. Nicknamed "worms from hell," the nematodes, or roundworms, were found in several gold mines in South Africa. Researchers from Princeton University and the University of Ghent in Belgium said the discovery of creatures so far below ground, with nervous, digestive and reproductive systems, was remarkable. An article introducing the worms, one of which was named Halicephalobus mephisto after the "Lord of the Underworld," appears in the journal Nature. It places far more complex life in an environment where researchers have held it should not, or even cannot, exist.