1.- Recruiting widely - then raiding widely:

While the people we call Vikings were largely from the area known today as Scandinavia, they did not think of themselves as a group. The Viking Age, from 750 - 1050, included brutal raids and extensive trading and commerce, but most people probably stayed home on the farm.

A genetic survey of ancient DNA has offered some surprises. Ninety researchers reported on their analysis in a new study of the genomes of 443 ancient humans from Europe and Greeland.

They found that people genetically similar to modern Danes and Norwegians generally headed West in their raids and trading, while ''Swedish-like'' people headed East.

They also found considerable genetic variety, indicating migration of Southern Europeans, before the Viking Age, to the area of Denmark, which undermines any idea of a single Nordic genetic identity. [James Gorman]


2.- When salad bits back at the consumer.

Peering through a microscope, the aquatic ecologist  Dania Albini gazed at the algae-eating water flea. Its gut appeared full and green with ingested tiny Chlorella vulgaris algae. 

But she also observed bright green blobs of this this phytoplankton in an unexpected place : the herbivore's brood pooch.

the algae enveloped in the flea's eggs, killing eggs, which result in fewer newborns, according to a study led by Dr. Albini.

With the algae still alive, the researchers suspect that Chlorella tie-ply an offense strategy as opposed to a typical defense to protect themselves from herbivory.

''You don't expect a food to attack a predator in this way,'' Dr. Albini said. ''You expect it from a parasite, but not food.'' [Priyanka Kunwal]


3.- A jacket of fungus that the biker gang might approve of

There are traditionally two ways to make a leather jacket. One involves a cow and takes years. Another involves a synthetic fabric and requires plastic. But there's a third option : thick sheets of woven fungus, grown over a couple of week over things like sawdust or agriculture waste.

''It feels a bit and smells like mushrooms still, but it looks like a piece of old leather jacket,'' said Alexander Bismarck, a materials scientist in Vienna.

Over the past decade, companies in the United States, Indonesia and Korea have touted fungal leather as a sustainable replacement for both cow skin and plastic.

A new study published by Dr. Bismarck and his colleagues finds that fungal leathers stack up quiet well in terms of versatility. [Asher Elbein]


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