A fish’s life history is stored in its ears – and we can read it with the right tools

A fish’s life history is stored in its ears – and we can read it with the right tools

Imagine if we could follow a salmon during its entire, multi-year life cycle. How long did she stay in the natal stream before she migrated to the ocean? How many years did she stay in the ocean? Was her natal stream contaminated with heavy metals? What about the ocean? Did her mother pass on heavy metals to her? Could her metal burden cause health implications to her? Or to those who consume her?

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Laser study on 170-yr-old thumbnail re-writes history of Franklin Expedition

Laser study on 170-yr-old thumbnail re-writes history of Franklin Expedition

A study conducted by a group of Canadian scientists published in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports debunks continued myths surrounding the demise of the Franklin Expedition. Thumbnail samples of John Hartnell, crew member of the HMS Terror, found that the long believed cause of death due to lead poisoning is inaccurate.

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How a single grizzly bear hair gave researchers a detailed account of exposure to toxic metals

How a single grizzly bear hair gave researchers a detailed account of exposure to toxic metals

Mammals can be quite hairy. In fact, hair is a unique feature of mammals. Although hair is primarily covering our heads and bodies for physiological and evolutionary reasons, it is also a treasure chest of useful dietary and health information. Why is hair such a great data source? Hair is composed of keratin, a sulfur-rich protein that in the root portion readily binds to elements and metals that are flowing through a mammal’s blood. As the hair grows, it records the changes in those elements becoming a detailed account of that mammal’s life.

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