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Saturday, October 22, 2016

Cave drawings helped to prove the existence of the “Higgs bison”

Studying the cave paintings of CRO-magnon and the ancient bones of animals, a group of researchers from Russia and other countries proved that in the past they lived on Earth, the hybrids of two species of ancient bison that became the ancestors of modern bison, and those who subsequently evolved into the family cow. Until recently, experts doubted whether there was such an ancient view of nature, for which he was sometimes jokingly called the “Higgs bison”.

photo: pixabay.com

As you might guess, such a nickname is a reference to the Higgs boson — the elementary particles, the existence of which was theoretically justified in the framework of the Standard model in 1964, and proved only nearly half a century later — in 2012. After the thing was discovered, who predicted its existence Francois Engler and Peter Higgs were awarded the Nobel prize 2013 in physics.

A new species of Buffalo to quantum physics is not relevant, however, from the point of view of biology, the scientists say, its discovery is of great interest. The fact that the emergence of a complete new species through hybridization is a very rare phenomenon, especially among mammals. Hybrids very often can’t leave their own offspring, and in rare cases when they do it, many generations later, the offspring is “dissolved” in one of the parental species (for example, the modern people of European and Asian descent carry 1 to 4 percent “Neanderthal” genome, but this does not mean that the period of breeding, humanity has become a new species).

Some indirect evidence that about 120 thousand years ago, a hybrid of the two ancient species of bison still existed, was discovered by scientists 15 years ago, but only now it became possible to say with some certainty, experts say. Comparing the different rock paintings in several French caves, they noticed that bison ancient artists portrayed in two versions, one of which corresponds to the “Higgs bison”. That this existed, which is evidenced by the results of a study of mitochondrial DNA preserved in the previously found the remains of animals.

Research the work of scientists published in the journal Nature Communications.


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