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11,000-Year-Old Perak Man Finally Has A Face

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KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 25 — Perak Man, the 11,000-year-old skeletal remains found 30 years ago in the Lenggong Valley, Perak, finally has a face.

A team of Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) researchers and 3D graphics expert from Brazil, Cicero Moraes, had used the 3D virtual reconstruction method to reconstruct the Perak Man’s facial features.

Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology lecturer at USM School of Dental Sciences Dr Johari Yap, who is also one of the researchers, said the project was mooted two years ago by Senior Consultant Neurosurgeon Prof Datuk Dr Jafri Malin Abdullah.

Sharing the story with Bernama, Johari said Dr Jafri, who had conducted many studies related to neuroscience and cognitive, had invited him to reconstruct the hypothetical face of Perak Man.

Johari, who has the expertise in craniofacial imaging and 3D reconstruction and analysis of faces and skulls, said a copy of the original skull was made using computed tomography (CT) and  3D printing.

Johari said before reconstructing the face, Moraes needed information such as gender, age and lineage to produce facial tissue based on the average tissue thickness measured during previous studies.

“Once the face is formed, we will discuss about eye colour, skin colour and hair based on forensic anthropology.

“Because Perak Man is referred to as Australo-Melanesian and the descendent of Negrito ethnic group, the features of Negrito people greatly influence the final image,” he said.

Perak Man, the most complete skeleton found in Southeast Asia, was uncovered at Gua Gunung Runtuh by a team of archaeologists led by Prof Datuk Dr Zuraina Majid in 1990.

The excavation revealed a 10,000-11,000-year-old primary burial site of an adult human buried in the foetal position.

The funerary artefacts indicate that Perak Man was highly respected, as he was buried at  the centre of the highest cave in Lenggong, and he was the only person buried there.

Apart from Johari, Dr Jafri and Moraes, four other researchers are USM Centre for Global Archaeological Research director Prof Datuk Dr Mokhtar Saidin, Dr Helmi Hadi from USM School of Health Sciences, Prof Dr Zainul Ahmad Rajion from USM School of Dental Sciences and USM School of the Arts lecturer Norshahidan Mohamad.

Johari said the estimated volume of Perak Man’s intracranial volume (ICV) was 1,204.91 mL, which was smaller than modern humans’ cranial capacity of between 1,312 mL and 1,479 mL and this may indicate a physical handicap.

“Despite being born with a physical handicap, Perak Man survived and lived a nomadic hunting and gathering lifestyle, probably due to considerable care given to him. He may have overcame his physical handicap by developing proficient hunting skills, or perhaps he rarely hunted and took on other tasks.

“Based on his presumed status, Perak Man was likely a respected person in the group and, perhaps, a shaman and the most knowledgeable person in the group regarding survival, hunting, gathering, and other aspects of Palaeolithic daily life.

“Perak Man likely lived as a hunter, similar to the lifestyle of the Negrito ethnic group, which could be the descendant of Perak Man,” the researchers wrote in an editorial published in the Malaysian Journal of Medical Sciences.

Source: BERNAMA

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Separated Since Babies, This Identical Twins Finally Reunite After 36 Years

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Identical twins Molly Sinert and Emily Bushnell were separated at birth in South Korea and adopted by different families. Molly went on living in Florida while Emily in Pennsylvania. The siblings spent most of their lives totally unaware of each other’s existence and little information about their birth family.

But everything changes after Emily’s 11-year-old daughter, Isabel wanted to make a DNA test to explore her heritage.

Isabel said, “I wanted to do the DNA test because she was adopted. I wanted to find out if I had more family on her side.”

Meanwhile in Florida, Molly also decided she wanted to take a DNA test to find out more about her mother’s history. The database confirmed her relations with Emily.

“(The results said:) ‘You share 49.96% DNA with this person. We predict that she’s your daughter’. This is obviously not right because I’ve never gone into labor, I don’t have children.”

Shortly after, she figured out that she must be her sister. They contacted each other but decided not to have a video call until they met in person.

Even though Emily didn’t feel comfortable taking the test, but finding out about her twin makes everything so clear.

“Although I have family who loves me and has been wonderful, there was always a feeling of disconnection. Finding out that I had an identical twin sister just made everything so clear. It all makes sense.”

As the twins got to know each other, they discovered more and more similarities between themselves.

Emily added: “Our senior prom picture…we were both wearing a beaded dress with a strapless style and our hair was exactly the same.

Emily concluded by describing the reunion as ‘the happiest moment of her life’.

Source: Daily Star

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‘Sinomacrops Bondei’, The Newest Species of Pterosaur Found In China

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Paleontologists in China have discovered the fossil skeleton of Sinomacrops bondei, a new species of pterosaur. Scientists, mostly from China and Japan, found the fossil skeleton of the ruined creature in a rock preserved in China’s Hubei Province and realized that it was a new species of pterosaur.

The name Sinomacrops bondei is taken from the Greek word for Chinese which is Sino, combined with the words for large, macro, and eyes.

The researchers chose Bondei in honor of paleontologist Niels Bonde, for his many scholarly contributions and for being an inspiration to us.

Using x-ray imaging, the team was able to reconstruct the long-extinct pterosaur and illustrations were made to show how it looks like.

“Despite being crushed to the point of obliterating many details, the specimen is rather complete and provides new information for the group,” wrote the researchers on their reports.

The illustration made depicts the creature that looks like a flying squirrel but instead of a rodent’s body, its shaft looks more like a salamander with large membrane wings protruding from each side. This new species also has gaping eyes, a wide smile, and a small tail between a pair of legs.

Sinomacrops bondei are also likely to be hairy but not with hair or feathers. Scientists argue that it is covered by tufted ‘pycnofibers’, a completely different shape of the cover and evolving independently.

A paleontologist from Baylor University in Texas, Megan Jacobs who was not involved with the research, said the findings are interesting because pterosaur fossils are so rare because their thin, hollow bones cannot be preserved like other creatures.

“It’s very round with large, forward-facing eyes. Most pterosaurs of this period have elongated snouts full of little teeth.

“Finding these early pterosaurs really gives us an insight into how they started to adapt and alter aspects of their skeletons,” said Jacobs.

Source: 9Gag, New York Post

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Government Amends National Trust Fund Act

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KUALA LUMPUR, April 21  — The government has approved amendments to the National Trust Fund (KWAN) Act 1988 (Act 339), which allows funds from KWAN to be used for the procurement of vaccines and any expenditure incurred in relation to the vaccines.

This is based on the Emergency (National Trust Fund) (Amendment) Ordinance 2021, which comes into operation today, through the Federal Government Gazette published by the Attorney General’s Chambers today.

The ordinance, amended in Section 6, was promulgated by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah, on April 14 pursuant to Clause (2B) of Article 150 of the Federal Constitution.

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong is satisfied that immediate action is required to amend the National Trust Fund Act 1988.

The new subsection states that “the procurement of vaccines and any expenditure incurred in relation to the vaccines for an epidemic of any infectious disease as specified under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342)”.

On Jan 12, Istana Negara, in a statement, announced that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong consented to the Proclamation of Emergency to be implemented nationwide until Aug 1, as a proactive measure to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

Sources: BERNAMA

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