2 | 31 AUGUST 2021
" The known is finite, the unknown infinite; intellectually we stand on an islet in the
midst of an illimitable ocean of inexplicability. Our business in every generation is
to reclaim a little more land. "
Thomas Henry Huxley
Dinosaur fossils from China
Divine rings and light echoes
Scientists have discovered two new species of
somphospondylan sauropods, namely Silutitan
sinensis and Hamititan xinjiangensis, the first
vertebrates reported in Northwest China.
The first is Silutitan sinensis gen. et sp. nov.,
which consists of an articulated middle to
posterior cervical vertebrae series. The second,
Hamititan xinjiangensis gen. et sp. nov., consists
of an incomplete articulated caudal sequence.
Their discovery provides further support of the
wider diversification of sauropods in Asia
during the early Cretaceous period.
Astronomers at NASA’s Chandra X-Ray
Observatory and Neil Gehrels Swift
Observatory have spotted a striking set of rings
around a black hole which is a part of the V404
Cygni binary system. These rings, created by
light echoes, throw light upon not only the
black hole’s behaviour, but also on the
landscape that lies between Earth and V404
A light echo is analogous to a sound echo
where light reflected from very distant sources
arrives after a delay period relative to the
source. Since light travels much faster than
sound these echoes are observed only at
The Stonehenge secrets
Probiotics can save corals too
A comprehensive study of the Stone 58, one
of the Stonehenge’s megaliths, has revealed
the secret behind the monument’s durability.
Made up of “a highly indurated, grain
supported, structureless and texturally
mature groundwater silcrete”, the stone
comprises fine-to-medium grained quartz
cemented by optically-continuous syntaxial
quartz overgrowths, making it one of the
most durable substances.
The Science of Marvel by Sebastian Alvarado
The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
While looking for a solution for the mass coral
bleaching, scientists have recently discovered
that dosing the corals with a mix of some
beneficial bacteria, known as BMCs (Beneficial
Microorganisms for Corals), helps the corals to
mitigate environmental stresses such as heat
BMCs allow microbiome restructuring within
the coral colonies that facilitate genetic and
metabolic alterations required for dealing with
environmental stressors. Introduction of BMC
also increases the survival rates by 40% and
Unexpected growth rates
With rising sea temperatures and increasing pollutant
concentrations in the seas, massive die outs and reef
bleaching have become run of the mill phenomenon.
However for the Fluted giant clams (Tridacna squamosa),
these changes have had contrary effects and the species
has showed progressively increasing growth rates as
evident by their periodic ring depositions.
One of the prime contributors is the increasing nitrate
concentration, which aids the proliferation of the
symbiotic algae that live with these clams. Whether better
this growth can be correlated with better health, still
remains to be seen.
Young microbiota vs the
Eyes of the beholder
Transplantation of fecal microbiota from
young mice attenuated cognitive impairments
and reversed differences in hippocampal
metabolites, and some aspects of peripheral
and brain immunity in the aged mice.
Usually the 'good' bacterial gut fauna is
gradually replaced by pathogenic and 'not so
good' fauna as the organism ages and is
subjected to chronic inflammation, metabolic
dysfunction and diseases. Thus as an
individual ages, the gut fauna deteriorates,
having adverse effects on brain health, while
also increasing chances of neurodegenerative
diseases. Rejuvenating this gut fauna could
mitigate some of these effects.
These findings further hint at the intricate gutbrain
axis and the deeply interconnected
nexus that exists between the central nervous
system and the enteric nervous system.
Researchers have successfully grown human
organoid brains with functional primordial optic
vesicles that are capable of responding to light
These vesicles posses both neural and non-neural
cell types including primitive corneal epithelial
and lens-like cells, retinal pigment epithelia,
retinal progenitor cells, axon-like projections, and
electrically active neuronal networks.
The studies throw light on the intrinsic ability of
the brain organoid to self-organize and form
associates sensory structures in a topographically
restricted and controlled manner. These studies
may aid in the analysis of interorgan interactions
using only a single organoid model.
Bleeding is a serious and a quick killer. Most adhesives
and technical instruments used are usually slow to act
and not very effective when the tissue is wet with blood.
A new barnacle inspired glue, strongly adheres to wet
and contaminated surfaces owing to its adhesive
proteins embedded in a lipid-rich matrix. It is capable of
sealing tissues in less than 15 s, independent of bloodcoagulation
Mutations in the “ A and B ” gene locus are accompanied by the malformation of Terminalia in
adult drosophila. Male and female genitalia often remain inside the body, i.e., they lack the
external genitalia just like this gene’s namesakes, who were introduced to us as teen models in
1961 and 1959 respectively and have since been at the center of body image controversies.
Identify the gene.
Last issue's answer : DNA origami
The Gestalt Approach: Self discovery for Creative Expression and Communication
Ms. Zaara Haroon | 7 August 2021 | Synapse & IQAC MH
“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts”
An alumna of MH Zoology Department Batch 2007 and
currently a photojournalist, Ms. Zaara Haroon, enlightened
the students with different career opportunities through the
concept of the Gestalt Approach.
Ms. Haroon inspired us not to look at our career in isolation
with what we have today but with respect to the
opportunities that are being created for tomorrow.
Limitless Opportunities: Finding the Key to Life
Ms. Elangbam Sonia | 14 August 2021 | Synapse & IQAC MH
“If you want it done right, do it yourself”
From being a like a duck, calm on the surface while paddling hell
underneath, to forgiving ourselves and staying strong during the
hardest times, Ms. Elangbam Sonia, an MSC/ Deputy Secretary in
the Government of Manipur and once a student of the Zoology
Department of MH (Batch 2003), shared with us many a lessons
that she learnt herself from the various phases of her life.
She helped us realize that there is no dearth of career
opportunities, we merely need to look around for them, and that
any knowledge can shape our careers if we just know what our
interests and capabilities are.
Pursuing Higher Education Abroad
Ms. Asima Abidi | 21 August 2021 | Synapse & IQAC MH
Ms. Asima Abidi, a PhD scholar in Immunology at the Radboud
Institute, the Netherlands and an MH alumna of the Batch 2017,
deliberated the pros and cons of studying abroad. On one hand,
there is a lot of diversity in the courses, interactions with the best
academicians out there and access to state-of-the-art
infrastructure besides the added independence, whereas on the
other hand there is cut-throat competition, loneliness and a
need for financial help. Ms. Abidi motivated us to keep our
options open at all times while inspiring us to make our own
Sessions on Science of Spirituality
Sessions on Science of Spirituality organised by the Sawan Kirpal Ruhani Mission: Two sessions were
conducted on the topics "Fearlessness in Challenging Times through Meditation" and 'Empowering
your persona through Meditation". The speaker for both the sessions was Ms. Seema Charla.The first
session was about how to overcome the fear and panic caused by the pandemic through meditation.
The positive effects of meditation, its effect on hormonal balance, peaceful state of mind, and
positivity, was elaborated upon. The second session focused on the positive effects of meditation on
our physical and mental health.
Meditation gives us energy and strength, reduces stress, cardiac diseases, diabetes and hormonal
disorders. In this age of technology, our concentration and productivity is decreasing while distractions
are increasing. Meditation helps reshape the brain, increasing grey matter and increasing our IQ,
memory and concentration. Ageing of the brain is also reversed. Both the sessions ended with a 10-
minute meditation session and a question-answer session.
Think Beyond Normal
Dr. Megha Mittal | 28 August 2021 | Synapse & IQAC MH
“Growth and comfort cannot be together but there is comfort in growth”
Dr. Megha Mittal, an Executive Coach and Leadership Facilitator
and an alumna of Batch 2007, encouraged us to find our own
ikigai, the reason for our being. Married at the mere age of 23 into
a conservative family, she survived an abusive marriage and rose
from the ashes to emerge as a successful entrepreneur.
Her life motivated us to stay positive no matter how grim the
situation is. She inspired us to take the rein of our lives in our own
hands to make it better.
Sapientiae blogs by us this month
Fat but fit - Kritika
Inevitable demise - Kamakshi
Olympic victories: Celebrating Victors and Denying Struggles - Geetika
The Rise of Genetic Counselling - Vanshika
Here is the general link for the department blog : Sapientiae
Please fill out this feedback form to help us improve and vote for your
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Further readings and references
New dinosaur species
Wang, X., Bandeira, K.L.N., Qiu, R. et al. The first dinosaurs from the
Early Cretaceous Hami Pterosaur Fauna, China. Sci Rep 11, 14962
Light rings and black holes
Nash DJ, Ciborowski TJR, Darvill T, Parker Pearson M, Ullyott
JS, Damaschke M, et al. (2021) Petrological and geochemical
characterisation of the sarsen stones at Stonehenge. PLoS
ONE 16(8): e0254760.
Fluted clam growth rates
Santoro EP, Borges RM, Espinoza JL, Freire M,
Messias CSMA, Villela HDM, Pereira LM, Vilela CLS,
Rosado JG, Cardoso PM, Rosado PM, Assis JM, Duarte
GAS, Perna G, Rosado AS, Macrae A, Dupont CL,
Nelson KE, Sweet MJ, Voolstra CR, Peixoto RS. Coral
microbiome manipulation elicits metabolic and
genetic restructuring to mitigate heat stress and
evade mortality. Sci Adv.2021 Aug 13
Yuk H, Wu J, Sarrafian TL, et al. Rapid and coagulationindependent
haemostatic sealing by a paste inspired
by barnacle glue [published online ahead of print,
2021 Aug 9]. Nat Biomed Eng. 2021
optic vesicle-containing brain organoids (OVB-organoids)
Gabriel E, Albanna W, Pasquini G, et al. Human brain organoids
assemble functionally integrated bilateral optic vesicles [published
online ahead of print, 2021 Aug 12]. Cell Stem Cell. 2021
Synapse, Zoology Department | Miranda House
Staff advisors: Dr. Nisha Vashishta (TIC) & Dr. Yasha Yadav
President: Swathi B. Choudhary
Editors: Kamakshi & Kritika
Co-Editors: Damayanti & Sruti
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