June 23, 2024

I, Science

The science magazine of Imperial College

Malaysia loses its last Sumatran rhino; the largest assessment of ocean warming impact; and humans being placed in suspended animation.

This week in your I, Science News Roundup, we cover the death of the last Malaysian Sumatran rhino, the largest global assessment of the impact of ocean warming, and humans being placed in suspended animation for the first time.

Malaysia’s last known Sumatran rhino dies

25 year-old Iman the Sumatran rhinoceros died this week on the island of Borneo as she succumbed to cancer, making the species officially extinct in Malaysia. Malaysia’s last known male Sumatran rhino died back in May.

The species is now limited to Indonesia, with an estimate of around just 80 left in the world; they used to roam across Asia, but their numbers have dwindled due to deforestation and poaching.

Eggs were harvested before she passed away, in the hopes that a future collaboration could lead to reproducing the species through artificial insemination.

Largest global assessment of the impact of ocean warming has been published

Researchers from the UK, US, Japan, Australia, Germany, Canada, South Africa and New Zealand analysed three million records from 1985–2014 of thousands of species from across the globe to give use the most comprehensive assessment of how ocean warming is affecting marine wildlife.

The findings show what we might expect: warm-water species are becoming more successful, whilst cold-water species less so. It also suggests though that some cold-water species are beginning to adapt by seeking deeper waters.

There’s been a temperature increase of almost 1oC in some parts of the ocean since 1985, which may not sound like much, but can have a considerable impact on species who are living close to their maximal temperature tolerance.

Humans placed in suspended animation for the first time

A groundbreaking trial in the US has cooled patients’ brains to under 10oC by replacing their blood with ice-cold saline solution in order to buy more time before surgery.

Officially known as emergency preservation and resuscitation (EPR), the technique is used on patients who have less than 5% chance of survival, usually due to stabbing or gunshot wound. It reduces the brain activity and body’s physiology to a near standstill, allowing surgeons precious extra minutes to attend to them, before warming them up and resuscitating them.

They hope to reduce the brain damage that normally occurs with patients that survive these kinds of injuries.

This week’s news was written by Harry Jenkins, who is studying for an MSc in Science Communication at Imperial College London.