Jun 11, 2017

Earth's oldest mushroom fossil found

Jared Thomas / University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

About 115 million years ago, when the continents were one, dinosaurs ruled and flowering plants were just debuting on Earth, a mushroom growing alongside a river fell into the water and was carried away to a lagoon where it was preserved in limestone. That may have been the making of the oldest known fossil of a mushroom - which will typically live for just a few days and are rarely fossilized - that was found in Brazil, scientists reported this week. Named Gondwanagaricites magnificus, the mushroom is very similar to those on Earth today.

Why it matters: The fossil record of mushrooms is sparse: only 10 had ever been found and this is the first from the supercontinent Gondwana. It promises to shed light on the evolution of fungi that play a vital role in processing and recycling nutrients in the environment.

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China tries to contain coronavirus, as Apple warns of earnings impact

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's NHC; Note: China refers to mainland China and the Diamond Princess is the cruise ship offshore Yokohama, Japan. Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

As China pushes to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus — placing around 780 million people under travel restrictions, per CNN — the economic repercussions continue to be felt globally as companies like Apple warn of the impact from the lack of manufacturing and consumer demand in China.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 1,775 people and infected more than 70,000 others, mostly in mainland China. There are some signs that new cases are growing at a slower rate now, although the World Health Organization said Monday it's "too early to tell" if this will continue.

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Apple will miss quarterly earnings estimates due to coronavirus

Apple CEO Tim Cook

Apple issued a rare earnings warning on Monday, saying it would not meet quarterly revenue expectations due to the impact of the coronavirus, which will limit iPhone production and limit product demand in China.

Why it matters: Lots of companies rely on China for production, but unlike most U.S. tech companies, Apple also gets a significant chunk of its revenue from sales in China.

America's dwindling executions

The Trump administration wants to reboot federal executions, pointing to a 16-year lapse, but Pew Research reports the government has only executed three people since 1963.

The big picture: Nearly all executions in the U.S. are done by states. Even those have been steadily dropping for two decades, per the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) — marking a downward trend for all executions in the country.