Natural Wonders

Latimer: It’s been very hectic these last few weeks here at M. Latimer-Ridley! We’ve been busy with Unbroken Ties, Keeping Secrets 2… and editing the follow-up, Keeping Secrets 3!

IMG-20140820-WA0000

Added to all that – I’ve just moved country! Yup, for now I’m M. Latimer-Ridley’s London correspondent, at least for the foreseeable future!

I’ve been trying to get out and see things, subliminally advertised to me via the London Underground! There was recently an exhibition in the Natural History Museum, so last Saturday I took myself off to see some Mammoths and Neanderthals!

20140906_140856

I made the mistake of thinking London would maybe not be packed with tourists (this will never happen I’m sure)! There was a big queue to get into the museum, a queue to get to the exhibitions and a queue to see the dinosaur skeletons, which happen to be super popular (I’m not surprised, dinosaurs are great!).

20140906_160345

The Natural History museum is amazing. No one does buildings quite like the English – always so grand!

20140906_171214 20140906_171124

The Mammoth exhibition was very cool; the museum had on loan Lyuba, the baby mammoth that was found in Russia – the most intact specimen of a woolly mammoth, she even has hair!

photolyuba

I also learned here that ‘woolly mammoth’ is just a type of ‘mammoth’ and the biggest was actually the Columbian Mammoth. They had a life-sized model of it and it was amazing. I could have stood starring at it for hours. Nearby there was also a statue of a Short-Nosed Bear; which basically dwarfed a grizzly.

20140906_163718 20140906_163619

The Proboscidea family tree!

The Proboscidea family tree!

This all led me onto the ‘evolution of man’ exhibition. I love me some evolution!

The great man himself!

The great man himself!

Recently, in the last few years the Neanderthal genome was sequenced, and it turned up some interesting details. Among other things, the results showed that non-African populations had some Neanderthal markers in their genomes, indicating that there had been some crossovers, and interbreeding between Neanderthal’s and modern humans in Europe.

It appears that when our common ancestor moved out of Africa they migrated north and eventually became Neanderthals, who were adapted to survive in the frozen climate. While, the African common ancestor evolved to become modern humans. Some of these modern humans then migrated north and became lighter skinned Europeans, and encountered their cousin the Neanderthal.

It was assumed that Neanderthal couldn’t talk, but actually the genome work showed that they have a similar gene to us called the FOXP2 gene that is involved in speech and language.

In the exhibition they also said that the Neanderthal markers that are present (to varying degrees, about 2%) in Europeans, largely affected the immune system. So it poses some interesting questions about responses to diseases.

There were also more ‘types’ of humans than just Neanderthal’s wandering around at the time, and they may have also contributed to the modern genome. This all raises the question of what we actually mean now when we say ‘modern human’.

Anyway, these were some great exhibits and I’m looking forward to seeing what else they show during the year!

And of course, I’ll be doing a series of museum hops around the city while I’m here 🙂

Unbroken Ties, Keeping Secrets 2

We’re back! Yes it has been a while, but we’re picking up lots of momentum recently and everything is back on track and progressing nicely!

So here it is, the cover for our next book, due out at the end of August – drum roll please… Unbroken Ties, Keeping Secrets 2!

Book 2 cover!!

Book 2 cover!!

We hope you guys like it! Please let us know what you think. The cover was designed and made my ourselves here at MLR and we’re v.happy with the results!

So, yes, this is book 2 in our Keeping Secrets series (Young Adult, Urban Fantasy), continuing on from Legend Unleashed (Keeping Secrets 1). The synopsis for Unbroken Ties is…

Unbroken Ties, Keeping Secrets Book 2

Trouble is brewing and tensions are high in Carwick, where Temperance is struggling to belong.

The wizards distrust her, the werewolves despise her, and someone wants her dead.

With Halvard’s duties drawing him further from her, and the surprise return of her brother, chaos grips Carwick, and Temperance soon finds her loyalty to her family tested like never before….

We hope you’ll come back to Carwick with us for the next story! If you haven’t already checked out Legend Unleashed, please click here to read some excerpts and see the book trailers! Or you can pop on over to Amazon!