nature

Study clears up shark “sword” battle mystery

Study clears up shark “sword” battle mystery

A shark washed ashore this year in Libya, on the Mediterranean coast. It was April, and a group of citizen scientists captured photos and video of the creature as it appeared DOA at the edge of the water. The shark was a bigeye thresher (Alopias superciliosus), and it had (what appeared to be) a sword embedded in its back. NOTE: Photos above and below were captured by The Ichthyological Society of Japan, 2020.

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Your elderly cat’s tooth disease may soon be treatable

Your elderly cat’s tooth disease may soon be treatable

If your old cat is on the path to tooth resorption (TR), the only viable cure is tooth extraction. If your cat shows signs of TR, your cat's veterinary specialist will almost certainly recommend that they remove the affected teeth before TR goes too far. A study published this week worked with a set of feline teeth, sequencing extracted RNA to characterize transcriptomic changes involved in feline TR. Scientists involved in the study aimed to learn more about feline TR so that they might eradicate the disease before tooth extraction becomes necessary.

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Researchers successfully extract DNA from insects trapped in resin

Researchers successfully extract DNA from insects trapped in resin

A study published this week showed how DNA could be extracted from bugs trapped in resin. If that sounds familiar, you've likely seen the film Jurassic Park. Before now, the business "Mr. DNA" speaks about in the film (and the original novel) wasn't technically possible. Early attempts at replicating the whole "extracting DNA from a million-year-old mosquito" process failed - so why did this more recent DNA extraction from bugs in resin succeed?

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Dinosaur egg study shows surprising and new skull features

Dinosaur egg study shows surprising and new skull features

Today were taking a peek at a dinosaur egg that was part of a study published today in Current Biology. This dinosaur egg is one of a collection of eggs that were found in Patagonia, Argentina. The difference between this egg and the other eggs that were discovered and analyzed in the past is the near-intact embryonic skull inside.

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New theory says supernovae caused extinction events on Earth

New theory says supernovae caused extinction events on Earth

According to a new study published this week by researchers at the University of Illinois, a nearby star's supernova may've caused one of out planets mass extinctions millions of years ago. The event studied here took place in the Late Devonian, "culminating in extinction events near the Devonian-Carboniferous boundary." Evidence shown in the study published this week suggests that asteroids weren't the only thing that killed massive amounts of life on Earth in the distant past.

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The world’s first gene-edited squid and why it’s historic

The world’s first gene-edited squid and why it’s historic

Researchers have revealed this week that they've been successful in gene-editing a squid for the first time in human history. Cephalopods are used to study Alzheimer's and Parkinson's due to their significantly large brains. Using the DNA editing tool CRISPR, a genetically altered squid will potentially jump-start major advances in the study of neurodegenterative diseases of many sorts.

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New DNA analysis says you’ve got more pre-human ancestors

New DNA analysis says you’ve got more pre-human ancestors

This week a research paper published in PLOS Genetics revealed a newly developed algorithm for analyzing genomes. Researchers used their new system on the genomes of two Neanderthals, two humans of African descent, and a Denisovan. Approximately 1% of the genome of the Denisovan came from an "unsequenced, but highly diverged, archaic hominin ancestor."

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The most inactive creatures ever discovered

The most inactive creatures ever discovered

Creatures shown in a study published this month can survive with lower energy requirements than any life previously discovered by humanity. Some of the undersea sediment-dwelling microbes shown in this study have survived "under extreme energy limitation for millennia, thus calling into question the limit for life.

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Scientists mutate fish with disturbing results

Scientists mutate fish with disturbing results

Research published this week showed an experiment run by scientists with mutation on their minds. In the experiments, scientists altered single genes of zebrafish and recorded the results. Their aim was to study the evolution of the jaw. They created fish with fused upper and lower jaw cartilages, unable to close their mouths.

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Beetle camera research shows turning tiny head better than whole body

Beetle camera research shows turning tiny head better than whole body

Researchers from the University of Washington have revealed a new "wireless steerable vision" system for live insects and teeny tiny robots. Solutions presented in this research were created to investigate insect vision, and the study the trade-offs made by insects between small retinal regions and the movement of said retinal regions independent of an insect's body through head motion.

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Bubonic plague squirrel found in Colorado

Bubonic plague squirrel found in Colorado

A squirrel tested positive for bubonic plague in Morrison, Colorado over the weekend. This is the first confirmed case of plague in the county (Jefferson County, Colorado), but not the first case of plague in the state. The report appeared on Saturday, July 11, 2020, when the Jefferson County Colorado Public Health department delivered results to the community with a set of symptoms and warning signs.

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Flying snake mystery solved by science

Flying snake mystery solved by science

The latest study published by Virginia Tech on flying snakes revealed a key point in the process. With motion capture technology and high-speed cameras aplenty, researchers created a three-dimensional mathematical model of snake flight that incorporates aerodynamic and inertial effects. They confirmed that it's not any one element that allows this flight, but a combination of the shape the snakes makes, the locomotion of the snake, and other elements that make the glide function. This work shows "a different function than known uses of undulation in other animals" - which COULD be used to make new dynamic flying robots!

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