research

This “fish-scale” lizard sheds its scale to escape

This “fish-scale” lizard sheds its scale to escape

Lizards are quite famous for their ability to voluntarily cut off and sacrifice their tail in order to escape with their lives. But for some types of lizards, that isn't the only thing they can shed. A specific genus named Geckolepis, endemic to Madagascar and the Comoro archipelago, also known as "fish-scale geckos", can also quickly remove their scales if needed, making them not only harder to capture but also harder to study. Which makes the classification of a new Geckolepis megalepis an even bigger accomplishment than it sounds.

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Ancient slug fossil reveals spiky ‘armor,’ hints about evolution

Ancient slug fossil reveals spiky ‘armor,’ hints about evolution

A newly published study details a unique-looking ancient slug that had a protective ‘armor’ composed of small spikes. This discovery helps shed light on the evolution of mollusks, revealing that they didn’t exactly have shells in the popular sense of the word, but weren’t entirely without protection, either. The fossils were found several years ago by an enthusiastic collector.

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5,000-year-old Chinese beer replicated using ancient recipe

5,000-year-old Chinese beer replicated using ancient recipe

Remember the ancient Chinese beer discovery publicized last year? It was a notable discovery for multiple reasons, including shedding light on agriculture in China at the time and giving modern humans an ancient recipe used to create beer. Now students at Stanford University have set out to recreate that beer, doing so following along with the ancient recipe. Some of the resulting beer was described as less than desirable, but others were successful.

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This “sensor pill” can be powered by your stomach acid

This “sensor pill” can be powered by your stomach acid

Electronic devices are invading every aspect of our lives and, soon, even our own bodies. Pills that contain sensors that transmit data from inside the human body have long been a holy grail for scientists and doctors but they have always been stumped by one critical part of the setup: the power source. Now researchers from MIT might have gotten one step closer by harvesting electricity from the most ubiquitous material inside our stomachs: our own stomach acid.

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Ancient Ceres may have been home to many ice volcanoes

Ancient Ceres may have been home to many ice volcanoes

The dwarf planet Ceres is home to a massive ice volcano said to be about half the height of Mt. Everest, and it sits alone on the otherwise mostly barren landscape. While solitary in its existence today, it may once have had other icy compatriots, at least according to a new bit of research fresh from the American Geophysical Union. These so-called ‘cryovolcanoes’ are thought to have flattened over time, becoming just another icy spot on the planet’s surface.

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Science confirms misophonia is a real condition

Science confirms misophonia is a real condition

Misophonia -- if you don't have the condition, it can be baffling when you run into someone who does. Individuals with misophonia have a severe intolerance for certain obnoxious sounds, such as gum being chewed loudly. Exposure to such noises provokes a nearly uncontrollable anger in so-called misophonics, a reaction some have tried to paint as irrational or fake. Science, it turns out, disagrees with that criticism, finding that misophonia is indeed a very real condition.

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NASA Gliders will gather weather data during flight

NASA Gliders will gather weather data during flight

NASA has introduced WHAATRR: the Weather Hazard Alert and Awareness Technology Radiation Radiosonde Glider. With this, the space agency says, weather data could be cheaply (relatively speaking) and quickly acquired for organizations that include the National Weather Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The glider could, potentially, save the National Weather Service $15 million in costs every year.

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Flu ‘breathalyzer’ detects virus, not alcohol

Flu ‘breathalyzer’ detects virus, not alcohol

A professor with the University of Texas at Arlington’s Materials Science and Engineering Department has developed a breathalyzer of sorts that works by detecting the flu virus rather than alcohol. Such a breath monitor, as it is properly called, requires a patient to exhale into the mouthpiece, at which point sensors look for biomarkers pertaining to the flu virus, revealing whether the patient is ill.

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Space travel may change the shape of astronauts’ brains

Space travel may change the shape of astronauts’ brains

A new study coming from the University of Michigan has found that astronauts face changes in the shapes of their brains during spaceflight, a health issue we’ve heard mention of from other studies in past years. Per the study, spaceflight causes an astronaut’s brain to compress and expand, with the ultimate degree of changes depending on how long the astronaut spent in space. Gray matter increased in some cases, but decreased in others.

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Frog saliva can be like water, then honey, then water again

Frog saliva can be like water, then honey, then water again

Frogs, among their other amphibious relatives, are popular, or notorious, for their rapid tongues that can seem to catch and hold on to any unwitting victim. But if you think its secret weapon is its tongue, you’d only be half right. Working secretly and almost invisibly is the frog’s reversible saliva. “Reversible” because it can switch from watery fluid to viscous honey-like liquid and back to watery form in a blink of an eye. And that is actually the secret of what makes frogs’ tongues so sticky.

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Zombie wasps found infected with different, smaller brain-eating wasps

Zombie wasps found infected with different, smaller brain-eating wasps

Researchers with Rice University have detailed a new disturbing discovery involving one particular type of wasp and a different, smaller wasp variety that turns them into zombies. The victim is known as the ‘crypt gall wasp,’ a name given to a type of wasp that tricks live oak trees into forming small ‘crypts’ in their stems. The wasps' young are raised in these crypts, where they eventually gnaw their way to freedom, but a different parasitic wasp, it turns out, hijacks this process for its own purposes.

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Newly discovered Time Crystals may wiggle forever

Newly discovered Time Crystals may wiggle forever

Scientists have detailed a new sort of crystal which creates what they define as "a new phase of matter." This Time Crystal is "also really cool because it is one of the first examples of non-equilibrium matter," said lead researcher Norman Yao from the University of California, Berkeley. In other words, these crystals are perpetually in motion as they cannot settle into equilibrium. While the atoms in these crystals are able to settle into a pattern, they cannot stop moving altogether.

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