Mysterious News Briefly — February 10, 2021
Dragonflies are excellent fliers but even they can get flipped over in heavy wind; a new study found they quickly right themselves by performing an unusual upside-down backflip known as ‘pitching’ to get back into the proper upright position. Millipedes generally give them 10s for the difficult maneuver, but the most they ever get from other insects is a 6.
A new look at old teeth discovered in caves in southern China found that they’re only 16,000 years old, not the 120,000 years first thought – which means the belief that the first humans showed up there between 65,000 and 45,000 years ago still stands. They look much older, proving once again your dentist is right about brushing and flossing.
The Sonoran Desert Toad, famous for its psychedelic secretions, is being pushed to extinction by hunters of those secretions, prompting researchers to push synthetic versions of the secretions’ psychoactive compound 5-MeO-DMT, even though true believers say only natural Sonoran Desert Toad venom contains the toad’s spirit, which is essential for the high. “Don’t believe it,” said cows and chickens.
In a rare win for humans, a new study found that archeologists are still better than the X-Rite Capsure color detection tool at distinguishing subtle differences in colors on objects like ancient pottery fragments. Remember that the next time your child wants the 128-color box of art pencils.
Marine biologists report a dramatic increase in the number of great white sharks swimming in Monterey Bay in recent years – threatening the area’s reputation as a surfing mecca. Before you quote “Jaws,” a bigger surfboard won’t help.
A study on finger length found a direct relationship between a child’s finger lengths and the economic status of their mother -- children of mothers with above-average income had longer ring fingers, while children of mothers with below-average income had longer index fingers. Depending on which one you are also determines whether you give this study the middle finger.
Archeologists in China found a bronze jar containing what they believe is a 2,700-year-old face cream for men made from animal fat and moonmilk -- a carbonate mud from caves that turns to a white powder when dried. Was this an early version of Dr. Squatch called Dr. Yeti?
West Virginia’s Green Bank Observatory’s Green Bank Telescope (GBT) — the world’s largest fully steerable radio telescope — was upgraded with a new transmitter allowing it to transmit a radar signal into space that is then picked up by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory’s Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) … an upgrade that now allows astronomers to see the surface of remote planets, and detect and observe much smaller space objects. Astronomers may not find evidence of alien life, but they now believe in Santa Claus again.
A couple in Derbyshire, England, who saw what they believed to be a phantom Avro Lancaster bomber from WWII fly over and disappear was disappointed to find out it was actually a Hercules Lockheed C-130 RAF transport plane flying low from a nearby RAF base that disappeared quickly over some trees. Should the RAF pay for dry cleaning the clothes of the terrified couple?
The coelacanth (Latimeria chalumnae) – a fish once thought to be long extinct until it was found in 1938 and dubbed a “living fossil” because it seemingly hadn’t changed in 23 million years – recently underwent DNA testing and was found to have undergone many genetic changes over the years, thus bringing an end to its “living fossil” status. Wait until it finds out its mother had an affair and that’s not its real father.