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Smiling Neanderthals, Martian Cities, Brain Links and More Mysterious News Briefly — March 24, 2021

Mysterious News Briefly — March 24, 2021

While you sit with trepidation in the dentist’s chair as the hygienist shakes her head and approaches with that dental meat hook, consider a new study in the Journal of Human Evolution which found that a Neanderthal man living 46,000 years ago in what is now the Polish highlands used toothpicks to clean his teeth and gums of food, a practice now considered to be widespread among these extinct hominins. Is this why early humans found the smiles of Neanderthal women so sexy?

With auto travel dropping substantially under the pandemic lockdown and strict aerosol regulations in place, that cloud of organic pollution still engulfing Los Angeles is now being blamed on plants, in particular the city’s iconic Mexican fan palms. Perhaps changing their names to ‘not-fanning palms’ might embarrass them into helping solve this problem.

The missing link between the first algae that formed in freshwater lakes on land and that which evolved in the oceans was found when a geobiology student discovered 950-million-year-old macroscopic fossils in Western Canada of early ocean algae. Great news but Spielberg isn’t interested in doing any Algae Park movies.

Zoologists recently discovered a third new species of small chameleons (Squamata Chamaeleonidae) living on the edge of the forest in the Bale Mountains region of south-central Ethiopia. It’s time we stop being so surprised about discoveries of these new species – after all, they’re chameleons!

An international group of scientists from India and Russia has created edible food films for packaging fruits, vegetables, poultry, meat, and seafood using a biopolymer found in seaweed. Kids will prefer eating the package until they find out it’s made from vegetables too.

An extremely rare 24.3 kg (53.5 lb.) iron-nickel meteorite, which scientists believe came from a former asteroid 4.5 billion years ago, found by gold hunters in Australia, was purchased from them recently by Geoscience Australia for $200,000. The museum was lucky their significant others thought it would make ugly earrings.

Leaked guidelines from a Facebook handbook show that the social media site bans calls for the death of private individuals but says it’s OK to target public figures as long as they’re not tagged in the post. “What is Zuckerberg?”, asked everybody.

A professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Miami is using a new class of nanoparticles called magnetoelectric nanoparticles (MENPs) that are two thousand times thinner than a human hair to develop a method of talking to the brain without wires or implants by using a special helmet that picks up the signals of the nanoparticles as they travel through the brain. Politicians are ineligible for the first tests because nothing seems to travel through their brains.

The Japanese firm Astroscale just launched a 200 kg spacecraft called ELSA-d, for End of Life Services, that will be the first to capture and remove dead or dying satellites safely from orbit. Get ready for a new reality show called Astro Pickers.

The architecture studio ABIBOO has unveiled plans for a city on Mars for 250,000 inhabitants that will be built vertically instead of horizontally into the side of a cliff to diminish the effect of atmospheric pressure and radiation, and could be ready for move-ins by 2100. How will this happen? That’s the REAL cliffhanger.


Paul Seaburn is the editor at Mysterious Universe and its most prolific writer. He’s written for TV shows such as "The Tonight Show", "Politically Incorrect" and an award-winning children’s program. He's been published in “The New York Times" and "Huffington Post” and has co-authored numerous collections of trivia, puzzles and humor. His “What in the World!” podcast is a fun look at the latest weird and paranormal news, strange sports stories and odd trivia. Paul likes to add a bit of humor to each MU post he crafts. After all, the mysterious doesn't always have to be serious.
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