Mysterious News Briefly — February 24, 2022
According to a new study, guppies (Poecilia reticulata) can be fooled by optical illusions into believing objects are smaller or larger than they really are – joining primates, dogs, cats, horses and bearded dragons on the list of victims of visual effects. On the other hand, goldfish don’t care if the picture is two faces or a vase – just feed them.
The world’s endangered mountain gorilla population is so small, research shows that inbreeding may explain why some gorillas have distorted facial features once believed to be caused by a population-wide chewing side preference. No wonder they get upset when zoo visitors make faces at them.
Arizona State University scientists have developed a patented hybrid device that is part living organism and part bio battery that is capable of producing stored energy using a modified form of photosynthesis. “You’re welcome,” said Mother Nature.
Biologists in a Peruvian rain forest discovered a tiny, burrowing frog with a long snout like a tapir that beeps instead of croaking – they named it Synapturanus danta -- danta is Spanish for "tapir." Does it beep all the time or just when backing into its hole?
MIT neuroscientists have identified a group of neurons in the auditory cortex part of the human brain that respond when we hear singing, but not other types of music. The research used a technique known as electrocorticography (ECoG), which allows electrical activity to be recorded by electrodes placed inside the skull … so it may not be a good solution for getting rid of earworm songs.
A TikTok video shows a man chasing what looks like an extinct Tasmanian tiger running down a street in Melbourne, Australia -- most commenters think it’s a sick fox or dog despite what appear to be stripes on its back. Don’t let chasing thylacines take away from treating sick dogs.
Southern Methodist University researchers identified a gene linked to the sense of touch that is also connected to the sense of smell – a discovery which may help treat olfactory defects like the mysterious loss of smell that many COVID-19 patients experience. Your mom doesn’t care about the study – stop burying your dirty face in her basket of fresh-smelling clean laundry.
As if ticks aren’t scary enough, a new study on the African Argas brumpti ticks found that these blood-sucking parasites can survive for nearly a decade without feeding and have a lifespan of 27 years. That first feed after a ten year fast must look like when you shrink-wrap your leftovers.
Not only is it not hollow but a new computer simulation shows the center of the Earth isn’t solid or liquid either – it may be filled with a whirling mix of hydrogen, oxygen and carbon molecules, continuously sloshing through a grid-like lattice of iron in a "superionic state." Don’t confuse this with Florida – that’s the super 'ironic’ state.
Alexey Galda, a theoretical physicist and professor at the University of Chicago, likes to jump out of airplanes while wearing experimental wingsuits that make him look more like Batman than a paratrooper – a GPS device in his helmet records everything during the flight. Including him yelling, “Joker! Where’s my backup chute?”