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Thursday, January 23, 2020
The triumphant rediscovery of the largest bee on Earth

The triumphant rediscovery of the largest bee on Earth

Enlarge / Wallace's Giant Bee next to a honeybee for scale. Clay Bolt For security reasons, I can’t tell you exactly where Clay Bolt rediscovered Wallace’s giant bee. But I can tell you this. With a wingspan of two and a half inches, the Goliath is four times bigger than a European honeybee. Very much…
Tiny tardigrades crash-landed on the Moon and most likely made it through

Tiny tardigrades crash-landed on the Moon and most likely made it...

Enlarge / SEM image of Milnesium tardigradum in active state. Totes adorbz. Tardigrades, more commonly known as "water bears," are microscopic creatures capable of surviving the harshest extreme conditions. In fact, they were the first animal to survive in the vacuum of space in 2007. Now, it seems, they might be ready to colonize the…
Georgia Tech researchers found out how maggots can consume a lot, so quick

Georgia Tech researchers found out how maggots can consume a lot,...

Enlarge / Studying the collective feeding behavior of black soldier fly larvae. How do the larvae of black soldier flies eat so much, so fast, despite their tiny size? Scientists at Georgia Tech have been studying this "collective feeding" behavior and found that one strategy for maximizing the larvae's feeding rate involves forming maggot "fountains."…
Superior pinpoints racism in science: Naive scientists plus strategic racists

Superior pinpoints racism in science: Naive scientists plus strategic racists

Science has had issues with racism from its very beginning. At best, many of the early scientists had ideas that typified the racist societies of their times. At worst, they actively participated in providing justification for that racism, a habit that reached its peak in the eugenics movement of the first half of last century.…
Jewel beetle’s bright colored shell serves as camouflage from predators

Jewel beetle’s bright colored shell serves as camouflage from predators

Enlarge / The brightly colored shell of this jewel beetle is a surprisingly effective form of camouflage, according to a new study by scientists at the University of Bristol.Bristol Museums, Galleries, and Archives Artist and naturalist Abbott Handerson Thayer became known as the "father of camouflage" with the publication in 1909 of a book on…
It’s the drag that assists the simple hagfish slime predators so rapidly

It’s the drag that assists the simple hagfish slime predators so...

Courtesy of University of Wisconsin, Madison. The homely hagfish might look like just your average bottom feeder, but it has a secret weapon: it can unleash a full liter of sticky slime in less than one second. That slime can clog the gills of a predatory shark, for instance, suffocating it. Scientists are unsure just…
The genes of sexual preference have to do with as complicated as sexual preference

The genes of sexual preference have to do with as complicated...

Enlarge / A scene from the Copenhagen Pride Parade. Ole Jensen/Getty Images Homosexuality is widespread among animals, and it's present in every culture we've looked at. All of which suggests that it's in some way innate to the human species. But figuring out what "innate" means is a real challenge when it comes to a…
One immune cell type appears to attack any type of cancer

One immune cell type appears to attack any type of cancer

Enlarge / False-colored image of an electron micrograph of a T cell. While cancerous cells look a lot like normal human cells, they're still different enough that the immune system regularly attacks them. Obviously, this attack sometimes bogs down, allowing cancer to thrive and spread. Figuring out how to get the immune system back on…
Alligator gar both draws and chews to capture its victim, brand-new research study discovers

Alligator gar both draws and chews to capture its victim, brand-new...

Scientists had assumed the alligator gar catches its prey simply by slamming its powerful, tooth-y jaws shut. But according to a new study posted to the pre-print site bioRxiv, the fish also creates a fast, powerful suction force to suck prey into its jaws by moving the bones in its skull and shoulder. The paper is…
Middle ages European afflict genomes mean Black Death’s journeys

Middle ages European afflict genomes mean Black Death’s journeys

Enlarge / Scanning electron micrograph depicting a mass of Yersinia pestis bacteria (the cause of bubonic plague) in the foregut of the flea vector. Barbara Bramanti grew up near Florence, Italy, worked for a while in Mainz, Germany, and is now at the University of Oslo in Norway. Her career has taken her across a…

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