18 May, 2016 – Episode 567 – This Week in Science Podcast (TWIS)

May 19th, 2016

Massive Mastodon Hunts, Origami Belly Bots, Biodiversity Is Everything, Bad Panda Poop, The Cuckoo Mafia, Progress For Math, Simultaneous Hermaphrodites Take Turns, Bad Antibacterial Guts, Satisfied Lady Gorillas, Good For Overpasses!, And Much More…

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Disclaimer, Disclaimer, Disclaimer!
The following hour of programming is being performed without a net…
As Annette could not be with us tonight…
Everything you are about to hear is recorded live, unrehearsed and unedited…
Unless we happen to curse…
in which case we will edit out the curse word,
and replace it with a more polished, high production value curse word…
The content has been vetted only in that we have read it,
believe that it comes from a reliable source,
and think that it may be interesting to talk about…
Aside from working without a net…
Dr. Kiki is also not with us tonight…
While many long time listeners will be saddened to hear that Kiki has left the show…
They will be delighted to learn that it is only for tonight, and that she will be back again next week….
So while the Dr. is away, the patients will be running the Twisylum here on
This Week in Science…
Coming Up Next…

Native Nation hunted Mastodons
… for days.

Take two robots, call me in the morning…
A new origami robot hides in a pill, and unfolds to do work in your stomach!

Biodiversity is more than just a pretty landscape
It hold deep, powerful protections from environmental stressors, such as climate change.

The cuckoo mafia is real… And they’re coming for your chicks.
Brood parasites will punish parents who kick out their eggs severely. But, is it really the mind-game it appears to be?

Panda poop
Gives further evidence that they are bad at panda-ing.

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Progressive Girls do it better…
Girls and boys perform more equally at math in progressive countries.

Chalk bass decide who’s the man and the woman in the relationship
As simultaneous hermaphrodites, these fish must make a decision of who will lay the eggs and who will fertilize them. They do it how any healthy couple would make a decision such as this, they take turns.

Anti bac bad for guts
And, for brains.

Homosexual activity observed in wild female Gorillas for the first time
And scientists couldn’t find any reason for it besides satisfaction!

Overpasses save lives
For wild species, at an alarming rate!

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11 May, 2016 – Episode 566 – This Week in Science Podcast (TWIS)

May 13th, 2016

Kepler Finds More Planets!, Martian Oxygen???, Earth’s Thin Atmosphere, Oldest Axe Ever, Loud Moths, Interview w/ Josiah Zayner re: Microbiome Transplantation, Lizard Tail Tales, Deadly Reptiles, Conservation By Kids, Sea Star Resurgence?, Memory Genes, Sleep Science, And Much More…

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Disclaimer, Disclaimer, Disclaimer!
You are what you eat…
so the old saying goes,
or so the old saying once went…
And in many respects this tidbit of condensed wisdom remains true enough
Yet most old sayings,
despite all of their condensable wisdom,
are woefully lacking in details…
But that’s part of being an old saying…
keep it short,
make it true-ish,
and move on to other half truths that get you through the day…
Science is a tester of truths,
the older the better….
And half truths in the eyes of science are like half cooked meals or half read books…
Unsatisfying in unfinished form,
and anything but wise to proceed as if they were…
In the example of You are what you eat,
yet keeping with condensable form we have updated the saying slightly to say…
You are the microflora in your gut,
and should feed them accordingly…
And as far as new sayings go,
it lacks detail and is only half true at best…
So in order to give greater context to this tidbit of wisdom we offer you
This Week in Science…
Coming up next…

Kepler Finds More Planets!
Over 1200 exo-planets were announced by the Kepler team this week bringing the total to more than 2300. Of these, nine exist within their star’s habitable zone.

Martian Oxygen???
Discovered by a 747 here on Earth.

Earth’s Thin Atmosphere
New data collected from bubbles in lava confirm that early Earth’s atmosphere was less than half as thick as it is now. This result raises questions about how the Earth stayed above freezing.

New oldest axe ever found
The Northern Australians had it figured out around 50,000 years ago.

…Yelled the moth to the bat…

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Interview with Josiah Zayner, Ph.D, about his personal microbiome transplant experiment. Josiah transplanted someone else’s microbiome into and onto his body. Yes, he ate poop pills, and smeared his skin with microbe samples. Why? When? How? And… how’d it turn out? Listen to the show! (Here’s the link to The Verge article referenced in the show. Also, the Reddit AMA where Josiah posted the graphs of his data.)

And, More SCIENCE!!!
A telling tale of the lizards tail
Learning how lizards re-grow limbs, may help us do the same one day.

Favorite reptiles are also the most deadly
Is it any surprise that reptiles get a bad rap? The most popular reptiles searched for on the web are also the most dangerous…

Kids are good judges of conservation priorities
Children polled on which conservation issues should get hypothetic funding were surprisingly different from adults, but even more surprisingly, right in line with scientists’ views.

Sea Star Resurgence?
With high survival rates in this year’s sea star population, scientists wonder if wasting disease will be on the wane.

Memory genes
Genes related to memory consolidation might help with treating Alzheimer’s.

Sleep Perchance To Science
New wearable tech and time-shifting apps have given scientists access to sleep data from people around the world, allowing them to confirm lab studies of sleep habits and find new trends.

(And, just because it was awesome…) John Oliver On Science Reporting
Did you watch it? How do you think TWIS rates?

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04 May, 2016 – Episode 565 – This Week in Science Podcast (TWIS)

May 6th, 2016

How Ketamine Lifts, Weight Loss Gains, Dinos And Dung Beetles, Traumatic Insemination, Interview w/ Dr. Amro Hamdoun from UCSD, Rok Runestone Re-Read, Rhino Seed Vault?, 1 Trillion Friends?, Robo-Clicker For Dogs, How To Boil Water On Mars, And Much More…

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Disclaimer, Disclaimer, Disclaimer!
Very recently in a galaxy right where you are now…
A new knowledge
It is a period of scientific discovery…
A Science-y podcast, striking from a hidden studio,
has done their best to inform the public about current science knowledge.
During the podcast, the hosts managed to retell cutting edge news that could lead to breakthrough cures, advances in green technology and yes even a DEATH STAR, or super nova with enough power to destroy an entire planet…
several entire planets in fact if they happen to have been orbiting the star before it went super nova…
Pursued by the sinister agents of scientific ignorance, Princesses Kiki and Blair reach out from their podcast, custodians of the recent research that can save their people and restore informed thinking to the galaxy….
Also there will be lasers and robots and space craft and bizarre life forms and Justin mind tricks and much much more so May the 4th be with you here on…
This Week in Science
Coming up next…

How Ketamine Lifts
NIH funded scientists have found that Ketamine itself is not responsible for the depression-lifting effects of the drug, but rather a metabolite, which raises the possibility of creating a treatment for depression that doesn’t have the dissociative and tranquilizing effects of the original.

Weight Loss Gains
A study of contestants on The Biggest Loser found that after losing substantial weight on the show, the majority of individuals gained a lot of the weight back despite efforts to keep it off. Turns out that their bodies are working against them with metabolic rates that have slowed by about 500 calories a day compared to other people of their size.

Flowers, Dinos, and Dung beetles
Quite the evolutionary web woven from poo.

It’s Blair’s favorite reproductive strategy, back with a twist!
Traumatic insemination: this time it’s even more horrifying…
Twisted-winged parasites traumatically inseminate females… wait for it… while they reside inside another animal!!! Ewwwww!!!

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Interview with Dr. Amro Hamdoun from UCSD about the latest research from his lab.
A recent paper published in Science Advances by the Hamdoun lab found that persistent organic pollutants in the ocean accumulate in the tissues of tuna, and inhibit the cellular defenses of cells in humans and mice by binding with transport proteins essential for blocking chemicals from entering the body through the gut and other tissues.

Rok Runestone Re-read
Are ancient runes nothing more than a really old graffiti tag?

A seed vault, indeed!
A stunted family tree doesn’t necessarily have to be lights out for the species…

1 Trillion Friends?
A new analysis of the bacterial populization of the Earth estimates that there are between 100 billion and 1 trillion species on the planet… with fewer than 0.001 percent discovered.

Are we training our dogs wrong?
Or, in a rare twist, are we better at it than robots??? A computer pack on a harness on a dog was more consistent at rewarding desired behavior, but overall a little less accurate. Knowing what we do, is this the golgen ticket for animal training??

How To Boil Water On Mars
With an experiment on Earth, researchers have recreated the conditions on Mars, and shown that sub-surface boiling of briny water could produce streaks similar to those seen on the surface of Mars.

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27 April, 2016 – Episode 564 – This Week in Science Podcast (TWIS)

April 29th, 2016

Interview with Dr. Cat Lutz from the Jackson Lab, Stabby Animals, Needy Nightshade, Alien Oceanography, Brain Thesaurus, Addictive Genes, Antibiotic Progress, Fragile X Memory, Soil Bacteria, Dirty Wine, Corvids Are Smart, A New Moon, Old Climate Records, And Much More…

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Disclaimer, Disclaimer, Disclaimer!!!
So much progress has taken place over the past few centuries
that it is hard at times to consider what effort each individual advance required to reach the modern age…
When we think of the great contributors to science
many names come quickly to mind…
But chances are none of the names you may be thinking belong to mice…
And yet behind many of our Nobel Prize winning human scientists…
There is a focused and dedicated team of research mice…
Living lives even more dedicated to science than the Humans who employ them.
And let us also not forget the trusty Lab Rat,
who’s stoic and steadfast use of logic and mastery of emotional equilibrium
is the basis of much modern psychology…
And while our whiskered cousins may not claim credit for the results…
The modern era of science and medicine would not have been possible…
Without their dedication, brave commitments and heroic contributions…
Research Mouse, Lab Rat, we salute you here on
This Week in Science,
Coming up Next…

Interview with Dr. Cathleen Lutz of the Jackson Laboratory. Dr. Cat Lutz is head the Mouse Models Repository at The Jackson Laboratory, and is responsible for managing all aspects of the Repository, which consists of over 1800 strains for distribution to the scientific community.

Blair’s Animal Corner!
How stabby?
That is the scientific question a group of researchers asked this week. But what is really fascinating is how they measured it!

Deadly nightshade have invertebrate friends
When being poisonous isn’t good enough to keep herbivores away, nightshade has found a way to enlist the help of ants, by bribing them with what is essentially sugar-water.

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Alien Oceanography
The Cassini mission explored Saturn’s moon Titan over several years, and a new paper out describes the moon’s polar oceans, specifically Ligeia Mare. It appears to contain mainly methane, have a soft bottom, and be surrounded by wetlands.

Brain Thesaurus
A new fMRI project has mapped the brain’s organization of language in native English speakers, and found that while there are differences between individual brains the rough semantic categories are the same across individuals.

Addictive Genes…
Rat study confirms pre-disposure to addiction.

Teixobactin Progress
Chemists have succeeded in synthetically producing the novel anti-bacterial agent Teixobactin that was discovered just last year. While still a long way from being able to use the compound for treatment of human infections, it is the first step in creating a new class of antibiotic drug.

Cancelling Mutation Effects
Researchers used an experimental cancer drug called Nutlin-3 to succesfully reverse the memory effects of a genetic mutation causing Fragile X syndrome in mice.

Soil Bacteria
Nitrogen fixers are so important, but they don’t really need the plants.

Can you really taste the soil your wine was grown in?
Sort of…

Corvids are Smart
In a non-shocking study, ravens appeared to be just as good at solving a food puzzle as chimpanzees, proving once again that size doesn’t matter, when it comes to your brain.

MakeMake Moon!
Hubble Space telescope discovered a moon orbiting the Kuiper belt object called Makemake making it even more Pluto-like.

Climate Data
Lots of it from ancient farmers and merchants corroborate the effect of the Industrial Revolution on the Earth’s increasing temperature.

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20 April, 2016 – Episode 563 – This Week in Science Podcast (TWIS)

April 22nd, 2016

Bad Bleaching Down Under, Earth Day Plus, Dutch Decisions, Moving Forward, Stinky Lemurs, Mice On Ice, Panamanian Primate, CRISPR Mushrooms, CRISPR Advances, Iron Eaters, Ant Rafts, Interview w/ Jess Pelaez from Blueprint Earth, And Much More…

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Disclaimer, Disclaimer, Disclaimer!!!
The world as we know it was not always the world as we know it…
It has changed a lot over 4 billion years…
It started without much oxygen…
If you were to time travel 3billion years into the past you would suffocate on the air…
But oxygen producing prokaryotic algae changed that… it took a while…
but slowly over hundreds of millions of years… …
Tiny whiffs of oxygen were released from blue green algae in the sea…
Filled the atmosphere with so much oxygen that it turned the planet into a giant snowball…
But time again was our friend and the planet found equilibrium with an oxygen rich atmosphere…
Life flourished…
Yeas there were still trials, asteroid impacts, global warming and cooling, some life survived, most did not…
But just enough survived to allow us time to evolve into Humans…
And as much as we Humans would like to think that the story ends here, that with the arrival of us, the world has reached its final and permanent state…
We know better.
We know that the tiny emissions of oxygen were enough to change the balance of an atmosphere in the past…
We know that massive emission of Co2 today will change the balance of an atmosphere tomorrow…
And the reason we know it is because we have frequently tuned into
This Week in Science,
Coming up next…

Great Barrier Reef Bleaching
93% of the Great Barrier Reef is experiencing bleaching to some degree this year, and while there is an expecteded 50% mortality in the northern sector, the central and southern portions are expected to recover.

An Agreement For The Ages?
Obama and China’s Prime Minster are expected to sign a climate treaty on April 22nd that will inspire countries around the world to proactively work to mitigate the effects of climate change.

No Gas Cars?
The Dutch have voted to ban sales of gas-powered vehicles by 2025, and while the motion has yet to be ratified by the Dutch Senate, it’s a drastic move.

10 Years To Sustainable?
A new analysis suggests that it could be possible to move completely away from fossil fuel use… if there is a coordinated and organized effort.

Interview with Jess Pelaez, Co-founder and CEO of Blueprint Earth

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Lemurs are stinky!
And know best how to combine their glorious odors!!

Lab rats might be too cold to give us any good information.
They might not be responding to our new cancer treatments because they’re chilly! Crank up the heat in honor of #worldlabanimalday

Panama Papers full of monkey business
1st North American Monkey discovered.

GM Mushrooms Are OK!
Mushrooms genetically modified to stay fresh longer using the CRISPR/Cas9 editing system have been approved by the USDA.

A new advancement might bring us closer to treating human genetic diseases.

Iron eating microbes
New microbes have been discovered using iron as an energy source instead of oxygen.

Ants have jobs inside their rafts.
And they stick to what they are best at. Most interesting, ants on the bottom don’t die!!!

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13 April. 2016 – Episode 562 – This Week in Science Podcast (TWIS)

April 15th, 2016

Breakthrough Starshot, Spaceship Bouncy House, Space X Win!, Clouds Need Ice, Bearcat Or Popcorn, Moths To Flame, Y No Meanders, LSD For Brains, Cure For Paralysis?, Vikings, Tilt-A-Whirl Earth, White Nose Hope, Immoral Scientists?, And Much More…

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Disclaimer, disclaimer, disclaimer!
The following flow of information will pass through your ear holes
and nestle into your brain
where it may or may not set up a permanent residence.
While there is considerable risk of information retention,
that risk is not limited to what you are about to hear,
but may spread to other sources of information you seek out as a result of a condition
simply referred to by experts as “Curiosity”
What is more frightening and cause for alarm is that this same nestling of information and resultant Curiosity condition can occur with any form of information you allow to pass through your ear holes…
In light of the comparable damage you could be doing to yourself by instead listening to
political pontificating, or athletic event color commentary…
or economic reverse forecast mortgage stock tips…
or anything else with jingles, sales scams or useless product pitches…
Catching curiosity in any of these traps leads to certain and irrevocable doom…
So we think you have made the best possible by choice
and that only limited harm could come to you by tuning into
This Week in Science…
Coming up Next.

Breakthrough Starshot
100 million dollars and a bunch of big names are teaming up to send a tiny space kite to Alpha Centauri by way of laser.

Spaceship Bouncy House
Space X’s Dragon capsule succesfully delivered supplies to the ISS last week. Among them, a new inflatable module for living and working.

Space X Win!
Finally, the Space X team successfully returned its booster rocket to the water-based landing pad with a landing that can only be called a perfect 10.

This Week in the end of the world…
Not enough ice in clouds = faster warming

Why do bearcats smell like popcorn? Or, why does popcorn smell like binturong pee?
A special compound, and just the right environmental factors, give these two things their mouth-watering taste.

Evolution moves fast. If you don’t stop and look around every once in a while, you might miss it.
Moths living in the city have learned to avoid light. That keeps them from getting fried, but it could also stop them from being such skilled pollinators…

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Y no neanderthals today…
The Y chromosome went the way of the dodos.

Another reason Neanders went away
Diseases aren’t nice.

LSD in the Brain
MRI imaging showed that the brain loses connectivity between areas important to “sense of self”, but other areas of the brain that are normally segregated become more integrated.

Chips in the Brain
A paralyzed guy with a chip in his head has demonstrated improved hand mobility thanks to a special device for bypassing his spinal injury.

they likely came to America before Columbus.

Tilt-a-whirl Earth
Water in the center of continents drives Earth’s wobble, according to a new analysis of evidence from the GRACE satellite.

There may be hope for tiny brown bats after-all.
Some are surviving, despite the white-nose menace. Even if it’s only 10%, it means bats may not end up extinct! Go go go, little bats!!!

Immoral Scientists
A series of 10 studies of people’s perceptions of scientists found that scientists are seen as robots valuing knowledge over all else, and that not only are scientists perceived as immoral, but capable of immoral actions.

Words For Snow
New evidence supports the idea that words reflect the culture of a place. Around the world, warmer cultures had fewer linguistic distinctions around the concepts of ice and snow than colder ones.

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06 April, 2016 – Episode 561 – This Week in Science Podcast (TWIS)

April 8th, 2016

More Info From LIGO, Not So Fast, Not Star Stuff, Not Scottish Deer, Fiddler Poker Crabs, Agro Salmon, Cyborg DNA?, Getchyer Veggie Genes!, Bouncy Metal Glass, Juice Those Cells, Nightmare Juice, Few Human Cuckoos, Do Robots Turn You On?, And Much More!

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Disclaimer, disclaimer, disclaimer!
The world loves a mystery…
And perhaps more than a good mystery, the world loves to solve mysteries…
Of all the mysteries out there, one seems to always be lurking in the darkness…
On the edges of our understanding…
In the peripheral of our perception…
Further out than our furthest most fathomable faculties can affirm…
Just barely beyond the best guesses of our most brilliant scientific minds…
And that edgy, peripherally unfathomed, lurking mystery has a name…
Because there is not really one mystery lurking out there…
Just the next one…
And with each mystery we solve another takes its place…
And another… and another…
So many that there will likely never come a day when we don’t have reason enough to say
This week in Science
Coming up … Next.

More Info From LIGO
After finding evidence of the first gravitational wave, scientists from LIGO are using the information gleaned from their single data point to estimate future balck hole merger findings, which they think will be pretty common and easy to pick up with our instruments in about 3-4 years.

Not So Fast
Turns out last year’s fast radio burst finding, which researchers thought had an extended afterglow that helped them to pinpoint the burst’s galaxy of origin, didn’t actually have a glow. New analysis find the glow to emanate from a supermassive black hole in a distant active galactic nucleus.

Not Star Stuff
A computer simulation of the formation of super-massive black holes finds that they do not and cannot form from the merger of stellar black holes, but are different beasts entirely. What kind is as yet unknown.

Scottish Deer, not so Scottish after all
But, where the come from is unclear.

Fiddler crabs would be good at poker
Expert bluffers, they can intimidate competitors despite being less than a whole original crab.

Agro salmon
Salmon act more agressive in lighter-colored tanks. This could help aquaculture in a big way. But could it also tell us something about ourselves??

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Building a cyborg from the DNA up…
This story isn’t really about cyborgs, but new diodes made from DNA that might just help us exceed Moore’s Law.

Getchyer Veggie Genes!
Drinking milk is not the only dietary pressure that seems to have influenced human genetic variation. A recent study from Cornell found a high likelihood that a specific segment of DNA has made its way into lineages of vegetarians, while it is missing from that of Inuit fish eaters.
This study was also an example of This Week in Totally Getting It Wrong
Many outlets in the mainstream media got this news wrong. At least, the headline writers did, and suggested that eating a vegetarian diet would lead to changes in individual genomes OR that having the so-called vegetarian allele would make you more prone to cancer and heart disease. The first is totally untrue, while the second is mostly untrue.

BMG = Bouncy Metal Glass
Is this the new transparent aluminum we have been waiting for?

Juice Those Cells
Preliminary research with rats suggests that microvessicles extracted from stem cells can protect brains from injury.

Nightmare Juice
Nightmarish larvae ward off bacteria by being extremely pokey. Now, how can we use this info to our advantage??

White nose on the west coast
…It finally happened… Will we beat it in time??

Few Human Cuckoos
Turns out guys know when they are raising someone else’s kid.

Do Robots Turn You On?
Science says yes.

Hope for Florida yet…
Kind of.

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30 March, 2016 – Episode 560 – This Week in Science Podcast (TWIS)

April 1st, 2016

Venter’s Back!, Saturn’s Moons, Geysers of Enceladus, Hobbit Floresiensis Update, Out Of Africa, Blood-thirsty Prairie Dogs, Smart Skuas, Ant Antennae, Puppy Transplants, Cure For Aging, Stem Cells For Spines, Fridge Lasers, And Much More!

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Disclaimer, disclaimer, disclaimer!
The first time Human ancestors left the tree to go walking in the wide open world…
They must have been afraid of everything…
Everything must have been afraid of them…
Nothing much noticed them until it was much too late and Humanity had spread world wide
In any case… the few things that were noticed or not,
caused or overcame fear, had one thing in common
Our ancestors ability to acquire knowledge made them powerful enough to set out with ape brains
And conquer a planet
And so in the spirit of our ape brained heritage we offer you knowledge
That you may set out from the trees of humanity
And conquer the world as you see fit
Yes, it time once again for
This week in science
Coming up next…

Venter’s Back!
After a couple of years without a peep from the J. Craig Venter Institute about synthetic bacteria, they are back with a paper in Science detailing their work into creating the world’s most minimal genome, a key step in developing a genome from scratch.

Saturn’s Moons
A new model of ring and moon formation around Saturn suggests that the inner moons only formed recently within 100 million years or so. This interpretation doesn’t bode well for the possibility of life on Enceladus.

Geysers of Enceladus
Speaking of Enceladus, another paper modelling the dynamics of the water jets on inner moon of Saturn concludes that the forces might be self-sustaining for periods of up to a million years.

Hobbit floresiensis Update
Dating of tools left behind by Homo floriensis suggests that they died out earlier than previously thought… did they die while Homo sapiens spread?

Australopithecus out of Africa… (great rift valley anyway)
Fossil finds put A. afarensis much further east than previously discovered.

Blood-thirsty prairie dogs
Killing squirrels for sport. Or, because they asked for it?

Antarctic bird much smarter than we thought
An antarctic bird called a skua can differentiate individual humans, and they hold a grudge…

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Ant Antennae
Not just for picking up odors anymore! These insectoid tuning-forks are also for sending messages.

Fecal Transplants For Puppies!
Poop’s got what puppies need when they have diarreah.

Poop Safety
An analysis of fecal transplants found that non-pathogenic and bacterial viruses squeak through the screening process. It’s unknown what kinds of effects these microbes have on recipients.

The Cure For Aging
Is exercise. Older athletes were much better off than non-exercising peers in a recent study.

Stem Cells For Spines
For the first time, researchers showed regeneration of corticospinal pathways in injured spinal cords of paralyzed rats using stem cell grafts. These neurons specifically transmit signals for voluntary movement, and success in this area could lead to better prognoses for paralysis victims.

Green lights could save sea turtles
Turtles hate ’em, fish don’t mind ’em. Green lights are a win-win!

Micro-sanctuaries make all the difference
Some might say that saving a little forest doesn’t do any good, but it turns out that it just might save a species from extinction.

Fridge Laser?
Engineers come up with the darndest ideas.

Chicken Pox Possibility
In a study, researchers found a reduced risk of gliomas in those people who had chicken pox as children.

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