MI weekly selection #105


Joint oscillation of Jupiter, sun might detect gravitational waves

The joint oscillation of the sun and Jupiter might hold the key to detecting gravitational waves. Oscillations from Jupiter in 2011 were detected in frequencies that matched the sun’s. Researcher Ibrahim Semiz suggests that the oscillations might have been caused by gravitational waves, and other researchers say his idea has merit, but the oscillations need to be tracked over many days to confirm.

New Scientist

New timeline for massive ancient lava flows may shed light on dinosaurs’ demise

Ancient lava flows that occurred about 250,000 years before an asteroid smashed into Earth may have led to the extinction of the dinosaurs, according to research that pinpoints the timeline of the formation of India’s Deccan Traps, mountainous heaps of basalt lava formed 66 million years ago. The finding may reignite the debate about what led to dinosaurs’ extinction.

Live Science

Study of bird genomes results in comprehensive family tree

A wide-ranging study utilizing genetic data from 48 species of birds has resulted in a comprehensive map of the avian family tree, helping refine the evolutionary relationships of modern birds and revealing how such traits as singing, toothlessness and feather coloring came to be. The genomes of 45 bird species, including penguins, owls, ostriches and chickens, were mapped, covering almost all bird groups alive today.


Gene controls human speech, birdsong

The genes responsible for giving birds the ability to sing are the same as those for human speech, according to a study by neuroscientist Erich Jarvis, who thinks that human speech and birdsong evolved from the same brain structure in parallel, not through a common ancestor. The connection between human speech and bird’s singing was sussed out as a result of a comprehensive study of the genomes of 48 birds.

The Washington Post

Filefish hide from predators by absorbing smell of the coral they eat

Orange-spotted filefish dine on coral and absorb their scent to hide from predators. This is the first time that researchers have found evidence of a creature camouflaging itself by smell through its diet.

National Geographic

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