MI weekly selection #123


Young galaxy clusters discovered

More than 200 young galaxy clusters have been documented by astronomers using data gathered by the Planck and Herschel space telescopes. The researchers have released photos of the clusters, which will be studied further in the hope answers can be found to many cosmic questions like how galaxies grow and the ever-elusive dark matter.


The secrets of seahorse tails

Seahorse tails are a paradoxical marvel of the natural world, able to be flexible and rigid simultaneously. A recent study has explained how seahorses’ tails work. The secret is in the sheets of connective tissue, which stretches across the tail’s vertebrae to provide support without actually fixing them together permanently, a characteristic only found in seahorses.

New Scientist

Ants in NYC are changing due to junk food diets

People aren’t the only ones enjoying junk food in New York City; ants have sweet treats in their diets, too, which leads to interesting effects. The degree to which they’re shifting their diets to human foods is actually changing the chemical makeup of their bodies to look more and more like humans.

Live Science

Strange undersea virus mutates own genes to survive in harsh environment

Scientists have discovered a virus that infects a single-celled microbe living near methane seeps deep in the ocean. The virus may be surviving in the harsh environment much the same way the microbe, called archaea, does. The virus appears to single out a gene of its own for mutation, similar to what the archaea does to adapt.


New dating technique shows Little Foot fossil is 3.7 million years old

Little Foot, the fossil of an early precursor to humans found in South Africa in the 1990s, dates back about 3.7 million years, according to a new dating method. The timing puts Little Foot’s species, Australopithecus prometheus, at about the same time as the famous fossil Lucy’s species, Australopithecus afarensis. It raises the question of how many other species may have lived in the general area around the same time that have not yet been discovered.


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