MI weekly selection #148
Gravitational waves from binary black holes milder than thought
Black holes rotating around each other on a collision course create milder gravitational waves than previously thought, a study published online in Science suggests. Scientists studying pulsars with super-sensitive equipment for 11 years looking for evidence of gravitational waves coming from binary black holes haven’t found a signal, suggesting the waves may not be as strong as predicted.
Scientists finally create cyanoform acid after trying for more than 100 years
The elusive acid cyanoform, which researchers have been trying to create since at least 1896, has been isolated by chemists at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. The key, researchers say, is temperature. Cyanoform decomposes at room temperature, but is stable at below minus 40 degrees Celsius.
Bees’ tongues have shortened to adapt to flower changes
The once-long-tongued mountain bumblebees have evolved quickly to adapt to the declining number of flowers on Colorado’s peaks, according to a study published in Science that looked at 40 years’ worth of records. “A 24% decrease in tongue length is really dramatic. That was in 40 years, in 40 generations, I should say, because these bumblebees only have one generation a year. That’s a pretty short period of time to see such a dramatic shift,” said lead study author Nicole Miller-Struttmann. Higher mountain temperatures have contributed to the decline in flowers, which led to the adaptations in the bees.
Ancient severed skull, hands found in Brazilian cave
A decapitated skull and severed hands have been found in Brazil in what may be the oldest example of ritual beheading in the Americas, according to findings published in PLoS ONE. The bones, which include a skull, jaw, six vertebrae and two amputated hands, are about 9,000 years old and raise new questions about origins of ritual beheading in the New World.
Tooth enamel evolved from fish that lived over 425M years ago
The enamel on modern teeth evolved from the scales of fish that lived more than 425 million years ago. Scientists looked at the ancient fish species Psarolepis romeri, which had enamel everywhere but its teeth, and Andreolepis hedei, which had enamel everywhere except its skull bones, leading researchers to conclude that “enamel originated on the scales, before colonizing the dermal bones and finally the teeth.”