MI weekly selection #207
Scientists drill into ancient crater formed by asteroid hit 66M years ago
The peak ring of the Chicxulub crater in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula is made of granite, pushed up from deep inside the Earth’s crust when a massive asteroid crashed into the planet about 66 million years ago, likely causing the mass dinosaur extinction. Scientists drilled into the crater in the Gulf of Mexico, reaching the peak ring at about 762 meters below sea level and pulling out core samples.
Discovery of large valley latest clue that Mercury is shrinking
A large, deep valley recently discovered on Mercury is the latest evidence that the planet is shrinking. “Unlike Earth’s Great Rift Valley, Mercury’s great valley is not caused by the pulling apart of lithospheric plates due to plate tectonics; it is the result of the global contraction of a shrinking one-plate planet,” said Tom Watters, the study’s lead author
DNA from 5,310-year-old corncob reveals maize’s evolution
An ancient corncob found in a cave in Mexico is giving researchers insight into why maize became such a popular food. Researchers extracted DNA from the 5,310-year-old cob and found it has more in common with modern maize than with its ancestors.
Reindeer starvation events ripple throughout ecosystem
Weather events linked to the loss of Arctic sea ice may explain tens of thousands of reindeer deaths, with important implications for other species in the ecosystem and the local subsistence economy of West Siberia. Researchers examined major weather events in 2006 and 2013, the latter of which wiped out 22% of the 275,000 reindeer believed to inhabit Siberia’s Yamal Peninsula.
Rare, new spider species has unique disguise to fool predators, prey
A new species of spider has been discovered in China. The rare arachnid disguises itself as a dried-up leaf to hide from predators and sneak up on prey.