April 26, 2017
The global plastic bag crisis could be solved by a waxworm (Galleria mellonella) capable of eating through the material at “uniquely high speeds”.
Researchers have described the tiny caterpillar’s ability to break down even the toughest plastics as “extremely exciting” and said the discovery could offer an environmentally friendly solution on an industrial scale.
Around a trillion plastic bags are used worldwide each year, of which a huge number find their way into the oceans or are discarded into landfill.
The waxworm, commonly found living in bee hives or harvested as fishing bait, proved it could eat its way through polyethylene, which is notoriously hard to break down, more than 1400 times faster than other organisms.
Scientists believe the worm has enzymes in its saliva or gut that attack plastic’s chemical bonds, in the same way they digest the wax found in hives.
Learn more here, here or here.
March 25, 2017
If you’ve ever wondered what cell division actually looks like, this incredible time-lapse gives you the best view I’ve ever seen, showing a real-life tadpole egg dividing from four cells into several million in the space of just 20 seconds.
Of course, that’s lightening speed compared to how long it actually takes, the time-lapse has sped up 33 hours of painstaking division into mere seconds for our viewing pleasure.
The species you see developing here is Rana temporaria, the common frog, which lays 1,000 to 2,000 eggs at a time in shallow, fresh water ponds.
March 15, 2017
What will the world of 2028 look like?
March 13, 2017
I like videos showing how big things can get.
This one is pretty interesting too …
February 23, 2017
Astronomers announced today the discovery of an extraordinary planetary system: seven Earth-sized planets that could all have liquid water on their rocky surfaces. The planets circle a tiny, dim, nearby star in tight orbits all less than 2 weeks long.
Although it isn’t possible today to say whether the planets harbor life, astronomers are excited because each planet’s orbit passes in front of—or “transits”—its parent star. What’s more, the system’s proximity to Earth means that answers to questions about whether the system is habitable may come in just a few years’ time with the launch of a powerful new space telescope.
The planets, which circle a star called TRAPPIST-1 just 39 light-years away, are tucked together so tightly that they routinely spangle each others’ skies, sometimes appearing as shimmering crescents and at other times as orbs nearly twice as large as the full moon.
Learn more here, here, here, here, here or here.
February 20, 2017
In the tradition of ‘Killer Whale vs Seal‘, ‘Lion vs Buffalo vs Crocodile‘, ‘Shark vs Octopus‘, ’Leopard vs Porcupine‘, ‘Hornets vs Honey bees‘, ’Salmon vs Grizzly Bear‘, ‘Hippopotamus vs Crocodile’, ‘Polar Bear vs Walrus Colony’, ‘Giraffe vs Giraffe‘, ‘Caterpillar vs Frog‘, ‘Frog vs Poison Newt’, ‘Rubber bands vs Water Melon’, ‘Sarcastic fringehead vs Sarcastic fringehead’, ‘Jaguar vs Crocodile‘, ‘Snake vs Crocodile‘, ‘Centipede vs Snake‘, ‘Moray Eel vs White Tip Reef Shark‘, ‘Rabbit vs Snake‘, ‘Octopus vs Octopus‘, ‘Rat vs Snake’, ‘Iguana vs Snakes‘ and ‘Eel vs Octopus vs Human‘ here is ‘Red Octopus vs Swimmer Crab’:
Be warned, this sparring match does not end the way either of the opponents had intended.
February 8, 2017
How do you escape a grabby predator? Many lizards shed their tails. But a newly described species of gecko has another trick up its scales: When grabbed, it can shed patches of skin and scales from most of its body, making it look more like a boneless, skinless chicken breast than a scaly beast.
Geckolepis megalepis is a kind of fish-scale gecko, a group of nocturnal lizards found only on Madagascar and the nearby Comoros Islands whose outsized scales overlap like those of a fish. So far, the new species has been found only in a small nature reserve in northern Madagascar. Besides being easy to shed, its scales are the largest of any gecko—the biggest measure more than 8% of the creature’s body length.
Learn more here, here or here.
January 9, 2017
Prince Rupert’s Drops are toughened glass beads created by dripping molten glass into cold water, which causes it to solidify into a tadpole-shaped droplet with a long, thin tail. These droplets are characterized internally by very high residual stresses, which give rise to counter-intuitive properties, such as the ability to withstand a blow from a hammer or a bullet on the bulbous end without breaking, while exhibiting explosive disintegration if the tail end is even slightly damaged.
They are AMAZING! Check them out …
December 23, 2016
In the tradition of ‘Killer Whale vs Seal‘, ‘Lion vs Buffalo vs Crocodile‘, ‘Shark vs Octopus‘, ’Leopard vs Porcupine‘, ‘Hornets vs Honey bees‘, ’Salmon vs Grizzly Bear‘, ‘Hippopotamus vs Crocodile’, ‘Polar Bear vs Walrus Colony’, ‘Giraffe vs Giraffe‘, ‘Caterpillar vs Frog‘, ‘Frog vs Poison Newt’, ‘Rubber bands vs Water Melon’, ‘Sarcastic fringehead vs Sarcastic fringehead’, ‘Jaguar vs Crocodile‘, ‘Snake vs Crocodile‘, ‘Centipede vs Snake‘, ‘Moray Eel vs White Tip Reef Shark‘, ‘Rabbit vs Snake‘, ‘Octopus vs Octopus‘, ‘Rat vs Snake’ and ‘Iguana vs Snakes‘ here is ‘Eel vs Octopus vs Human’:
December 22, 2016
This little white octopus, dubbed “Casper,” certainly looks cute just sitting on a rock ledge more than 4000 meters below the ocean surface. But Casper’s parenting strategy is not as adorable—in fact, it’s positively heartbreaking.
This species (which is so new, it doesn’t have a scientific designation) not only lives in those great depths at several places of the Pacific—researchers made two dozen more observations of its behavior off Ecuador. The animal also attaches its clutch of about 30 small eggs to the stalk of a dead sponge and then wraps its whole body around it. It will stay put to protect its young for several years, not feeding, waning away until the eggs hatch and it dies.
Learn more here.