Month: June 2020

Whale sharks found to have tiny teeth around their eyes

A team of researchers working at Japan’s Okinawa Churashima Research Center has found that whale sharks have thousands of dermal denticles (tiny teeth) in the skin surrounding their eyeballs. In their paper posted on the open access site PLOS ONE, the group describes their study of the teeth and suggest possible functions.

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Evidence found of Natufian people eating snakes and lizards 15,000 years ago

A trio of researchers at the University of Haifa’s Zinman Institute of Archaeology has found evidence of Natufian people eating snakes and lizards approximately 15,000 years ago. In their paper published in the journal Scientific Reports, Ma’ayan Lev, Mina Weinstein-Evron and Reuven Yeshurun describe their study of squamate bones found in caves at the el-Wad Terrace dig site in Israel and what they learned about them.

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Quantum fridge works by superposing the order of events

Ever tried defrosting your dinner by popping it in one identical freezer after another? Strange as it sounds, recent studies of indefinite causal order—in which different orders of events are quantum superposed—suggest this could actually work for quantum systems. Researchers at the University of Oxford show how the phenomenon can be put to use in a type of quantum refrigeration.

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Astronomers see unexpected molecule in exoplanet atmosphere

SRON-astronomers have found the signature for aluminum oxide (AlO) in the spectrum of exoplanet WASP-43b. This came as a surprise because AlO is expected to stay hidden in the lower atmospheric layers. It is only the second time that astronomers have observed the molecule in an exoplanet’s atmosphere. The results are published in Astronomy & Astrophysics on July 1.

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A cosmic mystery: Very Large Telescope captures the disappearance of a massive star

Using the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (VLT), astronomers have discovered the absence of an unstable massive star in a dwarf galaxy. Scientists think this could indicate that the star became less bright and partially obscured by dust. An alternative explanation is that the star collapsed into a black hole without producing a supernova. “If true,” says team leader and Ph.D. student Andrew Allan of Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, “this would be the first direct detection of such a monster star ending its life in this manner.”

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