Wrinkly Fingers Evolved to Grasp Wet Objects

Credit: nathanmac87/Flickr

Scientists have discovered the reason why the skin on human fingers and toes shrivels up when soaked in water. Laboratory tests confirmed that wrinkly fingers improve the grip on wet or submerged objects, working away the water like rain treads in car tires.

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Possible Planetary Disasters That Could Cause Extinction

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In the last 40,000 years, there have been at least ten gigantic landslides of more than 100 cubic kilometers in the North Atlantic ocean alone. Each of these was capable of producing waves tens to hundreds of meters in height and according to a new report, this is only one of the many possible planetary disasters that could cause extinction.

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Health Problems Future Mars Astronauts May Face

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A newly published study found that astronauts going to Mars could have trouble sleeping, become lethargic, and have problems with mental tasks over the course of a long mission.

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Tuscan Shipwreck Gives Clues of Ancient Eye Treatment

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Archaeologists have retrieved medicinal tablets from a 2000-year old shipwreck, indicating that classical Mediterranean civilizations used sophisticated drugs.

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Brainless Slime Mold Physarum polycephalum Shows Intelligence

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Slime molds are gelatinous amoebae that are classified as protists, a taxonomic group. Slime molds, while brainless, are smarter than they look. Physarum polycephalum can solve mazes, mimic the layout of man-made transportation networks, and choose the healthiest food from a menu.

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Gene-Expression Indicates How Coral Reefs Will Handle Climate Change

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Scientists have discovered a pattern of gene activity, which allows some corals to survive in higher temperatures. This suggests a way to predict how different corals will react to warmer waters, which are expected to result from climate change over the coming decades.

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Pollutants in Lakes Linked to Oil Sands

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Some of the world’s largest reserves of crude oil are held in the oil sands in Alberta, Canada, and production has been ongoing. A new study shows that contaminants from the development of the sands are stacking up in the environment.

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Wasp Larva Disinfects Roach From Within

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Cockroaches feed on garbage and carrion, so anything that’s devouring a cockroach from the inside out must contend with a variety of disease-causing microbes. Now, German scientists have shown that the larva of the emerald cockroach wasp actively disinfects its roach host by exuding antibacterial chemicals from its mouthparts.

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28-Foot Ichthyosaur Discovered

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Researchers have discovered an 8.6-meter long reptile with a massive skull and sharp teeth that lived 244 million years ago, during the Triassic Period. It’s been described as an early ichthyosaur, a four-footed reptile that turned seafarer.

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Sandy Island, The Island That Wasn’t There

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A New Zealand researcher thinks that he has solved the riddle of a mysterious South Pacific island shown on Google Earth and world maps, but which doesn’t really exist. He thinks that a whaling ship from 1876 is to blame.

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