Scientists didn't know what kind of octopus egg they'd plucked from the bottom of the sea until the shell started to hatch — then, they saw the elephant ears. The adorable cephalopod hatchling, which you can see in a new video taken by researchers on a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) expedition, is known as a Dumbo octopus (genus Grimpoteuthis). Named after Disney's flying elephant, Dumbo octopi are easily distinguished by the floppy, ear-like fins popping out of their heads, which they use to swim around the deep sea. The video, which accompanies a new paper published today (Feb. 19) in the journal Current Biology, shows a freshly hatched Dumbo octopus swimming for the first time in a bucket of water aboard the NOAA research vessel. [8 Crazy Facts About Octopuses] The wee hatchling's mantle — the bulbous shell above its tentacles, where most of its internal organs are located — measured just 0.5 inches (13 millimeters), the researchers … [Read more...] about 1st Video of Dumbo Octopus Hatchling Is Adorbs
Though slightly lopsided, the towering, Great Pyramid of Giza is an ancient feat of engineering, and now an archaeologist has figured out how the Egyptians may have aligned the monument almost perfectly along the cardinal points, north-south-east-west — they may have used the fall equinox. The fall equinox occurs halfway between the summer and winter solstices, when Earth's tilt is such that the length of the day and nightare almost the same. About 4,500 years ago, Egyptian pharaoh Khufu had the Great Pyramid of Giza constructed; it is the largest of the three pyramids — now standing about 455 feet (138 meters) tall — on the Giza Plateau and was considered a "wonder of the world" by ancient writers. [In Photos: Looking Inside the Great Pyramid of Giza] Turns out, the pyramid builders somehow designed this ancient wonder with extreme precision. "The builders of the Great Pyramid of Khufu aligned the great monument to the cardinal points with an … [Read more...] about Secret to Great Pyramid’s Near Perfect Alignment Possibly Found
Deep inside looters' tunnels dug beneath the Tomb of Jonah in the ancient Iraq city of Nineveh, archaeologists have uncovered 2,700-year-old inscriptions that describe the rule of an Assyrian king named Esarhaddon. The seven inscriptions were discovered in four tunnels beneath the biblical prophet's tomb, which is a shrine that's sacred to both Christians and Muslims. The shrine was blown up by the Islamic State group (also called ISIS or Daesh) during its occupation of Nineveh from June 2014 until January 2017. ISIS or ISIS-backed looters apparently dug the tunnels to look for archaeological treasures from the Assyrian kings in what is today Iraq, Ali Y. Al-Juboori, director of the Assyrian Studies Centre at the University of Mosul, wrote in a recent issue of the journal Iraq. [In Photos: Ancient City Discovered in Iraq] Deciphering inscriptions One inscription, in translation, reads: "The palace of Esarhaddon, strong king, king of the world, king of Assyria, governor of … [Read more...] about Beneath Biblical Prophet’s Tomb, An Archaeological Surprise
The largest black holes grow faster than their galaxies, according to new research. Two studies from separate groups of researchers find that so-called supermassive black holes are bigger than astronomers would have calculated from their surroundings alone. Supermassive black holes are enormous gravity wells found in the center of large galaxies. No stress, though: The black holes are generally no longer growing, and they aren't capable of eating their host galaxies for dinner. [Science Fact or Fiction? The Plausibility of 10 Sci-Fi Concepts] "The black hole is tiny compared to the whole galaxy, so we are very safe!" said Guang Yang, a graduate student at The Pennsylvania State University who led one of the new studies. Yang's study found that the larger the galaxy, the faster the black hole grew in comparison to the birth rate of the galaxy's stars. The other study found that the masses of supermassive black holes are about 10 times greater than would be expected if these central … [Read more...] about Are Supermassive Black Holes Going to Eat the Universe?
Pablo Picasso painted one of his "Blue Period" masterpieces, one showing a crouching, cloaked woman, on top of another artist's work. A new examination of the painting, "La Miséreuse accroupie," or "The crouching beggar," reveals that Picasso painted over a landscape made by another artist, flipping the canvas 90 degrees and using what was once a cliff top as the line of the cloaked woman's back. The discovery was part of a larger project looking at Picasso's works, including his sculptures. In separate findings, the same research team was able to trace the metals in several of Picasso's bronzes to specific foundries, and to track how wartime metal shortages in the 1940s affected the artist's materials. [11 Hidden Secrets in Famous Works of Art] Painting and repainting Picasso, born in 1881, was one of the pioneers of Cubism, a style of art that depicts objects abstractly and from multiple points of view at once. "La Miséreuse accroupie" is a more realistic composition, … [Read more...] about Hidden Artwork Found Beneath Picasso ‘Blue Period’ Masterpiece
Two dogs at a Wisconsin animal shelter recently tested positive for "strep zoo," a potentially lethal respiratory infection in animals that, in rare cases, can spread to humans. The dogs, which were housed at the Wisconsin Human Society (WHS) campus in Ozaukee, did not respond to treatment for the infection, and needed to be euthanized, the organization said in a statement. The shelter is investigating the source of the infection, and plans to test other dogs that show symptoms of the respiratory illness, WHS said. "Strep zoo" is caused by the bacteria Streptococcus equi subspecies Zooepidemicus. It's typically found in horses, but can cause infections in cows, sheep, goats, pigs, dogs and cats, according to Medscape. It's a contagious diseases that is believed to be spread through the air, or through contact with bodily fluids or contaminated surfaces. In animals, symptoms including coughing and coughing up blood, nasal discharge, vomiting and labored breathing, according to WHS. … [Read more...] about Strange Infection Strikes Wisconsin Dog Shelter: What Is ‘Strep Zoo’?
As I write this, I'm sitting in a desk chair — the kind that turns. If I kick my legs hard against the floor, again and again, it will spin fast — not figure-skater fast, but fast enough that when I stop and try to stand, the whole world careens sideways, threatening to hurl me into my editor — which I don't think she would appreciate. [Editor's note: This is correct.] I gave it a try a few minutes ago, and the words of this article are still listing queasily even as I type them out. This isn't surprising, really. Every child discovers sooner or later that if they spin themselves hard enough, the whole world will tumble. But when it comes to elite athletes — and figure skaters, in particular — we can forget that their lithe, talented bodies are subject to the same physical laws as ours. [Can Olympic Figure Skaters Break the 5-Spin Barrier?] When Mirai Nagasu hurls herself into a whirling triple axel, Nathan Chen hops balletically into the air and turns … [Read more...] about The Brutal Neuroscience of Figure Skating: How Spinning Athletes Overcome Dizziness
Around 40 people have died in an outbreak of Lassa fever in Nigeria, according to news reports. Between Jan. 1 and Feb. 2, nearly 450 suspected cases of the disease were reported, 132 of which were confirmed, according to a statement from the World Health Organization (WHO). Of the 43 reported deaths, 37 of the deceased had lab-confirmed Lassa fever. Like the Ebola virus, the Lassa virus causes a viral hemorrhagic fever, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM). Two other types of viruses — the Marburg virus and the yellow fever virus — also cause this type of disease. All viral hemorrhagic fevers have common features, including blood vessel damage and harm to many organs in the body, the NLM says. But some of the diseases are deadlier than others — namely, the Ebola and Marburg viruses, the NLM says. Many Lassa fever infections, on the other hand, are mild, though some can progress to symptoms that resemble those of Ebola, The New York Times … [Read more...] about Death Toll Rises in Nigerian Outbreak: What Is Lassa Fever?
NASA's Mars rover Opportunity was exploring an uncharted Martian valley last month when it encountered a shockingly familiar sight: Streams of rocks and gravel stretched down the hillside of Perseverance Valley — a roughly 600-foot (183 meters) drop down the inner slope of a crater — in seemingly organized rows. The patterns closely resemble so-called "rock stripes" seen on certain mountains on Earth, NASA said in a statement. These formations usually result when wet soil freezes and thaws repeatedly over many years, NASA said. Perseverance Valley is thought to have been carved hundreds of thousands of years ago by a combination of water, ice and wind — already making the spot unusual by Martian standards, NASA wrote. The presence of these newly discovered stripes further adds to the region's mystery, researchers said. [The 7 Most Mars-Like Places on Earth] "Perseverance Valley is a special place," Opportunity Deputy Principal Investigator Ray Arvidson of Washington … [Read more...] about This Martian Crater Has a Weirdly Earth-Like Secret
A tapeworm in your gut sounds horrifying enough, but imagine having a tapeworm in your eye. That's what happened to a man in Florida who initially thought he saw something moving across his vision, only to discover he had tapeworm living in his eye, according to news reports. The man, Sam Cordero, recently went to the doctor after experiencing vision problems. "I see a little black dot and it's only on the left eye. I see something moving from left to right," Cordero told the news station WFTS in Tampa. Cordero turned out to have an infection with Taenia solium, a pork tapeworm. The parasite traveled from his intestines through his bloodstream and into his eye. By the time he saw a doctor, the worm was living in the fluid-filled area behind the eye's lens, called the vitreous chamber, WFTS reported. T. solium is a parasitic infection that people can get by eating raw or undercooked pork, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cordero said he believes he ate … [Read more...] about A Man’s Eye Floater Was Actually a Tapeworm — Plus Thousands of Its Eggs