Cool facts on just about everything
The Bajau people of southeast Asia have a unique life, they live their entire lives at sea. They harvest fish and octopus using underwater spears. They're able to dive depths of over 70 metres and stay under for 10 minutes at a time! They recover from these dives quickly meaning they can spend hours underwater daily. Interestingly, they've been found to have enlarged spleens. In addition to the immune system, the spleen also stores oxygen-delivering red blood cells. When the diving reflex kicks in, the heart rate slows, blood is pulled from the extremities to the core and the spleen contracts. Ultrasound assessments (pictured, an enlarged spleen) have suggested their spleens are 50% larger than the average person's! The study found natural selection of the PDE10A gene, responsible for spleen size, was selected amongst these people.
Metabele ants (M. analis) in sub-Saharan Africa have been observed triaging wounded brethren and transporting moderately wounded home to the nest. Considering only about 13 new adults mature daily, it's worth the colonies' efforts to treat the injured. The 'treatment' involves wound licking. This would drop the mortality rate from 80% to 10% if the treatment was allowed to complete.
Researchers in the U.K. have found that wounds heal 60% faster during the day than at night!
African wild dogs have been observed using sneezing as an act of communicating. The rate of sneezes increases before the group moves off to hunt. When the dominant male or female sneezes, they seem to hold more weight, having to only sneeze a few times before the group moves off as opposed to the usual 10.
A controversial study suggests humans reached the Americas 100,000 years earlier than thought! Broken mastodon bones, large broken rocks and worn rocks suggest hominid activity. Dating was challenging due to the inability to use radiocarbon however it was a method using radioactive uranium and thorium suggesting the bones were 130,000 years old. The claim is contentious with experts questioning why there was no evidence of scraping or other tool use on the bones to remove the meat.
Colobopsis explodens is an ant that, when threatened, will explode, releasing a toxic, viscus substance that also will kill its attacker. Using muscles, it'll cause glands of liquid to rip open and the body wall to erupt, releasing the substance.
City birds in Mexico City have been seen tearing apart cigarette butts and using those contents to build their nests. It's been hypothesized that this is because the butts protect the nests from parasites that would otherwise harm the chicks.
Due to the disconnect between internal and external stimuli, some people with Schizophrenia can tickle themselves.
Scientists have finally created metallic hydrogen! Using two artificial diamonds with flat bottoms, they squeezed super-cooled hydrogen to 500 GPa (5 million times atmospheric pressure). Observations with lasers suggest that the gaseous hydrogen has solidified to a metal as shiny as aluminum.
An excavation in France has found Neanderthals 50,000 years ago were using chunks of manganese oxides likely for its ability to reduce the auto-ignition temperature of wood thus making it easier to start a fire. Manganese dioxide has been found in fireplaces further supporting their argument.
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