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This week’s episode is all about thriving within the face of catastrophe. For extra tales of resilience, try the most recent difficulty of Widespread Science—it’s on newsstands now!
FACT: This animal can basically reside eternally
Residing eternally isn’t an actual factor, and getting old backwards is the stuff of fairy tales and unrealistic pores and skin product advertisements. Or is it? For one tiny hydrozoan creature from the coast of Italy, avoiding loss of life is one thing that simply, nicely, occurs—over and time and again.
When confused, injured, ravenous, or in any other case provoked, the pinky-nail-sized Turritopsis dohrnii skips the entire rising outdated and dying factor in favor of reverting to infancy. It repurposes its worn-out, grown-up cells and spurts out a whole lot of fresh-faced equivalent clones in a jiffy.
Since these critters are fairly darn laborious to kill—and reproduce like loopy each time they survive a brush with loss of life—the tiny beauties have invaded just about each nook of the world.
How the hen turns into the egg once more (or on this case, how the medusa turns into a polyp) remains to be a thriller. However don’t fear: there are sensible minds, each scientific and musical, working laborious to determine the jellyfish’s anti-aging secret.
FACT: World Battle II virtually killed the potato chip
Whether or not or not the blessed creation that’s the potato chip is an American invention is definitely in query, however what’s not in query is simply how a lot we love these crunchy, salty, slices of deep-fried carbs. On common, an individual within the US eats about 6 kilos of chips yearly.
But there was a time when the way forward for the chip was not fairly so sure.
Throughout World Battle II, rationing of requirements like oil and shortening obtained the snack labeled as (gasp) a “non-essential” meals by the Battle Manufacturing Board. Happily for chips—and all of us—a Midwesterner named Harvey F. Noss was prepared for a combat. Take heed to this week’s episode to listen to how chips triumphed within the face of sure catastrophe.
FACT: Pablo Escobar’s cocaine hippos may not be all unhealthy
By Rachel Feltman
Pablo Escobar is a fancy historic determine for certain, however one side of his difficult legacy is especially shocking: his pet hippos.
Within the 1980s, Escobar constructed himself a 7,000 acre property that included, amongst different issues a zoo, which included, amongst different issues, 4 hippos—three females and a male purchased from a zoo in California. The property is definitely now a theme park, nevertheless it sat idle and uncared for for one thing like a decade after Escobar was shot useless by Colombian police in 1993. Authorities shipped a lot of the zoo’s occupants off to wildlife preserves or public zoos, however they determined the hippos have been too giant to cope with transporting. I suppose they figured the hippos would keep put. Spoiler alert: the hippos didn’t keep put. And so they had a variety of infants.
As we speak Colombia is dwelling to an estimated 80 hippopotami—by far the most important wild inhabitants of the animals outdoors their native habitats in Africa. As invasive species, these critters have to be wrecking their new surroundings… proper?
New analysis not too long ago introduced that assumption into query. In keeping with a paper launched in March, the hippos would possibly truly be filling an ecological area of interest that’s been empty for tens of 1000’s of years. By mimicking among the behaviors of long-extinct animals just like the area’s large llama, hippos would possibly truly be productive members of Colombian society.
That’s to not say the critters slot in seamlessly, or that they need to be allowed to breed and unfold within the space unchecked. However research like these present an necessary reminder of simply how poorly we perceive the planet we reside on—and the way cautious we ought to be once we determine which human messes to scrub up and the way.
For extra on the cocaine hippos, give this week’s episode a hear—and go seize a duplicate of the most recent difficulty of Widespread Science!
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