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October 24th, 2017

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Breakthroughs in Science

News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd

By News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd

Published June 8, 2016

Breakthroughs in Science
German researchers, publishing in March, revealed that female burying beetles uniquely discourage their mates from pestering them for sex after birth -- thus explaining how the male of this species is observed actually helping with child care. The females apparently release a chemical "anti-aphrodisiac" to the father's antennae. Said the lead researcher (a woman), "They are a very modern family." Said another biology professor (also female), "Burying beetles are supercool." [New York Times, 3-23-2016]

Science magazine called the "butthole" "one of the finest innovations in the past 540 million years of animal evolution" -- in that, until it developed, animals' only channel of waste removal was through the same opening used for food intake. However, the recent discovery, announced at a March conference by a University of Miami biologist, that gelatinous sea creatures called comb jellies can excrete via other pores, was labeled by the magazine as "stunn(ing)." [Science, 3-23-2016]



The Emerging American "Right" of Rejecting Science: In 2000, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared that measles had been eliminated in the United States, but by 2014 Americans had resurrected it (677 reported cases), and researchers from Emory University and Johns Hopkins set out to learn how -- and recently found the dominant reason to be the purposeful decision by some Americans to refuse or delay widely available vaccinations (especially for their children). (The researchers found similar, but less-strong conclusions about whooping cough.) [Slate.com, 3-25-2016]

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