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Strata-25E, Strata-26B, and Strata-25C, watercolors by Mikael Hallstrøm © The artist

Strata-25E, Strata-26B, and Strata-25C, watercolors by Mikael Hallstrøm © The artist

Australian scientists from the Whales and Climate Research Program asserted that whales cannot, after all, significantly mitigate atmospheric carbon. Orcas were teaching one another how to sink boats, and the population decline of Dungeness crabs may be due partly to ocean acidification worsening their sense of smell. The first instance of virgin birth was recorded in a crocodile. Whitespotted eagle rays and cow-nosed rays loiter at clam leases. Phosphorus deficiency turns Triphyophyllum peltatum plants carnivorous, and the sensation of hunger may slow aging in fruit flies. Snow flies amputate their legs to keep their vital organs from freezing, scalloped hammerhead sharks hold their breath to keep warm on deep excursions, and California two-spot octopuses edit their RNA to acclimate their nervous systems to temperature changes. Neuroscientists speculated that Costello, a traumatized Brazilian reef octopus, was having vivid nightmares. Pigeons may dream of flight.

A letter to the Journal of Investigative Dermatology detailed the genetic loci of Europeans’ eyebrow shapes, a consortium of researchers released a draft of the human pangenome, and an initial survey found high-quality human DNA nearly everywhere they looked. Biodiversity loss can be tracked through the incidental environmental DNA collection already performed by air-quality monitors. Engineers developed a material made of protein nanowires that harvests electricity from humidity in the air. Self-driving cars lack social intelligence and could improve through encounters with simulations of bad drivers. Growing demand for animal-fat jet fuel may cause a corresponding increase in the use of carbon-intensive palm oil. Sequestered carbon can be mineralized in dead undersea volcanoes. A plume of water six thousand miles long is escaping the sixth largest moon of Saturn. Gravitational waves may be emitted by the debris fields around dying stars. Astronomers detected a non-thermal emission from a classical nova with a dwarf companion and reported no young binary stars near the Milky Way’s central black hole.

Queer adolescents’ odds of vaping are not affected by their family’s affluence, Colorado researchers failed to detect the recency of marijuana consumption in breathalyzer tests administered in a white van decorated with a tie-dyed tapestry, self-reported ethnoracial discrimination was correlated with increased suspiciousness and a higher risk of psychosis, chemists made progress toward a melanin-based sunscreen, and Florida researchers attempted to identify the genes that predispose horses to being spooked by umbrellas. A methodology for evaluating wild animals’ emotional well-being in a study on free-roaming horses was extended to kangaroos, koalas, and dingoes. Oklahoma police responding to a cry for help found an upset goat. The number of farms worldwide will likely fall by more than half by 2100. Animal hoarding by rural Mississippians damages the health of cats and dogs. Male masturbation without ejaculation among primates may be advantageous in reducing the duration of intercourse (and thus the risk of interruption by a competing male); with ejaculation, the advantage may be in clearing pathogens from the urethra following intercourse. Sexually frustrated mass shooters kill more female victims. The first documented human kiss moved back by a thousand years. Archaeologists discovered the earliest scaled building diagrams, from 8,000 years ago at Jebel az-Zilliyat and from 9,000 years ago at Jibal al-Khasabiyeh, for the construction of desert dragons. Boss Tweed was not responsible for the destruction of Central Park’s dinosaur statues.

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July 2023

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