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Most Interesting Science News Articles of the Week

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Most Interesting Science News Articles of the WeekBy Live Science Staff |   August 24, 201403:38am ET

From life under the ice to the weirdest worm ever, we searched out the coolest stories in Science this week and here they are. Check them out!


Quantum twisters observed:

Liquid helium droplets rotating at 2 million times per second create quantum vortices as never seen before. Helium can be put into a superfluid state which enters it into quantum mechanics.

 

Life found half-mile under ice:

Under the ice covering Lake Whillan in Antarctica, a fertile microbial ecosystem flourishes. The findings encourage researchers that more of these hidden waters contain life.

[Full Story: Cold, Dark and Alive! Life Discovered in Buried Antarctic Lake]

Hallucigenia sparsa." style="border-style: none; width: 152px; margin-top: 0px !important;">The fossil of the bizarre-looking worm Hallucigenia sparsa that lived some 505 million years ago during the Cambrian explosion.
Credit: Martin Smith, University of Cambridge / Smithsonian Institution.View full size image

Weirdest worm ever:

The discovery of a strange worm in the 1970s baffled researchers but after finding out what famiy the creature belongs to the scientists are even more confused.

Big city spiders:

City spiders produce more offspring than their country cousins, an effect of urbanization researchers did not expect.

Ancient Greek tomb discovered:

With the discovery of a 2,800-year-old tomb came the unearthing of some very rare pottery in excellent condition.

Jesus statue with human teeth:

A Jesus statue that has lived an unassuming life in a small town in Mexico for the last 300 years has been hiding a strange secret: real human teeth.

Exactly how the statue of Jesus awaiting punishment prior to his crucifixion got its set of choppers is a mystery.

But the statue may be an example of a tradition in which human body parts were donated to churches for religious purposes, said Fanny Unikel Santoncini, a restorer at the Escuela Nacional de Restauración, Conservación y Museografía at the Instituto Nacional de Antropología E Historia (INAH) in Mexico, who first discovered the statue's teeth.


Cyborg moths are coming:

By implanting an electrode in a late pupal stage moth, researcher essentially made the creature into a cyborg.

With the goal of one day making tiny drones out of living insects, a team of engineers created a cyborg moth and watched it spin inside an "insect disco" full of flashing lights.

The researchers didn't actually control the moth during flight. But by using an electrical implant, they say they recorded crucial data on how the cyborg moth coordinates its muscle movements to twirl right and left.

While the insect was in its late pupal stage, still wrapped in a cocoon, the team from North Carolina State University implanted an electrode in the creature's indirect flight muscles, the researchers explained in a video. By the time the insect developed into an adult moth, enough tissue had grown around the implant that it effectively became part of the insect's body.]

Photos: Ancient Burial and Metal Tool from Southern Levant

The tool, a metal awl, was found inside a grave tucked into one of the two silos, a rounded structure dubbed Silo C339 and shown here with large stones…Read More »

 

The skeleton, shown here, of a possibly 40-year-old female was also found inside the grave (within Silo C339), which was oriented in the north-south direction

Here, a general view of the courtyard building found at the Tel Tsaf archaeological site, with one of the silos (the one that included the skeleton of a 40-year-old woman), shown in the upper left corner. At this stage of excavation, the burial had not yet been uncovered.

The copper awl — about 1.6 in. long, 0.2 inches (5 mm) wide at its base, and 0.03 inches (1 mm) at its tip — was set in a wooden handle. Analyses of the corroded awl suggest it was imported from 620 miles (1,000 kilometers) away in the Caucasus region. The awl was likely buried as a grave good with the woman.

Between 2004 and 2007, archaeologists excavated a site in Tel Tsaf in the Jordan Valley of Israel, finding evidence for a Late Byzantine-Early Islamic occupation, including a settlement that dated to 5100 B.C. to 4600 B.C. A complex found at the site included courtyard buildings, with rectilinear, rounded rooms and silos, and cooking areas. They also uncovered four burials, two of which were discovered inside two silos, and a metal awl tool that may be the oldest metal object every found in the Middle East. The findings are described online March 16, 2014, in the journal PLOS ONE.

A copper awl is the oldest metal object unearthed to date in the Middle East. The discovery reveals that metals were exchanged across hundreds of miles in this region more than 6,000 years ago, centuries earlier than previously thought, researchers say.

Humanity's Longest-Lasting Legacy: Miles of Holes

By Kelly Dickerson, Staff Writer   |   August 25, 2014 01:05pm ET3 8 62Submit2Reddit

Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Nikki MahadevanView full size image

It's estimated that humans have altered over half of the planet's surface, and those changes are easy to see – the ice sheets are melting, forests are shrinking and species are going extinct.

People have changed the planet so dramatically that some geologists think the Earth has entered a new phase in its geological timeline, named the "Anthropocene." But what about the marks humans are leaving deep underground?

"Because it's not in our immediate living environment, it doesn't seem as significant," said Jan Zalasiewicz, a senior lecturer in palaeobiology at the University of Leicester, in the United Kingdom. But, as Zalasiewicz and two of his colleagues argue in a new study, human activity below the surface is permanently changing Earth, and a sprawling web of holes from mining and energy exploration provides more evidence the planet has entered the Anthropocene.]



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