Thursday, March 07, 2013



I like anomalies.

I like the word anomaly.

In this brave new world, the strange and bizarre become anodynes.

Here are a few bibelots in the news.

(I think I like the word bibelot better than anomaly!)

Let me begin with an octopus:

 A kissing octopus by name of the Larger Pacific Striped Octopus.

Who would have guessed that octopi were amorous?

I suppose it isn’t too surprising, since they have so many arms to cuddle with!

And unlike other octopuses, where females have a nasty habit of eating their partners during sex, Larger Pacific Striped Octopuses mate by pressing their beaks and suckers against each other in an intimate embrace.”


Next come Neanderthals, who are picked on a lot for their I.Q. and looks (or lack of them).

Nevertheless, they did precede you and I:

Homo erectus.

Some scientists now think they know why this new man, Mr. Neanderthal (and Miss Neanderthal) didn’t stick around.

They didn’t know how (or weren’t capable of) catching rabbits.

(They also couldn’t figure out what Easter was all about.)


Neanderthals were big-game hunters who feasted on mammoth and rhino but didn’t or couldn’t eat smaller, leaner meat. Their picky diet — or limited hunting skills — could have made them vulnerable when mammal populations shrank and their favorite dinner became harder to find.

A broad survey of animal remains recorded at early human and Neanderthal sites across Spain, Portugal and France gives us new insight as to what humans and Neanderthals ate. One trend stuck out to scientists who assembled the data : Rabbit remains became much more popular at human sites just about the time that Neanderthals disappeared, about 30,000 years ago.

Given how common bunnies would have been in that area, the trend hints that Neanderthals did not adapt their diet to include them. After all, the evidence suggests, early humans seem to have made the switch.

I have never caught a rabbit, or eaten one, so why am I still here?


Because there are fast food restaurants.


Finally, we travel a little deeper, and go into oceans.


It has never crossed my Homo Erectus mind to wonder what Earth’s oceans were like when the earth was a spinning, frozen ball.

But recent studies now suggest that the oceans beneath our quondam, frozen snowball were not just idly sitting by.

When ice possibly swathed the entire world, the oceans underneath may have nevertheless surprisingly churned, potentially helping to provide life with vital nutrients, new research suggests.

For decades, scientists have proposed that the planet may once have been a "Snowball Earth," with geological evidence suggesting ice reached all the way to the equator at least twice during the Neoproterozoic era (about 635 million to 750 million years ago) in stints lasting millions of years. The ice sheets blanketing Earth were not completely solid — there were likely many holes or thin patches around warm spots such as volcanoes — but in many other places, ice may have been more than a half-mile thick.

Surprisingly, the researchers found the oceans were not stagnant pools during a Snowball Earth — rather, they were quite dynamic.






I just read how bees improve their memories by drinking coffee.  






No comments: