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One of the hardest biological materials discovered in Amazon fish armor

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One of the hardest materials in the animal kingdom belongs to the Amazon fish, Arapai Magas, which reaches a very large size and weighs up to 250 pounds. This fish usually lives in lakes and waters where piranhas are, and boasts armor made of very hard scales that cannot be torn or broken. Therefore, it acts as a barrier against greedy piranhas.

This was discovered by researchers at the University of California, San Diego and Berkeley, and their work was published in Matter. Of course, the first idea is the possible production of similar materials that may be useful in different areas of human activity, as happens in all cases where materials produced by animals with specific characteristics are discovered.

Arapaima scales have a hard and flexible inner layer. This layer is connected to the upper layer of scales via mineralized collagen. This structure is similar to that found on the base of a bulletproof vest. Bulletproof vests are also made of different flexible layers interspersed with hard plastic. However, while bulletproof vest materials are connected only by adhesives, Arapai fish scales are connected to each other at the atomic level. They grow together and weave much more resistant armor, virtually a single solid piece.

According to Berkeley material scientist Robert Richie, the secret lies in mineralized collagen, the binder of the entire structure. Arapaima’s collagen layer is much thicker than what other fish use, and the scales themselves are very thick, at least as thick as rice grains.

If you can mimic such a structure, it may be possible to build synthetic armor that is not only waterproof, but virtually immortal.


Related articles & sources:

https://www.cell.com/matter/fulltext/S2590-2385(19)30229-2

https://wikipedia.org/wiki/Arapaima_gigas

Image Souce:

https://nationalzoo.si.edu/sites/default/files/animals/arapaima-003.jpg

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Science

139 other trans-Neptunian objects discovered, periphery of the increasingly crowded solar system

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The neighborhood of the solar system beyond Neptune is full of surprises. Analyzing data from the Dark Energy Survey (DES), a team of researchers at the University of Pennsylvania has in fact confirmed the presence of more than 300 additional Transneptunian objects (TNO), of which center 139 new discoveries, several of them considered as minor planets or dwarf planets, in these remote areas of the solar system.

The study, published in The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series, also describes what can be defined as a new approach to find objects of this kind, something useful also for future research, and above all to find the much coveted Planet Nine, also called Planet X, a hypothetical planet (and not a dwarf or minor planet) that would circulate undisturbed in the most remote areas of the solar system.

The DES survey was not initially conducted to discover new objects beyond Neptune but to understand the nature of dark energy by analyzing, through high-precision images, the area of the southern sky everything that can be observed from that position, primarily galaxies and supernovae. However, the succulent data have made the astronomers’ hearts beat faster, including graduate student Pedro Bernardinelli and professors Gary Bernstein and Masao Sako from the University of Pennsylvania.
Bernardinelli explains that to find TNO all you need to do is find a way to see the object move in the background, which makes it easier to find them.

The researcher, with the help of the two professors, started a first phase in which he had to work on as many as 7 billion possible objects detected by the software, interesting movements of transient objects on a fixed background, which indicated the proximity of these same objects to galaxies, supernovae or other distant objects.
As this list of candidates was skimmed, through a new method developed by Bernardinelli himself, and after many months of work, the result was 316 confirmed trans-Neptunian objects, of which 139 are new discoveries as never previously published.

Since there are only 3000 TNOs in total, this new catalogue represents 10% of all known TNOs. These are objects that are 30 to 90 times the distance between the Earth and the Sun. In addition, some of these objects have extremely long orbits due to which at some point they will be very far away, well beyond Pluto and far beyond the distances that now separate them from the Sun.
The method used by Bernardinelli could be used in the future to make similar discoveries, as the researcher himself explains: “Many of the programs we have developed can be easily applied to any other large data set, such as the one that the Rubin Observatory will produce”.

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Getting rid of objects is more difficult for those who suffer from loneliness

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Getting rid of old things, and thus keeping the house tidier, is more difficult for those who suffer from loneliness. This is the conclusion of a study taken from HealthDay and carried out by researcher Catherine Cole of the University of Iowa.

According to the researcher, it is those people who feel the most lonely who are most attached to objects, such as a dress or a childhood toy. This makes it more difficult for them to separate from those same objects.

And, as the researcher herself reveals, feeling lonely is not a feeling that is limited only to those people who are actually socially isolated but can also affect those people who have normal social contacts. Even the latter can feel literally disconnected from society and this can happen even temporarily.

Of course, the inability to get rid of objects can lead to several annoying consequences including the accumulation of the same objects in the home, which is increasingly linked to a real syndrome defined as “accumulation syndrome,” resulting in chronic disorder that for some people can reach alarming and even dangerous levels for their health.

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Neanderthal’s were also skilled divers to collect bivalves and shells

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When we think of Neanderthals our thoughts usually go to hunter-gatherers but these hominids were most likely also skilled swimmers and were also able to dive underwater to collect seafood. This is the result of a study conducted by a team of researchers led by Paola Villa of the University of Colorado Boulder who analyzed several findings found in the Grotta dei Moscerini, a cave located near a beach in Lazio.

Already several decades ago archaeologists had collected several interesting artifacts and remains of animal planets, mostly shells, from this area but the team of researchers revealed new secrets in a new study that appeared on PLOS ONE. The Neanderthals not only collected shells and any edible marine animals that lay on the beach but also dived several meters to better meet their dietary needs.

These clues show that the Neanderthals actually had a much deeper relationship with the sea than previously thought, something that many paleoanthropologists did not pay much attention to. Villa, together with his colleagues, analyzed the tools that the Neanderthals used to work the shells in order to transform them into useful cutting tools.

Many of the shells found showed dull and slightly abraded exteriors, as if they had been polished over time, indicating that they had been taken from a sandy beach. However, several other shells, at least a quarter of the total, show that they were torn directly from their natural habitat at the bottom of the sea.

According to the researcher, the Neanderthals used to submerge to a depth of up to four meters to collect live seafood and bivalves, naturally without any diving equipment, which indicates a certain degree of skill, probably equal to that of Homo sapiens, at least as far as obtaining food from the deep water.

This study will help to change the idea of Neanderthals seen as hunters of large mammals.

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