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Ridiculous science news — before we get started on the real stuff


It staggers/wanders into the Inbox and just sits there — and eventually one feels one must do something.

How about the triceratops skull that weighs 3000 lbs or 1361 kg:

A 7-foot-long, 3,000-pound triceratops skull dubbed “Shady” has been unearthed in the Badlands of South Dakota, a Missouri college announced.

“It was so exciting … we just didn’t believe it,” David Schmidt, a geology and environmental science professor at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, said in a statement last week.

Schmidt led the group excavation, which usually finds just fragments of dinosaur bones in its annual digs, but this year was different.

Wyatte Grantham-Philips, “3,000-pound triceratops skull named ‘Shady’ excavated in South Dakota” at USA Today News (August 26, 2020)

Well then, keep digging!

More recently, yet another bizarre marine worm, with one head but more than 100 butts, possibly up to 1000:

Peering inside Ramisyllis m. revealed that each time its body branches in two, the internal organs—from the nerves to the guts and muscles—are also duplicated, according to Gizmodo. Each split, the researchers discovered, is encircled by a band of muscle. When the team took a closer look at the structure of these rings of muscle, they could actually tell which half of the bifurcated body came first and which was a new addition.

When it comes time for these worms to reproduce, things take another odd turn. Each of the animal’s many terminal openings forms something called a stolon that grows eyes and a brain, reports Mindy Weisberger for Live Science. When the stolon is ready, it detaches and swims off, guided by its rudimentary nervous system so that it can get fertilized.

News, “This Marine Worm Sprouts Hundreds of Butts—Each With Its Own Eyes and Brain” at Smithsonian (May 12, 2021)

The worm, essentially, branches and the butts grow eyes and a brain. But animals are not supposed to branch, as plants and fungi do. Another curious fact is that no trace of food has been found so far, inside the guts.

You could not make nature up.

The worm is using the same strategy as tapeworms, except that it buds from everywhere along its length instead of one end.polistra
May 13, 2021
10:14 PM

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