What Would Early Man Sound Like?

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Researchers at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands created air sacs from plastic tubes to figure out how early man might have sounded: All primates have an air sac except humans, in whom it has shrunk to a vestigial organ. Palaeontologists can date when our ancestors lost the organ, as the tissue attaches to […]

Strange Water Physics

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When a droplet impacts a pool at low speed, a layer of air trapped beneath the droplet can often prevent it from immediately coalescing into the pool. As that air layer drains away, surface tension pulls some of the droplet’s mass into the pool while a smaller droplet is ejected. When it bounces off the […]

Blue Tastes Like the Ocean

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Do you see numbers as colors?  Do you hear smells?  Then congrats, you’ve got synesthesia. Over the past 30 years… a growing body of evidence has shown that synesthesia has a physical basis—for example, the brains of synesthetes are wired differently, and the condition is highly heritable, which indicates there is a genetic component. In […]

LUCA Was Ocean-Sized

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ONCE upon a time, 3 billion years ago, there lived a single organism called LUCA. It was enormous: a mega-organism like none seen since, it filled the planet’s oceans before splitting into three and giving birth to the ancestors of all living things on Earth today. This strange picture is emerging from efforts to pin […]