Joshua Learn, InsideScience - ISNS

Joshua Learn

InsideScience - ISNS

Washington, DC, United States

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Past articles by Joshua:

How Do Flapping Wings Work in Water? Penguins and Puffins Show the Way

(Inside Science) -- The ancient ancestors of penguins gained their ability to swim at the expense of flight, engineers found. They mathematically compared the swimming efficiency of penguins to the movements and propulsion of birds like puffins and guillemots that haven't lost their ability to fly but can still swim for brief periods while foraging underwater. → Read More

Fossil Tracks Reveal Lightning Speed of Dinosaurs

(Inside Science) -- All that’s left is footprints in fossilized mud, but the tracks reveal how some theropods of the Lower Cretaceous may have ran as fast as Usain Bolt at his best sprint. “Our speeds are the third faster dinosaur tracks registered to date,” said Pablo Navarro-Lorbés, a doctoral student in paleontology at the University of La Rioja in Spain who studied the prints. → Read More

Evidence Shows Humans May Have Introduced Now-Extinct Wolf to the Falkland Islands

(Inside Science) – An unknown population of humans that left few traces on the landscape of the Falkland Islands may have brought large fox-like dogs still present when Europeans first visited the archipelago in the late 17th century. → Read More

How Lanternfish Became One of the Most Successful Vertebrates on Earth

(Inside Science) -- Lanternfish are known for the bioluminescent organs known as a photophores that guide them through the deep sea. In some species of this group of fish, the organs shine like underwater car headlights. But these finger-sized fish are also one of the most abundant vertebrates on the planet in terms of sheer biomass, on land or sea. → Read More

Hyenas' Bone Crunching Helps Recycle Nutrients

(Inside Science) -- The crushing jaws of hyenas may act as a kind of nutrient blender, grinding out calcium and phosphorous from bones and dumping them back into the relatively poor soil of the Kalahari Desert. Researchers had noticed that carnivores like wild dogs and cheetahs have a curious way of recycling nutrients back into the landscape. When they eat prey, these animals will spread… → Read More

Australian Wildfires Rob Fairywrens of Their Flame

(Inside Science) -- Australian wildfires may burn away the testosterone of fairywrens, taking the flamboyant red from the birds' backs. Male red-backed fairywrens typically convert their ordinary brown plumage to a striking black and red during the breeding season. Females tend to gravitate toward the brighter males. → Read More

Rare Microbes Turn Toxic Sludge into Usable Copper

(Inside Science) -- It took only 48 hours to turn a bottle of toxic, dark ochre sludge into something that looked more like an orange-tinged hazy beer. Within the bottle, invisible to the naked eye, a newly discovered bacterial strain referred to only as 105 was eating away at toxic copper sulfate to leave pure copper atoms. The bacteria had been found in the tailings pond of a Brazilian mine,… → Read More

Mass Bird Die-Off Linked to Wildfires and Toxic Gases

Using observations from crowdsourced science and weather location data, researchers concluded that wildfires caused a mass die-off of birds in the western and central United States in 2020. → Read More

DNA Floating in Ocean Water Reveals Fish Abundance

(Inside Science) -- One liter of ocean water can not only unlock the recent presence of dozens of species -- it can also reveal the relative number of these fish. According to the most extensive comparison of its kind, the relative abundance of DNA from different species found from ocean water samples taken off the coast of New Jersey correlates well with the data gathered by the more expensive… → Read More

Lithium Cures Tapeworm-Driven Brainwashing in Fish

(Inside Science) -- Brain-controlling parasites can be thwarted in fish by using the same medication used to treat bipolar disorder in humans, according to new research. "It’s only the second time people have rescued the behavior of manipulated hosts," said Nadia Aubin-Horth, a biology professor at Laval University in Canada, who conducted the study with her colleagues. The findings were… → Read More

Oil Spills May Ruin Electric Sensing Abilities of Stingrays

(Inside Science) -- When marine oil spills devastate an ecosystem, images of oil-drenched seabirds and dead fish fill the news. → Read More

Diverse Habitats and Conditions Make for Diverse Chimp Behavior

(Inside Science) -- A chimp may not always be just a chimp when it comes to behavior. In fact, the more varied the conditions the primates face, the more diverse their behavior and culture.“have a great degree of behavioral flexibility,” said Ammie Kalan, a postdoctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and the lead author of the → Read More

Alligators May Be Able to Survive Venomous Snake Bites

(Inside Science) -- New research shows alligator blood has properties that may help the aquatic reptiles survive venomous snake bites."This may allow for alligators to eat venomous pit vipers and they may not succumb to getting bit," said John Finger, a biologist at Auburn University in Alabama.Finger has worked with alligators for more than 13 years. He’d heard that the → Read More

Fossil Bite Marks Show Some Dinosaurs Ate Their Own

(Inside Science) -- Some 152 million years ago, the Mygatt-Moore Quarry that now sits in present day western Colorado was as good a place to die as any for a dinosaur. Whether the creatures whose remains litter the site were killed by predators or died of old age or sickness is unclear, but we now know that many of the dinos that breathed their last breath at Mygatt-Moore were → Read More

Hammerheads Drive Blacktip Sharks Closer to Beaches and Humans

(Inside Science) -- The fear of a larger set of teeth may drive blacktip sharks closer to beaches, where they have more chance of coming across humans. → Read More

Deep Ocean Currents Carry Plastic Microfibers Into Seafloor Hot Spots

(Inside Science) -- The deep waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea off the western Italian coast hold centuries' worth of shipwrecks and lost cargo from past civilizations. → Read More

Tasmanian Devils Protect Bandicoots and Stop Invasive Cats

(Inside Science) -- According to new research, the devastating Tasmanian devil facial tumor disease can have downstream effects on smaller animals. This includes the rodent-sized marsupials called bandicoots that have at least until recently been protected in Tasmania from invasive cat predators, precisely because of the presence of Tasmanian devils.“It shows that devil’s → Read More

Where Do Sharks Go in Hurricanes?

Fearing yet another sequel to Sharknado, sharks get out of the way when a hurricane approaches. → Read More

How Whales Got So Large -- And Why They Aren’t Even Bigger

(Inside Science) -- Giant, krill-eating whales could grow even bigger if the size and availability of their prey could keep up, a new study finds. → Read More

Quicksilver Ants Break Sprint Records

(Inside Science) -- The world’s fasted known ant can reach speeds that would make even Usain Bolt appear sluggish, and they can do this in desert temperatures that sometimes reach 140 degrees Fahrenheit. The Saharan silver ant can reach speeds of nearly a meter per second, or 108 body lengths per second. In human terms, this body-lengths-per-second speed would be the → Read More