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Titanoboa: The World’s Largest Snake

The now-extinct titanoboa is the largest snake ever discovered. Head to tail, this prehistoric serpent measures 13 meters and weighed in at a ton. Today, the heaviest snake is the green anaconda, which weighs about 200kg.

How the hawkmoth sees, hovers and tracks flowers in the dark

Using high-speed infrared cameras and 3-D-printed robotic flowers, scientists have now learned how this insect juggles these complex sensing and control challenges -- all while adjusting to changing light conditions. The work shows that the creatures can slow their brains to improve vision under low-light conditions -- while continuing to perform demanding tasks.

What the researchers have discovered could help the next generation of small flying robots operate efficiently under a broad range of lighting conditions. The research, supported by the National Science Foundation...

Here's Why Sharks Have Two Pensies | Gizmodo

Cartilaginous fishes, like sharks and rays, are blessed with something called "claspers," dual sperm-releasing tubes jutting from their pelvic fins. Thanks to a recent study, the mystery of the sea critters' double dongs has been solved.

Researchers at the University of Florida examined the penis-like appendages of male skates in the experiment, whose results were published in the journal Nature Communications last month. What they found was that claspers appear late in male pelvic growth, due to prolonged exposure to the gene that controls skate fin development.

Chinese scientists genetically modify human embryos

In the paper, researchers led by Junjiu Huang, a gene-function researcher at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, tried to head off such concerns by using 'non-viable' embryos, which cannot result in a live birth, that were obtained from local fertility clinics. The team attempted to modify the gene responsible for β-thalassaemia, a potentially fatal blood disorder, using a gene-editing technique known as CRISPR/Cas9. The researchers say that their results reveal serious obstacles to using the method in medical applications.

Scientists have found a reset “button” for our body clock - ScienceAlert

Canadian scientists have discovered the molecular switch that resets and synchronises our internal body clock, and targeting it could help treat a range of disorders, such as insomnia, depression and obesity, that are triggered when our sleep patterns get out of whack, or when we're exposed to light when we shouldn't be (hello, screen checking at 1am).

It's already well established that light naturally controls these circadian rhythms, but scientists have struggled to work out exactly how it does this - until now.

World first images of taste at work on the tongue - ScienceAlert

Scientists have for the first time captured live images of the process of taste sensation on the tongue. The international team imaged single cells on the tongue of a mouse with a specially designed microscope system.

“We’ve watched live taste cells capture and process molecules with different tastes,” says biomedical engineer Steve Lee from Australian National University (ANU).

Flourishing faster: How to make trees grow bigger and quicker -- ScienceDaily

Scientists have discovered a way to make trees grow bigger and faster, which could increase supplies of renewable resources and help trees cope with the effects of climate change.

HOW IT WORKS: CANCER-FIGHTING IMMUNOTHERAPY

In the war against cancer, doctors have discovered a powerful new tool: the immune system. The FDA recently fast-tracked approval of three new immunotherapy drugs, called PD-1 inhibitors, designed to help white blood cells hunt down and eradicate hard-to-fight tumors--indefinitely. “Chemotherapy almost always stops working,” says Jonathan Cheng, executive director of oncology clinical development at Merck. “The promise of immune therapy is that you’re training the immune system to attack something foreign, so you’re able to maintain that activity for a very long time--hopefully...

Giant sea lizards in the age of dinosaurs: A new beginning for baby mosasaurs -- ScienceDaily

They weren't in the delivery room, but researchers have discovered a new birth story for a gigantic marine lizard that once roamed the oceans. Thanks to recently identified specimens, paleontologists now believe that mighty mosasaurs -- which could grow to 50 feet long -- gave birth to their young in the open ocean, not on or near shore.

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