It turns out that one of the few things in life that just hasn’t evolved is Americans’ understanding of human evolution.
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This week in science: mysterious, prehistoric Tully Monster finally identified; two comets to fly close by Earth this week; memories “lost” to early Alzheimer’s may be retrievable, and scientists learn the startling early mortality rates of autistic individuals.
Scientists Finally Solve The Mystery Of The Tully Monster
Fifty-eight years ago, while combing the 307 million-year-old Mazon Creek fossil beds near Chicago, Francis Tully discovered the imprint of a strange creature. The squid-like aquatic beast sported a large, tube-like structure, something akin to a long neck, but not punctuated with a head, only teeth. The Tully Monster had never been seen before, hasn’t been found anywhere else since and could never be identified or even classified.
Until now. According to a paper published in Nature last week, researchers have scanned all available fossil evidence and determined that after 58 years of mystery, this alien creature is a vertebrate, just like us. Well, not just like us — vertebrates are a big, varied group. And the subsection with which the Tully Monster has the most in common includes some of the very strangest vertebrates, namely lampreys.
[vid src=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_nEA3dtOZs” caption=”This video might change the way you feel about childbirth.”]
The fact that seahorse birth is handled by the males, and not the females, is likely common knowledge, but still a strikingly rare thing in nature. In fact, seahorses are one of only two animal groups where the male is the one that gives birth (the other is the pipefish, a more ruthless male carrier that aborts embryos from ugly mothers).
No matter how fascinating you find that fact, actually watching a seahorse give birth on video can be a little off-putting, to say the least.