The end of 2019: the most weird and wonderful research

Science is full of surprises. Some scientists are interested in the tree-vampire, others offer to repair roads non-Newtonian fluid, and third craft knives from the feces.

the Portal Live Science, the editors of which love to collect these stories, has prepared an overview of the most weird and wonderful studies of the year.

was there a monster?

an international group of scientists came to the conclusion that the monster allegedly living in the Scottish lake Loch ness, does not exist.

Experts have collected 250 water samples from different parts of the lake at different depths. They were looking for the genetic material called “DNA extracted from the environment” (environmental DNA).

the study helps to understand what creatures live in a particular environment. In this case, examines the whole range of available genetic material and determines the code fragments that speak of the presence of a particular type. Explain that in those same water samples can be wastes, flushed skin, fragments of scales and other materials that carry the DNA of the respective entities.

the Study finally revealed genetic traces of more than 3,000 species living in the lake and nearby, including fish, deer, pigs, bacteria and even people. But the team found no evidence of the existence of giant reptiles, aquatic dinosaurs or massive sturgeon or catfish, which could be mistaken for a mysterious monster.

by the Way, scientists have found traces of many eels. It’s possible (though unlikely) that all this time, fans of cryptozoology mistaken for Nessie acne-age.

By the way, we have previously described how an underwater robot found at the bottom of a Scottish lake a replica of the legendary creatures.

According to legend, at the bottom of Loch ness there is a cleft, which is hiding the monster.Illustration Gunter Lenz/Global Look Press.

the Knife of feces

In 1998, anthropologist Wade Davis (Wade Davis) published a book with ethnographic record, which among other things included a story about an old Inuit caught in a snow storm. The man allegedly lived through it, make a knife out frozen faeces, sharpened spittle. With that knife he killed and butchered a dog.

Anthropologists decided to test whether similar. The interest was not idle. If the legend were true, it would indicate the existence of yet another approach to creation of people of instruments and tools (and who knows how old).

on the other hand, debunking of popular myths and urban legends helps to fight the dominance of fake news.

for the Sake of science the study’s lead author Metin Eren (Eren Metin) from the University of Kent in the United States within eight days, comply with the Arctic diet high in protein and fatty acids to “raw material” for the manufacture of a knife consistent with the authentic.

the team Then froze the feces scientist, sharpened “blades” of metal with a file and re-cooled in dry ice.

the Researchers tried to cut the knife chilled pork rind. But the tests failed: of the blade stained samples only.

let’s Add that “Conduct.Science” ( previously told me about another strange experiment: they tried to make from the legs of deer prehistoric “canned”.

a sample of the knife from the feces.Photo by Eren et al.

Plants eat salamanders

the Carnivorous plant sarracenia purpurea has leaves traps in the form of a jug, which secrete a sweet juice that attracts insects. The last climb inside “the jar,” where everything is covered with downward hairs. The victim falls through “the bottom” and into the liquid, where he formed a special ecosystem, consisting mainly of baktto qualify and larvae of mosquitoes.

the Bacteria that break down the body of the captured insect digesting some of the parts. The rest goes to the larvae. During digestion they break down complex compounds to simple, and then the plant digests them.

this year, canadian scientists have found that the insidious plant thus excels not only insects, but also salamanders.

Botanists have studied several hundred sarracenia in one of the parks of the province of Ontario, and found that a fifth enjoyed at least one caudate amphibia. And many have caught several salamanders.

it turned Out that the victims either drowned in the liquid at the bottom of the trap, or died of hunger or died in the acidic environment in the process of “cooking”. When they die, they decompose in about ten days.

According to estimates of biologists, annually carnivorous plants can absorb up to 5% of young salamanders that live in the same swampy area.

the Young salamanders become the prey of carnivorous plants.Photo Patrick D. Moldowan/Algonquin Wildlife Research Station.

Language of a person can recognize scents

researchers have discovered cells in the human language that help to recognize the taste, functional olfactory receptors. Exactly the same are in the nose, they help to detect the odor.

the Team used genetic and biochemical techniques to study cultures of taste cells. It turned out, the latter contain numerous molecules that are present in the olfactory receptors.

the researchers Then used a method called calcium imaging to show that cultured taste cells respond to odor molecules as well as cells of the olfactory receptors.

Scientists do not yet know how the olfactory receptors on the tongue interact with the brain.

Earlier SPEthe experts believed that sensory system that allows us and other mammals to smell and taste, do not interact with each other, yet their signals do not reach the brain. Now this opinion may change.

Further study can lead to the development of modifiers of taste based on smell, which will be useful in the fight against obesity and diabetes.

In the taste cells are functional olfactory receptors.Photo from


explore the forests of New Zealand, botany stumbled on a stump, located surrounded by tall pine trees Kauri.

Although the stump had no leaves he was alive, and it surprised many researchers. They decided to assess the inflow of the moisture in the stump and the surrounding trees of the same species. It turned out, the stump, later nicknamed the vampire, “connected” to the root system of neighbors.

during the day the last transporterowych water and nutrients from their roots to the crown. And at night the enterprising pensioner pumping the remains of a meal from the roots of the brethren in your own.

According to scientists, the so-called root grafting occurs when the tree “understands” that the surrounding root tissue, although genetically different, but similar enough to ensure the sharing of resources.

it is Possible, in fact we are not dealing with trees as individuals, and with the forest as a superorganism, suggested the study authors.

for Example, during a drought, “not a drinker” trees can communicate with its neighbors, absorbing more moisture. This increases the chance of forest survival.

the Stump, nicknamed the vampire, “connected” to the root system of neighbors.Photo Sebastian Leuzinger / iScience.

Big boom

Physicists from the United States Shenhave arirval sound louder which never and nothing sounded neither in the water nor in the air.

We’re talking a volume of about 55 decibels, the chain saw is torturing our ears by a hundred decibels, soaring a hundred meters space rocket gives 130, and the speakers at a rock concert 150 decibels.

the Scientists also found that the air cannot reach the volume above 194, and in the water – approximately 270 decibels. At this threshold, the water begins to evaporate from the transferred energy.

Physics, who created the water the sound of a loudness above 270 decibels, not only broke the historical record, but came close to the theoretical limit of this value. Louder literally have nowhere to go.

To do this, the researchers irradiated the water jets with diameters from 14 to 30 micrometers short pulses of powerful x-ray laser. Under the radiation of the moisture is evaporated. Expanding the bead pair was created in the stream of sound a shock wave with intensity of a billion watts per square meter (!). This raises the pressure of thousands of atmospheres.

Scientists have generated a sound of maximum loudness that can be achieved in water.Illustration Pixabay.

“Evaporation” of black holes

In 1974, Stephen Hawking first theorized that black holes not only consume space objects, but also emit a special light. We are talking about a variety of elementary particles, which slowly deprived of the space monsters in all their mass and energy, resulting in a black hole “evaporates”.

At the beginning of 2019 physicists have managed with the help of photons in an optical fiber to reproduce the so-called Hawking radiation, which “evaporate” a black hole.

After a few months, the international research group reproduce Hawking radiation in another laboratory experiment using the “acoustic” black hole.

Thus, the experiments suggest that the theory of Legendernogo cosmologist was correct.

the Hypothesis of Stephen Hawking about black holes emit a special light, probably, has been confirmed.Illustration Alain r/Wikimedia.

Antimosquito music

an international team of scientists found that the mosquito control work well with music, or rather, dubstep.

the Researchers included subjects aegypti mosquitoes the song Scary Monster And Nice Sprites artist Skrillex.

During the trek the sound of female mosquitoes required more time to prepare to bite (as a victim of the bloodsuckers gave the hamster). The bite lasted less time than usual.

in addition, this is music that mosquitoes rarely mated.

Scientists explain this effect by the fact that mosquitoes use the buzzing sound as a signal that they are ready to mate. Music with similar frequencies distracted by insects as sex and food.

Dubstep can be used as environmentally friendly alternatives to insecticides.Photo By Muhammad Mahdi Karim/Wikimedia Commons.

the long-Awaited particle

TOTEM Collaboration, which includes more than a hundred physicists working with the Large hadron Collider confirmed the existence of odderon. This quasi-particle was predicted in the 1970-ies.

TANK accelerates particles to energies in the teraelectronvolt 13, has allowed scientists to observe odderon experimentally.

the Energy of protons at the Large hadron Collider reaches 13 teraelectronvolt.Photo collaboration TOTEM.

non-Newtonian fluid – a material of the future?

non – Newtonian fluid is a fluid whose viscosity depends on speed of impact (strong punch have it in the wall, a slow immersion of the hands into it like slipping into a swamp). Usually such fluids are heterogeneous and consist of large molecules that form a complex spatial structure.

the Most common example of a liquid – oobleck (oobleck). It is a mixture of corn starch with a small amount of water. The faster that happens, the external impact on suspended in a liquid macromolecule binder, the higher the viscosity of the fluid.

researchers from Cambridge have created a computer model that can predict how oobleck will respond to various impacts.

This model helps to understand what will happen with a strange substance, if, for example, clamped between two plates, to throw a stone at it or drive on the surface of the wheel.

the Authors believe their model is useful for materials scientists. For example, when developing material for filling of cracks and potholes on the roads.

by the Way, before “Conduct.Science” ( told me about the most unusual cases encountered in the past year practitioners, as well as about the strange research that won the IG Nobel prize 2019.

Text: To.Science