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R & D

Frigid Mars

Mars never possessed liquid water and life in the past, according to the astronomers at the Berkeley Geochronology Center and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Analys-ing the meteorites that have fallen from the red planet, they concluded that it had been in a near deep-freeze temperature for most of its history. Its surface barely let its temperature rise to the level required for liquid water to exist freely.

Mirror test

An animal is said to be self-aware if it can recognise itself in the mirror. Apes pass the test, but monkeys have been thought to perceive strangers in their reflection. Primatologists at the Emory University have found that although monkeys don’t really recognise their mirror twins, they treat them somewhat differently than they do a live animal.

Heart clue

Researchers at the department of paediatrics, University of Alberta, have found that the type of ‘fuel’ the heart uses can contribute to the severity of its failures. The heart derives energy from a balance of fatty acids and carbohydrates (mainly glucose). An attack occurs when this balance is lost. First, the heart uses mostly its fatty acid stock, not carbohydrates, and later it decreases the usage of fat.

Silk trap

Entomologists at the University of Hawaii have found snail-eating caterpillars ' the larvae of the Hyposmocoma molluscivora ' on the island of Mauian. This less-than-one-centimetre-long creature gently lashes a sleeping snail on a leaf and spins silk strands around the prey to capture it for dinner, reports Science.

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