Granddaddy of spiders

• Eight legs. Fangs. And a whip-like tail. Call it Chimerarachne yingi, a newly discovered arachnid that crawled around rainforests in what is now Southeast Asia more than 100 million years ago - during the Cretaceous period. Its remains were found imprisoned in the amber markets of Myanmar, as if Mother Nature had tried to lock this tiny terror away from the world. The findings were published in Nature Ecology & Evolution.

Frozen plants

• Under poor soil conditions, the pea seems to be able to assess risk. The sensitive plant can make memories and learn to stop recoiling if you mess with it enough. Now a study published in Annals of Botany has shown that plants can be frozen with a range of anaesthetics. Insights gleaned from the study may help doctors better understand the variety of anaesthetics used in surgeries.

Talking whale

• Killer whales or orcas can be trained to copy a variety of sounds. Take Wikie (in pic). This orca in Marineland Aquarium in Antibes, France, has been taught to mimic "hello" and "bye-bye". Killer whales live in tight-knit, matriarchal pods with unique vocal traditions. Scientists have always suspected that they acquired these dialects through social learning.

Source: NYTNS


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