Spring in your step, rings in your teeth, monkeys on boats, and more

Published April 15, 2020

Bound to happen: spring-heeled jacks

First there was the Segway. Then came those hoverboards. Next up (we hope): a spring-powered exoskeleton thing developed at Vanderbilt University that they say “could allow humans to run 50 percent faster.” Half pogo stick, half stilt, half prosthetic limb, it’s only a matter of time before you see hipsters bounding down the street* from coffee shop to microbrewery.
* Vanderbilt says they could be used “for sports, rescue operations, and law enforcement.”

Kids these days…

…are probably going to be fine, even with their faces glued to those screens. So finds a study out of OSU that found “Despite the time spent with smartphones and social media, young people today are just as socially skilled as those from the previous generation.”
Even children […] who had the heaviest exposure to screens showed similar development in social skills compared to those with little screen exposure, results showed.
On the other hand, “Pregnant women exposed to high levels of radiation from cellphones, microwaves and Wi-Fi may be increasing their baby’s risk for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.”

So that’s where it went

Have you lost a piece of an ancient continent? It seems that (and this is embarrassing), Canada has been sitting on it.

Tooth ‘rings’ tell stories

Teeth form rings just like trees do, and those annual layers can tell a lot about someone’s history. (This will be useful mostly for evolutionary biology, but it’s still cool.)
“Just like tree rings, we can look at ‘tooth rings’: continuously growing layers of tissue on the dental root surface. These rings are a faithful archive of an individual’s physiological experiences and stressors from pregnancies and illnesses to incarcerations and menopause that all leave a distinctive permanent mark.”

Come sail away

Ancient monkeys — yes, monkeys — apparently crossed the Atlantic Ocean 34 million years ago, going from Egypt to Peru. That’s the conclusion from looking at fossilized teeth in both locations.
The monkeys are believed to have made the more than 900-mile trip on floating rafts of vegetation that broke off from coastlines, possibly during a storm.
Wait, wait — it gets better: The monkeys were the third lineage of mammals to do this.

There is a surprising amount of ‘monkey in boat’ stock art.

Your cat wants you to read this

If you thought to yourself*, “I’m going to go to Hawai’i to get away from the mind-controlling parasite in cat poop,” we have some bad news for you.
* To be fair, who else would you think to?

Super-quick CoviD-19 news

WHO Says 70 Vaccines in the Works, With Three Leading Candidates We know who to blame: the pangolins. Maybe. Cry it out: “Low Risk of Coronavirus Spreading Through TearsSnicker: “Porn use is up, thanks to the pandemic”