In Science and Technology….

The Free Press WV

►  The 10 States That Send the Worst Tweets

Twitter, in the words of Chris Matyszczyk at CNET, gives us a place “upon which to emit every milliliter of our inner bile.“ But which states are responsible for the “nastiest, most racist, and most sexist” tweets? A study from Abodo, an apartment-hunting website, analyzed 12 million tweets found using a list of NSFW keywords to come up with the answer. Here now are the 10 states most responsible for turning Twitter into an intolerant cesspool:

  1. Louisiana: 1,155 tweets containing derogatory language for every 100,000 tweets. That’s approximately one in every 87 tweets.
  2. Nevada: 929 derogatory tweets for every 100,000 tweets.
  3. Texas: 925 derogatory tweets for every 100,000 tweets.
  4. Maryland: 895 derogatory tweets for every 100,000 tweets.
  5. Delaware: 812 derogatory tweets for every 100,000 tweets.
  6. Ohio: 758 derogatory tweets for every 100,000 tweets.
  7. California: 717 derogatory tweets for every 100,000 tweets.
  8. Michigan: 711 derogatory tweets for every 100,000 tweets.
  9. Georgia: 669 derogatory tweets for every 100,000 tweets.
  10. Rhode Island: 622 derogatory tweets for every 100,000 tweets.

Check out the   FULL STUDY to find out which state’s Twitter users were specifically the most racist, most sexist, or most homophobic.

►  Domino’s Now Has a Pizza- Delivery Droid

Self-driving cars seem nice, but an Australian tech startup that usually builds robotic targets for live-fire military training has just announced what we’ve really been waiting for: a pizza-delivery robot, courtesy of Domino’s, reports Engadget. Meet DRU (Domino’s Robotic Unit), an autonomous 3-foot-tall delivery vehicle (currently in prototype stage) that’s most aptly described by NBC News as “half Wall-E, half baby carriage, with a sprinkling of R2-D2.“ Developed by Marathon Targets, DRU is powered by LIDAR—the same technology self-driving cars employ—and scoots around with the assistance of its built-in GPS system, which is hooked up with Google Maps. The four-wheel device can carry out a bunch of deliveries within a 20-mile radius on a single charge, zips along at a maximum 12.5mph, and can hold up to 10 pizzas in its heated compartment, the Verge and Lifehacker Australia report.

How it works: Once an order is placed, DRU maps out the customer’s address and putters on over, using its sensors to avoid obstacles. When DRU arrives curbside, the customer will be able to open the locked compartments with a special code sent via smartphone. To further deter pizza poachers, the units come equipped with cameras to record any attempts at theft. Because of its speed limitations and local transport rules, DRU can currently only travel on smaller lanes and paths (no major thoroughfares or highways), so it will first be tested in small neighborhoods in Australia and New Zealand; customers should expect to see the robots take to the streets within the next six months. Due to logistical, technical, and legal hurdles, it may be at least two years before they become an everyday sight.

The Free Press WV

►  Newly Discovered Prehistoric Puppy Still Has Fur, Brain

Scientists are poised to learn a lot more about prehistoric man’s best friend after discovering a shockingly well-preserved 12,400-year-old puppy in Siberia, the Telegraph reports. The mummified Pleistocene canid—almost certainly an extinct species—is believed to have been killed by a landslide near the village of Tumat, according to Science Alert. A member of the research team studying the puppy says it was “preserved from nose to tail, including the hair.“ But an autopsy conducted after washing “thousands of years of mud and dirt” off the Tumat Puppy at the Geological Institute in Moscow revealed an even more surprising degree of preservation: The canid’s brain is still 70% to 80% intact, Discovery reports.

Scientists, who’ve never before been able to study such a well-preserved specimen, are hoping to find ancient bacteria in the puppy’s stomach and learn about ancient parasites from the ticks in its fur. But Hwang Woo-Suk, who the Telegraph describes as a “controversial Korean scientist,“ wants to go even further. Hwang, who’s building a cloning facility in China, took samples of the Tumat puppy’s muscle, skin, and cartilage in the hopes of bringing back the extinct species. “He was very excited,“ Science Alert quotes a member of the research team as saying. Archaeology reports that researchers believe the Tumat puppy was once someone’s pet, as tools, evidence of a fire, and the remains of butchered animals were found nearby.

►  Hidden Notes in Old Bible Shed Light on Reformation

The scribbles sat hidden for nearly 500 years. Then, while perusing one of seven surviving copies of England’s first printed Bible, historian Eyal Poleg of Queen Mary University made a surprising discovery. “At empty spaces at the end of prologues and sections, or at blank margins, a very thick paper was carefully pasted,“ Poleg writes in a blog post. With the help of 3D X-rays, researchers found that the paper was hiding annotations in the 1535 book. The notes were written in English, but they were “apparently there to point readers to Latin texts of Bible readings to use in services, indicating one way parishes were attempting to get around King Henry VIII’s ban on Latin in the liturgy,“ reports Christian Today. And that suggests a new insight about the Protestant Reformation—that it did not upend Europe “in one fell swoop” as has long been thought, notes RedOrbit.

“Until recently, it was widely assumed that the Reformation caused a complete break, a Rubicon moment when people stopped being Catholics and accepted Protestantism, rejected saints, and replaced Latin with English,“ Poleg says. “This Bible is a unique witness to a time when the conservative Latin and the reformist English were used together, showing that the Reformation was a slow, complex, and gradual process.“ The notes, obscured in 1600, were written during the “murky period” between 1539 and 1549 when Henry VIII was moving away from the Church of Rome but people apparently hadn’t fully accepted the shift, according to a release. Just a few years later, “Latin liturgy was irrelevant,“ Poleg adds, and the Bible became a “recorder of thievery.“ Hidden on a back page was a transaction between a man and a pickpocket who was hanged in 1552.

►  Peer Inside the Secret Groups of Facebook

“A constant stream of brutally frank chatter about relationships, work, sex, race, gender, and, yes, cats.“ That’s how Kristen V. Brown, writing for Fusion, describes Girls Night In. The exclusive (and secret) Facebook group comprising some 1,500 LA-area women in their 20s and 30s also is home to “a bizarrely large quantity of nude selfies.“ But the name of the group isn’t really Girls Night In—it changes constantly, Brown writes. Prospective members need recommendations from three women in the group. And once you’re in, breaking the rules—say, by sharing something from the group with a nonmember—“will result in expulsion … and public shaming.“ But Girls Night In is more than just gossip, Brown writes, it’s a place to get objective advice, moral support, and real-life help, such as when members raised $20,000 for another member whose house burned down. “It’s an interactive, communal diary, and a support group for womanhood.“

That can come at a price, though, Brown writes. Members spend up to six hours a day on the group, which can create “rifts with their best friends and romantic partners.“ When it comes to secret Facebook groups (they don’t show up in search results), Girls Night In isn’t alone, writes Alyson Krueger at Forbes. Take, for instance, Lolo’s Logic, a group of women who talk sex. Members may be ostensibly “June Cleavers,“ the founder says. “But in there they are little freaks.“ Another group caters exclusively to “right-leaning conservatives,“ who, the founder tells Forbes, “want to post whatever we want without fear of being called racist, bigot or stupid.” Some groups offer support for specific issues, such as drug abuse. No matter a group’s theme, the common denominator is that they all have strict internal rules. And LoLo’s Logic requires new members to post a topless photo.

In Science and Technology….

The Free Press WV

►  Microsoft starts rolling out Windows 10 to Windows Phone 8.1 users

The availability of Windows 10 Mobile as an upgrade “will vary by device manufacturer, device model, country or region, mobile operator or service provider, hardware limitations and other factors,“ according to Microsoft’s “How to Get Windows 10 Mobile” page.

If and when the update is available, users will need to plug their phones in and connect to Wi-Fi to get the update. They also will have to free up enough storage space to download and install the update. The Microsoft Upgrade Advisor app will help users figure out how to free up space to install the upgrade.

Users also need to run the Upgrade Advisor app to determine whether their particular Windows Phone is eligible to get the update to Windows 10 Mobile.

Update: These are the phones eligible for the Windows 10 Mobile update:

  Lumia 1520
  Lumia 930
  Lumia 640, 640 XL
  Lumia 730
  Lumia 735
  Lumia 830
  Lumia 532
  Lumia 535
  Lumia 540
  Lumia 635 1GB,
  Lumia 636 1GB,
  Lumia 638 1GB,
  Lumia 430
  Lumia 435
  BLU Win HD w510u
  BLU Win HD LTE x150q
  MCJ Madosma Q501

Because some of the Windows 10 Mobile features are hardware dependent, certain Windows 10 Mobile features like Continuum and Windows Hello won’t work on existing phones that are updated to Windows 10 Mobile.

There are also a number of current Windows Phone 8.1 features that users will lose or see modified if they update to Windows 10 Mobile.

Among those features that may be modified or removed: Me Tile and Me Card; notifications for missed calls, messages and emails on contact tiles; Cortana’s ability to search for apps, settings, email, text messages, contacts and QR Codes on the device; ability to open apps through voice commands; and MDM functionality to prevent saving and sharing Office documents.

►  U.S. government pushed tech firms to hand over source code

NEW YORK—The US government has made numerous attempts to obtain source code from tech companies in an effort to find security flaws that could be used for surveillance or investigations.

The government has demanded source code in civil cases filed under seal but also by seeking clandestine rulings authorized under the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), a person with direct knowledge of these demands told ZDNet. We’re not naming the person as they relayed information that is likely classified.

With these hearings held in secret and away from the public gaze, the person said that the tech companies hit by these demands are losing “most of the time.“

When asked, a spokesperson for the Justice Dept. acknowledged that the department has demanded source code and private encryption keys before. In a recent filing against Apple, the government cited a 2013 case where it won a court order demanding that Lavabit, an encrypted email provider said to have been used by whistleblower Edward Snowden, must turn over its source code and private keys. The Justice Dept. used that same filing to imply it would, in a similar effort, demand Apple’s source code and private keys in its ongoing case in an effort to compel the company’s help by unlocking an iPhone used by the San Bernardino shooter.

Asked whether the Justice Dept. would demand source code in the future, the spokesperson declined to comment.

It’s not uncommon for tech companies to refer to their source code as the “crown jewel” of their business. The highly sensitive code can reveal future products and services. Source code can also be used to find security vulnerabilities and weaknesses that government agencies could use to conduct surveillance or collect evidence as part of ongoing investigations.

Given to a rival or an unauthorized source, the damage can be incalculable.

We contacted more than a dozen tech companies in the Fortune 500. Unsurprisingly, none would say on the record if they had ever received such a request or demand from the government.

Cisco said in an emailed statement: “We have not and we will not hand over source code to any customers, especially governments.“

IBM referred to a 2014 statement saying that the company does not provide “software source code or encryption keys to the NSA or any other government agency for the purpose of accessing client data.“ A spokesperson confirmed that the statement is still valid, but did not comment further on whether source code had been handed over to a government agency for any other reason.

Microsoft, Juniper Networks, and Seagate declined to comment.

Dell and EMC did not comment at the time of publication. Lenovo, Micron, Oracle, Texas Instruments, and Western Digital did not respond to requests for comment. (If this changes, we will provide updates.)

Apple’s software chief Craig Federighi said in a sworn court declaration this week alongside the company’s latest bid to dismiss the government’s claims in the San Bernardino case that Apple has never revealed its source code to any government.

“Apple has also not provided any government with its proprietary iOS source code,“ wrote Federighi.

“While governmental agencies in various countries, including the United States, perform regulatory reviews of new iPhone releases, all that Apple provides in those circumstances is an unmodified iPhone device,“ he said.

The declaration was in part to allay fears (and the US government’s claims) that it had modified iPhone software to agree to China’s security checks, which include turning over source code to its inspectors.

But even senior tech executives may not know if their source code or proprietary technology had been turned over to the government, particularly if the order came from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC).

The secretive Washington DC-based court, created in 1979 to oversee the government’s surveillance warrants, has authorized more than 99 percent of all surveillance requests. The court has broad-sweeping powers to force companies to turn over customer data via clandestine surveillance programs and authorize US intelligence agencies to record an entire foreign country’s phone calls, as well as conduct tailored hacking operations on high-value targets.

FISA orders are generally served to a company’s general counsel, or a “custodian of records” within the legal department. (Smaller companies that can’t afford their own legal departments often outsource their compliance to third-party companies.) These orders are understood to be typically for records or customer data.

These orders are so highly classified that simply acknowledging an order’s existence is illegal, even a company’s chief executive or members of the board may not be told. Only those who are necessary to execute the order would know, and would be subject to the same secrecy provisions.

Given that Federighi heads the division, it would be almost impossible to keep from him the existence of a FISA order demanding the company’s source code.

It would not be the first time that the US government has reportedly used proprietary code and technology from American companies to further its surveillance efforts.

Top secret NSA documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden, reported in German magazine Der Spiegel in late-2013, have suggested some hardware and software makers were compelled to hand over source code to assist in government surveillance.

The NSA’s catalog of implants and software backdoors suggest that some companies, including Dell, Huawei, and Juniper—which was publicly linked to an “unauthorized” backdoor—had their servers and firewall products targeted and attacked through various exploits. Other exploits were able to infiltrate firmware of hard drives manufactured by Western Digital, Seagate, Maxtor, and Samsung.

Last year, antivirus maker and security firm Kaspersky later found evidence that the NSA had obtained source code from a number of prominent hard drive makers—a claim the NSA denied—to quietly install software used to eavesdrop on the majority of the world’s computers.

“There is zero chance that someone could rewrite the [hard drive] operating system using public information,“ said one of the researchers.

►  Grandpa to Break Scott Kelly’s Space Record

It’s a good thing Scott Kelly nabbed two records during his year in space because one will soon be broken. NASA astronaut Jeff Williams—who is rocketing into space on Friday with Russian cosmonauts Alexey Ovchinin and Oleg Skripochka—will become America’s most experienced space traveler during a nearly six-month expedition on the International Space Station, reports Florida Today. At the end of Expedition 48, the 58-year-old will have spent 534 days in space over four trips to the ISS—14 days more than Kelly, who will retain his record for the longest single mission by an American at 340 days. “It’s been a great privilege that I don’t take for granted,“ says Williams, a grandfather who in 2010 became the first astronaut to interact live with NASA’s social media fans from space, per ABC News.

The Soyuz spacecraft departs from Kazakhstan at 5:26pm EDT and will dock at ISS six hours later. The three new arrivals will join America’s Tim Kopra, British astronaut Tim Peake, and Russia’s Yuri Malenchenko. Like Kelly, Williams will be a “guinea pig” for tests on space’s effect on the human body. The 58-year-old Wisconsin native and retired Army colonel will also perform two spacewalks. He’ll install a docking ring to be used by future Boeing and SpaceX crew capsules and activate an inflatable module, “a demonstration of expandable habitat technology that will be attached to the station for two years,“ per a press release. “Nothing becomes routine, nothing becomes boring up there,“ says Williams. Since his career has largely synced with the construction of the ISS (he first visited in 2000), he intends to use social media to share some of its history, per the Planetary Society.

►  Algorithm Can Spot If You’re Tweeting While Drinking

Think last night’s drunk tweets were pretty coherent? You won’t fool University of Rochester researchers, who have developed a machine-learning algorithm that can tell when a tweeter is drinking. To do so, they started with humans: Researchers collected tweets associated with alcohol—think ones with words like “drunk” and “party”—sent from NYC or New York’s Monroe County between July 2013 and July 2014, reports the MIT Technology Review. Workers with Amazon’s Mechanical Turk service then helped determine if a tweet mentioned alcohol; if the tweeter himself/herself was the one drinking; and, if yes, if the tweet was posted while drinking. Next, researchers compiled a separate selection of geotagged tweets that featured one of 50 home-related keywords, like “sofa” and “bath.“ Mechanical Turk workers were then asked to determine if each of those tweets was sent from home.

The results provided enough data with which to create a machine-learning algorithm that’s able to reveal “patterns of alcohol-related behavior in unprecedented detail,“ reports the Technology Review. Researchers noticed a positive link between the density of liquor stores and bars and the amount of tweets about drinking. They also found NYCers sent more tweets associated with alcohol, and more often did so from home. Those in Monroe County were more likely to travel at least a half-mile from home to drink. Indeed, “tweets can provide powerful and fine-grained cues of activities going on in cities,“ researchers say, per the Christian Science Monitor. And while the youthful nature of Twitter could skew data, the Technology Review observes there’s “great power” in this approach, which is far less costly and cumbersome than, say, surveying people about drinking via a questionnaire.

In Science and Technology….

The Free Press WV

►  The Apple-FBI fight may be the first salvo in a bigger war

SAN FRANCISCO — The Apple-FBI fight may just be the opening salvo in a broader war over encryption, as technology companies continue to lock up their users’ messages, photos and other data to shield them from thieves and spies — and, incidentally, criminal investigators.

WhatsApp, the globally popular messaging system owned by Facebook, has already run into trouble on this front in Brazil. WhatsApp encrypts all user messages in “end to end” fashion, meaning that no one but the sender and recipient can read them. Brazilian authorities arrested a Facebook executive earlier this month after the company said it couldn’t unscramble encrypted messages sought by police.

U.S. officials are debating how to enforce a similar wiretap order for WhatsApp communications in a U.S. criminal case, the New York Times reported . WhatsApp started as a way to exchange written messages over the Internet, but it has added services like photo-sharing and voice calling, while gradually building encryption into all those formats.

Spokesmen for WhatsApp and the Justice Department declined comment on the Times report, which said the wiretap order had been sealed to keep details secret. The Brazilian case is still pending, although the Facebook executive was released from jail after a day.

For now, U.S. authorities and the tech industry are watching for the outcome of Apple’s legal battle against the FBI, which wants to force the company to help unlock an encrypted iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino mass shooters. But as more companies explore adding encryption, further confrontations are likely.

“I think we can say, without a doubt, there’s going to be more pressure on app-makers now,“ said Nate Cardozo, staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Cardozo said he’s aware of other recent cases in which U.S. authorities have approached individual companies that use encryption and warned them that criminals or terrorists are using their services. Cardozo declined to name the companies, but said authorities have urged those companies to “try harder” — by redesigning their apps or providing other technical solutions that would let agents read the encrypted messages.

Tech companies say they don’t want to interfere with legitimate criminal investigations or national security matters. Instead, they argue they’re concerned about criminal hacking, privacy invasion and violations of civil rights.

“It’s the government’s job to protect public safety,“ said Denelle Dixon-Thayer, chief legal and business officer at Mozilla, which makes the Firefox Web browser. “Our job in the tech sector is to support that goal by providing the best data security.“

While law enforcement authorities have chafed at tech companies’ use of encryption, national security officials have warned against weakening encryption. “We’re foursquare behind strong data security and encryption,“ Defense Secretary Ash Carter told a tech audience this month. He drew applause when he added, “I’m not a believer in back doors or a single technical approach to what is a complex problem.“

Tech-industry encryption efforts expanded following 2013 disclosures by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden that showed extensive government collection of Internet users’ data. The resulting controversy helped spur companies like Apple, Google, Facebook and Yahoo to step up their security efforts, although the companies say they already had those plans in the works.

“There was a fundamental shift in relationships after the Snowden revelations,“ said Ed McAndrew, a former federal prosecutor now practicing law in Philadelphia, who said he has worked extensively with those companies on cybercrime investigations over the last decade. The companies felt “burned,“ he said, “so they decided to improve the privacy of their products.“

WhatsApp, which boasts a billion users around the globe, first added encryption for its Android smartphone app in 2014. It’s been gradually incorporating similar protections into other services, including messages sent on iPhones and even some voice calls. Founder Jan Koum traces his concerns about data-security stem to his parents’ fear of government agents listening to phone calls in their native Ukraine.

While Apple uses similar end-to-end encryption for its iMessage service, some other leading messaging and email services do not. Google uses encryption extensively to foil outsiders who might try to read users’ data, but in many cases the company can access the data itself — and will turn it over to authorities when presented with legal orders.

Some newer messaging services, including Signal and Wickr, use end-to-end encryption. So does Telegram, which recently announced it has 100 million users around the world. The year-old messaging app Wire said this month that it’s adding similar protection for video communications.

More companies may follow suit as a result of the high-profile iPhone dispute, said Mozilla’s Dixon-Thayer. The controversy has raised public awareness of encryption, she said. “We might see even more demand from users.“

►  This Tiny Viking Pendant Could Rewrite History

Denmark’s Dennis Fabricius Holm got off work early on March 11 and decided to go for a stroll with his metal detector near the town of Aunslev. “Suddenly I hit upon something,“ he tells national broadcaster DR, per the Local. “Ever since I turned over the clump of earth and saw the cross, I’ve been unable to think of anything else.“ Holm had indeed made “an absolutely sensational discovery,“ says archaeologist Malene Beck of the Ostfyns Museum. The 1.5-inch-tall pendant, complete with gold threads and filigree pellets, features the image of an open-armed man and is almost identical to a silver crucifix found in Sweden,   VISIBLE HERE . A release speculates it was worn by a Viking woman. The Independent calls it “one of the most well preserved Christian artifacts found in Denmark,“ but its date, AD900 to AD950, is what most intrigues experts.

Christian missionaries were known to be in Denmark in the eighth century, but the oldest known depiction of Jesus on a cross in Denmark—on what is known as the Jelling Stones—didn’t appear until AD965. It was believed to signify the start of the conversion of the Danes, most of whom were Christian by 1050. But since the pendant predates the Jelling Stones by at least 15 years, it “can therefore help to advance the time when one considers that the Danes really were Christians,“ Beck says. “The person who wore it would undoubtedly have adhered to the Christian faith.“ She adds the find is so significant that the history books will need to be rewritten. “I have not yet grasped that find’s influence on Denmark’s history,“ Holm tells TV2. “It is hard to comprehend.“

In Science and Technology….

The Free Press WV

►  Professor Solves 300-Year-Old Math Mystery, Wins $700K

An Oxford professor is now $700,000 richer for solving a 300-year-old math mystery, the Telegraph reports. In 1994, Andrew Wiles, 62, cracked Fermat’s Last Theorem, a theorem first noted by 17th-century mathematician Pierre de Fermat that reads as follows: There are no whole number solutions to the equation xn + yn = zn when n is greater than 2. Wiles will be traveling to Oslo, Norway, in May to collect the Abel Prize (including the honors and the cash) for his discovery, which the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters is calling an “epochal moment” in the mathematics field. “Wiles is one of very few mathematicians—if not the only one—whose proof of a theorem has made international headline news,“ the academy said in an announcement of his numerical feat. Forbes notes the prize is open to any mathematician, regardless of age or previous prizes won.

It’s a puzzle that’s haunted Wiles for years. Times Higher Education notes he had been intrigued by it since he was a boy, leading to seven years of intense study at Princeton before he stumbled upon his eureka moment. He found the proof he was looking for using a method involving three disparate fields that mean nothing to the layman but everything to braniacs trying to solve this problem: modular forms, elliptical curves, and Galois representations. “Fermat’s equation was my passion from an early age, and solving it gave me an overwhelming sense of fulfillment,“ he tells the Telegraph. He also hopes his work will serve as inspiration for up-and-coming numbers aces “to take up mathematics and to work on the many challenges of this beautiful and fascinating subject.“

►  Study: Dining in Silence Could Reduce Overeating

The hot new dieting fad could soon be eating in complete silence. A new study from researchers at Brigham Young and Colorado State found that people who can hear the sounds of their own eating—chewing, swallowing, and so forth—tend to eat less. Ergo, listening to music or watching TV during meals could lead to unintentional overeating, according to a press release. The Huffington Post UK reports researchers conducted three experiments to show the power of what they call the Crunch Effect. In one, for example, subjects listening to loud noises on headphones ate more pretzels than subjects listening to quiet noises. Researchers believe that’s because the sound of eating may be a “consumption monitoring cue” for our bodies.

Sound is an important part of eating, but its exact role hasn’t been studied much. “For the most part, consumers and researchers have overlooked food sound as an important sensory cue in the eating experience,” study coauthor Gina Mohr says in the press release. Medical Daily reports the study’s results reinforce those of a 2007 study that found people who are distracted while eating tend to eat more. “If people are more focused on the sound the food makes, it could reduce consumption,” BYU’s Ryan Elder says in the press release. But that doesn’t necessarily mean we should all be eating in silence. “The key takeaway is to be hyperaware of all your food’s sensory properties,“ Medical Daily states. “Your senses are the best tools for mindful eating.“

►  X-Rays End the Mystery of the Tully Monster

It’s been more than half a century since Francis Tully found the monster that has since defied classification. Now, scientists say they know where the prehistoric oddball that lived some 308 million years ago fits on the Tree of Life: “The Tully monster is a vertebrate,“ according to research published Wednesday in Nature. That’s a big step for the creature Tully discovered when he was hunting for fossils in the Mazon Creek geological deposits southeast of Chicago in 1955. Previously the Tully monster, with its torpedo body, hammerhead-like eyes, and long proboscis filled with sharp teeth, had been categorized as “problematica”—“creatures that defied ready classification,“ the Chicago Tribune reports. Some have speculated that Tullimonstrum gregarium—which, despite its name, is only about a foot long—was related to snails, worms, or insects and crabs, reports the New York Times.

“If you put in a box a worm, a mollusk, an arthropod, and a fish, and you shake,“ one paleontologist tells the Tribune, “then what you have at the end is a Tully monster,“ Some have even floated the idea that the Tully monster was a tiny version of the Loch Ness Monster, per Smithsonian. However, the researchers found that Tully is related to the lamprey, an “underwater bloodsucker,“ as the Times puts it. Using a synchrotron X-ray machine, researchers were able to determine that what was previously thought to be the creature’s gut was actually a notochord, “the primitive backbone,“ study lead Victoria McCoy tells the Times. “The coolest thing is finding out that as weird as it looks it is part of a familiar group of animals.“ Check out a graphic of the Tully monster.

Click Below for More...

Page 274 of 360 pages « First  <  272 273 274 275 276 >  Last »

The Gilmer Free Press

Copyright MMVIII-MMXVIII The Gilmer Free Press. All Rights Reserved