Darker Than Black
Surrey Nanosystems has developed a material darker than black which conducts heat seven and a half times better than copper, and has ten times the tensile strength of steel.

It’s called Vantablack, and it’s comprised of carbon nanotubes. Here’s a video.

Sources
The Independent
IFLS
Optics Express
Extreme Tech
Cnet

Trilobite beetle.

Imgsrc

Trilobite beetle.

Imgsrc

Leatherback sea turtle hatchling. Leatherbacks are the largest turtles in the world, and are critically endangered.

I first learned about them when I was nine years old, and was a volunteer, alongside my mother, at the Marine Life Center. My cousin came on a “turtle walk” (when visitors can come alongside volunteers and watch sea turtles nest) and he fell into a hollow left behind, presumably, by a leatherback. These turtles are massive!

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Leatherback sea turtle hatchling. Leatherbacks are the largest turtles in the world, and are critically endangered.

I first learned about them when I was nine years old, and was a volunteer, alongside my mother, at the Marine Life Center. My cousin came on a “turtle walk” (when visitors can come alongside volunteers and watch sea turtles nest) and he fell into a hollow left behind, presumably, by a leatherback. These turtles are massive!

Imgsrc

Red Panda twins, Lincoln Children’s Zoo

Photo by Joel Sartore, Photo Ark

Red Panda twins, Lincoln Children’s Zoo

Photo by Joel Sartore, Photo Ark

A blacktip shark in Aldabra Atoll, Seychelles.

Photograph by Imran Ahmad, National Geographic Your Shot

A blacktip shark in Aldabra Atoll, Seychelles.

Photograph by Imran Ahmad, National Geographic Your Shot

During the dry season, elephants in Chad’s Zakouma National Park drink at the last remaining water hole.

Photograph by Michael Nichols, National Geographic

During the dry season, elephants in Chad’s Zakouma National Park drink at the last remaining water hole.

Photograph by Michael Nichols, National Geographic

Parrotfish are responsible, in part, for the beautiful white, sandy beaches you stretch out on during summer break.

Their name is derived from their beak-like mouths which are used to scrape and pull off chunks of algae covered coral from reefs. Pharyngeal teeth (throat teeth!) help pulverize the chunks of coral. The coral is later eliminated… as sand. Here’s a parrotfish poop song to help explain.

Parrotfish are “a classification nightmare”. Many species can change gender, and their colors change depending upon their gender and phase. Some males keep harems, and when the dominant male dies a female from the group will change gender and then become the dominant male.

Some species of parrotfish create a mucous cocoon in which to sleep at night. Presumably to deter predators, as the membrane tastes and smells unpleasant.

Read more about the strange and brilliant parrotfish!

thebrainscoop:

Egg of an elephant bird (left - family Aepyornithidae) next to that of an ostrich (Struthio sp.). The elephant birds populated Madagascar and went extinct sometime in the 17th- or 18th century, most likely due to human impact. The egg in the Field’s collection is one of very few intact specimens in the world. One could make an omelette out of an egg this size that would feed about 120 people, which may have also contributed to that extinction.

thebrainscoop:

Egg of an elephant bird (left - family Aepyornithidae) next to that of an ostrich (Struthio sp.). The elephant birds populated Madagascar and went extinct sometime in the 17th- or 18th century, most likely due to human impact. The egg in the Field’s collection is one of very few intact specimens in the world. One could make an omelette out of an egg this size that would feed about 120 people, which may have also contributed to that extinction.

The luna moth (Actias luna) is a member of the Saturniidae family. It sports pale green wings, and a wingspan up to 4.5 inches, which makes it one of the largest moths in North America.

Luna moths are just as famous for their adorable faces and antennae as they are for their stunning wings. The males have thicker antennae than the females, probably to help track down the ladies.

Adult luna moths have a very short lifespan. They live around seven days, and don’t have mouths or digestive systems. Their sole purpose is to mate, and females can lay up to several hundred eggs.

Peacecorn on imgur rescued a luna moth from an ant attack, and it left her a small number of eggs.

Peacecorn cared for them and documented their growth in pictures (some are in this post). See the story here.

How to raise a luna moth.

Fossilized ammonite.

Fossilized ammonite.

Recommendations

I am following a grand total of nine blogs.

Appalling, isn’t it?

Bring me your favorite science blogs! I need reading material.

jagannaths:

squeeforscience:

Allosaurus fed more like a falcon than a crocodile.
"Many people think of Allosaurus as a smaller and earlier version of T. rex, but our engineering analyses show that they were very different predators.”
Scientists combined current knowledge of how dinosaur relatives, like raptors and crocodilians, feed with information gleamed from dinosaur fossils to recreate the muscles of Allosaurus in computer models. They then ran simulations to see how Allosaurus may have fed on prey. 
Read more at Ohio.edu

Fun Facts: This allosaurus and the stegosaurs are located at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, where I used to take paleobiology night classes. The allosaurus was dug up by a teenage girl in the 90’s , and is the most photographed A. fragilis in history.

jagannaths:

squeeforscience:

Allosaurus fed more like a falcon than a crocodile.

"Many people think of Allosaurus as a smaller and earlier version of T. rex, but our engineering analyses show that they were very different predators.”

Scientists combined current knowledge of how dinosaur relatives, like raptors and crocodilians, feed with information gleamed from dinosaur fossils to recreate the muscles of Allosaurus in computer models. They then ran simulations to see how Allosaurus may have fed on prey. 

Read more at Ohio.edu

Fun Facts: This allosaurus and the stegosaurs are located at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, where I used to take paleobiology night classes. The allosaurus was dug up by a teenage girl in the 90’s , and is the most photographed A. fragilis in history.

Meet the crabeater seal (Lobodon carcinophaga). It’s a charming specialized predator that lives on the coasts of Antarctica. It feeds almost exclusively on krill (90% of their diet) and sometimes cephalopods and antarctic fish.

Technique: The seal gobbles mouthfuls of krill and water drains through the spaces created by its teeth.

Crabeaters have little food competition, but as pups they are heavily preyed upon by leopard seals.

If you love the crabeater mug go here for a short story told by the person who photographed it.

Top two photos from The Brain Scoop. If you love natural history, museums, and taxidermy, follow them!

From the Los Angeles Natural History Museum.

From the Los Angeles Natural History Museum.

thebrainscoop:

The Brain Scoop:
Dimetrodon is Not a Dinosaur

It’s here!

I’m so proud of this episode, primarily because I was terrified of approaching this topic. I knew close to nothing about evolutionary relationships, phylogenetics. Didn’t have a clue what it meant to be a synapsid, or that Dimetrodon wasn’t a reptile before March 27th when Ken Angielczyk, our Curator of Paleomammalogy, sent me his paper: Dimetrodon is Not a Dinosaur, and it totally blew my mind.

The parts of my show that you don’t get to see are the many times I end up making a fool of myself in front of true experts, fumbling around to make sense of concepts in conversations with the very people who wrote them. But the great thing about embarrassment, for me at least, is that I find it completely motivating. So motivating that I launched a tumblr of the same name and now I’m involved in a crazed crusade to stop mismarketed toys that I truly believe have negative impacts on our understanding of early non-mammalian diversity. 

Maybe I’m totally delusional but I think with a little bit of fact-checking and a commitment to accuracy we can provide educational opportunities pretty much everywhere. Perhaps it isn’t such a big deal that “dinosaur” is a blanket, catch-all term to describe any and all prehistoric life - but I’m convinced we’d all appreciate our early ancestral relatives a bit more if we had a more thorough understanding of how those lifeforms came to be.

So, join me in this campaign for knowledge; submit your photos of Dimetrodon and other prehistoric life loosely lumped in with those creatures that existed more than 60 million years later, and let’s make the world a more informed place.