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This Week In Science!

author

Philip Brayne

Creative Services Assistant

clockNov 26 2021, 16:10 UTC

New COVID-19 Variant May Be "Worse Than Nearly Anything Else About" Warn Scientists

A new COVID-19 variant detected in South Africa and Botswana has experts pretty worried. While the number of cases identified is currently small, it has a high number of concerning mutations that could allow it to evade vaccines and spark further waves of disease. Scientists suspect the huge number of mutations occurred together,suggesting it may have evolved inside someone with a weakened immune system.

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Mammoth Bone Pendant May Be Oldest Jewelry Of Its Kind

A broken ivory pendant found in a Polish cave has been dated as 41,500 years old, making it the oldest ivory jewelry from Eurasia. It is also the oldest example of an ornament decorated with puncture marks in a looping curve, which may represent an early tally sheet. The pendant was found with a horse bone awl (tool for punching holes), stone tools, and animal bones that could collectively add to our understanding of the culture that made it.

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First Known "Feather" Connecting Two Of The Milky Way’s Spiral Arms Discovered

A wavy filament of cold, dense gas stretching at least 6,000 light-years close to the Milky Way’s center has been discovered. This may be the galaxy's first known "feather", a structure seen in other spiral galaxies. Rather than being shaped like a bird's feather, however, the discovery has a pattern like a sinusoidal wave, which inspired them to name it Gangotri Wave, after the glacier that feeds the Ganges river.

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Wild Bornean Orangutan Caught Killing And Eating A Slow Loris For First Time

A new paper reports on a Borneo orangutan that was spotted catching, killing, and eating one of the world’s cutest animals: the slow loris. Killing a loris is risky business, even for a massive orangutan, as these big-eyed tree babies pack a powerful venom. It’s secreted from glands on their elbows which they rub on their teeth before biting would-be predators. This could perhaps explain why Molong handled the animal so gingerly until it was dead.

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Researchers Observe Brain Entering "Flow State" When People Are "In The Zone"

When we’re so "in the zone" that we make complex tasks look easy, our brains enter a unique state which researchers call "flow", and a new study has revealed how the brain reorganizes itself in order to achieve this level of effortless competence. Researchers concluded that flow arises when a person is so immersed in an activity that they barely notice any distractions, yet are also able to complete that task with enough ease to avoid becoming frustrated.

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The Woman Who Gave Birth Despite Most Of Her Cells Having XY Chromosomes

Typically (but not always) biologically male individuals have one X and one Y chromosome (XY) while those who are biologically female have two X chromosomes (XX). However, in 2008, doctors reported a curious case of a woman who gave birth despite the majority of her cells having XY chromosomes.

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