Animal magnetism: Bacteria may help creatures sense Earth's magnetic fields

An intriguing theory explains animals' magnetic sense.

Credit: PedroNevesDesign/designer_an/Shutterstock/Big Think
  • Some animals can navigate via magnetism, though scientists aren't sure how.
  • Research shows that some of these animals contain magnetotactic bacteria.
  • These bacteria align themselves along the magnetic field's grid lines.
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For starlet sea anemones, more food means more arms

A new study finds that starlet sea anemones have the unique ability to grow more tentacles when they've got more to eat.

Credit: Smithsonian Environmental Research Center/Wikimedia
  • These anemones belong to the Cnidaria phylum that continues developing through its lifespan.
  • The starlet sea anemone may grow as many as 24 tentacles, providing there's enough food.
  • When deprived of the chance to reproduce, they also grow more tentacles.
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Study finds the real reason you get goosebumps

No, its not just to keep you warm with hair you don't have.

By Flystock/Shutterstock
  • A new study suggests that goosebumps are part of a larger system that not only keeps us warm, but also helps hair to heal.
  • The sympathetic nerve system reacts to cold air with goose skin. If it stays on long enough, it orders new hair growth.
  • The authors note that other, currently unknown, connections between this system and other parts of the body are likely to exist.
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New fossils reveal first known swimming dinosaur

Non-avian dinosaurs were thought terrestrially bound, but newly unearthed fossils suggest they conquered prehistoric waters, too.

  • Spinosaurus has remained an elusive quarry for paleontologists despite its initial discovery more than 100 years ago.
  • A recent study of newly excavated fossils suggests the 40-foot-long therapod swam and hunted in waterways.
  • If future evidence confirms the study's findings, it may change our understanding of the Mesozoic era.
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    Humans were born to run. Exoskeletons might make us better at it.

    New research on ankle exoskeletons show promising results.

    Photo: Getty Images
    • New research from Stanford finds that motor-powered ankle exoskeletons conserve 15 percent of energy expenditure when running.
    • Spring-powered exoskeletons without motors actually made running harder.
    • The researchers hope to develop better spring-powered models moving forward.
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