Evolution just got turned upside down. Sorry sponges.

Stems cells have always been pretty amazing.

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  • New research indicates animals' oldest ancestor was not sponges' single-celled choanocyte bacteria as previously thought.
  • It appears our earliest predecessors were something like modern stem cells.
  • Our lineage just lost its founding member. The search for our true first predecessor is on!
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Surprising Science

Researchers announce molecular surgery — no cutting, no scarring

Doctors may be able to painlessly reshape cartilage with the technique.

Photo credit: SHAH MARAI / AFP / Getty Images
  • The application of electrical current can temporarily soften cartilage, allowing it to be manipulated before re-hardening.
  • The technique promises to eliminate cutting, scarring, pain, and recovery time.
  • So far it's been tested on just one bunny who now has one straight ear and one bent one.
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Technology & Innovation

This is not what an atom really looks like

Artistic depictions of the atom have deceived us all.

  • Though artistic renderings suggest otherwise, electrons do not, in fact, move around a nucleus the same way the planets move around a star — at all.
  • Electrons also are not tiny balls, they're more wavelike. Also, in regard to their location, a single electron can also be an entire sphere around the nucleus of an atom.
  • As for their movement, electrons do have a spin, but they're not actually spinning. They're not actually moving around. You can think of them as clouds that exist in different locations around the nucleus based on how much energy they have.
Videos

Are birds using quantum entanglement to navigate?

Sounds wild, but it may well be so.

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  • Birds' navigation using Earth's very faint magnetic fields suggests an incredible level of sensitivity.
  • There's reason to think that sensitivity may be based on quantum entanglement in cryptochrome in their eyes.
  • Identifying the role of quantum physics in biology could lead, well, who knows where?
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Surprising Science

New therapy turns cancer cells into fat to stop it from spreading

Researchers at the University of Basel in Switzerland have hijacked cancer's cellular plasticity to turn the disease against itself.

Photo credit: BEHROUZ MEHRI / AFP / Getty Images
  • In 2018, an estimated 627,000 women died from breast cancer worldwide.
  • Researchers recently discovered a drug combination that turned cancer cells into fat cells, preventing its proliferation.
  • The drug therapy could be used to halt metastasis, the leading cause of death from cancer.
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Surprising Science