Discovered: Sex Pistol scrawls, ancient Chilean whale graveyard, refining a mouse's sense of smell, the conundrum of eating more often.
The archaeological significance of Johnny Rotten's scrawl. An archaeologist at Britain's University of York, Dr. John Schofield, is touting in a release that he's found "graffiti by the Sex Pistols now discovered on the walls of the flat the punk group rented in London in the mid-1970s." Which is a neat finding for fans, especially as the release says, because it's been timed before the 35th anniversary of when the group "earned national notoriety by swearing on prime-time television." But the humorous part is that the researcher, or at least the people who authored the press release, kept comparing the apartment wall-doodles to scrawls found in ancient caves "where early humans made their marks on cave walls." The tabloid, The Daily Mail, has a few more of the wall-doodles, which future people will be scrutinizing a millennia from now. [University of York, The Daily Mail]
Refining the sharp sense of (a mouse's) smell. Do you remember that scene in Ratatouille, the one where Remy, the aspiring chef-mouse, sized up the complimentary smells of strawberry and cheese and learned to mix and match different foods? We couldn't help but be reminded of that Pixar moment after reading about this mouse-centered study by New York University scientists, which finds, in the release, that "with training, smell can improve." The researchers, however, didn't grant the mice involved quite a workspace as a luxury Parisian restaurant: in one experiment they "placed thirsty rats in boxes with a snout-sized hole in each of three walls and exposed them to brief blasts of odors through the middle hole. There were three smells in all: a mix of 10 chemicals from fruits, oils, cleaning agents, etc." In other tests, eventually, the researchers said, they trained other mice "to discriminate between the odors." "We made them connoisseurs," they stated in the release. Anyone can cook. [Eurekalert]
In praise of eating more often. The non-overweight among us tend to eat more often, but still consume fewer calories, quizzically reports Reuters from new research. "Most of the research has shown that people who eat more frequently have a lower weight. But no one knows why," said an assistant professor leading the study to the news outlet. How healthy people are able to do this seems to be a mystery, especially if that person is presented with the normal vending-machine, coffee-shop options that a typical office worker is presented with. We'd guess that they pack healthy, small snacks that they consume throughout the day to stave "off intense hunger," as Reuters notes? Or maybe they go for the the theoretically better work snack of egg whites on toast, although how feasible (or appetizing) that is for the cubicle-bound is up for consideration. [Reuters]
The ancient whale graveyard in Chile (pictured above). Researchers at the Smithsonian institute and Chilean scientists have been collecting data about why scores (75 have been discovered) of fossils of several millennia old, mostly baleen whales "wound up in the same corner of the Atacama Desert" buried on a desert hill near Santiago, Chile, the Associated Press reported. While residents appear to have known that the graveyard was a "treasure trove of fossils" for some time, the AP caught up with the scientists as they finished their on-site studies, and offered up a few theories, one of them being: "the whales might have gathered in a lagoon and then an earthquake or storm could have closed off the outlet to the ocean." Below, the Smithsonian team offers a break-neck video of the scientists scanning "one particularly complete fossil whale" at the site which will be later used to construct models of the creatures, the AP noted. [Associated Press, Pyenson Lab Smithsonian]