SCIENCE IN THE NEWS DAILY
Mysterious Sensory Organ Found in Whale's Chin
If you came face to face with a great whale, you might find a few surprises in its chin: Like whiskers, if you look closely at the surface. And, hidden inside the chin, lies a mysterious sensory organ, unknown to centuries of whalers and biologists.
You just need the right tools to find it: a high-tech, oversized x-ray machine, and the right saws to slice it into thin pieces that fit in a microscope.
A group of scientists based at the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver, BC, have done all that looking--and they discovered an organ that serves a crucial purpose and answers a longstanding mystery. How do great whales, such as humpbacks and blues, drive their jaws so wide open and then snap them shut, while swimming at full speed?
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PODCASTS: Expanding With the Cosmos
Using the Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ATC), a 6.5-meter microwave collector in Chile, cosmologists are piecing together the early history of the known universe. In an exclusive American Scientist interview, Arthur Kosowsky—a member of the ATC team and a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Pittsburgh—discusses how he is using ATC to reach back in time billions of years to search for gravitational waves that could verify inflation and reveal unprecedented details about how the cosmos was born.
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