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This Week In Science!

author

Chris Carpineti

Senior Video Editor

clockOct 1 2021, 13:38 UTC

“Mega Comet” Heading Our Way Is Probably The Largest Ever Seen 

In June this year, two astronomers discovered probably the largest comet ever seen, an object so big there was initial debate if it might really be a dwarf planet on a comet-like orbit. Now, the results of three months spent learning more about this exceptional object have been reported. Its estimated size is 150 kilometers across, giving it a volume thousands of times that of a typical comet. 

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Researchers Record Wild Chimp Using Human-Made Object As Sex Toy For First Time 

In Bulindi, Uganda in August 2018, scientists spotted a juvenile male chimp named Araali inserting his penis into a discarded plastic herbicide bottle. The team report that the male chimp had a "play face", a relaxed open mouth expression they make when they are having fun. This event could give insights into the wider question of where the masturbatory behavior comes from in wild chimpanzees. 

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Superbly Preserved Dinosaur Cells Contain Organic Molecules And Possibility Of DNA 

Cells from a 125 million-year-old dinosaur have been preserved so well that organic molecules survived in the nucleus of at least one. This is only the second time this has been observed in a Cretaceous fossil, and by far the oldest. Scientists extracted cartilage fossil and decalcified it. The cells had been impregnated with silicon, preserving them so well the team could tell the health of individual cells when they were fossilize. 

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37 Percent Of COVID-19 Patients Have At Least One Symptom Six Months After Infection 

After looking at the anonymized electronic health records of 273,618 American COVID-19 survivors three to six months after testing positive, researchers found 36.6 percent had reported at least one symptom. People who suffered more severe attacks were more likely to experience lingering symptoms, and 40 percent of Long-COVID sufferers experienced symptoms after the three-month mark they had not reported during the first recovery period. 

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US Declares Ivory-Billed Woodpecker And 22 Other Species Extinct 

This week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has declared that 22 animal and one plant species should now be considered extinct. Among the departed is the ivory-billed woodpecker, last officially seen in 1944. The announcement marks the beginning of a 60-day comment period, where scientists and members of the public can submit information to the Fish and Wildlife Service that they think is pertinent to the decision. After this time, the changes will be made final. 

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What is Consciousness? New Podcast Episode Out Now  

Of the many mysteries of the universe, the closest one to us as humans is probably this: What is consciousness? How does our brain turn electrical signals into thoughts and feelings? Join us for the latest episode of our podcast, IFLScience The Big Questions, where we talk to Professor Liad Mudrik of the School of Psychological Sciences And Sagol School of Neuroscience to ponder just that. 
 
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