News Roundup: Zombie Ants Controlled by Newly Discovered Fungi

By Andrew Moseman | March 4, 2011 10:52 am

  • We at DISCOVER have always loved the terrifying specter of zombie animals controlled by menacing wasps, worms, and barnacles. This week there’s a new terror on the loose: Four newly found fungi that grow stalks right through the head of zombie ants in the Brazilian rainforest.
  • No glory for Glory: The NASA climate mission we covered last week—which was to study the interaction of the sun’s radiation, aerosols, and greenhouse gases in the atmosphere—ended in failure as it did not reach orbit in its launch attempt today.
  • It’s not Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus, but a paleontologist’s research suggests that the story of North American survival long ago may have been bison v. mammoth. Eric Scott says the influx of bison from Eurasia may have doomed the saber-tooth cat, mammoth, and other megafauna that couldn’t compete.
  • Not just football: A scan of the donated brain of Bob Probert, longtime NHL enforcer, shows he had chronic traumatic encephalopathy—the degenerative brain condition that many former NFL players are showing.
  • A Nature poll of 1,000 biomedical scientists reveals that 90 percent believe animal research is essential for science, but that 30 percent know someone who has been negatively affected by animal rights protests. Of the thousand, 54 “said that they had actually changed the direction of their research as a result of misgivings about their research practices.”
  • A dental clue to climate: Horse teeth from millions of years ago can help scientists reconstruct what plant life was like and how it would have changed, because horses’ teeth would have evolved with their changing diet.

Image: David Hughes

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