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Writer Fuel: Strange Sea Worms Have Butts That Grow a Brain

sea worm - deposit photos

Some marine worms have developed a strange reproduction strategy: They essentially grow a second worm on their rear ends, head and all. This bizarre twin then breaks off and swims away to mate with other swimming butts of the opposite sex. In a study published Nov. 22 in Scientific Reports, researchers described exactly how Japanese … Read more

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Writer Fuel: We’re All Jellyfish

Comb Jellyfish - Deposit Photos

After decades of debate, scientists believe they have identified the most recent ancestor of the sister to all animals via the novel use of an analytical technique. The finding settles a central question about the evolution of the entire tree of animal life. All animal life is descended from a single common ancestor — a … Read more

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Writer Fuel: New Video Shows Continents Evolving Over 100 Million Years

Earth's continents

New “unprecedented” animations of the Earth show how the planet’s surface has shifted and changed over the past 100 million years. These animations are the most detailed view of the history of Earth’s topography ever, depicting the rise of mountains, the development of basins, and the transport of large masses of sediments around the globe … Read more

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Writer Fuel: Is This the Ancestor of Us All?

Asgard archaeon - Image credit: © Thiago Rodrigues-Oliveira, Univ. Wien

Ancient microbes whose existence predates the rise of nucleus-carrying cells on Earth may hold the secrets to how such complex cells first came to be. Now, for the first time, scientists have grown a large enough quantity of these microbes in the lab to study their internal structure in detail, Science reported. Researchers grew an … Read more

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Writer Fuel: How Long Does Evolution Take?

human evolution - pixabay

Charles Darwin famously marveled at the “endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful” produced by evolution, and indeed, Earth today teems with an estimated 1 trillion species. But how long did it take those species to evolve? The answer varies widely across lifeforms, “depending on taxa [type of creature] and environmental conditions,” Thomas Smith, a … Read more

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Writer Fuel: Where Are All the Giant Animals?

dinosaur - deposit photos

Prehistoric giants used to populate the Earth. These behemoths included mighty dinosaurs, airplane-size pterosaurs, massive crocodiles and snakes, and even armadillos the size of cars. But today, there are just a few big animals on our planet. What happened? Why aren’t there many giants left anymore? First of all, there’s plenty of fossil evidence that … Read more

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WRITER FUEL: History of the Web

internet network worldwide web - pixabay

In internet history, credit for the initial concept that developed into the World Wide Web is typically given to Leonard Kleinrock. In 1961, he wrote about ARPANET, the predecessor of the internet, in a paper entitled “Information Flow in Large Communication Nets.” According to the journal Management and Business Review (MBR), Kleinrock, along with other … Read more

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WRITER FUEL: Scientists Find Evidence of Non-Random Mutations

DNA - Deposit Photos

Genetic changes that crop up in an organism’s DNA may not be completely random, new research suggests. That would upend one of the key assumptions of the theory of evolution. Researchers studying the genetic mutations in a common roadside weed, thale cress (Arabidopsis thaliana), have discovered that the plant can shield the most “essential” genes … Read more

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WRITER FUEL: What’s Hiding In Our Genetic “Dark DNA”?

DNA - Deposit Photos

We’re launching a brand new feature on Liminal Fiction – “Writer Fuel – cool real-world stories that might inspire your little writer heart. Today:  Genetic “dark matter” may drive the emergence of new species, new research finds. These long, repeating stretches of the genome, called satellite DNA, may ultimately prevent incompatible animals from mating by … Read more