Dodo no dum- dum

What’s hot and what’s not in the world of sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - SCIENCE TECH HEAD - By MANDY THOO

THE ex­tinct dodo was prob­a­bly as clever as the mod­ern pi­geon, beat­ing the long- stand­ing “dumb dodo” claim.

Af­ter run­ning a com­puted to­mog­ra­phy ( CT) scan on a rare dodo skull, re­searchers from Stony Brook Univer­sity, US, found that the brain is at an “ideal” size for its body.

An­other sur­pris­ing find­ing was that its ol­fac­tory bulb – used to process smells – was en­larged, and may have helped the bird search for food on the ground.

While in­tel­li­gence isn’t based on brain size alone, the dis­cov­ery in­di­cates that the dodo isn’t as dumb as hu­mans pre­vi­ously thought.

See: http:// bit. ly/ 1QEyMWo

Elec­tronic beats

Doc­tors can now lis­ten to lung sounds of their pa­tients us­ing a mo­bile phone or a tablet from any lo­ca­tion.

De­vel­oped by re­searchers at Hiroshima Univer­sity, Ja­pan, the com­puter pro­gramme con­nects to an elec­tronic stetho­scope to record lung sounds.

Apart from trans­fer­ring the sounds to wire­less devices for doc­tors, the pro­gramme also clas­si­fies the lung sounds into dif­fer­ent cat­e­gories to help with di­ag­noses.

Pa­tients may also be able to track their lung func­tion dur­ing chronic ob­struc­tive pul­monary dis­ease ( COPD) or cys­tic fi­bro­sis.

See: http:// bit. ly/ 24v4W1a

Watery cracks

The cracks on Pluto’s largest moon may have been caused by its sub­sur­face ocean, NASA has dis­cov­ered.

Its New Hori­zons data re­veal that in Charon’s early days, heat from the for­ma­tion could have melted the ice, re­sult­ing in a liq­uid ocean.

And when the moon’s at­mos­phere turned icy, the ocean froze and ex­panded, crack­ing the sur­face.

NASA de­scribes it be­ing sim­i­lar to “Bruce Ban­ner tear­ing his shirt as he be­comes the In­cred­i­ble Hulk”, lead­ing to frac­tures that show as ridges, scarps and val­leys that are up to 6.5 kilo­me­tres deep.

See: http:// go. nasa. gov/ 1Tupov4

Stinky en­e­mies

Peo­ple are much more tol­er­ant of the body smells of their friends than they are of out­siders, re­search from St An­drews Univer­sity shows.

In the study, stu­dents were asked to smell sweaty T- shirts that be­longed to peo­ple of dif­fer­ent univer­si­ties – even though the shirts be­longed to one re­searcher.

They found that the stu­dents were a lot more dis­gusted when they were told that that the shirt be­longed to some­one of a ri­val univer­sity, and also washed their hands much more quickly and thor­oughly after­ward.

See: http:// bit. ly/ 1KH7m6p

Fly­ing snail

A sea snail has been found to “fly” through wa­ter, just like how some an­i­mals fly in the air.

Also known as the Arc­tic “sea but­ter­fly”, the crea­ture has wing- like or­gans in­stead of feet and lives in the north­ern At­lantic as well as Pa­cific oceans.

Re­searchers at the Ge­or­gia In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy, US, dis­cov­ered that it pad­dles to travel in the wa­ter, and flaps its “wings” in a fig­ure- of- eight pat­tern that’s also found among in­sects.

It also uses “clap and fling” – a com­mon tech­nique in­volv­ing clap­ping and fling­ing wings to gain ex­tra lift, the team says.

See: http:// bit. ly/ 1LNcvVo

Mandy Thoo loves to write about sci­ence and lives in Kuala Lumpur. Tweet her at @ tech­head_

— Reuters

New re­search in­di­cates that the ex­tinct dodo may not be as dumb as pre­vi­ously thought.

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