The body of a stranded sperm whale which died on a beach in Northumberland last week had plastic inside it, scientists say. Locals nicknamed the 44-foot (13.3m) animal Moby after it washed up, but it died on Friday night. Its body was removed from the beach on Tuesday by Northumberland County Council and a post-mortem exam revealed plastic inside its stomach. This was not what killed the whale, the experts said, but it is yet another example of how a scourge of plastic is infiltrating and harming our environment. A costguard officer stood by the dead whale on the beach at Newbiggin-by-the-Sea on Saturday.
To seize prey, squid rely on a battery of tough, serrated suckers at the end of their tentacles known as squid ring teeth (SRT). Now, researchers are finding that a protein in SRTs can be turned into fibres and films for making tough, flexible, and biodegradable plastics. An average sized squid only contains around 100 milligrams of SRT protein, but Melik Demirel at Pennsylvania State University and his team have genetically engineered E. coli bacteria to grow it. Meaning that much more of the protein can be produced. Regular clothing fibres can be coated in SRT proteins to produce an extremely hard-wearing fabric, which canself-heal if damaged with a bit of heat and pressure.
Forget your witch costume or the sexy nurse outfit you wore on Halloween. It's time to reconsider teeth as playful wardrobe. A photo that's been making the rounds on r/wtf features a full body costume made of artificial human teeth. It appears to be a prop from the Syfy series Channel Zero. Say what you will about covering your face with silicone teeth, because this is frightening.
The future of mending clothes may require one less tailor and one extra squid. In a new development, researchers at Pennsylvania State University have discovered healing properties in the proteins from squid ring teeth that can self-repair some fabrics. According to the team, this technology can be applied to create chemically protective suits that protect farmers from pesticide exposure, factory workers from toxic ingredients and soldiers from chemical and biological attacks. "Fashion designers use natural fibers made of proteins like wool or silk that are expensive and they are not self-healing," said Melik C. Demirel, professor of engineering science and mechanics at Penn State, in a statement. "We were looking for a way to make fabrics self-healing using conventional textiles.
It is not every day that we find a species from the prehistoric era still swimming in our oceans. And one that probably has sent the minds of many a tired and frightened sailor into wild trips of sweat-soaked imagination. So one can imagine the surprise that researchers from Portugal's Institute for the Sea and Atmosphere were in for when they caught a frilled shark (Chlamydoselachus anguineus) recently. The scientists called it a "snake-like shark" -- from a species that has been living on earth from 80 million years ago. It was a case of scientific serendipity.