More SARS-CoV-2 Reinfections Reported, But Still a Rare Event

the-scientist.com – Repeat COVID-19 cases could offer clues about people’s immunity to the novel coronavirus and how to vaccinate against it.

Source: Daniel F. Gudbjartsson, et al. Spread of SARS-CoV-2 in the Icelandic Population. New England Journal of Medicine, 2020.

Fossil burrows suggest large predatory worms colonized the Eurasian seafloor 20 million years ago

upi.com – One-of-a-kind fossilized burrows unearthed in Taiwan suggest giant predatory worms colonized the Eurasian seafloor during the Miocene, some 20 million years ago.

Source: Yu-Yen Pan, et al. The 20-million-year old lair of an ambush-predatory worm preserved in northeast Taiwan. Scientific Reports, 2021.

Stunning fossil suggests dinosaurs lured mates with smell and vision

newscientist.com – A reconstruction of the only fossilised dinosaur genital orifice in existence suggests the ancient animals attracted a mate using colour contrasts and musky smells

Source: Jakob Vinther, Robert Nicholls, Diane A. Kelly. A cloacal opening in a non-avian dinosaur. Current Biology, 2021.

Ancient bronze rings and ribs were some of the earliest money

zmescience.com – Before humans minted coins, they used all sorts of odd objects as standardized money.

Source: Maikel H. G. Kuijpers, Cătălin N. Popa, Peter F. Biehl. The origins of money: Calculation of similarity indexes demonstrates the earliest development of commodity money in prehistoric Central Europe. PLOS ONE, 2021.

Canada won't receive any Pfizer shots next week — here's what you need to know about the vaccination campaign

cbc.ca – Canada's vaccination campaign is off to a slow start — and news this week that deliveries of the Pfizer-BioNTech product will be dramatically reduced over the next month has further complicated the national rollout.

Source: Jerald Sadoff, et al. Interim Results of a Phase 1–2a Trial of Ad26.COV2.S Covid-19 Vaccine. New England Journal of Medicine, 2021.

How some male mantises avoid getting their heads chopped off after sex

zmescience.com – Males employ sexual coercion in order to quickly mate and flee the scene in one piece.

Source: Nathan W. Burke, Gregory I. Holwell. Male coercion and female injury in a sexually cannibalistic mantis. Biology Letters, 2021.

This painted pig is the world’s oldest figurative art

arstechnica.com – The pig's spiky head crest and two facial warts helped identify its species.

Source: Adam Brumm, et al. Oldest cave art found in Sulawesi. Science Advances, 2021.

COVID Reduced US Life Expectancy By Over One Year and Latinos by Three Years

nextbigfuture.com – In Mid-October, 2020 (when the US had 215000 COVID deaths), COVID had caused a reduction in US life expectancy at birth of 1.13 y to 77.48 y, lower than any year since 2003. There was a 0.87-y reducti

Source: Theresa Andrasfay, Noreen Goldman. Reductions in 2020 US life expectancy due to COVID-19 and the disproportionate impact on the Black and Latino populations. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2021.

Feast your eyes on this 50-million-year-old assassin bug and its exquisite genitalia

popsci.com – The “extraordinarily well-preserved” male genitalia of the newly discovered species, named Aphelicophontes danjuddi, show similarities to those of present-day bugs, scientists reported on January 19 in the journal Papers in Palaeontology.

Source: Daniel R. Swanson, Sam W. Heads, Steven J. Taylor, Yinan Wang, Conrad Labandeira. A new remarkably preserved fossil assassin bug (Insecta, Heteroptera, Reduviidae) from the Eocene Green River Formation of Colorado. Papers in Palaeontology, 2021.

Photos show how a tree snake makes its body into a lasso to climb and hunt prey

businessinsider.com – Snakes typically slither. But a new study shows a species of tropical tree snake can loop its body into a lasso shape to climb cylindrical objects.

Source: Julie A. Savidge, Thomas F. Seibert, Martin Kastner, Bruce C. Jayne. Lasso locomotion expands the climbing repertoire of snakes. Current Biology, 2021.

Warmed-up lithium-based batteries could make electric vehicles cheaper

newscientist.com – Lithium batteries that operate at a higher temperature could be cheaper and safer than other batteries for electric cars

Source: Xiao-Guang Yang, Teng Liu, Chao-Yang Wang. Thermally modulated lithium iron phosphate batteries for mass-market electric vehicles. Nature Energy, 2021.