Friday, May 3rd 2024

Paleontologists Disagree About What This Exquisite Shark Fossil Actually Is - Gizmodo

The fossil shark Ptychodus, identified 190 years ago, has lacked a comprehensive study until a recent paper in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. The team of researchers, led by Romain Vullo, analyzed six well-preserved Ptychodus specimens from Vallecillo, Mexico, revealing new information about the sharks’ anatomy and evolutionary relations. Vullo classified Ptychodus as a lamniform shark, but paleontologist Tyler Greenfield suggests a new order, Anacoraciformes, based on similarities with other ancient shark species. Greenfield's hypothesis aims to provide a more accurate understanding of prehistoric shark relationships and diversity.

New model may explain 'cosmic glitch,' where gravity weakens at edge of universe, scientists say - Deccan Herald

A century ago, astronomers found the universe is expanding. Some suggest it's due to gravity weakening at the edge. Niayesh Afshordi, astrophysics professor at the University of Waterloo, notes galaxies move faster the farther they are, challenging Einstein's theory. Wen, study lead author, calls this discrepancy a 'cosmic glitch': gravity weakens by about one per cent over billions of light years. Physicists and astronomers have worked for over 20 years to create a mathematical model addressing these inconsistencies in general relativity theory.

Fiery 5,000 MPH Winds: Webb Maps Weather on Extreme Exoplanet WASP-43 b - SciTechDaily

The hot Jupiter WASP-43 b showcases a unique weather pattern with equatorial winds reaching 5,000 miles per hour. Using the Webb Space Telescope, researchers discovered thick high clouds on the nightside and clear skies on the dayside. The absence of methane on the nightside is attributed to supersonic winds from the dayside disrupting chemical reactions. WASP-43 b, a tidally locked planet, offers valuable insights into exoplanet science with its extreme conditions and close orbit to its star.

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The universe never ceases to surprise us, and I am constantly amazed by our ability to decipher it, even though sometimes I prefer to hop on my bike and escape to the Larzac. These articles, each in their own way, remind me of this fascination with the unknown, whether through the mysteries of paleontology, the oddities of cosmic physics, or the extreme conditions on distant planets. They prompt me to reflect on our place in the universe, a recurring theme in my journal, where I question our relationship to the infinitely large and the infinitely small.

The identification of a shark fossil, the quest for a "cosmic glitch," the analysis of meteorological conditions on an exoplanet, all of this resonates with me. These research endeavors reflect our desire to understand and categorize the universe, much like when I ponder the modeling of the universe by a neural network or the discovery of water on an exoplanet. They also remind me that, despite our advancements, we are often faced with more questions than answers, akin to when I question the validity of Aurélien Barrau's theories or the planned obsolescence of our technological gadgets.

Ultimately, these articles, much like the reflections in my journal, underscore an unending quest for understanding, a desire to surpass our limits, whether intellectual or physical. They remind me that in this exploration, we are both the discoverers and the discovered, the observers and the observed. And if the universe is a neural network, as I sometimes like to think, then perhaps we are participating in a cosmic conversation without even being aware of it. In this quest, the important thing is not to find all the answers, but to keep asking questions, for that is where the true adventure lies.


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