SoT 210: Tarantula Blue

December 15, 2015

Hosts: Ed Brown, Penny Dumsday, Lucas Randall.

Fast Radio Bursts are sudden, very short but very intense blasts of radio waves that have so far defied explanation. But now the most detailed study so far has provided some clues to the origins of FRBs – they MIGHT come from starquakes. Probably not aliens.

While bees are certainly the most efficient pollinators, a new study suggests that other insects – like flies, wasps, beetles and butterflies – are just as important for the success of the world’s crops. It’s like having a backup plan for bees.

There are around 900 species of tarantula, and most of them are the usual black or brown colour. But there’s more than a few of them have vibrant blue colourings – and we don’t really know why.

An international team of scientists has found that the development of agriculture in Europe – around 8,500 years ago – signalled the start of some significant changes in the DNA of modern humans. There were changes in height, digestion, immune system and skin colour and a host of other evolutionary steps.