110 MILLION YEAR OLD SPIDER FOUND

With glowing eyes.

An amateur fossil hunter was inspecting a South Korean shale site when he discovered something eye-catching.

Preserved in the rock formation was a spider specimen with eerily glowing eyes, that a team of researchers now believe dates back as far as 113 million years ago.

Their findings are published in a paper in the Journal of Systematic Palaeontology and have been hailed as the first time the tapetum, an anatomical feature that enables spiders to have reflective eyes, has been found in a fossil.

It’s also said to be the first time researchers have discovered this family of spiders, called the lagonomegopids, outside of amber.

Paul Selden, director of the Paleontological Institute at the University of Kansas, Tae-Yoon Park of the Korea Polar Research Institute and amateur fossil hunter and Korean high school student Kye-Soo Nam discovered the spiders in exposed shale uncovered during a construction project.

Spiders and other insects are often found in amber, not fossilized in rock, because their soft bodies don’t preserve well over time.

They were astonished to find the lagonomegopids preserved in 112-million-year-old Cretaceous-period rock, located near the city of Jinju in South Korea.

‘Because these spiders were preserved in strange slivery flecks on dark rock, what was immediately obvious was their rather large eyes brightly marked with crescentic features,’ Selden explained.

The fossils allowed scientists to understand in remarkable detail how this family of spiders were able to survive between 110 million and 113 million years ago.

Scientists believe the reflective tapetum in the spiders’ eyes helped them hunt at night.

‘It’s opening up a whole new world about how these things lived and how they would have caught their prey,’ Selden told Gizmodo.

The tapetum is a reflective structure located behind the eye where light comes in and is reverted back onto the retina, Selden noted.

Lagonomegopids aren’t the only family of spiders with reflective eyes – wolf spiders have them too, in addition to other types.

Other animals, such as cats, have tapetums, which is why their eyes appear similar to lasers in certain light or when captured by a camera flash.

The lagonomegopids had tapetums that were ‘canoe-shaped,’ helping the researchers distinguish them from the other 10 spider specimens found in the shale.

‘This is an extinct family of spiders that were clearly very common in the Cretaceous and were occupying niches now occupied by jumping spiders that didn’t evolve until later,’ Selden explained.

‘But these spiders were doing things differently. Their eye structure is different from jumping spiders.

‘It’s nice to have exceptionally well-preserved features of internal anatomy like eye structure. It’s really not often you get something like that preserved in a fossil,’ he added.

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YOUR DAILY MUSIC BREAK

FLIM AND THE BBs: “ate too much”
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SPECIAL SNOWFLAKE FAGGOT GROUND APE FINALLY ARRESTED

Pansy-ass not happy with salary.

Now I can only hope the City of Chicago sues his ass in addition to having a jury lock his pole-smoking ass away for years.

Please note that the “arrest” was done in the cover of darkness, CNN was not present, and unlike Roger Stone and his wife, SWAT teams were not present either.

“Empire” actor Jussie Smollett turned himself in to police Thursday morning, a Chicago police spokesman said, on a felony charge of disorderly conduct in filing a false police report.

Police said in a press conference hours later that Smollett sent a fake letter to himself and staged a hate crime attack in Chicago because he was “dissatisfied with his salary.”

“This announcement today recognizes that ‘Empire’ actor Jussie Smolett took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career. I’m left hanging my head and asking why,” Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said.

Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi confirmed to NBC Chicago that Smollett surrendered to police at around 5 a.m. at CPD’s Central Booking station at West 18th Street and South State Street.

The “Empire” star was charged Wednesday with the class four felony, which carries a sentence ranging from probation to up to three years in prison, according to Chicago police and the Cook County state’s attorney’s office.

“Detectives will make contact with his legal team to negotiate a reasonable surrender for his arrest,” Guglielmi had said in an earlier statement on Wednesday.

Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson was scheduled to address the case at 9 a.m. from CPD headquarters. Smollett was expected to appear in bond court at 1:30 p.m. Thursday afternoon.

“Like any other citizen, Mr. Smollett enjoys the presumption of innocence, particularly when there has been an investigation like this one where information, both true and false, has been repeatedly leaked,” Smollett’s legal team said in a statement Wednesday. “Given these circumstances, we intend to conduct a thorough investigation and to mount an aggressive defense.”

Chicago police have confirmed that attorneys for Smollett had discussions with prosecutors, but details surrounding the dialogue were not released and Guglielmi declined to confirm reports that subpoenas had been issued for Smollett’s phone and bank records.

Police said earlier this week that they wanted to re-interview Smollett in their investigation into an alleged attack he said he suffered in the city’s Streeterville neighborhood three weeks prior.

Authorities said new information “shifted” their investigation of the reported assault, in which Smollett told authorities he was physically attacked as he was returning home from an early morning stop at a Subway restaurant. He said two masked men shouted racial, anti-gay slurs and “This is MAGA country!” as they looped a rope around his neck and poured an “unknown chemical substance” on him before running away.

Detectives questioned two brothers about the attack but released them late Friday without charges, Guglielmi said Saturday. Police said they had gleaned new information from their interrogation of the two men and they were no longer suspects.

Timeline: Jussie Smollett From Attack Claim to Arrest
Surveillance video taken at 10 a.m. on Jan. 28 appears to show brothers Abel and Ola Osundairo shopping at Beauty House at 1041 W. Wilson Ave. in the Uptown neighborhood.

The brothers can be seen making their way to the check out counter and purchasing several items, including two ski masks, gloves and baseball caps. The video then shows them walking to their vehicle.

The items are of interest because police said Smollett told them the attackers were wearing masks. The security guard working that day told NBC 5 he realized the brothers had been in the store last week and that he had helped them find the items they were looking for.

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FASCINATING

Neuroscientists find entirely new form of neural communication:

Scientists think they’ve identified a previously unknown form of neural communication that self-propagates across brain tissue, and can leap wirelessly from neurons in one section of brain tissue to another – even if they’ve been surgically severed.

The discovery offers some radical new insights about the way neurons might be talking to one another, via a mysterious process unrelated to conventionally understood mechanisms, such as synaptic transmission, axonal transport, and gap junction connections.

“We don’t know yet the ‘So what?’ part of this discovery entirely,” says neural and biomedical engineer Dominique Durand from Case Western Reserve University.

“But we do know that this seems to be an entirely new form of communication in the brain, so we are very excited about this.”

Before this, scientists already knew there was more to neural communication than the above-mentioned connections that have been studied in detail, such as synaptic transmission.

For example, researchers have been aware for decades that the brain exhibits slow waves of neural oscillations whose purpose we don’t understand, but which appear in the cortex and hippocampus when we sleep, and so are hypothesised to play a part in memory consolidation.

“The functional relevance of this input‐ and output‐decoupled slow network rhythm remains a mystery,” explains neuroscientist Clayton Dickinson from the University of Alberta, who wasn’t involved in the new research but has discussed it in a perspective article.

“But [it’s] one that will probably be solved by an elucidation of both the cellular and the inter‐cellular mechanisms giving rise to it in the first place.”

To that end, Durand and his team investigated slow periodic activity in vitro, studying the brain waves in hippocampal slices extracted from decapitated mice.

What they found was that slow periodic activity can generate electric fields which in turn activate neighbouring cells, constituting a form of neural communication without chemical synaptic transmission or gap junctions.

“We’ve known about these waves for a long time, but no one knows their exact function and no one believed they could spontaneously propagate,” Durand says.

“I’ve been studying the hippocampus, itself just one small part of the brain, for 40 years and it keeps surprising me.”

This neural activity can actually be modulated – strengthened or blocked – by applying weak electrical fields and could be an analogue form of another cell communication method, called ephaptic coupling.

The team’s most radical finding was that these electrical fields can activate neurons through a complete gap in severed brain tissue, when the two pieces remain in close physical proximity.

“To ensure that the slice was completely cut, the two pieces of tissue were separated and then rejoined while a clear gap was observed under the surgical microscope,” the authors explain in their paper.

“The slow hippocampal periodic activity could indeed generate an event on the other side of a complete cut through the whole slice.”

If you think that sounds freaky, you’re not the only one. The review committee at The Journal of Physiology – in which the research has been published – insisted the experiments be completed again before agreeing to print the study.

Durand et al. dutifully complied, but sound pretty understanding of the cautiousness, all things considered, given the unprecedented weirdness of the observation they’re reporting.

“It was a jaw-dropping moment,” Durand says, “for us and for every scientist we told about this so far.”

“But every experiment we’ve done since to test it has confirmed it so far.”

It’ll take a lot more research to figure out if this bizarre form of neural communication is taking place in human brains – let alone decoding what exact function it performs – but for now, we’ve got new science that’s shocking in all kinds of ways, as Dickson adroitly observes.

“While it remains to be seen if the [findings] are relevant to spontaneous slow rhythms that occur in both cortical and hippocampal tissue in situ during sleep and sleep‐like states,” Dickson writes, “they should probably (and quite literally) electrify the field.”

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TODAY’S OPEN THREAD

Got something interesting?

Just feel like bitching?

Need to unload?

Have at it in the comments.

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EYE CANDY

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Jussie Smollett’s Surrogate Mom Goes Off on AOK

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