Fixing Damaged Heart Tissue With ... Spinach?
Science can be a fickle mistress. We can put a man on the moon or grow a brand-new nose on your forehead, but we can't get blood to where it needs to be when our ticker doesn't tock well anymore. Until recently, that is, when scientists realized they just had to listen to their moms' advice on how to stay healthy: Get some green vegetables in you.
Worcester Polytechnic InstitutePictured right: what a child sees when you tell them to finish their greens.
Regenerating tissue is such fiddly work that not even our best 3D printers can successfully construct capillary systems. But you know what can? Spinach! Its network of veins is surprisingly similar to that of a human heart, only covered in yucky green plant stuff. So scientists removed all the plant cells, took the remaining cellulose skeleton, and together with some human heart cells, they managed to create a surprisingly effective highway to health.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute/YouTubeFinally, a vegan option for cannibals.
But why stop there? Ideally, we could get the entire vegetable garden involved in fixing our failing meat bodies. The scientists have also managed to decellularize parsley and other backyard herbs, and they speculate that broccoli or cauliflower could stand in for lung tissue. That means there could be a future in which we eventually become more plant than human -- especially once we start decellularizing cucumbers.
Scientists Fiddle With Roadkill To Learn More About Dinosaurs
Because million-year-old skulls can't exactly chat about the good old days, biologists have had to get creative with dinosaur research. That's where roadkill comes in. As modern coastal floodplains have similar ecosystems to the ones in which these extinct monsters dwelt, the species currently living there are of great value to paleontologists. And when we say "living" species, we actually mean the dead ones. Paleo-biologists rummage around these corpses, identify the isotopes found in their last meals, and compare those with the isotopes they've found in dinosaur teeth (which retain information for tens of millions of years). This allows them a window into the past, all thanks to the hard work of shovel-smashing armadillos and alligator decapitations.
Tom Cullen/Royal Society Open ScienceAfter failing to meet box office expectations, the special effects budget for the next Jurassic World film took a noticeable hit.