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© FIU

A New Hammerhead Shark Species May Have Just Been Discovered

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© FIU

Scientists have found a genetically unique population of miniature sharks off the coast of Belize. They described their results in the Journal of Fish Biology. 

The hammerhead shark family is made up of 10 known species, five of which are on the petite side (relatively speaking). One of those miniature sharks is the bonnethead, Sphyrna tiburo, which meanders through the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans feeding on crabs, shrimp, and little fish. Female bonnetheads are a bit larger than the males, maxing out at around four feet long.

Bonnethead populations appear to be pretty healthy at the moment, but like just about everything else in the ocean these days, their future is pretty uncertain. Researchers decided to assess the bonnetheads’ current situation at the smallest possible level—by looking at their DNA. They collected tiny skin samples from 239 live sharks in the waters off the Bahamas, Texas, Panama City (Florida), Tampa Bay, the Florida Keys, North Carolina, and Belize, then analyzed their genetic code to check up on the sharks’ health. 

Demian Chapman measuring a wee shark. Image Credit: © FIU

The bonnetheads’ DNA looked good—but it also looked sort of odd. The samples taken in Belize were startlingly different from the rest of the bunch. 

Paper co-author Kevin Feldheim leads The Field Museum’s Pritzker Laboratory for Molecular Systematics and Evolution. He said he and his colleagues were quite surprised with their results. "We thought we were doing a standard analysis of a shark population," he said in a statement, "and suddenly, whoa, we were looking at a whole new species."

That’s the short version. The long version is that Feldheim and his colleagues have more work to do before they can be certain they’ve got a brand-new bonnethead on their hands 

"There’s no cutoff in DNA that indicates you’ve got a different species," he said. "Determining when you have a new species is a tricky thing. But these sharks are living in a separate environment from their fellow bonnetheads, and they’re likely on their own evolutionary trajectory."

New species or no, the sharks still need attention and protection. Co-author Demian Chapman of Florida International University said: "Now we have to define the range of each of these species individually and assess them independently against where the potential threats are … our finding of a new species in Belize highlights that there could be more undescribed ones out there, each one facing a unique set of threats."

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Opening Ceremony
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These $425 Jeans Can Turn Into Jorts
May 19, 2017
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Opening Ceremony

Modular clothing used to consist of something simple, like a reversible jacket. Today, it’s a $425 pair of detachable jeans.

Apparel retailer Opening Ceremony recently debuted a pair of “2 in 1 Y/Project” trousers that look fairly peculiar. The legs are held to the crotch by a pair of loops, creating a disjointed C-3PO effect. Undo the loops and you can now remove the legs entirely, leaving a pair of jean shorts in their wake. The result goes from this:

501069-OpeningCeremony2.jpg

Opening Ceremony

To this:

501069-OpeningCeremony3.jpg

Opening Ceremony

The company also offers a slightly different cut with button tabs in black for $460. If these aren’t audacious enough for you, the Y/Project line includes jumpsuits with removable legs and garter-equipped jeans.

[h/t Mashable]

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This First-Grade Math Problem Is Stumping the Internet
May 17, 2017
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iStock

If you’ve ever fantasized about how much easier life would be if you could go back to elementary school, this math problem may give you second thoughts. The question first appeared on a web forum, Mashable reports, and after recently resurfacing, it’s been perplexing adults across social media.

According to the original poster AlmondShell, the bonus question was given to primary one, or first grade students, in Singapore. It instructs readers to “study the number pattern” and “fill in the missing numbers.” The puzzle, which comprises five numbers and four empty circles waiting to be filled in, comes with no further explanation.

Some forum members commented with their best guesses, while others expressed disbelief that this was a question on a kid’s exam. Commenter karrotguy illustrates one possible answer: Instead of looking for complex math equations, they saw that the figure in the middle circle (three) equals the amount of double-digit numbers in the surrounding quadrants (18, 10, 12). They filled out the puzzle accordingly.

A similar problem can be found on the blog of math enthusiast G.R. Burgin. His solution, which uses simple algebra, gets a little more complicated.

The math tests given to 6- and 7-year-olds in other parts of the world aren’t much easier. If your brain isn’t too worn out after the last one, check out this maddening problem involving trains assigned to students in the UK.

[h/t Mashable]

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