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Australia Great Barrier Reef Blanket Octopus
Photo credit: Jacinta Shackleton
Photographer and marine biologist Jacinta Shackleton, managed to capture a rarely seen blanket octopus while diving off the coast of Lady Elliot Island in Queensland, Australia on January 6th. How did they get their name? Blanket octopuses are known for their long, transparent webs that connect the dorsal and dorsolateral arms of the adult females. That’s right, only the females have capes, which can be used to distract predators. Read more for the video and additional information.

Turkey Farmer VR Virtual Reality Headset Goggle Cow Milk
Izzet Kocak, a farmer and cattle breeder in Turkey, has decided to think outside the box to get more milk production from his cows. At first, he tried playing classical music, but when that didn’t work, virtual reality headsets came into the picture. These aren’t used for gaming, but rather green pastures and sunny skies. This is being tested on two cows, and so far, things appear to be working out well. Read more for a video and additional information.

Goldfish Drive Robot Tank
Scientists wanted to see if goldfish could learn how to navigate on dry land—and, and this custom water-filled robotic tank was the result. Put simply, this bizarre experiment is designed to see if a fish’s navigation skills are universal regardless of their environment, or “domain transfer methodology” in technical terms. The waterfilled tank on wheels basically moves in response to the movements and orientation of the fish. Read more for a video and additional information.

Rats Walk Run DOOM Map VR Rig
Can a rat actually play DOOM? Not really, but researcher Viktor Toth came up with possibly the next best thing. He built a custom virtual reality rig and experimented with several rats over the span of around 6-months, seeing if they can navigate a straight hallway in DOOM. The rig itself required around four months to complete using a 3D printer, an iron, a drilling machine, screwdrivers, and a few other hand tools. Read more for a video demonstration and additional information.

Baby Yiangliang Dinosaur Embryo Egg Fossil
Photo credit: Lida Xing
Fossilized dinosaur eggs and nests are nothing new, but finding a well-preserved embryo inside one of them is most certainly a rarity. However, one such perfectly preserved specimen has been discovered in southern China. This discovery also led researchers to believe that oviraptorosaurs (therapods closely related to birds) remained in a tucked posture before they hatched. Read more for a short video and additional information.

Meta Petbook Facebook for Pets
Photo credit: Let’s Go Digital
Could a social media network for pets be coming soon? Technically, there have been many over the years, but none have really yet caught on, that is unless Meta’s Petbook changes that. Meta filed for the ‘Petbook’ trademark on May 24, 2021 in Mexico at the Instituto Mexicano de la Propiedad Industrial (IMPI) and shortly after, with the European Union Intellectual Property Network (EUIPN). Read more to see the filing and for additional information.

Giant Phantom Jellyfish Jelly
Some may confuse this for CGI, but rest assured, the giant phantom jelly is real and was spotted by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute’s (MBARI) remotely operated vehicle (ROV) last month at a depth of 3,200-feet. When fully grown, the bell of this deep-sea creature can measure more than one meter (3.3 feet) across, complete with four ribbon-like arms that can grow more than 10 meters (33 feet) in length. Read more for the video and additional information,

Stanford Engineer Birds Robot Fly Perch
Stanford University engineers Mark Cutkosky and David Lentink have created a bird-like robot that can mimic how the animals fly and perch when attached to a quadcopter drone. It’s called SNAG (Stereotyped Nature-inspired Aerial Grasper), and this robot can fly around, catch or carry objects as well as perch on various surfaces. Regardless of the surface texture, it was able to let the feet handle the variability and complexity. Read more for a video and additional information.

Northwestern University Paralyzed Mice Self-Assembling Gel Walk Again
Researchers at Northwestern University have developed a new self-assembling gel that utilizes “dancing molecules” to reverse paralysis and repair tissue after severe spinal cord injuries. During their trial, they administered a single injection to tissues surrounding the spinal cords of paralyzed mice, and in just 4-weeks, the animals regained their ability to walk. Read more for a video and additional information.