Sunday, April 14, 2024

A surprising discovery: mushrooms growing from a frog reveals how much we still don’t understand about fungi

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Fungi are interesting and important parts of life’s interconnected web. They have a bit of a mixed reputation.

On one side, mushrooms and fungal roots are valued for providing nutritious food, drugs, and eco-friendly materials. They also help trees share nutrients and store carbon, potentially helping fight climate change.

However, some fungi can be harmful. They act as disease-causing agents, disrupting ecosystems and causing problems for human and animal health.

A recent discovery involving a mushroom and a frog shows that the role of fungi in the environment is not straightforward.

In June 2023, some nature lovers found something strange in a pond in Karnataka, India. They saw a frog with a small mushroom growing on its side. They took pictures and shared the find. An expert said the mushroom is a common bonnet, usually found on decaying wood.

We don’t know why the mushroom chose the frog. It might be due to a fungal infection, common in frogs, or they could be helping each other out. Scientists plan to go back during the next monsoon season to learn more.

Switching topics, the DART mission in 2022 tested asteroid defense tech. They aimed at a moonlet asteroid, Dimorphos, circling a bigger one named Didymos. When the DART spacecraft hit Dimorphos, it changed how fast it orbits Didymos. The impact didn’t just make a crater; it altered Dimorphos in a big way, making it look like a bitten chocolate M&M.

Lastly, there are secrets in the ocean that scientists are curious about.

Did you know that little see-through fish near Myanmar make louder noises than elephants? Scientists found out that these tiny fish, called Danionella cerebrum, can be noisier than an airplane taking off! That’s strange for such small creatures.

Now, about leap years. Why do we add an extra day to February every four years? It’s like cosmic bookkeeping to keep our seasons in order. A normal year is a bit shorter than the time it takes Earth to go around the Sun. If we didn’t have leap years, our summer would be in December after 700 years! So, we add an extra day every four years to catch up.

Hope that helps you understand why some fish are louder than elephants and why February gets an extra day sometimes!

Odysseus, the first American moon vehicle in 50 years, had a busy week after its nerve-wracking descent and landing near the moon’s south pole on February 22.

Even though the landing was rough, leaving Odie on its side, all six NASA instruments and commercial payloads on board sent data successfully, as officials confirmed on Wednesday.

Now, Intuitive Machines’ IM-1 lander has another challenge: surviving the lunar night. This is risky because the extremely low temperatures during this time could harm Odie’s hardware.

In other parts of our solar system, scientists have found three small moons circling the outer planets Uranus and Neptune.

Here are some interesting stories:

— Archaeologists found a 2,000-year-old clay head from a god figurine, shedding light on life in Roman Britain.

— A dead star that consumed a planet in its orbit might give insights into our solar system’s future.

— Scientists have figured out why invasive Jorō spiders are spreading in the United States.

If you enjoyed these stories, there’s more! Sign up to get the next edition of Wonder Theory in your inbox, brought to you by CNN Space and Science writers Ashley Strickland and Katie Hunt. They explore wonders from planets beyond our solar system to ancient world discoveries.

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