Ringed Caecilian (Siphonops annulatus)
is a species of caecilian (a type of legless amphibian) found in most parts of South America. Like most amphibians they can typically be found in moist forests and shrublands , but they can also be found in dry savannas and other non moist places. They get the name ringed from the series of white bands that are present across the body. the young of this species are born with 44 teeth which they use to feed on the outer layer of their mothers skin (which she can grow back) they do this several times resting when the mother grows a new skin layer. this is known as maternal dermatophagy and other species of caecilian do this as-well.
“Modern cetaceans represent a bizarre mixture of traits, many of which are thought to be specializations that enable an obligately aquatic lifestyle. Some of the characteristic features of extant cetaceans are indicated in illustrations of the delphinid odontocete Tursiops truncatus (bottlenose dolphin), top and middle, and the balaenopterid mysticete Balaenoptera musculus (blue whale). Many of the specializations that make a whale look like a whale are evolutionary losses (e.g., hindlimbs, external ears, hair, teeth) in combination with structures that are uniquely evolved within Mammalia (e.g., dorsal fin, blowhole, melon, baleen, extremely ‘‘telescoped’’ and asymmetrical skull, pleated throat pouch). Artwork is by Carl Buell.”
The universe may grow like a giant brain, according to a new computer simulation.
Image: A fundamental law of nature may govern the growth of brain networks, social networks, and the expansion of the Universe, a new computer simulation suggests Credit: WGBH Educational Foundation
The results, published Nov.16 in the journal Nature’s Scientific Reports, suggest that some undiscovered, fundamental laws may govern the growth of systems large and small, from the electrical firing between brain cells and growth of social networks to the expansion of galaxies.
“Natural growth dynamics are the same for different real networks, like the Internet or the brain or social networks,” said study co-author Dmitri Krioukov, a physicist at the University of California San Diego.
The new study suggests a single fundamental law of nature may govern these networks, said physicist Kevin Bassler of the University of Houston, who was not involved in the study.
“At first blush they seem to be quite different systems, the question is, is there some kind of controlling laws can describe them?”.
By raising this question, “their work really makes a pretty important contribution,” he said.
Past studies showed brain circuits and the Internet look a lot alike. But despite finding this functional similarity, nobody had developed equations to perfectly predict how computer networks, brain circuits or social networks grow over time, Krioukov said.
Using Einstein’s equations of relativity, which explain how matter warps the fabric of space-time, physicists can retrace the universe’s explosive birth in the Big Bang roughly 14 billion years ago and how it has expanded outward in the eons since.
So Krioukov’s team wondered whether the universe’s accelerating growth could provide insight into the ways social networks or brain circuits expand.
Brain cells and galaxies
The team created a computer simulation that broke the early universe into the tiniest possible units — quanta of space-time more miniscule than subatomic particles. The simulation linked any quanta, or nodes in a massive celestial network, that were causally related. (Nothing travels faster than light, so if a person hits a baseball on Earth, the ripple effects of that event could never reach an alien in a distant galaxy in a reasonable amount of time, meaning those two regions of space-time aren’t causally related.)
As the simulation progressed, it added more and more space-time to the history of the universe, and so its “network” connections between matter in galaxies, grew as well, Krioukov said.
When the team compared the universe’s history with growth of social networks and brain circuits, they found all the networks expanded in similar ways: They balanced links between similar nodes with ones that already had many connections. For instance, a cat lover surfing the Internet may visit mega-sites such as Google or Yahoo, but will also browse cat fancier websites or YouTube kitten videos. In the same way, neighboring brain cells like to connect, but neurons also link to such “Google brain cells” that are hooked up to loads of other brain cells.
The eerie similarity between networks large and small is unlikely to be a coincidence, Krioukov said.
“For a physicist it’s an immediate signal that there is some missing understanding of how nature works,” Krioukov said.
It’s more likely that some unknown law governs the way networks grow and change, from the smallest brain cells to the growth of mega-galaxies, Krioukov said.
“This result suggests that maybe we should start looking for it,” Krioukov told LiveScience.
… (also referred to as spacetime foam) is a concept in quantum mechanics devised by John Wheeler in 1955. The foam is supposed to be conceptualized as the foundation of the fabric of the universe.
Additionally, quantum foam can be used as a qualitative description of subatomic spacetime turbulence at extremely small distances (on the order of the Planck length). At such small scales of time and space, the Heisenberg uncertainty principle allows energy to briefly decay into particles and antiparticles and then annihilate without violating physical conservation laws. As the scale of time and space being discussed shrinks, the energy of the virtual particles increases.
According to Einstein’s theory of general relativity, energy curves spacetime. This suggests that—at sufficiently small scales—the energy of these fluctuations would be large enough to cause significant departures from the smooth spacetime seen at larger scales, giving spacetime a “foamy” character…
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