Weird science facts, January 25 — January 31

Time for another week of Twitter #weirdscifacts!  This week I wrapped up some facts about the North Carolina Museum for Natural Sciences and started some facts gleaned from Discovery Place’s “Mummies of the World” exhibit!  We also have a bonus fact!

683. Jan 25: #weirdscifacts via @naturalsciences: Longleaf pines undergo a growth spurt to “get above” brush fires.  These pines depend on brush fires to survive, but must grow rapidly to escape the fire-susceptible sapling stage.

683a. Titanoboa, the extinct mega-snake!!! Unfortunately, titanoboa went extinct before it could eat Jon Voight (for real). (h/t @laelaps)

684. Jan 26: The Russian “water computer” of 1936!  This computer was built to solve partial differential equations; if the technique had persisted for long enough, we might be referring to “computer bugs” instead as “computer clogs”.  (h/t @jenlucpiquant)

685. Jan 27: #weirdscifacts via @naturalsciences: Female tree bats mate in fall, but don’t fertilize eggs until after hibernation, in spring!  It requires a lot of energy in order to hibernate with an actual baby on the way, so the female bat simply stores the male’s semen until spring.

686. Jan 28: Final #weirdscifacts via @naturalsciences: the hellbender salamander, which “breathes” through its skin!  The salamander has lungs, but it spends most of its time underwater and breathing through its skin.

687. Jan 29: Why swim when you can walk? The odd locomotion of the handfish.  Unlike mudskippers, which use their fins to walk on land, the handfish seem to “walk” underwater.

688. Jan 30: #weirdscifacts via @myrmecos: the spider that is disguised as its ant prey

689. Jan 31: #weirdscifacts via @discoveryplace “Mummies”: The Detmold child, a 6500 year old mummy.  This mummy predates King Tut by 3,000 years!

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