Discovered: How to bring a sail boat up to 70 mph; mole-like creature lived 45 million years longer than thought; missing Mexican silver found in old European currency; species languish on shelves for years before being "discovered."
New sail boat speed record. How do you get a sailboat up to speeds approaching 70 miles per hour? By modifying the hydrofoil along the bottom, as the team behind the Vestas Sailrocket discovered in smashing the world sailing speed record this week. By attaching tiny, criss-crossed fences in strategic locations along the hydrofoil, the team was able to get its boat skimming the waters at 60 knots—well above the previous record of 55.65 knots set by kite surfer Rob Douglas two years ago. "These latest runs represent a real breakthrough in the world of sailing," says Vestas' pilot and project leader Paul Larsen. "It's the hydrodynamic version of going supersonic." [New Scientist]
Grave Robbers really outlived dinosaurs. Scientists have long known that the burrowing mammal Necrolestes patagonensis ("Grave Robber," in translation) outlived dinosaurs. But new research is forcing them to revise their dates on when the Grave Robbers themselves went extinct. It seems these mole-like critters actually survived 45 million years longer than previously thought, according to a new study by led by the Carnegie Museum of Natural History's John Wible. The researchers found that the Grave Robber's resilience could be attributed to its underground existence. "There's no other mammal in the Tertiary of South America that even approaches its ability to dig, tunnel, and live in the ground," says Wible. "It must have been on the edges, in an ecological niche that allowed it to survive." [Scientific American]