Science news this week: The deadliest spiders, mysterious noises in space and 1.7 billion T. rex TNA

It’s been a busy week in animal science news, where we find out why a tiny jumping spider is such a bad actorrevised our best estimates for How much T. rex once traveled the earthand discovered how the Australian authorities are doing to save koalas from chlamydia.

Elsewhere, a mysterious noise 70,000 feet (21,000 meters) in the atmosphere baffles scientists, while further afield the James Webb Space Telescope has spotted what could be a former “water world” in a nearby star system.

Closer to home, we discovered a 5,400 year old tomb in Spain which perfectly captures the summer solsticea pair of 2300 year old scissors and a “folded” sword in a Celtic cremation grave, and the ruins of a roman watchtower in Swiss.

Going back further in human history, we shared the latest research on our human relatives, which revealed that Neanderthals passed on their large noses to modern humans. And looking even further, we saw evidence that the very spark of life on Earth may have been caused by super solar flares.

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Picture of the week

Satellite image of Earth showing warmer and higher areas of the Pacific Ocean – a sign of El Niño. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This colorful image of the Earth portends the first signs of El Niño forming in the Pacific Ocean.

Using data from NASA’s Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite, the image shows Kelvin waves (in red and white, which represent warmer water and higher sea levels) moving across the Pacific. Scientists consider these waves to be a precursor to El Niño when they form at the equator and move the upper layer of warm water toward the western Pacific.

“We’re going to watch this El Niño like a hawk,” Josh Willis, project scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), said in a statement. “If it’s a big one, the globe will experience record warming.”

weekend reading

And finally…

Don’t miss your last chance to see the ethereal Earthshine next week. The phenomenon, also known as the Da Vinci glow, is sunlight reflecting first from Earth onto the lunar surface and then back into the eyes of the viewer. The effect is a faint ghostly glow on the shaded part of the side of the moon facing Earth. This is not to be missed.

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