Friday Coffee Break

Every Friday at Nothing in Biology Makes Sense! our contributors pass around links to new scientific results, or science-y news, or videos of adorable wildlife, that they’re most likely to bring up while waiting in line for a latte.

From Noah:

Scary new unclassified spider discovered:

it’s a large spider that is so unique scientists were forced to create a new taxonomic family for it. This is the first new spider family to be discovered in North America in over 130 years.

From Sarah:

Aphids that can photosynthesize:

Although unprecedented in animals, this capability is common in other kingdoms. Plants and algae, as well as certain fungi and bacteria, also synthesize carotenoids, and in all of these organisms the pigments form part of the photosynthetic machinery.

From CJ:

A phylogeny of Dragons:

The Dragon Phylogeny is an effort to map hypothetical evolutionary relationships among dragons. It’s true that these are mythical creatures, but the detail of their portrayal in historical art and literature makes them amenable to scientific analyses based on morphological variation.

From Devin:

A scientific look at beer making:

While brewers like to think of themselves and the craft beer-makers, the original brewmasters have been practicing the art for over 200 million years!

From Jeremy:

A rat incapable of gnawing or chewing:

on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, Jacob Esselstyn has discovered a new species of rodent that radically departs from this universal body plan: a “shrew-rat” that he calls Paucidentomys vermidax.Its name –a mash-up of Latin and Greek—gives a clue to its lifestyle. It means “worm-devouring, few-toothed mouse