February 2017

Websteroprion armstrongi fossil (Photo courtesy Luke Parry)

An article published in the journal “Scientific Reports” describes the discovery of a primitive worm with jaws that are huge compared to its body’s size. Called Websteroprion armstrongi, it was studied by a team of researchers after a fossil specimen was discovered at the Royal Ontario Museum, where it was stored in the mid ’80s. It seems to belong to the class of polychaetes (Polychaeta), a marine relative of earthworms and leeches that lived about 400 million years ago.

The Kif Strike Back by C.J. Cherryh (Italian Edition)

The novel “The Kif Strike Back” by C.J. Cherryh was published for the first time in 1985. It’s the third novel of the Chanur series and follows “Chanur’s Venture”.

Pyanfar Chanur ended up in the middle of a feud between two hakkikts, two leaders of the kif species. The result is that her niece Hilfy and the human Tully were taken hostage and her number one priority is rescue them. It’s just the latest problem for the captain of the space freighter “The Pride of Chanur”, less and less engaged in trade and more and more in political problems.

The only relief reason for Pyanfar Chanur is the fact that her husband Khym is no longer a fish out of water on the starship and on the contrary is more comfortable in political clashes being used to them after having lived many on the planet Anuurn. Any help is very welcome for Pyanfar Chanur because she made enemies among the hani and is forced to accept alliances among the kif.

An article published in the journal “Palaeontology” opens a dispute on the classification of Tullimonstrum gregarium, a strange marine animal that lived about 300 million years ago, commonly known as the Tully monster. During 2016, two research brought arguments to support the thesis that this animal was a vertebrate but now a group of paleobiologists led by Lauren Sallan of the University of Pennsylvania brought counter-arguments.

Doctor Who - The Tenth Planet

“The Tenth Planet” is an adventure of the fourth season of “Doctor Who” classic series, which aired in 1966. It’s a four parts adventure written by Kit Pedler e Gerry Davis and directed by Derek Martinus.

The Tardis materializes in the Earth’s south pole in 1986. The First Doctor (William Hartnell), Ben (Michael Craze) and Polly (Anneke Wills) are arrested by the guards of Snowcap base, which among other things is a control center for space missions and is handling the contacts with a spacecraft in orbit. A series of strange observations worry the mission managers but that’s nothing compared to the discovery that an unknown planet is approaching the Earth.

The Doctor reveals that the mysterious planet is called Mondas and that its inhabitants will come soon to Earth but is not believed. While the spacecraft in orbit suffers a loss of energy, Snowcap base is attacked by three Cybermen, Mondas’ inhabitants who over time have replaced more and more of their bodies’ organic parts becoming cyborgs. The Cybermen want to bring the Earthlings to Mondas and make them become like them.

Crystals of the Naica cave

At a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the director of NASA’s Astrobiology Institute Penelope Boston announced the discovery of microorganisms in the Naica cave in Mexico, also known as the Cave of the Crystals because of the enormous gypsum crystals in which the bacteria were found. Those might be unique extremophile bacteria that adapted to the conditions existing in the cave.