Inverse Daily

Why fish singing is a reason to worry in Indonesia

Plus: Are video games bad for mental health?

This aerial picture taken on November 22, 2021 shows boats anchored along an empty beach on Gili Tra...

The songs of fish tell a coded story about the warming planet. Wait, fish sing?

Keep reading for more on that discovery on how the fish swimming off the islands of Indonesia might be like canaries in a coal mine. It’s our lead story today.

I’m Nick Lucchesi, editor-in-chief for Inverse, and this is Inverse Daily. Hold your nose, and let’s dive in.

This is an adapted version of the Inverse Daily newsletter for Thursday, December 9, 2021. Subscribe for free and earn rewards for reading every day in your inbox. ✉️

Listen: Ethereal fish songs reveal something resilient

[By Tara Yarlagadda]

In the waters off of the Indonesian islands of Badi and Bontosua, there is an orchestra constantly at play. This orchestra’s pit is a colorful coral reef — swim by it, and a cacophony will bathe your ears: Foghorn-like gurgles coming from a nearby school of fish, the snapping of shrimp beneath your feet, the clicks and cracks of the coral itself. These are the sounds of health — but as a new study reveals, they are also the sounds of unexpected resilience against climate change.

Incredibly, this coral reef was on the brink of death just a few years ago. But writing in the Journal of Applied Ecology on Wednesday, the researchers behind the new study say they have collected audio recordings that tell a different and much more hopeful story of recovery. Soundscapes like these are an underutilized tool that can help us understand the health of restored and dying coral reefs — as well as the animals that inhabit them.

Read the full story and listen to the eerie sounds.


Are video games bad for mental health?

[By Tara Dimaio]

Meditation calms the fear center in your brain, causing the amygdala to shrink. It turns out, video games can do the same thing.

That's the good part. Here's the bad: One researcher's conservative estimate is that five million people in the United States have internet gaming disorder. These players show a loss of relationships, career opportunities, and more.

So are video games good for your mental health? Are they bad for your brain? Or is it somewhere between? We spoke to two scientific experts to find out.

Read the full story.


Scientists just discovered a giant planet that shouldn't exist

[By Passant Rabie]

A massive, odd planet was just discovered orbiting around two bright stars in the southern sky. It’s so weird that it’s challenging scientists’ ideas about how planets form and evolve.

b Centauri is a double star system that lies 325 light-years away from Earth. The newly-discovered gas giant planet is 11 times as massive as Jupiter, with a vast orbit that’s 100 times wider than that of Jupiter’s — and strangely, it most likely formed there.

The astronomers who discovered the planet detail their findings in a study in the journal Nature. It marks the first discovery of a gas giant planet around a star that is more than three times the mass of the Sun and around stars this hot.

Read the full story.


A bizarre technique reveals new insight into the evolution of ancient humans

[By Tara Yarlagadda]

The origins of all modern humans may lie in a rocky geological depression in East Africa. The dusty landscape, shaped by the passage of time and erosion, even resembles formations found on Mars. But really, Ethiopia’s Afar Rift is where the Arabian and African tectonic plates meet on the continent. It’s also a hotbed of ancient Homo sapien fossils, which can be found in the region’s Middle Awash archaeological site — and these fossils are particularly mysterious for one reason.

Old radiocarbon dating techniques haven’t been able to date these fossils precisely despite the plethora of fossils. As a result, scientists are limited in their work to retrace major milestones in ancient human development — including when ancient Africans traveled into Eurasia for the first time.

Until now. A study published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reveals a new and bizarre technique to precisely date ancient hominin fossils: Ostrich eggs. The tool could show details of when our ancestors lived in Africa and how they evolved.

Read the full story.


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