Weekly News Bites: Star sneezes, animal passion, and the benefit of being chubby

Asia Research News monitors the latest research news in Asia. Some highlights that caught our attention this week are the discovery that baby stars “sneeze”, how to increase panda reproduction and detect fiddler crab signals, and how being slightly overweight in our older years can be beneficial.

Asian countries brace each spring for dust storms that blur skies and pose health risks. A team from Lanzhou University has developed the “Dust Watcher”, an AI forecasting tool to better predict these storms. Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology in China, has also developed a 48-hour forecast, called Dust Assimilation and Prediction System (DAPS). AI could play a crucial role in future forecasts, potentially saving lives.

From dust storms on Earth to dust storms in space, researchers from Kyushu University discovered that baby stars “sneeze” during formation. The teams noticed spikey protrusions from baby stars and saw that this came from instability caused by variations in the magnetic field. These ejections of dust, gas, and magnetic energy provide a new perspective on the early stages of stellar birth.

Researchers from IITRoorkee have unveiled Vasuki indicus, a giant snake species from ancient India. This massive serpent was almost 50 feet long, lived around 50 million years ago, and is named after the serpent king of Hindu folklore. This snake was thought to live in water since its size would make movement on land difficult.

Pandas' reproduction struggles in captivity might be linked to their diet according to a study by Beijing Normal University. The male pandas that were more successful in reproduction had higher levels of a type of gut bacteria. The researchers suggest that feeding them a “wilder” diet could help reignite their passion.

Continuing on the theme of animal passion, male fiddler crabs have their own version of love songs and fight songs. A team from Inha University discovered that they drum on the ground to attract mates or threaten rivals. These rhythms are distinct, and the love interest or potential foe can sense these vibrations through their legs.

Staying active, eating well, and socializing are keys for a long life... but apparently being chubby can also help when we are elderly says research by Waseda University, the National Institutes of Biomedical Innovation, Health and Nutrition, Biwako Seikei Sport College, and Kyoto University of Advanced Science. Being very slightly overweight is better than being extremely thin which can advance frailty in older people.