Friday, April 14, 2017

SearchResearch Challenge (4/14/17): Is that true?

True, or False?  

One of the biggest questions in these slightly strained days of fake news is whether or not something is true.  

Without getting all epistemological on you, for this week's Challenge I have a few questions that have come up in my reading over the past few weeks.  These are items that I found and puzzled over.

Each time I wondered--Is that true?  

Each time I did a bit of SearchResearch and found the answer fairly quickly.  But each case was a surprise.  

Since we're slightly off on our regular schedule (this week was busy, so it took me a couple of extra days to get the time to write to you), I'll issue this Challenge today and answer it next Tuesday (April 18).  Then we'll get back onto the regular Wednesday Challenge / Monday Answer cycle.  

Here are three "Is it true?" Challenges for the week.  Each one is fun, and shouldn't take you more than a minute or two to find the answer.  (But I suspect you'll enjoy looking them up.)  

1.  Is it true that some kinds of female sharks use only one ovary to produce eggs?  (That is, only one ovary actually produces eggs, the other is just kind of there?)  
2.  Is it true that tinnunculite is a real mineral?  If so, what does it have to do with kestrels (the raptor)?  (I ask because I recognize the name tinnunculus as the species name of the European kestrel.  If it's real, what's the connection?)
3.  Is it true that the journals Science and Nature are going to team up and form a new journal together? (They have long competed to be the world's preeminent scientific journal, so this was a surprise to read.)  

Let us know your answers and what, if any, difficulties you had in figuring them out! 

Search on! 


  1. Hello Dr. Russell and everyone

    1. Is it true that some kinds of female sharks use only one ovary to produce eggs? (That is, only one ovary actually produces eggs, the other is just kind of there?)

    [sharks only one ovary for reproduction]

    In several elasmobranch species, only one ovary is functional

    Vertebrate Biology (Book)

    Sharks of the Open Ocean: Biology, Fisheries and Conservation (Book)

    [Elasmobranch sharks ovaries]

    One or two can produce eggs

    Searching for other animals with only one functional ovary, found that in birds only the left is functional to reduce weight. Searching, Google suggested [why do birds have only one functional ovary]

    The Early Bird Loses an Ovary

    Answer: Yes, it is true.

    2. Is it true that tinnunculite is a real mineral? If so, what does it have to do with kestrels (the raptor)? (I ask because I recognize the name tinnunculus as the species name of the European kestrel. If it's real, what's the connection?)

    [European Kestrel]: Bird of prey

    For this I just read in this week USGS Minerals special. So decided to go there first and searched [tinnunculite] in USGS minerals and found nothing. Then tried same query on Google.

    Found 2

    Tinnunculite (of Chesnokov & Shcherbakova) Not a mineral

    The mineral Lots of data and external links.

    Tinnunculita in Spanish.

    This particular mineral has gone through several rounds of submission and rejection, but as of early 2016 tinniculite is officially a mineral. And names: International Mineralogical Association (IMA)

    Searched IMA and went there. Our mineral is an approved mineral.

    [tinnunculite mineral association] Gives us the answer confirmation:

    Since 2015”...Another notable carbon-bearing mineral is tinnunculite, determined to be a product of hot gases reacting with the excrement of the Eurasian kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) at a burning coal mine in Kopeisk, Chelyabinsk, Russia…”

    3. Is it true that the journals Science and Nature are going to team up and form a new journal together?

    Tried first with other queries adding journal and united for example. Didn’t work

    [science nature journals team up]

    Science, Nature Team Up on New JournalA credible source. And, the date was April 1, 2010. Therefore is just an April’s fool moment.

    Answer: No it was and is not true.

  2. the carbon appealed to me, limiting to one ? for now.
    #2 - Tinnunculite [C5H4N4O3·2H2O]
    appropriately #2, image, on the fly
    relative, from Oz - kinda plain.

    Rock hounds are on the hunt for new carbon minerals
    found here - in Google finance:
    page 3

    Carbon Mineral Challenge
    Tinnunculite, mentioned here
    discovery site - looks "lakey"
    "Let us know your answers and what, if any, difficulties you had in figuring them out!"
    … I don't speak Russian (language toggle for the map, please) nor have Eurasian kestrel-like vision nor thermal elimination proclivities… not to be confused with 'thermobaric*'… but I like minerals.
    *any new minerals formed? SERP
    new "event" for me

  3. I'll start with #3:

    LOL! It sounded to me like an April Fool's Day story ... which indeed it was.

    The top hit for [science nature "new journal"] was this April 1, 2010, article on the uber-reliable Science website: ("Science" is published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.) It's written by veteran science writer/editor John Travis.

    The article is a hoot, to be sure, declaring such innovative publishing concepts as:

    1) "The new journal will be called either Scientific Nature or Natural Science depending on the result of a text-message vote by the scientific community."

    2) In a novel revenue system funded by a grant from Facebook, preprints will be posted on a special social networking Web site where scientists registered in the newly created Faculty of a Million (trademark pending) can vote for acceptance by pressing a "Like" thumbs-up button or reject the paper by pressing a 'Dislike' button. Each vote will cost $1/£1 and multiple votes are allowed."

    3) "... the first 100 new subscribers will get free genome scans."

    Travis' additional jokes are that the journal’s editor-in-chief will be geneticist Havel Affe; its new managing editor will be a lady named Aima Jouk, and he quotes a magazine consultant based in Boulder, Colorado, named Rick Rolling (linking to the Wikipedia page for that Internet flash-in-a-pan meme).

    Needless to say, the article ends appropriately, as well: "The new journal officially launches next month, with an issue date of 1 April. Until then, you can preview it here" ... which leads to a "404 - Not Found" error.

    It helps, perhaps, to know that "Science" has a long tradition of April Fool's Day spoofs.

    Searching for [April Fool's] using the "Science" website's search box yields 24 April 1-related articles (not all spoofs, however) dating back to 1997 ("Meteorite Hints at Life on Jupiter Moon" - ), which was the magzine's news website's first such fabrication (

    They make for interesting reading, even those that are not fake-news jokes.

    But it is certainly a confounding proposition for a reliable-news site to post fake news intentionally. Last year's article -- "Artificial intelligence steals money from banking customers" ( -- had to be prefaced by an alert: "*Update, 4 April, 7:51 a.m.: This story was posted on 1 April as an April Fools' joke."

    And the 1997 article is now also preceded by this: "Editor's note: It has come to our attention that some of our readers didn't notice that this story was posted on 1 April, and they didn't follow the link at the bottom to find a message revealing this as an April Fool's spoof. We apologize to any offended readers."

    I could not find an April Fool's Day spoof article on the Science web site for this year, using ["April 1"] limited to the last month.

    1. — not a lot of grey area between true/false…
      after reading Mike's #3…
      the 'Rick Rolling' hint in the Scientific Nature or Natural Science 4/01 article… close to 4/20 - also a Boulder creation…:
      ""It's about time these two publishing powerhouses joined forces," says Rick Rolling, a magazine consultant based in Boulder, Colorado. "I thought I was going to have to buy two iPads," he says. "Now, I just have to buy one.""
      mental floss
      5 list - Prez O
      meme Rick 7 (wrong number, see below) billion + views
      303 million+ views
      used: ]fake news that is real[
      differentiating - Search Engine Journal
      a list
      another list
      news about fake news
      perspective on MOAB - via HvE
      hey, cats
      a project as a time filler between sRs questions… what happened to the dial tone?

  4. Since others have already shown #1 to be true, I'll just add some additional sources and information ... the top two hits from the simple search [sharks "single ovary"]


    Advanced forms of sharks have only a single ovary

    The female reproductive anatomy has many familiar names, like ovaries and oviducts. The ovaries can be either paired or single at the front end of the body on top of the liver and are responsible for the creation of germ cells, accumulation of yolk, and the creation and secretion of hormones. Both ovaries are functional in ancient shark groups, however, only the right ovary works in ‘galeoid" (Scyliorhinus, Carcharhinus, Mustelus and Sphyrus) sharks. More advanced forms of sharks have only a single ovary that is embedded in the front end of a long epigonal organ. An immature ovary is small and looks like a thin strip of granulated tissue but a mature ovary can be very large and bright yellow.

    2) This fact has been known for quite a while. For example, on page 1461 of this book published in 1842 (Elements of Physiology, Part 2, Volume 2 by Joh Müller / ("single+ovary") we find this info about both shark and bird ovaries:

  5. #1 —>> used [shark one ovary diagram] and looked at 'all' & 'images'
    which led to this:
    'genus Carcharhinus, Mustelus and Sphyrna'

    "According to previous works by Dodd (1983), Hamlett et al. (1999), Koob & Callard (1999), Carrier et al. (2004) andHamlett (2007), the ovaries of female sharks are arranged in pairs and suspended by mesenteries in the anterior section of the abdominal body cavity, in an analogous position to the males' testicles. In several elasmobranch species, only one ovary is functional. Such is the case of the species within the genus Carcharhinus, Mustelus and Sphyrna. Oviparous species have both ovaries developed and functional, such as of the species Pristis cuspidatusand Squalus brevirostris."

    Silky shark: Carcharhinus falciformis
    "Like other members of its family, the silky shark is viviparous: once the developing embryo exhausts its supply of yolk, the depleted yolk sac is converted into a placental connection through which the mother delivers nourishment. Relative to other viviparous sharks, the placenta of the silky shark is less similar to the analogous mammalian structure in that no interdigitation exists between the tissues of the fetus and mother. Furthermore, the fetal red blood cells are much smaller than maternal blood cells, which is opposite the pattern seen in mammals. Adult females have a single functional ovary (on the right side) and two functional uteri, which are divided lengthwise into separate compartments for each embryo"
    Winghead shark: Eusphyra blochii
    "The winghead shark is viviparous like the rest of its family, with the developing young sustained to term by a placental connection to the mother. Adult females have a single functional ovary, on the right, and two functional uteruses. Compartments form inside the uteruses during pregnancy, one for each embryo. In the waters around Mumbai, the mating season is in July and August during the monsoon.[27] The males bite at the sides of the females as a prelude to copulation. Females can reproduce every year; the litter size ranges from 6 to 25 pups, and increases with the size of the female. The gestation period lasts 8–9 months off western India, and 10–11 months off northern Australia.[2][16][28] Pregnant females have been reported to quarrel with each other."
    "The internal ovaries are found anteriorly in the body cavity and are paired, but as was the case with the male testes the left side is often reduced. Indeed, the left ovary often releases very few or no eggs."

    1911 - left/right, true/false…
    surprising location - dissection of a dogfish, male & female
    it's not just a 'dog-eat-dog world, but an XX-eat-XY world too…' :-\
    in the social realm…