🐧 Ancient Penguins, Mars Helicopter, Nobel Prize
The possible ancestor of the smallest penguin lived 3 million years ago, the Nobel Prize spoils the productivity of scientists, and the Martian helicopter broke the two-month silence.
Ancient little penguins
In Aotearoa New Zealand, scientists discovered the fossilised remains of a new bird species that could be the ancestor of the smallest living penguin. Almost complete skulls of an adult and a fledgling juvenile have been found in sediments 3 million years old. The fossils reveal that little penguins' physical characteristics have remained unchanged despite substantial environmental changes. Earlier this year, scientists described the largest-known penguin species with an average weight of 155 kilograms.
Mars helicopter returns
On April 26, NASA lost contact with the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter as it descended toward the surface for landing. If it sounds alarming, don't worry: the team expected the connection dropout since a hill between the landing location and the Perseverance rover blocks communication. Sixty-three days later, researchers finally received the long-awaited data from their helicopter as Perseverance crested the hill and could see Ingenuity again. Hopefully, the helicopter will fly again within a couple of weeks.
Nobel Prize kills productivity
Winning a Nobel Prize is arguably the most significant achievement for scientists. It also might kill their productivity. According to a recent study, the scientific output of researchers plummets after they get the prize. Typically, future Nobel laureates publish more frequently and receive more citations than their peers, who would eventually win the prestigious Lasker Prize. After getting the Nobel Prize, the trend reverses: on average, Nobel winners experience a decline in productivity, novelty, and citation, sometimes even lower than Lasker laureates. To keep my productivity going, I hereby forgo any future Nobel Prize, folks!
Image: Simone Giovanardi.