Weekend Links: Skull-Collecting Ants, How to Feel About Mold in the Shower and More

Welcome to Weekend Links, a collection of fascinating science stories from across the web, curated by your science-loving friends at the Mass General Research Institute.

How Do I Know If My Shower Mold Is the Bad Kind?

Katie Heaney writing for the Cut

I’m curious: what is the difference between the mold most people have, and the mold that is going to turn me into that sea lady from The Shape of Water? I’d really like to know if my daily shower habit should be taken more seriously.

Summer Research Opportunities for High School Students Should Be Available to All

Kenneth Pham writing for STAT

For some high school students, an ideal summer is one spent on the beach with friends. For others, like me, an ideal summer is one spent hunched over a lab bench carrying out experiments. I had two such summers,which amplified my passion for science and profoundly motivated me in my studies.

A New Study Further Undermines the Myth of the “Savage” Neanderthal

Brian Resnick writing for Vox

The study compared 295 Neanderthal skull pieces, from individuals who lived between 20,000 and 80,000 years ago, to 541 contemporaneous humans (i.e. people like you and me) living in Eurasia. And lo and behold, both groups had roughly the same amount of head trauma.

They’re Ants That Collect Skulls. Now We Know How And Why.

Gemma Tarlach writing for Discover

Scientists observing Formica archboldi, a species of ant native to Florida, have documented something…odd. The ants’ underground nests are littered with skulls and other body parts, primarily of Odontomachus, trap-jaw ants. Trap-jaws are formidable predatory badasses. F. archboldi are not. So what’s going on?

Sourdough Hands: How Bakers And Bread Are A Microbial Match

Lindsay Patterson writing for NPR

If you bake a lot of sourdough bread, your hands might look like your loaves. Bacterially speaking, that is. The microbes found on bakers’ hands mirror the microbes within their starters — the bubbly mix of yeast, bacteria and flour that’s the soul of every loaf.

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