TWIS 10/31

The oldest known footprints have recently been discovered in the Grand Canyon.

When it comes to the world of science, discoveries and breakthroughs are made every day. To help you keep up with them, The Battalion compiles a few of the most compelling scientific stories from the past week.

Paleontology: The oldest known footprints in the Grand Canyon have been discovered

Researchers have discovered the oldest footprints ever found, exposed by falling rocks in the Grand Canyon. The footprints, tracing back to over 310 million years, were preserved and hardened into sandstone instead of being swept away by the wind.

Each of the tracks were angled at 40 degrees in their walking direction. The tracks resemble 299 million year-old footprints found in Scotland made by early reptiles. If both are similar, the Grand Canyon tracks could be the oldest of their kind by over 10 million years.

Ophthalmology: An eye disorder may have given Leonardo da Vinci an artistic edge

Through analysis of some of his famous works, scientists believe that Leonardo da Vinci could have had a disorder called exotropia that can interfere with three-dimensional vision and give the artist a unique perceptual edge. Exotropia, in which one eye is turned outward slightly, is one of several eye disorders collectively called strabismus. Today, strabismus affects four percent of people in the United States and is treated with special glasses or surgery.

Researchers said that if da Vinci could control the exotropia, he could align his eyes to see in three-dimension and with a little bit of work, he could switch from three to two dimensions when needed for whatever piece he was working on.

Health: Letting your dog sleep with you is good for chronic pain sufferers

A new study by the University of Alberta shows that for individuals who suffer from chronic pain, sleeping next to a dog may ease feelings of anxiety and loneliness. General advice from health-care providers has been to take pets out of the bedroom since it can lead to sleep problems, but this new study says that it isn’t the case.

The physical contact from the pet leads to a sense of distraction and helps reduce anxiety and stress from being alone at night. Anxiety and loneliness are a part of chronic health issues, so the new research says pets can play a significant role in helping people overcome pain.

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