In our March 2023 issue, we shared some of the most interesting recent findings from Michigan researchers. Here, check out some of those findings, and get some fun facts that pertain to our state.
Intriguing findings from researchers across Michigan for March 2023.
Extinct Frog Species Found
For the last 40 years, a fungus has been killing off frogs worldwide, affecting more than 500 species of amphibians and driving a large number of them to extinction. But it may not be quite as bad as scientists originally thought.
Ecologists at Michigan State University, alongside partners in Ecuador, have demonstrated in a new study that up to 32 species of one genus — called harlequin frogs — that were considered extinct continue to survive in the wild.
“In total, 87 species [of harlequin frog] have been missing,” says Kyle Jaynes, lead author and MSU doctoral student. “To date, … 37 percent have been rediscovered over the last two decades. This is a shocking number.”
Those species are still critically endangered, so the researchers hope this good news propels greater conservation efforts.
“I can’t tell you how special it is to hold something we never thought we’d see again,” Jaynes says.
Down to the Bone
Two experiments on bone density from University of Michigan engineers have been launched (literally!) on the International Space Station. The studies’ findings could provide insight into both osteoporosis, which affects about 10 million Americans, and astronauts’ bone health.
The researchers hypothesize that when bone cells aren’t exposed to gravity, they become less stiff, causing changes similar to osteoporosis — and that they can prevent those changes by mechanically compressing bone cells to mimic gravity.
If the theory is correct, we may soon see astronauts wearing compressive space suits to prevent bone loss. For non-astronauts, the results could lead to better diagnostics and treatment for bone decay.
The asteroid that hit the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico millions of years ago didn’t just wipe out the dinosaurs — along with about three-quarters of Earth’s other plant and animal species. It also caused a tsunami with mile-high waves that disrupted the ocean floor 7,500 miles from the impact site, according to a study from University of Michigan researchers and others published in AGU Advances.
The study presented a model simulating the tsunami, the first of its kind to appear in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. The researchers corroborated the model’s results by reviewing records of marine sediments deposited just before or after the impact at more than 100 sites worldwide.
“This tsunami was strong enough to disturb and erode sediments in ocean basins halfway around the globe, leaving either a gap in the sedimentary records or a jumble of older sediments,” says lead author Molly Range.
Fun Michigan stats and facts for March 2023.
Michigan’s prestigious ranking among the largest legal cannabis markets in the country, according to a recent analysis by market intelligence firm Headset. The Mitten State’s $2 billion cannabis industry comes in second only to California’s, which is valued at about $5.2 billion.
The report also shows that Michigan was one of only three states to have experienced an increase in sales over the past year. In fact, its 28.2 percent boost represents the strongest growth of any U.S. market.
Headset expects to see this upward trend continue, projecting that the Michigan cannabis industry will reach $2.5 billion by 2025.
Where the Detroit Pistons fall on a list of teams offering the most affordable NBA game day experiences.
A nationwide survey circulated by Catena Media finds that more than half (54 percent) of Americans say the steep inflation rates will likely keep them from attending a professional basketball game this season. But there may still be room in the budget among Detroit Pistons fans, who spend an average of just $73.42 at a home game, compared with the league average of $121.20.
These figures come from Catena Media’s analysis of NBA arena data, which identified Charlotte Hornets games as the NBA’s most economical, with an average cost of $67.11. The priciest games are hosted by the New York Knicks and set attendees back about $261.03.
The number of minutes the average driver from the Detroit-Warren-Dearborn area loses to rush-hour traffic each day, according to an analysis by car shopping app CoPilot.
The Detroit area ranked 65th amongst U.S. metro areas with the most rush-hour traffic, just above Columbus, Ohio, where drivers lose an average of 10.6 minutes in the daily commute. In the top spot, it may be no surprise, was the area surrounding New York City, where rush hour sets drivers back an average of 31.7 minutes every day.
The study also found that in the post-COVID shutdown world, fewer people are driving to work than ever before and overall drive times have shortened — but that doesn’t mean rush hour has disappeared.
This story is part of the March 2023 issue of Hour Detroit. Read more in our Digital Edition.