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Sunday, February 21, 2021


Keywords: plastics, plastic, microplastics, pollution, placenta, placentas, birth, women, pregnancy, polypropylene, PP, thermoplastic, thermosets, medicine, biology

Part 1 is here

Part 3 is here

Part 4 is here

(Read other plastic related stories here & here)



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Ooooh, hello dear English speaking-reading-hearing reader, welcome back to me, @sciencemug, the blog/podcast/twitter&instagram accounts/entity behind the unsuccessful e-shop stuffngo on which tells you science stories while reading the palm but yet not being able to decipher the tree, aaand which talks to you thanks to the voice, kidnapped via a voodoo-wireless trick, from a veeery very very dumb human.

Aaand which does all of this in English-question-mark, a language that is to proper English what a banana bacon muffin is to something that doesn’t scream: “human civilization is doomed!”. 

Today I’m gonna tell you the second part (the first one is here) of a story about human placentas and plastics!

Plastics symbols on plastics background
Plastics symbols on plastics background (by @sciencemug)
[The p
lastics symbols pic by Clker-Free-Vector-Images is a free to use image (source:; the plastics pic by Marc Newberry is a free pic (source: Unsplash); all pics adapted by @sciencemug]

A group of Italian researchers (aka the Italian Brains, aka the ITBs) studies human placentas in search of microplastics fragments (MPs), that is plastic particles smaller than half a centimeter. In doing so, the researchers find such pollutants in the placentas of women in good health and who have had normal pregnancies and deliveries. The ITBs’ study is therefore “the first [one] revealing the presence of [...] microplastics and, in general, of man-made particles in human placenta(P).

The Italian research team is lead by Medical Doctor Antonio Ragusa, Head of the Department of Woman, Mother and Newborn of the San Giovanni Calibíta Fatebenefratelli Hospital, in Rome, and it publishes its study (P) in the science journal Environment International.

Sooo, dear reader, in part 1 I told you about the microplastics classification story, and also about how the Italian Brains select the women involved in their study, how they design and follow a plastic free protocol to collect the placenta samples, and what kind of technique (the Raman microspectroscopy) they use to analyze such samples.

Now, all in all, the ITBs collect six placentas. Let’s remember that, from each placenta, the ITBs take and then analyze, precisely via Raman microspectroscopy, three pieces between about 20 and 30 gr of weight (the mean weight is 23.3gr). Of these three pieces, one comes from the maternal side of the placenta, one from the fetal side, and the third one from the chorioamniotic membranes, namely the two membranes that form the embryo sac, which is the structure that surrounds and protects the fetus.

Sooo, dear reader, let’s see then what the ITBs find out.

In 4 of the 6 collected placentas the researchers find a total of 12 small fragments of non-human something.

Fetus and the plastinvasion (by @sciencemug)
Fetus & the palstinvasion (by @sciencemug)
[Pregnant woman pic, by freestocks, is a free pic (source: Unsplash); plastics symbols pic by Clker-Free-Vector-Images
is a free to use image (source:; all pics adapted by @sciencemug]

How small, you ask?

Well, ten fragments are about 10μm in size, while

Tuesday, February 2, 2021


A new bat species of the genus Myotis was recently discovered on the Nimba Mountains in Guinea, at an altitude of about 1400 meters (the two animals captured by the researchers were flying out of an abandoned mine adit).
The new species is called Myotis nimbaensis, after the place it lives in.
These bats form colonies that may be small (down to just single individuals), their diet is still unknown, and they're tiny enough to easily fit in a researcher's hand.
Their most striking feature, though, is their color.
They have, indeed, a "bright orange fur on the head and the ruff around the neck" (P), with an "orange-brown thumb and a brown foot"
(P) and, unlike other related bat species, a lack of pronounced black spots on their face.
Moreover, they are "strongly dichromatic with black wing membranes and orange along the digits and forearm"
Both wing dichromatism and reddish to yellowish fur, however, are not unusual in the subgenus (Chrysopteron) M. nimbaensis belongs to.
Myotis nimbaensis is the 11th species of the Myotis genus found in Africa (mainland) out of over 120 species existing almost all around the world.
The researchers think that there are good chances there be more species to be discovered, and say that their finding "highlights the critical importance of the Nimba Mountains as a center of bat diversity and endemism in sub-Saharan Africa" (P).
The researchers expect, in fact, that, as M. nimbaensis is "an uncommon to rare endemic with a very small geographic range" species
(P), it be already critically endangered.

Now, dear reader, enough with the details, it's time for the real important stuff. This dumb blog, in the following cartoon, will tell you the true reason why, these bats, are orange!

Myotis nimbaensis according to @sciencemug
Myotis nimbaensis bat according to @sciencemug
[Bat pic:
source is "
A new dichromatic species of Myotis (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae) from the Nimba Mountains, Guinea" (pag 10); adapted by @sciencemug]


The paper this cartoon is about (P)

P- Simmons, N.B., Flanders, J., Bakwo Fils, E.M., Parker, G., Suter, J.D., Bamba, S., Keita, M.K., Morales, A.E., and Frick, W.F. (2021). A new dichromatic species of Myotis (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae) from the Nimba Mountains, Guinea (American Museum novitates, no. 3963).