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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Friday, April 16, 2021
ask ms scientist

Ask Ms. Scientist: wisdom teeth and the ocean deep

What's the deal with wisdom teeth?

Jenny G.

Years and years before processed food and modern human diets, consuming a meal required a bit more work than we have to do today. Meat was rougher and root vegetables and wild plants were chewier. Wisdom teeth helped our distant relatives chew through tough diets and stay nourished in a world before yogurt and Cheetos. Today, with modern breeding techniques and food processing, wisdom teeth aren’t needed to chew up the food. So, why do they still cause problems for us? It’s because our jaws are slightly smaller than our ancestors from thousands of years ago. While wisdom teeth might still grow in our mouths, there usually isn’t room for them in there. The tight fit can consequently cause complications. resulting in dentists usually removing our wisdom teeth.

How deep is the ocean, and what lives down there?

Omar R.

The short answer: really deep. The average ocean depth is about 2.3 miles. That’s about 41 Camp Randall fields or about the distance from the UW Hospital to the Capitol. The deepest known point in the Earth’s ocean is the Challenge Deep in the Mariana Trench, which is 10,971 meters below the surface, or about 6.8 miles. For some perspective, that’s about the same distance an airplane flies or the height of Mount Everest with five Empire State Buildings stacked on top. Humans have only made the journey to the Challenge Deep twice.

The organisms that live deep in the ocean seem like they’re aliens from another planet. It’s teeming with crustaceans like shrimp, sea cucumbers (relatives of starfish), jellyfish and microscopic miscellaneous. Researchers even saw something called the sea pig, a species of sea cucumber showing off bright pink tentacles.

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