As the quest to understand our present has us piecing together as many parts of the past as we can find, a new fossil emerged of an ancient snake with legs.
And just as the paleontologists who dug it up hoped, this fossil illustrated one of our planet’s many incredible stories of its ever-evolving species.
For a long time, researchers have been sitting on certain questions about snakes – such as their origins, and how they lost their legs and limbs. Although there was relative certainty that snakes had evolved from their limbed fellow lizard reptiles, and aquatic snakes were already known to have limbs, this fossil from Argentina’s Río Negro Province was the missing evidence that they were waiting for of land snakes with a history of limbs.
In fact, they had the rear-limbed body of this specimen, and suspected it was a snake. But its quintessential snake skull was the only way they could be certain.
Snake skulls provide the species with their unique ability to both capture and consume food without limbs, which enabled them to survive without them in the first place. But for a long time now, it was hypothesized that snakes had evolved from small, worm-like burrowing lizards, and that their skulls grew to compensate for their dietary survival. But a bone (called the jugal) which was found in this old fossil skull with not one but two of the same parts as its lizard ancestors, linking it to both lizards and to modern-day snakes which retain only one part, prove otherwise.
Their skulls were, in fact, large first – like lizards – and because of the predatory advantage it gave them, their bodies were able to shrink around it. Essentially, we can see from Najash is that snakes were evolving towards the skull mobility necessary to ingest larger prey items – the landmark feature of most modern snakes.
Unlike the marine snake fossils, this specimen was not flattened by the weight of overlying sediments as it would have been in water, but was amazingly preserved in three dimensions.
While mouthwash is considered a durable household item with a life-span of two to three years, after that time period, the product is no longer effective. This is because the alcohol starts to dissolve and loses its burning-sensation.
A good rule-of-thumb is to gargle the mouthwash and check if you still feel a slight burn in your mouth. If you feel nothing, then chances are it’s time for a trip to the pharmacy. If you continue to use that same mouthwash, it will no longer contribute to your oral hygiene.
You know that dreaded memory when you drank milk straight from the carton only to realize it was off? Well, now we have the exact facts of when you should toss your milk to avoid that experience. According to the website Eat By Date, after opening your milk and refrigerating it, it lasts four to seven days past that.
Interestingly, different milk types have their own expiration dates. For example, unopened whole milk will last you five to seven days past its printed date, while non-fat milk will last at least three days more.
While disposable razors are the easiest in terms of maintenance, that doesn’t mean they’re the most recommended razors. In fact, if you use a disposable razor more than three times, your skin can pay the ultimate price in the form of rashes or skin irritations.
This is because disposable razors are non-durable household items and quickly build-up bacteria on the blade. So, in order to avoid any harm to your skin, toss your razors after the third shave. Don’t be cheap now!
While eye drops are supposed to be aiding your eye irritations, this product can have the opposite effect if used after it’s disposable date. Surprisingly, eye drops are sterile for around four weeks before it starts to lose its disinfectant benefit.
So, to all eye-drop-users out there, make a note to dispose of your liquid product a month after purchasing it, otherwise, you could end up with an eye infection. That sounds like a painful experience that should be avoided at all costs!
While loofahs are great for exfoliation and deep-cleansing of the skin, the product has to be replaced every month in order to avoid bacterial infection. Essentially, every time you use your loofah, dirt, and dead skin cells build into the material and do not go away after washing them.
So, while the loofah is a proven handy tool, it has to be regularly swapped out, or else it will actually do harm to the skin. Who knew?
Bug spray should be useful for up to three years after its date of purchase and after that time period, the product just lessens in its efficiency. If there is no expiration date listed, you can contact the manufacturer for more information or simply test it out yourself.
A good rule-of-thumb is to smell the product to see if it still has its normal potency. Also, if your bug repellent is in a cream or gel form, you can check if the liquid has dried up.
Eye Contact Solution
Our eyes are very sensitive organs, so we have to be careful with the products we use on them. For example, it is vital that you change the solution of your eye contact every three months.
According to optometrist Mark Bowers, “Bacteria can form an invisible film lining on the lenses, which is called biofilm. This biofilm protects the bacteria from the solution, and does increase your risk of infection.” So, remember to keep track of when you bought your eye solution!
The consequences of using vegetable oil past its lifespan can actually be quite serious. According to professor Decker from the University of Massachusetts, using expired vegetable oil can result in a neurological condition or even heart disease.
So with that in mind, it is imperative to stick to the oil’s lifespan of six months. There are also signs to detect the oil’s quality, such as if its color becomes cloudier or if the taste bitters. It’s recommended to rather purchase vegetable oil in smaller bottles.
Child Car Seat
One doesn’t assume that items like child car seats would pose a threat if they are kept for a while but surprisingly, that is the very case. The deterioration of the car seat material, such as the plastic parts, makes the seat ineffective after roughly six years of use.
In response to this interesting information, do not pass down child car seats as hand-me-downs, as this could actually be dangerous to the next child.
Sunscreen is known to last for years and often doesn’t even have an expiration date on the product. However, just like most things, sunscreen also has a shelf-life. Generally, your sun protection will last you up to three years but it depends on how long in total it’s been on the shelf.
If in the event you purchase sunscreen without an expiration date on the box, we have the solution. Simply mark the date you purchased the product, so you are able to keep track of its durability.
This is a household essential that is often kept in a cupboard and forgotten about until a case of emergency. However over time, the gas within the extinguisher escapes from its seal and as a result of the lost pressure, the extinguisher won’t operate.
According to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, “an expiration date cannot be fully trusted and there is no foolproof way to know if an extinguisher is no longer functional.” Consequently, it is advised that we recharge or even replace old extinguishers.
We often think that if a product is as strong as bleach then it can last ages without going bad, but according to scientific research, that is not the case. The Scripps Research Institute reported that bleach starts to lose its potency about six months after opening the product.
In order to ensure that you are cleaning efficiently with the correct quantities of sodium hypochlorite and calcium hypochlorite within your bleach, check the expiration date before use.
While dish detergent is known to remove dirt and clean your dishes, after a certain period of time, that is no longer true. If you use old dish detergent, the cleaning product starts to lose enzymes which will affect the efficiency of the detergent and risk your health.
According to Nancy Bock from the American Cleaning Institute, your cleaning detergent should be replaced roughly every three months. However, that is for dishwashing detergent, while dishwashing soap lasts from one year to 18 months.
Toothpaste has a pretty long shelf life of around two years. However, it’s important to take note of how long you keep your toothpaste because once it passes the two-year mark, it will become harmful to use.
According to a renowned cosmetic dentist, “After a time, toothpaste will become less effective, and the ingredients will begin to separate and crystallize.” If you keep your toothpaste past its shelf life date, chances are you would end up with mouth irritations, so do not risk that!
Petroleum jelly is known to be a useful product that serves multiple purposes. Its main use is to act as a ‘moisture barrier’ to hold the skin’s moisture and it can be kept for a good five to ten years, as long as it’s kept at or below room temperature.
However, after that shelf life date, bacteria spread so while Vaseline is a loved and trusted product, it cannot be kept forever.
Old Herbs and Spices
We often store our herbs and spices in containers in our pantry for so long that we forget that they too have expiration dates. According to a care coordinator at C-Care Health Services, “They can last for multiple years, typically in the three to four-year range, but after that, they lose their potency and can cause some digestive problems.”
In order to avoid stomach issues and consequent clogged toilets, we suggest doing a bi-yearly pantry clean-out to keep tabs on your herbs and spices.
It is recommended by underwear experts to replace your bra every six months to one year, however, it is dependent on how often you wear this bra. The more often you wear it, the sooner the swap is required.
That is why it is commonly known to wear three to five bras for every day of the workweek. Also, if you’re wondering when it’s time to replace your bra, the best indication is how it feels on you.
It’s a common misconception that canned foods last forever. While they are durable goods, that doesn’t mean to say we can hoard them in our pantries for decades to come. The shelf life of canned foods ranges from one to around four years if stored in a dark space and at a cool temperature.
According to MD, Lisa Lewis, if we do not adhere to the expiration dates of canned foods, we are likely to end up with food poisoning. No, thank you!
Skincare products are a necessity to us all, in order to keep our skin feeling fresh and healthy, however using expired products on your face will have an adverse effect. You can expect rashes or even bad breakouts if you use these products past their shelf life.
So, remember that skincare products are only effective six months to a year after purchasing them. We advise that you buy your facial products in smaller quantities to avoid keeping an old product around.
Similar to the sensation of a warm towel, slippers provide great comfort in the winter especially. However, experts suggest replacing your fuzzy shoes every month. The reason for this constant change is that the slippers can easily cause a fungal infection from the germ and bacteria build-up.
According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), every shoe loses its shock absorption, cushioning, and stability with time. So, carry on wearing your slippers but don’t get too attached!
While we all love peanut butter and jelly sandwich from our childhood days, and like those old days, peanut butter is not everlasting. While opened peanut butter goes bad after six months, an unopened container can last you up to two years.
Once you open your container, it’s best to refrigerate it after three months. Interestingly, natural peanut butter once opened will last about nine months and should always be kept in the fridge.
While baby pacifiers are often given down to other babies, in the form of hand-me-downs, this is actually not safe and should be avoided. According to the HealthyChildren organization, the pacifier’s rubber breaks over time and can cause the baby to choke on the broken pieces.
In order to steer clear of this dangerous consequence, rather change your child’s rubber pacifier every few months and do not pass the pacifier down to another child.
While the effects of putting mascara on your lashes are beautiful, the effects of using old mascara will actually harm your health. Common effects of using expired mascara on your eyes include eye infections, bacterial build-up, and visual impairment. So ladies, make sure to replace your lash-lengthener every three months!
Otherwise, there is a nearly 40% chance of a microbiological combination within the tube. In layman’s terms, your mascara will grow different types of bacteria after its three-month shelf life.
A study published in the Journal Biomedical Engineering Online revealed that sunglasses should be replaced after a two year period. This is because sunlight exposure can diminish the lens’s ability to protect your eyes.
Once the lenses are affected by sun damage, your eyes are exposed to UV rays which can have dangerous consequences. However, the two year period is dependent on the area in which you live, as the weather’s temperature is the critical factor here.
While flour is used for all sorts of baking recipes as a key ingredient, it’s expiration date is of fundamental importance for its use. If your flour smells stale or appears moldy, these are common signs that it has expired.
While mold may not necessarily impact our health, mycotoxins can occur, which can result in people vomiting or getting diarrhea from consumption. So, check the expiry date and save yourself from the consequences!
Old Shampoo and Conditioner
While we use our trusted shampoo and conditioner often, we don’t usually check its expiration date. This can prove to be tricky since the FDA does not enforce manufacturers to print the shelf life date on the products.
Remember, that the recommended lifespan of your shampoo and conditioner is around 18 months and after that, bacteria spreads and can infect the scalp. In order to avoid dandruff or either hair irritations, don’t keep old bottles around. Your hair deserves better!
Check Your HVAC System
It is of fundamental importance to service our heating and air conditioning system at least once or twice a year. Otherwise, the system can cause dust, mold, and even airborne viruses due to lack of maintenance, which is especially dangerous for people with breathing complications.
While the system doesn’t have a set expiry date, leaving it unattended, will result in danger. So, let’s all keep our HVAC system in-check and avoid getting sick from our air-conditioners.
We often associate our bed pillows as our beloved source of warmth and comfort at night, but there’s a lot more to these feathered bundles than what meets the eye. Few of us know that pillows actually absorb our dead skin, hair, and body oils, which often leads to dust mites.
As a result, this can create a dangerous situation for those with allergies or breathing issues like asthma. Remember, synthetic pillows last for around 12 months, while down-pillows last for two to three years.
While hand sanitizer is an essential product to have on hand right now, it is effective within a two to three-year duration. Due to this, the product is required to have an expiration date listed on the package.
Although hand sanitizer is not dangerous to use after its shelf life date and will still partly kill germs, it won’t be nearly as effective. Many doctors recommend that the best form of hand hygiene is a good old wash with soap and water.
When washing your clothes, you want to ensure that the detergent you’re using is doing its job. However, this will not happen if you use old laundry detergent as while it doesn’t spoil or cause harm, it simply loses its cleaning agents and is no longer effective.
This means that you need to use your laundry detergent within a given time frame. It is recommended to use opened liquid detergent within a six month period, while unopened detergent can last up to a year after purchase.
While cords and cables do not possess an expiration date like the previous items, worn-out ones can become hazardous if they come into contact with flammable furniture or materials. While the chances are slim, no one wants to risk a fire in their own home.
So, remember to keep an eye out on your cables and ensure they’re not neglected or banged-up. If in the case they are, throw them out!
Batteries have a long shelf life of roughly 10 years and after that time period, there is no health threat but they simply become useless.
If in the case of an emergency, such as a power cut, it is imperative that your batteries are working in order to charge up a light substitute. Flashlights are a common example here. So, it is recommended to keep a stock of spare batteries to ensure that you will never be left in the total dark.
Generally, your vehicle’s motor oil should last you up to five years. However, the place in which you store it could speed up the oil’s deterioration. Hence it is necessary to keep your motor oil in a cool and dry place.
Also, instead of relying on the expiration date, rather check the oil’s consistency. If the oil is sticky, thick, or has solid particles, do not insert it into your car. This means that it is no longer safe to use.
The whole purpose of a running shoe is to protect your feet and provide comfort for your mobile activity. In order to ensure your running shoe is fully efficient, we suggest replacing them after 400 miles of usage.
This is because after that amount of use, the soles begin to strip down and the foam compresses. From this, the shoes no longer have the ability to protect you, and feet or joint injury risks become likely.
Feminine Care Products
To all the females, it is vital to store your feminine hygiene products in a dark, cool place with no humidity. This is because the products are vulnerable to mold and bacteria if used past their shelf-life date.
Tampons have an expiration date of about five years, while sanitary pads should last you three years past the date of purchase. Using these products past their date of best-use means that it will start to disintegrate and no longer be very protective.
There is nothing more comforting than wrapping up in a warm towel after your shower or bath, but that feeling also has an expiration date. Bathroom towels are advised to be changed every three years. This is because they are constantly becoming wet and as a result, build up bacteria on them.
While rinsing your towels in hot water can help, it does badly affect the towel’s material and as a result, reduces its ability to dry properly.
There is a common misconception that if we rinse or wash out our sponges, then it will last longer and remain clean. The shelf life of our dish sponges is in fact only two weeks, after which, bacteria starts to spread. Examples of this include the risks of E.coli and salmonella, which we want to avoid at all costs.
A good reminder would be to always keep dish sponges on your grocery list and that way you will remember to constantly change them over. Genius, right?
While acne medication can be a reliable help in getting rid of pimples or skin irritation, it can very well cause more blackheads, if it is stored past its shelf life date. The chemicals within this medication, such as Benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, have an expiration date of just four to six months.
After which, the chemicals no longer have an effective purpose and can actually end up drying the skin or worsening its condition. In order to avoid this unfortunate situation, keep an eye out for the date of disposal.
Estimates report that the lifespan of your surge protector is around three to five years. However, it is recommended to change your power strip every two years if you experience regular blackouts in your home.
In order to detect if your surge protector has gone bad, there is normally a light that will start to flicker or burn out. This is the strongest indicator that the strip no longer has full power to aid your appliances.
While nothing is more wonderful than that scent of your favorite perfume, this smell is not forever and in fact, changes over time. Since perfumes don’t possess a set expiration date, their average shelf life is around three to five years. Also, experts say that perfumes with heavier scents will last longer.
You can inspect your perfume to ensure it hasn’t gone bad by examining its smell, appearance, or check to see if the perfume contains an expiry date label.
Prescription and Over-the-Counter Medicine
It is a common misconception to think it is a good idea to store your prescription medication in your bathroom. You might be wondering, why? Well, medication is best stored at room temperature and bathrooms can easily get damp or overheated.
As a result of these temperature changes, your medication can degrade which then would then make it dangerous to use. Doctors universally strongly advise examining the expiry dates of your medication and throwing them out once the pills reach their shelf life date.
Oral hygiene is of the utmost importance and we all knowingly should brush our teeth at least twice a day. However, what a lot of us don’t know is how often to change our toothbrush. According to the Yazdani Family Dentistry, we should be changing our brush every four months, especially if we had a cold during that time.
Changing toothbrushes is vital in order to avoid gum-disease or tooth-aches. We recommend setting an alarm on your phone to remind yourself to buy a new toothbrush.
We all know the old saying how people wish to get better with age like a bottle of fine wine but interestingly enough, that depends on the wine packaging. If you opt to buy boxed wine, the expiration date is just six to eight months after purchase.
Meaning, if you store the wine for longer than that and then drink it, you could run into some health complications. This is because some of the boxes carry bisphenol (BPA), which can actually affect your heart and cause fertility issues.
While, generally speaking, it is best to replace your hairbrush after every six months, according to the R&D lead of Goody Hair Products, “It depends on the condition of the brush”. For example, if the bristles start to separate or the bed of the brush cracks, it’s time for a new purchase.
However, a good way to preserve your brush is to dip and shake it in warm water with a few drops of shampoo, for a couple of minutes.