Here are some of the recent eye-popping findings shared by intrepid scientists working in the field.
A long time ago
The largest known cave art ever found in North America has remained unseen for more than 1,000 jare — until now.
Researchers hoping to document the dark, cramped interior of the 19th Unnamed Cave in Alabama — that’s really its name to protect the location from vandalism — discovered massive Native American drawings on the low cave ceiling while doing some 3D scans.
Although the true nature of the figures is unknown, they may depict spirits since the tribes regarded caves as sacred spaces that served as routes to the underworld.
The discovery could provide a greater understanding of the symbolic art created by Indigenous tribes before making contact with other cultures.
Once upon a planet
Deep beneath the ice sheet of West Antarctica
, scientists have found a massive amount of water in an unexplored part of the icy region
Using tools on the surface, researchers were able to image far below the ice.
They were surprised to find enough water to form a lake, parts of which are deep enough to cover the Empire State Building and then some.
The large presence of water in this area could help scientists understand how Antarctica will respond to the climate crisis in the future.
Across the universe
One galactic pair have been dancing for eons — and it’s quite a sight.
The two galaxies
, geleë 60 million light-years from Earth
, have been in the process of coming together for
400 miljoen jaar. This activity has created stunning waves of star formation, captured in detail by the Dark Energy Camera
The new image shows the larger and smaller galaxy duo appear to swirl around one another in a celestial dance. Uiteindelik, the two galaxies will merge into one larger galaxy.
This phenomenon isn’t something you would likely be able to see from one of two space hotels designed by Orbital Assembly
, but the project promises to offer awe-inspiring views of the solar system and office space for a real out-of-this-world remote work experience
We are family
It’s easy to imagine that the lavish lifestyles of medieval kings and nobles included banquet tables laden with meat — but that may not have been the case. A new analysis of more than 2,000 skeletons showed many Anglo-Saxons regularly ate vegetables and cereals, and not much animal protein.
(No word on whether they had any pudding since they didn’t eat their meat, à la Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall.”)
The study’s findings appear to contrast with existing documents detailing delicious spreads included in bountiful feasts, but those may have been rare events.
And in another culinary surprise
, the discovery of piles of shells has revealed that ancient humans had a taste for oysters
. Even though Indigenous groups in the United States and Australia shucked billions of them over thousands of years
, they managed to do it sustainably
, as oyster populations collapse
There are only 10 remaining vaquita porpoises on Earth.
The world’s smallest marine mammal is critically endangered and can only be found in Mexico’s Gulf of California, where it becomes entangled in illegal gillnets meant for totoaba fish, which have purported medicinal properties.
With such a small population left, researchers focused on conservation efforts have questioned if vaquitas were at a greater risk of extinction due to inbreeding.
Take these ideas for a spin:
— Astronomers are using X-ray echoes of hidden black holes to locate them across the Milky Way
— en you can listen to their eerie sounds
— An extreme plant in Turkey actually thrives and grows faster by a lake where salt levels can be six times higher than the ocean
— A solar-powered plane that can fly autonomously and stay in the air for months could change the way we study our planet
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