Conifers that were living at the South Pole show an extreme adaptation to forest fires. Until now, the origin of this ability has been unknown from the fossil record. But scientists have now found fossil evidence showing that many tree species from 100 million years ago were not only protected from fire, but they may have required fire to reproduce during one of Earth’s most intense greenhouse periods. This was also a time of extreme fire risk around the globe. Fossil layers from this time show sediments with a large amount of burnt, or charcoalified, plants which testifies to an intensely fiery time. The extreme environment during this period was a major driver of evolutionary change, and this was a key time for the evolution of modern fire-adapted ecosystems.
As some hurricane victims look to the future, archaeologists have their eyes on what they think could be unearthed pieces of an ancient Calusa Indian past in the root balls of downed trees at the Otter Mound Preserve on Florida’s Marco Island that have been exposed after Hurricane Irma passed through the area.
King Solomon’s Temple, known also as the First Temple (or Beit HaMikdash in Hebrew), was the Holy Temple of Ancient Jerusalem, built as a monument to God, as well as a permanent home for the Ark of the Covenant. It was eventually destroyed by the Babylonians when Jerusalem was besieged by Nebuchadnezzar II during the 6th century BC. Archaeologists have sought to uncover the remnants of this temple for centuries. It was only recently, however, that the first direct evidence for King Solomon’s Temple was reported to have been found.
Eleanor the sea turtle was caught in a tropical storm raged off Florida’s west coast for 4 days. Her GPS device had tracked her movements for those 4 days, revealing surprising findings, but unfortunately, the storm that Eleanor survived destroyed almost 90 percent of the nests on the beach where she and several hundred other female turtles had laid their eggs.
Spirit bears, also known as Kermode bears, are among the world’s rarest ursines, found only in the remote archipelago of British Columbia. They’re a subspecies of the black bear, born white when two dark-furred parents carry an obscure genetic mutation. The Canadian government estimates there are 400 spirit bears in the province, and hunting them is illegal. Old stories, handed down about the bears from one indigenous generation to the next for thousands of years, since the last Ice Age gripped the world and glaciers licked the edge of the rainforest.
Completely see-through solar materials that can now be applied to windows represent a massive source of untapped energy and could harvest as much power as bigger, bulkier rooftop solar units, scientists report in Nature Energy.
Design studio Nervous System has released two new varieties of fiendishly difficult jigsaw puzzles focusing on the organic beauty of Earth’s banded agates. In this case, Art copies Nature, and no two puzzles are alike.
China’s defunct Tiangong-1 space lab is headed for an uncontrolled self-destructing nosedive into Earth’s atmosphere early next year. Exactly when and where on Earth the multi-ton craft will make its plunge cannot now be predicted.
Peru’s rainforests are being cut down at a rate of 400,000 acres per year. Mahogany, chestnut, cedar, and rosewood are all logged in Peru. The remoteness of the place makes cutting timber about a practical as harvesting trees on the moon. Officials set out looking for one illegal shipment and found 100.
Dr. Sam Parnia, director of research in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and director of the Human Consciousness Project, lead his team to interview 140 fatal flatliners after they got their hearts pumping again. The data collected was, scientifically speaking, creepy. Even after all clinical signs of life as we recognize them had stopped, the brain stayed aware.
An event never seen on any star in the Universe, it was as if the hand of God had turned a giant dimmer in the sky. Science proffered no explanations for what was causing the star to wane, how long it would last, or how much light the star would lose. After the star had faded by 2 percent over the course of five days, the lights mysteriously rebounded more slowly than they dimmed… Article also contains a 30 minute video.
Along Utah State Route 211, near Canyonlands National Park, a monumental rock peppered with Native American artwork juts out. Now a state historic monument, the 200 square foot Newspaper Rock is one of the largest collections of primitive petroglyphs dating back about 2,000 years. Hundreds of images were created by a variety of indigenous cultures, including Archaic, Anasazi, Fremont, Navajo, and Pueblo were scratched into the rock’s Desert varnish. In the Navajo tongue, this decorated rock is called Tse’ Hone or “rock that tells a story.”
A 6,000 year old partial skull found in what is now Papua, New Guinea, represents one of the earliest examples of human remains from the Pacific Islands region, and now it has additional significance. New research shows the skull may represent the first known evidence of a tsunami victim.
Archaeologists in Bern, Switzerland, have uncovered a large uncut stone near several houses at a Bronze Age archaeological site. Based upon marks in the ground, they think the stone may have been a menhir, or single standing stone, possibly Neolithic, used to signify a meeting place or religious area.
If you really want to impress your erudite friends, consider learning Akkadian, the now-extinct ancient Semitic language of Mesopotamia. To help you, the University of Chicago has recently made its 21-volume Akkadian Dictionary available with a free download online. The language that brought us the Epic of Gilgamesh is even more complete thanks to the dictionary’s ability to place words in context. Article contains a hyperlink to the free download.
When a wildfire swept through Arizona, all but 35 rare red squirrels disappeared. After California’s wildfires raged, and three coastal hurricanes destroyed habitats in the Southeast US, so did other near-extinct animals whose populations are teetering.