What’s black and white all over and definitely doesn’t belong in Florida? A showy non-native Sub-Saharan African songbird that could possibly threaten the state’s native birds. In the last month, three different South Florida birders have spotted pin-tailed whydahs, the first such sightings in decades. While no one is suggesting the sightings mark the arrival of the state’s next invasive species, their appearance in the wild has set off a few alarms. Some scientists theorize that the birds may have been “blown” to Florida by the recent Hurricane Maria that hit Puerto Rico, where they normally colonize. Because they lay their eggs in the nests of other birds, whydahs are considered a parasitic species.
According to Google Patents, around 192 flying saucer patents are listed as being produced in the US, with three particular surges in their creation—an initial jump in the years between 1953 and 1956, a second wind between 1965 and 1971, and an unusually dramatic surge in such inventions between the years 2001 and 2004, with 37 flying saucer-related patents filed during that particular period.
In the briny waters of Jervis Bay on Australia’s east coast, where three rocky outcrops jut out from piles of broken scallop shells, beer bottles and lead fishing lures, a clutch of octopi gambol among a warren of nearly two dozen dens. Welcome to Octlantis. The bustling community belies conventionally held notions of these cephalopods, once thought to be solitary and asocial.
According to medieval mapmakers, the world was made up of three continents ringed by narrow bodies of water. When the voyages of Christopher Columbus, Amerigo Vespucci, and Ferdinand Magellan uncovered continents previously unknown to Europeans, this posed a major problem for those cartographers. But these explorers did not just stumble upon uncharted land—they also became aware of expansive stretches of ocean around the world.
A new book entitled People of Yellowstone features a collection of 87 park rangers, scientists, and artists posing in the landscape they dearly love, America’s very first National Park.
The first master plan—a document packed with maps and recommendations for preserving and monitoring a park and the visitor experience—was drawn up in 1929 for Mount Rainier National Park, 369 square miles in Washington state. It was created by Thomas Chalmers Vint, landscape architect and, from 1933, Chief of the NPS Branch of Plans and Designs. It served as a kind of blueprint for the plans to come, and included proposals for a new hotel complex and an expansion of the facilities on the south slope of the glacier-covered volcano.
Between 7,000 and 9,000 years ago — during the middle Holocene — the Four Corners area of what is now the American Southwest went through a slow but dramatic climatic shift. As the region became hotter and drier, stream and lake levels dropped, and larger game animals and firewood became harder to find. Indigenous communities had to rely on foods that were less nutritious and took more time to prepare, such as grass seeds and chenopodium seeds, a tiny grain similar to quinoa.
In 2016, they found evidence of the palisade walls of the Pilgrims’ first settlement. Nearly 400 years after the Mayflower passengers landed in Plymouth, Massachusetts, archaeologists excavate remains of Pilgrim homes.
In his book, The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence has Declined, psychologist Steven Pinker argues that people who live in states are less violent than those who lived in nonstate hunting, gathering, and horticultural societies in which our species spent most of its evolutionary history.
The Ashmolean Museum at Oxford is staging the first major exhibition to explore the visual cultures of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism as these five major religions spread across Asia and Europe during the first millennium.
RoboBee is an aerial-to-aquatic robot that weighs just six-thousandths of an ounce (175 milligrams). These bots were first reported in 2014 in the journal Bioinspiration and Biomimetics, when, after 12 years of trying, Harvard roboticists finally got the tiny insect-inspired devices to flutter. Since then, they’ve made a robot that can swim and fly.
New research on Puerto Rico’s Mona Island caves reveals key discoveries including the first direct rock art dates in the Caribbean, and also pre-Columbian rock art paint recipes.
Researchers from the University of Cambridge have pinpointed the date of what could be the oldest solar eclipse yet recorded. The event, which occurred on 30 October 1207 BC, is mentioned in the Bible, and could have consequences for the chronology of the Ancient World.
Rare fossils found in the Yukon Territory have scientists sinking their teeth into the mysterious history of a once formidable predator — the Scimitar Cat. According to new research published in the journal Current Biology, the fossils suggest the now-extinct animal once ranged across the Northern Hemisphere. Only about 20 fossils have ever been found of this cat in Alaska or the Yukon over the last century.
Europe’s first underwater restaurant “Under”, which can also be read as “Wonder” in the native tongue, sits along the rocky Norwegian coastline, its sleek monolithic form half sunken into the sea with one part directly resting on the seabed. Its panoramic acrylic windows resemble a periscope, and offer spectacular views of the submerged world. After hours, the restaurant will serve as a marine biology research center for studying fish behaviour and marine life, and it is hoped that over time the restaurant’s submerged portions will also serve as an artificial reef for mussels. Article contains a link to a slideshow of images.
The aboriginal inhabitants of the Canary Islands, commonly known as Guanches, were genetically most similar to modern North African Berbers, according to an ancient DNA sequencing study published in the journal Current Biology. When and how the Guanches arrived in the Canary Islands has remained poorly understood, since they lacked boats and the knowledge of how to navigate the surrounding seas.