When Leigh Love stumbled upon a bird's leg bone at the Waipara Greensand fossil site in New Zealand's South Island in 2018, he suspected that they might be those of an ancient penguin. With four other species discovered there, the area has been a hotbed for penguin remains from the Paleocene Epoch, which spanned between 66 million and 55 million years ago. What the amateur paleontologist did not realize was that the fossil belonged to the largest, hitherto unknown, penguin species ever found.
It is not uncommon for human-generated blazes — lit to clear the land out for farming or ranching — in the Amazon rainforest to get out of control. However, this year, the number of wildfires has been extraordinarily high. Brazil's National Institute for Space Research (INPE) has recorded over 73,000 fires in the world's largest tropical rainforest between January and August 2019, 2,500 of which are currently active. This is the highest number observed since the agency began keeping records in 2013, and an astounding 80 percent more than during the first eight months of 2018.
It is common knowledge that the droplets spread from sneezing are one of the key culprits responsible for transmitting infectious diseases between humans. Now it turns out that some plants have a similar ability to share the "love" and spread pathogens to each other. However, while sneezing in humans is an involuntary response to irritants along the lining of the nose, plants "sneeze" due to a quirk in fluid dynamics.
Japan, the host country of the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, has promised to deliver "the most innovative Games ever organized." On July 24, 2019, a year before the competition begins in Tokyo on July 24, 2020, the Olympic Committee unveiled its first ingenious idea — medals made using precious metals extracted from discarded electronics.
BBC Earth host Lizzie Daly and underwater photographer Dan Abbott released several videos of exciting encounters with marine animals off the English coast from July 7 to July 13, 2019. The pair swam alongside gray seals off the coast of Northumberland, minke whales off the northwest coast of Scotland, and seabirds near Wales. However, the highlight came on the final day of the tour, when the underwater adventurers stumbled upon a massive barrel jellyfish off the coast of Falmouth, Cornwall. The sighting of the mesmerizing animal was a fitting way to end Daly's "Wild Ocean Week" campaign to raise ocean awareness and funds for the UK's Marine Conservation Society.
Since late March 2019, local fishers and sightseers on whale watching excursions along the Southern California Coast have been treated to a rare sight — dozens of school bus-sized basking sharks lumbering through the water. This is the first time the "gentle giants of the sea" have frequented the area in such large numbers in over thirty years.
After conquering the roads, Uber, the peer-to-peer ridesharing service, now has its eyes set underwater. On May 24, 2019 the American company launched scUber, “the world’s first ride-share submarine experience," which will take tourists on a memorable journey across the world's most extensive coral system — Australia's Great Barrier Reef.
Mention the word spy, and the images that come to mind are those of secretive, stealthy fictional characters like British Secret Service agent James Bond and former CIA assassin Jason Bourne. However, the alleged Russian mole, who recently "defected" to Norway, fits none of those descriptions. In fact, it is not even a person, but a friendly Beluga whale who loves to interact with humans!