In the past two years, the world has undergone a period of dramatic transformation due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Although the pandemic is continuing to rage, scientists still have amazing scientific findings in the past. Let’s see what remarkable scientific findings have been overlooked by us during our time fighting with Covid-19.
The oldest matter found on Earth is even older than the solar system
Billions of years before our Solar System appeared, a dead star “exploded” and sent debris and dust into space. Some of that star’s dust, trapped in a meteorite that collided with Earth in 1969, has become the oldest matter ever found on our planet.
Material scientists at the Field Museum published this official conclusion in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in January last year. Analysis shows that these dust particles are between 4.6 and 7 billion years old. They are older than our Solar System, which was formed about 4.5 billion years ago.
This exciting discovery spurs scientists to continue hunting for clues about the history of our galaxy’s formation.
The first tyrannosaur embryo fossil
Paleontologists from the University of Edinburgh announced the findings of the first fossils, including claws and mandibles, of remains from a tyrannosaur embryo in October.
The claw fossil was unearthed in 2018 in Canada while the lower jaw fossil was recovered in 1983 in an area in the state of Montana, USA. Analysis shows that these fossils date from 71 to 75 million years ago.
Fossils reveal that some of the largest predators on Earth began life the size of a Chihuahua, with a long tail. This length is only one-tenth that of an adult. It explains why researchers have yet to find other specimens of tyrannosaurus as children because they may have overlooked them.
Strange sounds on Mars
In early October 2020, NASA released a recording of many strange sounds from Mar, received by the InSight lander. Space scientists still do not know the source of these sounds.
The Earth also has many planetary vibrations, from the howling of the wind to the sound of waves crashing on the shore. However, the sound obtained from the star is louder than most natural sounds on Earth. This is indeed a puzzling sound, stimulating the curiosity of people in the search for life beyond the earth.
Decipher the mystery of the strange behavior of the star Betelgeuse
Betelgeuse is often among the brightest stars in the sky. However, in December 2019, the light radiating from this star suddenly dimmed. The change has surprised scientists, suggesting that perhaps Betelgeuse is dying and about to explode.
However, in August 2020, NASA announced a bizarre explanation for Betelgeuse’s sudden dimming: “the star is “burping”. Observing from the Hubble space telescope, space scientists discovered that there are hot jets of hot gas released at extremely fast speeds from the atmosphere of Betelgeuse towards the outside.
This process forms a haze that would block Betelgeuse’s normal light, and the ability to observe the star from Earth would be hindered.
Armored Dinosaur’s Last Breakfast
The wonderfully preserved front half of a 110-million-year-old armored dinosaur – with layers of bones, scales, and spikes – surprised and delighted scientists.
This dinosaur was accidentally unearthed in an oil sands deposit in Alberta in 2011, and scientists discovered the animal’s last meal was also preserved in its stomach. Dinosaurs’ bellies and evidence of their food are rarely preserved. In this case, the meal is well preserved and the contents in the stomach tell us that this dinosaur is a picky eater.
The dinosaur, an ankylosaur, weighed more than a ton with a fierce appearance but ate only plants and especially ferns. The portion of food preserved in this dinosaur’s stomach is about the size of a ball.
Successfully prevented the second major Ebola outbreak
On June 25, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the end of the second-largest Ebola outbreak, which infected more than 3,480 people and killed nearly 2,300. This outbreak began in an outbreak near Kivu province, east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Ebola is a hemorrhagic fever with symptoms of high fever, hemorrhage, weakness, and rash. The disease has a high mortality rate, spread through direct human-to-human contact, or blood or animal waste. Controlling the outbreak in Kivu is particularly difficult due to the local instability, which has led to public skepticism about the efforts of the government or international organizations to prevent the spread of Ebola.
With the new vaccine, however, WHO-led health workers have launched a campaign to immunize everyone who may have been exposed to the virus. This effort has been successful with more than 300,000 people vaccinated. This can be considered a respectable success of the team of medical scientists in particular and the world health industry in general in the context of the raging Covid-19 epidemic.
The oldest Homo erectus skull
The first skull fragments were found in the Drimolen cave site northwest of Johannesburg, South Africa. Archaeologists mistakenly thought they belonged to an ancient baboon.
However, after excavating more than 150 fragments to assemble the skull, the archaeologists who were part of the research team realized that they were holding the skull of Homo erectus in their hands. This is the most ancient of human ancestors. Furthermore, dating back more than 2 million years, this skull is the oldest surviving part of this ancient human race.
This discovery helps biologists and zoologists continue to decipher more information for the complex family tree of humanity. At the same time, they also figured out when and where our ancient “relatives” appeared and flourished.
The reef is taller than the Empire State Building of America
A team of Australian oceanographers was mapping the seafloor north of the Great Barrier Reef when they discovered “a 500m tall coral skyscraper”. This is the first natural structure of its kind discovered in more than 120 years.
This reef is part of a group of eight isolated towers within the Great Barrier Reef that provides important habitats for creatures such as turtles and sharks. The team mapped this isolated reef and found a variety of life forms thriving in the reef’s ecosystem, including several new fish species.