From gigantic, ancient crocodiles to strange dinosaur tail feather fossils, here are the 14 Most Interesting Moments For Science in 2016.
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8. Antimatter Hydrogen Spectrum
Scientists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research were able to successfully record the spectrum of antimatter for the first time ever last year. There’s a hypothesis that states that there should be an equal amount of matter and antimatter formed when the universe began, however, the only thing that could be recorded was matter. How did they do it? By “creating an antimatter hydrogen atom with a negatively charged proton nucleus and a positively charged electron and measured its wavelength.
7. Tardigrade DNA
If you haven’t heard about these microscopic creatures then you’re truly missing out. Tardigrades are able to withstand some of the harshest environments such as sub zero to 150-degree temperatures, along with surviving out in the vacuum of space for up to 10 days. They can even be frozen and revived after 30 years as such was done back in January. The true discovery though was that Japanese scientists found the DNA responsible for protecting them from radiation and said they could transfer that resistance into human cells.
6. New Crocodile Species
Researchers made a stunning discovery back in January when they unearthed the skull and bones of what is believed to be the largest marine crocodile to have ever lived. The remains were dug up in an African desert and it was reported that the reptile could grow to be more than 30 feet long and weigh about 6,000 pounds. Thankfully, they all died out years ago. The crocodile was named Machimosaurus rex and is said to be 120-million-years-old.
5. New Reptile
This distinctly shaped skull of a new reptile was actually discovered way back in 1940 during a dig in Big Spring, Texas, however, it wasn’t identified as a new species until around last September. The reptile has been named Tripticus primus and lived some 2278 million years ago. Its head was described as having a dome shape that resembled that of a battering ram. It’s not exactly sure what the purpose of their shaped heads was for but some speculations range from defensive purposes to simply for show.
4. Ancient Human Footprints
Geologists managed to discover some 400 footprints left by ancient humans back in October and dated them at being around 19,000-years-old. The footprints were originally thought to have been as old as 12,000 years and were kept so perfectly preserved all these years. The natives stepped in the mud that was then dried out in a day or two and was then blanketed by a layer of ash from a nearby volcano in the northern Tanzanian village of Engare Sero.
3. Proxima B
The discovery of a new planet that is located only 4.2 light years away was announced back in August of last year. Named Proxima B, the planet happens to be 1.3 times the mass of our own planet and is said to lie in what is known as the “Goldilocks zone” where it has the optimal temperature conditions to possibly hold water. 4.2 light is a whole lot of distance to cover but as of now, it is the closest exoplanet in range of the earth.
2. Dinosaur Tail Feathers
Perhaps one of the biggest and most important archeological finds to happen to date, this dinosaur tail that was somehow trapped in amber was discovered in late 2016. The fossil was found not inside the earth but rather it came into the hands of paleontologists while they were attending a market in Myanmar. It was initially believed to be a plant and was supposed to be made into jewelry. The fossil has been dated to being around 99 million-years-old and belonged to a dinosaur that lived in the mid-cretaceous era. Before we reveal number one, let us know in the comments below which one of these scientific moments you thought was the most interesting and don’t forget to subscribe. And now…
1. Gravitational Waves
This scientific discovery was recognized as the biggest of the year when back in February scientists at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory were able to detect the faintest ripples that occurred in the fabric of space-time. The ripples were caused by to enormous black holes that collided with one another some billion years ago. The historic find was then reconfirmed when gravitational waves were again observed some four months later in June. Now the universe can be viewed by using these waves.