A passion for the natural world drives many of our adventures. And when we’re not really on the outside, we like to find out about the places we live and travel. Here are some of the best natural history links we’ve found this week.
Blood Glaciers: Explorers have observed glaciers of blood for centuries, but a new study shows that these snow-pink algae blooms are increasingly common. Algae change color to protect against ultraviolet rays. The increase appears to be due to climate change. Increased carbon dioxide levels, in particular, allow algal blooms to thrive. However, blood glaciers will also melt faster as the red color no longer reflects sunlight as well as pure white.
Dinosaur footprints found in the UK: Footprints of six different species of dinosaurs have appeared on the cliffs of Folkestone, UK. Storms exposed the long-hidden footprints, which belonged to ankylosaurs, theropods and ornithopods. The largest print was 80cm wide and 65cm long. Dating back 110 million years, these dinosaurs are said to have been among the last to roam the UK.
A 21-ton rhino
Giant rhino prehistoric species discovered: Fossils of a new species of giant rhino larger than a giraffe have been unearthed in northwest China. The 26.5 million-year-old rhino weighed 21 tons (the weight of four African elephants) and reached a height of almost seven meters. This makes it one of the largest mammals to ever exist. Giant rhino fossils are already familiar to paleontologists, but this was an entirely new species. He also provided more information on the evolution of modern rhinos.
China sends astronauts to the space station: China launched its first manned space mission in five years on Thursday. The three astronauts will spend three months in the new Chinese space station, performing experiments and preparing the site for future missions. The Return to Earth Mission Control team will also monitor the trio physically and psychologically. Eleven other missions over the next 12 months will continue construction of the station.
A living fossil
The coelacanth can live 100 years: It turns out that cocelacanths live longer than expected in more ways than one. Cocelacanths are giant fish that have been present on the planet since the time of the dinosaurs. Everyone thought that the 400 million year old species was extinct until live specimens appeared off South Africa in 1938. At the time, research put their lifespan at 20 years old, but it turns out they can live up to 100 years. . Females do not reach sexual maturity until their late 50s, and their pregnancies can last up to five years. This so-called living fossil is so threatened that only dead or already captive specimens can be studied.
Satellite view of the 2019 eruption to improve monitoring of the volcano: In 2019, clouds of volcanic vapor and gas erupted from the Whakaari volcano in New Zealand. This small explosion nonetheless killed 22 people and injured 25. High-resolution satellite data revealed how the gases released by the volcano changed before, during and after the eruption. This work shows that it is possible for satellites to measure gas emissions before eruptions. This could allow for warnings before eruptions, according to volcanologist Jorge Andres Diaz of the University of Costa Rica.
Second lion at Indian zoo dies of COVID: Two lions have now died from COVID-19 at a zoo in Chennai, southern India. The two had undergone treatment for the infection since June 3 but succumbed to the virus within days of each other. The source of the infection at the zoo is unknown, but in late May five lions began to show symptoms of the virus. Over the next few weeks, those numbers doubled. Experts are still treating the eight remaining infected lions.
About the Author
Rebecca is a UK-based freelance writer and science teacher.
She is a frequent traveler and has had the good fortune to backpack Africa, South America and Asia. With a background in marine biology, she is interested in everything related to the oceans and aims to dive and swim in open water in as many seas as possible.
His areas of expertise include open water sports, marine wildlife and adventure travel.