Thursday, 31 March 2016

Amazing Discoveries of the Hubble Telescope

A section of the expanding remains of a massive star that exploded about 8,000 years ago, the Veil Nebula.

Star cluster R136. It's in the Tarantula Nebula within the Large Magellanic Cloud about 170,000 light years from Earth. Its home to dozens of stars – including the most massive star ever found.
The Horsehead Nebula was first discovered by Scottish astronomer Williamina Fleming in 1888. This view of was captured by Hubble 125 years later.

The Monkey Head Nebula is a cluster of young stars embedded in bright wisps of cosmic gas and dust within the constellation Orion (the Hunter) 6,400 light-years from Earth.
NGC 6503 is a dwarf spiral galaxy that sits all alone in a region of empty space known as the Local Void.

The Southern Pinwheel Galaxy, 15 million light-years away in the constellation of Hydra, the Sea Serpent.

Monday, 28 March 2016

Ice Age puppies found perfectly preserved in Russia

Scientists are probing the remains of two Ice Age puppies found perfectly preserved in Russia's far northeast region of Yakutia and dating back 12,460 years. The mummified dogs were found by hunters searching for mammoth tusks in a riverbank by a deposit of ancient bones in remote Arctic tundra. As they explored the area, they found a puppy's snout in the permafrost.

The second puppy was found a few feet away. The dogs both died when they were about three months old and were likely siblings. It's unclear if the Ice Age dogs were domesticated or wild.
The find could offer clues about the origin of domesticated dogs. The world's oldest dog remains were discovered in a cave in Belgium. They were 36,500 years old, but weren't well preserved.

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Thursday, 24 March 2016

Robin Symes Stolen Loot returned to Italy

Forty-five crates containing tens of thousands of archaeological relics were returned to Rome. The booty included Etruscan painted sarcophaguses representing human figures, a Roman sarcophagus, marble statues of animals and pieces of the floor and walls of a temple, all dating to between the 7th century BC and 2nd century AD.

The haul, worth nine million euros, was found in 2014 in a storage unit at the Geneva Freeport rented by disgraced Robin Symes, a giant in the illegal antiquities trade with ties to Italian tomb raiders.
They were stolen from digs in Sicily, Puglia, Campania and Calabria in the 1970s and 80s.

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Sunday, 20 March 2016

Teyujagua paradoxa found in the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul.

Scientists in Brazil found an ancient 250-million-year-old beast that they have named Teyujagua paradoxa. Fossil remains of the previously unknown species of reptile were found in the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul. It is an important find because it is a link between ancient reptiles and the creatures that would eventually become dinosaurs and then birds and crocodiles.

This skull reveals for the first time the mosaic assembly of key features of the archosauriform skull.
The fossil was found in an area of exposed Triassic rock, and it would have lived not long after a massive volcanic eruption in eastern Russia eliminated 90 percent of living species. The reptile - and its close relatives the archosauriforms - became the dominant animals on land and eventually gave rise to the dinosaurs.

Teyujagua paradoxa are transitional in morphology between archosauriforms and more primitive reptiles.
Teyujagua paradoxa was a small, quadrupedal reptile. The species grew up to about 5 feet (1.5 m) in length and lived in the margins of lakes and rivers, hunting amphibians and procolophonids — extinct, small bodied reptiles similar to lizards.

Its teeth were recurved with fine serrations and sharply pointed, indicating a carnivorous diet.

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Egypt claims there is a 90% chance two rooms are hiding in King Tutankhamun's tomb

Following months of investigations, researchers studying King Tutankhamun's tomb believe there is a 90% chance it contains at least one, if not two, hidden chambers.

The search follows claims by British Egyptologist Nicholas Reeves that high-resolution images of the tomb show 'distinct linear traces' on the walls, pointing to two unexplored chambers. Reeves said the plastered walls could conceal two unexplored doorways, one of which perhaps leads to Nefertiti's tomb.

In particular, he believes these chambers are behind the northern and western walls of tomb and that one contains the remains of queen Nefertiti, the chief wife of Pharaoh Akhenaten and mother to six of his children, who is Tutankhamun's mother.

Scan results used electromagnetic waves to inspect the chamber's so-called cavity pattern. The red arrows indicate the entrance to the cavity and the yellow and green sections are believed to be metal and organic material

DNA testing has shown that Queen Tiye was the grandmother of King Tutankhamun

King Tut's great grandfather, Yuya

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Wednesday, 16 March 2016

The Phoenix

The Phoenix is found across cultures. Ancient legend paints a picture of a magical bird which lives for several hundred years before it dies, bursting into flames. It is then reborn from the ashes, to start a new life. It is an image that is still used commonly in popular culture and folklore. The legendary phoenix is associated with the rising sun and fire.

It builds its own funeral pyre and ignites it with a clap of its wings. After death it rises gloriously from the ashes and flies away.
Egyptians seem to have been the first to incorporate a bird into the concepts of immortality, resurrection and rebirth. Egyptians referred to a Bennu in their mythology. Bennu has been depicted as a tall bird that resembles a stork or a heron. The Book of the Dead describes Bennu as the heart and soul of Ra and the guide of the gods of the underworld.

In Greek and Roman myths, the phoenix has been portrayed either as peacock-like or an eagle-like bird bearing crimson and gold feathers. It has been chronicled as the most beautiful of birds.
The Huma is a mythical bird of Iranian legends and fables. The Huma bird is said to never come to rest, living its entire life flying invisibly high above the earth, and never alighting on the ground.

In some Huma myths, the bird is said to be phoenix-like, consuming itself in fire every few hundred years years, only to rise anew from the ashes. The Huma bird is a 'bird of fortune' since its shadow (or touch) is said to be auspicious. Even catching a glimpse of it is sure to make one happy for the rest of his/her life.
The Chinese version of the phoenix is Fèng Huáng and is a union of male and female traits. According to the oldest surviving Chinese encyclopedia, the Fèng Huáng has a head of a swallow with a rooster's beak. Its neck resembles that of a snake's, the back is that of a tortoise's and tail of a fish's. The myth says that it appears only at places which are peaceful and devoid of chaos.

The phoenix is Milcham in the Jewish tradition. The legend says that after consuming the 'forbidden fruit' in the garden of Eden, Eve became envious of the other creatures who enjoyed their immortal existence. Therefore, she convinced them to eat the 'forbidden fruit' as well so that they lose their immortality and become lowly mortals. The only creature she could not persuade to do so was the phoenix, who remained immortal.

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Ichthyosaurs – Ancient Victims of Climate Change

They ruled the oceans for more than 157 million years; dolphin-like marine reptiles called ichthyosaurs. Science learned of ichthyosaurs’ existence early in the nineteenth century with the discovery of the first complete skeleton in England. The order Ichthyosauria (Greek for fish-lizard) was named in 1834.
The mystery surrounding their extinction 66 million years ago towards the end of the Cretaceous period (30 million years prior to the global dinosaur extinction) has prompted many theories. Newly published research suggests the fate of ichthyosaurs was tied to climate change.
Strong fluctuations in temperatures and sea levels 100 million to 94 million years ago during the Cenomanian stage of the Cretaceous period coinciding with intense volcanic action, ice-free poles, rapidly shifting continents and periods of anoxia (a lack of oxygen) on the sea floor affected a large portion of the marine biosphere and significantly changed marine ecosystems.
Ichthyosaurs were unable to successfully evolve new species in response to their quickly changing world.