In Egypt, archaeologists find part of 4,000-year-old statue

This undated photo released by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities shows a wooden head believed to depict Ankhesenpepi II, the mother of King Pepi II of the 6th dynasty who ascended to the throne at the age of six, that was was found in the district of Saqqara, near the ancient Pyramids of Giza during excavation work. In a statement Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017, by the Antiquities Ministry said the artifact is in poor condition and will have to undergo restoration. (Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities via AP)

This undated photo released by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities shows a wooden head believed to depict Ankhesenpepi II, the mother of King Pepi II of the 6th dynasty who ascended to the throne at the age of six, that was was found in the district of Saqqara, near the ancient Pyramids of Giza during excavation work. In a statement Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017, by the Antiquities Ministry said the artifact is in poor condition and will have to undergo restoration. (Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities via AP)

CAIRO (AP) — Egypt says archaeologists have discovered the head of a wooden statue, likely belonging to a female regent who ruled the country more than 4,000 years ago.

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Wednesday's statement by the Antiquities Ministry says the artifact was found in the district of Saqqara, near the ancient Pyramids of Giza. It says the part of the statue is in poor condition and will have to undergo restoration

The uncovered head is believed to depict Ankhesenpepi II, the mother of King Pepi II of the 6th dynasty who ascended to the throne at the age of six. She ruled Egypt as regent during the early years of his reign.

Earlier in October, archaeologists at the same dig uncovered part of an obelisk made of pink granite that belongs to the same dynasty.

New Rare Poisonous Heavy Metal Mineral Discovered: NATALIYAMALIKITE

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Geologists discover new thallium mineral: NATALIYAMALIKITE!

The new mineral was discovered in the Kamchatka Peninsula — one of the long-lived volcanically active areas on Earth, with activity dating back to the Late Triassic epoch.

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It occurs as pseudo-cubic nanocrystals at Kamchatka’s Avacha volcano, in association with active high temperature (up to 1,148-1,184 degrees Fahrenheit, or 620-640 degrees Celsius) fumarolic vents.

“It contains thallium, a rare heavy metal most famous for its qualities as a poison,” said Prof. Brugger, lead author of a paper published in the journal American Mineralogist.
Fluoride is a form of thallium (I) and is very poisonous and calcifies the pineal gland in our brain, yet it is misrepresented as a healthy additive to toothpaste and public water supply
“The discovery of this new mineral means we will be able to better understand how metals are extracted from deep-seated sources within our planet, and concentrated at shallow levels to form economic ore deposits,” said Professor Joel Brugger, leader of the international research team.

Nataliyamalikite is the orthorhombic form of thallium iodide (TlI),

Nataliyamalikite is named after geo-ecologist, Dr. Natalja Malik, from the Institute of Volcanology and Seismology in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Kamchatka Peninsula.

“Our colleague was the first to see the mineral under the electron microscope,” Prof. Brugger said.
“However, Monash University was key to making the naming of the new mineral possible: we combined state-of-the-art sample preparation at our Monash Centre for Electronic Microscopy facility, along with the unique capabilities of the Australian Synchrotron, to obtain the crystal structure of the mineral.”
“And in the case of nataliyamalikite this was incredibly difficult as the grains are tiny and almost invisible.”

Sources:

V. Okrugin et al. 2017. Smoking gun for thallium geochemistry in volcanic arcs: nataljamalikite, TlI, a new thallium mineral from an active fumarole at Avacha Volcano, Kamchatka Peninsula. American Mineralogist: 102; doi: 10.2138/am-2017-6057

New Large 'Wandering' Spider Discovered with Red Fangs

Scared of spiders? You're going to love (or hate) the discovery of a new LARGE SPIDER the size of a softball. Seemingly straight out of a horror story, a team of researchers exploring Mexican mountains... at night wandered into a cave to find dozens of these large hairy red-fanged spiders hanging from the ceiling!!!

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Originally found in 2013 by Jim Berrian and a team of researchers from the San Diego Natural History Museum released a report about their find earlier this year.

Jim and the others brought back 8 of 24 these spiders to study and named them "califorctenus cacachilensis" or "Sierra Cacachilas wandering spider" and represents a new genus of arachnids.

“When I saw these spiders for the first time, I was very impressed by their size,” Baja spider expert Maria Luisa Jimenez, a researcher at Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas del Noroeste.

The head and legs of the spider are dark brown with a yellow abdomen. The body is about an inch long while the legs are about four inches across. The arachnid belongs to the same family as the Brazilian wandering spider—one of the deadliest spiders in the world.

"I got bit while handling a live specimen of Califorctenus cacachilensis and I'm still alive," said Jim Berrian.

But this Sierra Cacachilas wandering spider is so different from other related species that the researchers put it in a different genus. Despite its large fangs and body, a bite from one won't kill you.

“The odds of discovering a new species are pretty high. But...generally, [most] new species discovered are itty-bitty things that people don’t pay attention to, so given the size of this spider, that was surprising.”

So, that's good news! You have a great chance of finding a new spider species... that may or may not be poisonous... and could be really big. 


SOURCES: 
1.http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/huge-new-spider-species-discovered-mexican-cave-180962848/#zLx8JBGCAEoQQAUz.99

Egypt says Ramses II temple unearthed southwest of Cairo

This undated photo released by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities shows the remains of a recently discovered temple for King Ramses II, in Abusir, southwest of Cairo. The temple may shed light on the life of the pharaoh of the 19th Dynasty, over 3,200 years ago. Mustafa Waziri, the head of agency, has told The Associated Press on Monday, Oct. 16, 2017, that the discovery was made by an Egyptian-Czech mission in the village of Abusir near the step pyramid of Saqqara. (Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities via AP)

This undated photo released by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities shows the remains of a recently discovered temple for King Ramses II, in Abusir, southwest of Cairo. The temple may shed light on the life of the pharaoh of the 19th Dynasty, over 3,200 years ago. Mustafa Waziri, the head of agency, has told The Associated Press on Monday, Oct. 16, 2017, that the discovery was made by an Egyptian-Czech mission in the village of Abusir near the step pyramid of Saqqara. (Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities via AP)

CAIRO (AP) — Egypt's antiquities agency says archaeologists have unearthed remains of a temple belonging to King Ramses II southwest of Cairo, which may shed light on the life of the 19th Dynasty pharaoh, over 3,200 years ago.

Mustafa Waziri, the head of agency, told The Associated Press on Monday that the discovery was made by an Egyptian-Czech mission in the village of Abusir near the step pyramid of Saqqara.

In a statement on Sunday, Miroslav Barta, the head of the Czech team, said the temple is the only evidence of the presence of Ramses II in the Badrashin area in Giza, part of Greater Cairo.

This undated photo released by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities shows the remains of a recently discovered temple for King Ramses II, in Abusir, southwest of Cairo. The temple may shed light on the life of the pharaoh of the 19th Dynasty, over 3,200 years ago. Mustafa Waziri, the head of agency, has told The Associated Press on Monday, Oct. 16, 2017, that the discovery was made by an Egyptian-Czech mission in the village of Abusir near the step pyramid of Saqqara. (Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities via AP)

This undated photo released by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities shows the remains of a recently discovered temple for King Ramses II, in Abusir, southwest of Cairo. The temple may shed light on the life of the pharaoh of the 19th Dynasty, over 3,200 years ago. Mustafa Waziri, the head of agency, has told The Associated Press on Monday, Oct. 16, 2017, that the discovery was made by an Egyptian-Czech mission in the village of Abusir near the step pyramid of Saqqara. (Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities via AP)

He said the discovery confirms the continued worship of the sun god "Ra" in Abusir, which started in the 5th Dynasty, over 4,500 years ago.

Scientists witness huge cosmic crash, find origins of gold

This illustration provided by the Carnegie Institution for Science depicts the collision of two neutron stars detected on Aug. 17, 2017. The explosion threw matter, light, radiation and gravitational waves into space. The discovery was reported on Monday, Oct. 16, 2017. (Robin Dienel/Carnegie Institution for Science via AP)

This illustration provided by the Carnegie Institution for Science depicts the collision of two neutron stars detected on Aug. 17, 2017. The explosion threw matter, light, radiation and gravitational waves into space. The discovery was reported on Monday, Oct. 16, 2017. (Robin Dienel/Carnegie Institution for Science via AP)

WASHINGTON (AP) — It was a faint signal, but it told of one of the most violent acts in the universe, and it would soon reveal secrets of the cosmos, including how gold was created.

Astronomers around the world reacted to the signal quickly, focusing telescopes located on every continent and even in orbit to a distant spot in the sky.

What they witnessed in mid-August and revealed Monday was the long-ago collision of two neutron stars — a phenomenon California Institute of Technology's David H. Reitze called "the most spectacular fireworks in the universe."

"When these things collide, all hell breaks loose," he said.

David Reitze of the California Institute of Technology and the executive director of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, or LIGO, speaks at the National Press Club in Washington, Monday, Oct. 16, 2017, during an announcement on one of the most violent events in the cosmos that was witnessed completely for the first time in August and tells scientists where gold and other heavy elements come from. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

David Reitze of the California Institute of Technology and the executive director of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, or LIGO, speaks at the National Press Club in Washington, Monday, Oct. 16, 2017, during an announcement on one of the most violent events in the cosmos that was witnessed completely for the first time in August and tells scientists where gold and other heavy elements come from. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Measurements of the light and other energy emanating from the crash have helped scientists explain how planet-killing gamma ray bursts are born, how fast the universe is expanding, and where heavy elements like platinum and gold come from.

"This is getting everything you wish for," said Syracuse University physics professor Duncan Brown, one of more than 4,000 scientists involved in the blitz of science that the crash kicked off. "This is our fantasy observation."

It started in a galaxy called NGC 4993, seen from Earth in the Hydra constellation. Two neutron stars, collapsed cores of stars so dense that a teaspoon of their matter would weigh 1 billion tons, danced ever faster and closer together until they collided, said Carnegie Institution astronomer Maria Drout.

The crash, called a kilonova, generated a fierce burst of gamma rays and a gravitational wave, a faint ripple in the fabric of space and time, first theorized by Albert Einstein.

"This is like a cosmic atom smasher at a scale far beyond humans would be capable of building," said Andy Howell, a staff scientist at the Las Cumbres Observatory. "We finally now know what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object and it's a kilonova."

The crash happened 130 million years ago, while dinosaurs still roamed on Earth, but the signal didn't arrive on Earth until Aug. 17 after traveling 130 million light-years. A light-year is 5.88 trillion miles.

David Reitze of the California Institute of Technology and the executive director of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, or LIGO, speaks at the National Press Club in Washington, Monday, Oct. 16, 2017, during an announcement on one of the most violent events in the cosmos that was witnessed completely for the first time in August and tells scientists where gold and other heavy elements come from. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

David Reitze of the California Institute of Technology and the executive director of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, or LIGO, speaks at the National Press Club in Washington, Monday, Oct. 16, 2017, during an announcement on one of the most violent events in the cosmos that was witnessed completely for the first time in August and tells scientists where gold and other heavy elements come from. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Signals were picked up within 1.7 seconds of each other, by NASA's Fermi telescope, which detects gamma rays, and gravity wave detectors in Louisiana and Washington state that are a part of the LIGO Laboratory , whose founders won a Nobel Prize earlier this month. A worldwide alert went out to focus telescopes on what became the most well-observed astronomical event in history.

Before August, the only other gravity waves detected by LIGO were generated by colliding black holes. But black holes let no light escape, so astronomers could see nothing.

This time there was plenty to see, measure and analyze: matter, light, and other radiation. The Hubble Space Telescope even got a snapshot of the afterglow.

Finding where the crash happened wasn't easy. Eventually scientists narrowed the location down to 100 galaxies, began a closer search of those, and found it in the ninth galaxy they looked at.

Vicky Kalogera, a gravitational-wave astrophysicist at Northwestern University who contributed to the historic detections of gravitational waves, speaks at the National Press Club in Washington, Monday, Oct. 16, 2017, during an announcement on one of the most violent events in the cosmos that was witnessed completely for the first time in August and tells scientists where gold and other heavy elements come from. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Vicky Kalogera, a gravitational-wave astrophysicist at Northwestern University who contributed to the historic detections of gravitational waves, speaks at the National Press Club in Washington, Monday, Oct. 16, 2017, during an announcement on one of the most violent events in the cosmos that was witnessed completely for the first time in August and tells scientists where gold and other heavy elements come from. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

It is like "the classic challenge of finding a needle in the haystack with the added challenge that the needle is fading away and the haystack is moving," said Marcelle Soares-Santos, an astrophysicist at Brandeis University.

"The completeness of this picture from the beginning to the end is unprecedented," said Columbia University physics professor Szabolcs Marka. "There are many, many extraordinary discoveries within the discovery."

The colliding stars spewed bright blue, super-hot debris that was dense and unstable. Some of it coalesced into heavy elements, like gold, platinum and uranium. Scientists had suspected neutron star collisions had enough power to create heavier elements, but weren't certain until they witnessed it.

"We see the gold being formed," said Syracuse's Brown.

Calculations from a telescope measuring ultraviolet light showed that the combined mass of the heavy elements from this explosion is 1,300 times the mass of Earth. And all that stuff — including lighter elements — was thrown out in all different directions and is now speeding across the universe.

Perhaps one day the material will clump together into planets the way ours was formed, Reitze said — maybe ones with rich veins of precious metals.

"We already knew that iron came from a stellar explosion, the calcium in your bones came from stars and now we know the gold in your wedding ring came from merging neutron stars," said University of California Santa Cruz's Ryan Foley.

The crash also helped explain the origins of one of the most dangerous forces of the cosmos — short gamma ray bursts, focused beams of radiation that could erase life on any planet that happened to get in the way. These bursts shoot out in two different directions perpendicular to where the two neutron stars first crash, Reitze said.

Luckily for us, the beams of gamma rays were not focused on Earth and were generated too far away to be a threat, he said.

Marica Branchesi, an astronomer who has been part of the LIGO and Virgo collaborations, talks in Washington, Monday, Oct. 16, 2017, during the announcement about one of the most violent events in the cosmos that was witnessed completely for the first time in August and tells scientists where gold and other heavy elements come from. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Marica Branchesi, an astronomer who has been part of the LIGO and Virgo collaborations, talks in Washington, Monday, Oct. 16, 2017, during the announcement about one of the most violent events in the cosmos that was witnessed completely for the first time in August and tells scientists where gold and other heavy elements come from. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Scientists knew that the universe has been expanding since the Big Bang. By using LIGO to measure gravitational waves while watching this event unfold, researchers came up with a new estimate for how fast that is happening, the so-called Hubble Constant. Before this, scientists came up with two slightly different answers using different techniques. The rough figure that came out of this event is between the original two, Reitze said.

The first optical images showed a bright blue dot that was very hot, which was likely the start of the heavy element creation process amid the neutron star debris, Drout said. After a day or two that blue faded, becoming much fainter and redder. And after three weeks it was completely gone, she said.

This almost didn't happen. Eight days after the signal came through, the LIGO gravitational waves were shut down for a year's worth of planned upgrades. A month later the whole area where the crash happened would have been blocked from astronomers' prying eyes by the sun.

Julie McEnery, an astrophysicist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., speaks at the National Press Club in Washington, Monday, Oct. 16, 2017, during an announcement about one of the most violent events in the cosmos that was witnessed completely for the first time in August and tells scientists where gold and other heavy elements come from. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Julie McEnery, an astrophysicist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., speaks at the National Press Club in Washington, Monday, Oct. 16, 2017, during an announcement about one of the most violent events in the cosmos that was witnessed completely for the first time in August and tells scientists where gold and other heavy elements come from. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Scientists involved with the search for gravitational waves said this was the event they had prepared for over more than 20 years.

The findings are "of spectacular importance," said Penn State physicist Abhay Ashtekar, who wasn't part of the research. "This is really brand new."

Almost all of the discoveries confirmed existing theories, but had not been proven — an encouraging result for theorists who have been trying to explain what is happening in the cosmos, said France Cordova, an astrophysicist who directs the National Science Foundation.

"We so far have been unable to prove Einstein wrong," said Georgia Tech physics professor Laura Cadonati. "But we're going to keep trying."

___

Follow Seth Borenstein on Twitter at @borenbears . His work can be found here .

Pence Pledges That US Will Go To Moon, Mars, And Beyond

WASHINGTON (AP) — Seated before the grounded space shuttle Discovery, a constellation of Trump administration officials used soaring rhetoric to vow to send Americans back to the moon and then on to Mars.

After voicing celestial aspirations, top officials moved to what National Intelligence Director Dan Coats called "a dark side" to space policy. Coats, Vice President Mike Pence, other top officials and outside space experts said the United States has to counter and perhaps match potential enemies' ability to target U.S. satellites.

Pence, several cabinet secretaries and White House advisers gathered in the shadow of the shuttle at the Smithsonian Institution's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center to chart a new path in space — government, commercial and military — for the country.

It was the first meeting of the National Space Council, revived after it was disbanded in 1993.

Vice President Mike Pence, right, accompanied by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, left, speaks during the first meeting of the National Space Council at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017, in Chantilly, Va. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Vice President Mike Pence, right, accompanied by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, left, speaks during the first meeting of the National Space Council at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017, in Chantilly, Va. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)


But details, such as how much the new ideas will cost, were scant and outside experts said they've heard grandiose plans before only to see them fizzle instead of launch.

"We will return American astronauts to the moon, not only to leave behind footprints and flags, but to build the foundation we need to send Americans to Mars and beyond," Pence said.

Space industry leaders say they and NASA are building the spaceships to get there. And they're promising that in five years, astronauts could be working around the moon
David Thompson, president of the space company Orbital ATK, said NASA's Orion capsule and super-sized Space Launch System rocket should be ready in a couple years, so flying around the moon and even making a lunar orbiting outpost is within reach. But he said a lunar landing would take longer. Blue Origin rocket company chief executive officer Bob Smith said his firm could have a lunar lander program ready within five years.

No humans have been on the moon since Apollo 17 in December 1972.
Only 12 men have set foot on the moon, all have been Americans.

Vice President Mike Pence delivers opening remarks during the National Space Council's first meeting, Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017 at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va. The National Space Council, chaired by Pence, heard testimony from representatives from civil space, commercial space, and national security space industry representatives. (Joel Kowsky/NASA via AP)

Vice President Mike Pence delivers opening remarks during the National Space Council's first meeting, Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017 at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va. The National Space Council, chaired by Pence, heard testimony from representatives from civil space, commercial space, and national security space industry representatives. (Joel Kowsky/NASA via AP)


"Past presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush proposed returns to the moon and then going on to Mars. Barack Obama rerouted the moon plan to an asteroid as a first-stop with Mars as the goal. All plans had lack of money keeping them from coming true," said space expert Brian Weeden of the Secure World Foundation. He wasn't part of the council meeting.

"Is it going to happen? Who knows? I feel like I've been disappointed so many times I refuse to get excited," said Roger Launius, a longtime space historian.

And Gwynn Shotwell, president of SpaceX, said her company next year will launch astronauts to the International Space Station, the first American launch of people since 2011.  After the 2003 space shuttle Columbia broke apart on descent, then-president George W. Bush announced the phasing out of the space shuttle program. Eventually, NASA started building new multi-billion dollar ships, the Orion capsule and the SLS mega-rocket.

Pence several times bemoaned a U.S. space program that had fallen behind, asking space executives what they thought.

"America is out-innovating the world in space launch," Shotwell said, noting that her company had launched 13 rockets this year, more than any other nation.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, left, speaks with Vice President Mike Pence, right, during the National Space Council's first meeting at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017 in Chantilly, Va. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, left, speaks with Vice President Mike Pence, right, during the National Space Council's first meeting at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017 in Chantilly, Va. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)


After talking about how "we will blaze new trails into that great frontier" Pence turned the discussion to the dangers of space and how much of the U.S. intelligence system and day-to-day life are dependent on commercial satellites operating safely. And he and others outlined threats to those satellites from potential enemies that could cripple American security and daily life.

Experts worried that satellites could be destroyed and debris in orbit could ruin others. Pence asked if the U.S. should "weaponize" space.

"The choice whether or not to weaponize space is not one that we can make. We can only decide to match and raise our adversaries who are already weaponizing space," former NASA chief Michael Griffin said. "That horse is already out of the barn."

White House National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said the country needs to "deter and when necessary defeat adversaries' counter-space efforts...  We may not start it but we will finish it."

___

Follow Seth Borenstein on Twitter at @borenbears . His work can be found here .

New Discovery May Solve Mystery of Great Pyramid

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The Great Egyptian Pyramids are some of the most mysterious structures on earth and have been the topic of countless debates throughout history. The question of how they were built, when they were built, and who they were built by, and for what purpose they have to this day have garnered endless theories and speculations.

Here’s what we think we know:

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Archaeologists believe that the Great Pyramids in Egypt were constructed by the old kingdom society around 2500 BC. They believe that the main purpose of these pyramids was to act as tombs for the pharaohs and their queens. That would make sense considering the sheer size of the pyramids. They are huge with the largest, the great pyramid of Giza incorporating around 2.3 million stone blocks, with an average weight of 2.5 to 15 tons each.

But besides what we can measure, the rest of what we think we know about the pyramids are mostly just theories. The fact is, we really don’t know for sure why the pyramids were created, we don’t know who created them, we really don’t know exactly how old they are and we for sure have NO clue how a Bronze Age society that we perceive to be primitive was able to create them.

Not only that, there are a few unbelievable facts about the dimensions of the Great Pyramid in relationship to the earth: Did you know that if you  take the height of the pyramid and multiply it by 43,200 you get the polar radius of earth? Not only that, If you take the base perimeter of the pyramid and multiply it by 43,200 you get the equatorial circumference of the earth. Why 43,200? The number isn't random. It comes from a key motion of the earth called the precession of the earth’s axis. Pyramids were built and encoded with the exact dimensions of the earth at a scale of 1 :43,200.

General agreement on how the pyramids were built: 

It seems that archaeologists generally agree that the granite from the pyramid’s internal chambers was somehow quarried 533 miles south of Giza in Aswan, and the limestones used as casings were from Tura a few miles away, but because these stones were so massive, everyone had varied opinions about how they were transported. Every once in a while, a new theory will come out and claim to solve the mind-boggling mystery of how the pyramids were constructed.

The last big theory was proposed in 2014 by a Dutch engineer who claimed that the stones were transported using sand, water, and a wooden sled.

New finding:

Now, according to a new British documentary called Egypt’s Great Pyramid: The New Evidence, there is apparently new evidence that two tonne blocks of limestone and granite were transported by thousands of laborers along the Nile river in wooden boats held together by ropes. Special canals were also used to bring them to an inland port which was in close proximity to the base of the Great Pyramid of Giza.

The scroll that provided evidence of such a procedure was written by an Egyptian overseer named Merer and is apparently the only first-hand account of how the great pyramid was constructed. In the papyrus scroll found in the seaport Wadi Al-Jar, it is written that Merer and his team of 40 workmen were in charge of using wooden boats along the Nile River to carry 150,000 tonnes of limestone in order to build Pharaoah Khufu's tomb in 2600BC. He explained that the boats were tied together by ropes, which helped to keep them secure.

Besides the scroll, researchers also uncovered a system of canals and a ceremonial boat, which lends truth to what Merer wrote, detailing that his team of 40 skilled workers dug canals to channel the water from the river to the pyramid.

What do you think? Did we just solve one of the greatest mysteries in the world?


Source: 

http://www.newsweek.com/who-built-ancient-egypts-great-pyramid-hidden-text-holds-clues-thousand-year-670265

Paleontologists Discover New Dinosaur in Africa!

Reconstruction of the new titanosaur and the landscape in which it lived, in what is now Tanzania.  Credit:  Mark Witton, www.markwitton.com

Reconstruction of the new titanosaur and the landscape in which it lived, in what is now Tanzania.

Credit: Mark Witton, www.markwitton.com

Eureka! Paleontologists found a new dinosaur! Well, a new species of the already-known long-necked Titanosaurian sauropod dinosaur. They're calling it Shingopana songwensis. "Shingopana" is Swahili for "wide neck" and "Songwe" is the region it was unearthed from in Africa. 

Now, Titanosaur bones are mostly found in South America, but discovering this one in Africa's southwestern Tanzania is a rare find. 

Excavation of Shingopana songwensis showing ribs and other bones being prepared for plaster-jacketing.   Credit: Nancy Stevens

Excavation of Shingopana songwensis showing ribs and other bones being prepared for plaster-jacketing.

Credit: Nancy Stevens

Actually, part of this new dinosaur fossil was excavated by the Rukwa Rift Basin Project in 2002, leaving the vertebrae, ribs, humerus, and lower jaw for later recovery. 

Scientific testing revealed the Singopana were genetically closer to South American titanosaurs than any other found around the world. 

"There are anatomical features present only in Shingopana and in several South American titanosaurs, but not in other African titanosaurs," said lead paper author Eric Gorscak, a paleontologist at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. "Shingopana had siblings in South America, whereas other African titanosaurs were only distant cousins."

During the earthquake-active Cretaceous Period, Madagascar broke off from southern Africa, with South America gradually splitting off from south to north over 95-105 million years. This divided the dinosaur populations into separate continents where they adapted to different environments. 

"This discovery suggests that the fauna of northern and southern Africa were very different in the Cretaceous Period," said Judy Skog, a program director in NSF's Division of Earth Sciences, which supported the research. "At that time, southern Africa dinosaurs were more closely related to those in South America, and were more widespread than we knew."

As an extra bonus, these Shingopana bones also had tiny tunnels bored through them from ancient insects, giving researchers another rare opportunity to reconstruct the time of death and insights into the ancient dinosaur food chain. 

The Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, funded by National Science Foundation, published this research in August 2017. 

The study was also funded by the National Geographic Society, Jurassic Foundation, Paleontological Society, Ohio University Student Enhancement Award, Ohio University Original Work Grant, Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, Ohio University Office of the Vice President for Research and Creative Activity, and James Cook University.


Sources:

https://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=242862&org=NSF&from=news

Hundreds Of Giant Mysterious Tunnels Discovered In Brazil

Brazil – a tropical paradise and home to some of the best athletes in the world.

It is the largest country in both South America and Latin America and boasts a beautiful culture and stunning scenery. In Brazil, you can find the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue and the awe-inspiring Corcovado and Sugarloaf Mountains. Travelers and explorers will find a wonderful slate of fauna such as the giant anteater, several varieties of sloths, armadillos, otters, and even capybara in the country.

However, Brazil has more than meets the eye. In fact, the country has its fair share of mysteries.

In 2010, geologist Amilcar Adamy from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, found a giant hole a few miles north of the Bolivian border. Upon investigation, he realized that the hole could not have been naturally made. None of the caves Adamy explored looked like anything the tunnels featured, with their round passages and smooth floors.

The mysterious tunnels have since then been discovered by various experts around the country and have opened up an entirely new realm of possibilities for geological studies.   

The Tunnels

source:  Disclose.tv

source: Disclose.tv

Geologist Heinrich Theodor Frank stumbled across the tunnels while driving on the national Novo Hamburgo Highway. While driving, a hole of around one meter in diameter caught his attention. The hole was located at a construction site, and after further investigation, Frank discovered that the hole led to a complex underground tunnel. The tunnel was about 70 centimeters high and a few meters in length, with what appeared to be strange scratches on the ceiling of its walls. 

After further exploration, Frank realized that hundreds of similar tunnels existed all over Brazil. The state of Rondonia alone has a large complex of 600 meter-long tunnels. Not only that, 2,000 burrows with similar characteristics have also been found. 

Not even the locals in the area knew about the origins of the tunnels. Further tests showed that the tunnels were not man-made in origin. 

The Mysteries

Urban legends point towards various "historical" and even supposed "mythological" origins of the mysterious tunnels. Some say the tunnels were created by Indians, Jesuits, slaves, or even revolutionaries. Others believe the tunnels are a giant anthill or were even made by bears. Very rare few point towards a great mythological serpent that may have used the tunnel as its home.

Regardless, geological evidence alone proves that the tunnels were not created by Brazilian natives. The Indians who lived in Brazil even before the Europeans arrived did not use iron, and therefore had no means of digging through the hard rocks around the tunnels. 

According to Frank, there is no natural geological process known to man that can produce the features of the tunnels. These features include the circular or elliptical cross-sections that branch, rise, and fall around the area.

The geographic distribution of the tunnels is another mystery to scientists. The tunnels were only found in the southern parts of Brazil - particularly in the states of Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina. They don't exist anywhere else. 

The claw marks on the walls of the tunnels are also peculiar.

Prehistoric animals such as giant armadillos or possibly mega-sloths are thought by many to be possible creators of such marks.

The biggest burrows, with sizes of up to five feet in diameter, may have been dug by ground sloths that have adapted to the area’s environment and developed digging skills.

Giant armadillos, though shorter than sloths, may also have the skills necessary to dig these tunnels as well. The grooves along the ceiling may, in fact, be marks the animals have left whenever they pause or stop working. 

Unfortunately, there are no specific indications of these animals living in the country. Moreover, the sheer size of the tunnels cannot possibly be made by any “giant” armadillos or sloths – at least, ones that we know of.

The giant armadillo, the largest existing member of its family, weighs between 65 and 90 pounds and is native to South America. However, its burrows are about 16 inches in diameter, and only up to 20 feet long. If the tunnels’ five foot wide and 250-feet long burrows are in fact dug my animals, then it should be one extremely big creature – one that has not been discovered yet. 

However, it seems there is still another possibility.

Historical Evidence

source:  Ancient Origins

Frank eventually sent photographs of the tunnels to Marcelo Rasteiro of the Brazilian Society of Speleology. He introduced the notion of "paleoburrows" excavated by living organisms in any geological age.

Examples of these organisms include worms in the Cambrian Era, mollusks in the Mesozoic Era, or rats in the Pleistocene. These are all organisms that have lived millions of years ago.

Until the early 2000s, hardly any burrows attributed to extinct animals can be found in scientific literature. In fact, it was only in 2015 that Adamy himself had the opportunity to extensively explore the mysterious tunnels. 

If this paleoburrow theory is to be believed, then the tunnels in Brazil may have been created between 10,000 and 8,000 years ago. If this is the case, then the Rondonia tunnels Frank have discovered may be the first - and the largest - paleoburrow in the Amazon.

These tunnels can actually be found all over the world, which adds even more depth to the mystery. Frank said similar caves could be found in countries such as Uruguay, Paraguay, Chile, Bolivia, and Argentina. 

Until scientists can figure out who, what, or how these paleburrows were made, they will remain an unfathomable enigma.


Sources:

http://www.ancient-code.com/experts-baffled-discovery-hundreds-mysterious-tunnels-brazil/
http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/crux/2017/03/28/paleoburrows-south-america/#.WPiI9tKGOUk
http://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/extinct-megafauna-dug-these-incredible-tunnels-in-brazil/
http://www.ufrgs.br/paleotocas/Producao.htm

8th Wonder Of the World Rediscovered in New Zealand

The 8th wonder of the world, known as the pink and white terraces of Lake Rotomahana, was an extremely popular attraction in the 19th century. Tourists from all around the world traveled to see these terraces and bathe in their springs. Sadly, after the 1886 volcanic eruption of Mount Tarawera, the terraces were never to be found again. Many believed that the terraces were buried underneath the eruption and eventually destroyed. And just like that, the 8th wonder of the world supposedly vanished forever.

A recent discovery, however, proves that the beautiful white and pink terraces still exist, but are simply hidden under 50 feet of ash and mud.

Thanks to an old field book from a geologist named Ferdinand von Hochstetter, scientists were able to locate the approximate location of the 8th wonder in New Zealand. This discovery was published in the Journal Of The Royal Society of New Zealand with information on how the location of the terraces was found.

So what is this 8th wonder anyway?

The 8th wonder of the world are the pink and white silica terraces located near Lake Rotomahana in the North Island. They are a combination of rice field terraces and thermal pools. These terraces were formed when hot spring water cooled and the minerals inside the water were deposited at the edges of the pool. These minerals eventually created a barrier-like structure around the pool, which in turn created a terrace. More and more terraces were made every time hot spring water spilled out of the terraces and flowed to different locations, forming new banks of water that also became their own little terraces.

As for the white and pink colors of the terraces, they are caused by the minerals and bacterias thriving inside the springs. Another example of bacterias affecting the color of springs is Yellowstone’s Grand Prismatic Spring. Where you see rings of color, there are actually different bacteria, each group adapted to the conditions of their environments.

After the discovery of the approximate location for the 8th wonder, scientists are now waiting  for the government’s approval to excavate the site and possibly revive one of the most amazing places in the world.