A recent study revealed that a plastic bag, like the kind given away at grocery stores, is now the deepest known piece of plastic trash, found at a depth of 36,000 feet inside the Mariana Trench. Scientists found it by looking through the Deep-Sea Debris Database, a collection of photos and videos taken from 5,010 dives over the past 30 years that was recently made public.
One of the most fundamental questions in astronomy is that of just how many galaxies the universe contains. The landmark Hubble Deep Field, taken in the mid-1990s, gave the first real insight into the universe’s galaxy population. Subsequent sensitive observations such as Hubble’s Ultra Deep Field revealed a myriad of faint galaxies. This led to an estimate that the observable universe contained about 200 billion galaxies.
The new research shows that this estimate is at least 10 times too low.
With 32,000 new 100-year-olds, there are now more than 65,000 people in Japan who’ve lived 100 years or more. Though it trails first-place US by roughly 10,000 centenarians, Japan’s population is only a third of America’s.
A large, almost-blind shark that lives in the freezing waters of the North Atlantic and Arctic oceans is officially the world’s longest-living vertebrate, scientists say.
The Greenland shark (Somniosus microcephalus) has a lifespan of at least 272 years, and might live as long as 500 years1. That is older than the 211-year lifespan of the bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus), the previous record-holder in the scientific literature2. It also beats the popular — but unconfirmed — tale of a famous female Koi carp called Hanako, who supposedly lived to 226 years old.
There are several aquariums around the world, including one in Georgia, that house whale sharks, the biggest fish in the sea. But not one has a great white shark on display. Aquariums have made dozens of attempts since the 1970s to display a captive great white shark. Most of those attempts ended with dead sharks. By the 2000s, the only group still trying was the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which spent a decade planning its white shark program. In 2004, it acquired a shark that became the first great white to survive in captivity for more than 16 days. In fact, it was on display for more than six months before it was released back into the ocean. In the following years, the Monterey Bay Aquarium hosted five more juvenile white sharks for temporary stays before ending the program in 2011. It was an expensive effort and had come under criticism due to injuries that some of the sharks developed in the tank. Responding to those critics, Jon Hoech, the aquarium’s director of husbandry operations, said: “We believe strongly that putting people face to face with live animals like this is very significant in inspiring ocean conservation and connecting people to the ocean environment. We feel like white sharks face a significant threats out in the wild and our ability to bring awareness to that is significant in terms of encouraging people to become ocean stewards.” Check out the video above to learn why white sharks are so difficult to keep in captivity and how the Monterey Bay Aquarium designed a program that could keep them alive.