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.
The April 2015 Nepal earthquake (Nepali: विसं २०७२ को महाभूकम्प) (also known as the Gorkha earthquake) killed over 8,000 people and injured more than 21,000. It occurred at 11:56 Nepal Standard Time on 25 April, with a magnitude of 7.8Mw or 8.1Ms and a maximum Mercalli Intensity of IX (Violent). Its epicenter was east of Gorkha District at Barpak, Gorkha, and its hypocenter was at a depth of approximately 8.2 km (5.1 mi). It was the worst natural disaster to strike Nepal since the 1934 Nepal–Bihar earthquake.
The earthquake triggered an avalanche on Mount Everest, killing 21, making April 25, 2015 the deadliest day on the mountain in history. The earthquake triggered another huge avalanche in the Langtang valley, where 250 people were reported missing.
Then, in June 2015, Monica Quaal, a lead DNA analyst at the lab that works with the sheriff’s office, learned about an intriguing new way of exploiting the information contained in a DNA sample—one that would not require a suspect’s DNA or a match in a database. Called DNA phenotyping, the technique conjures up a physical likeness of the person who left the sample behind, including traits such as geographic ancestry, eye and natural hair color, and even a possible shape for facial features.
It is a fail-safe seed storage facility, built to stand the test of time — and the challenge of natural or man-made disasters. The Seed Vault represents the world’s largest collection of crop diversity.
Tardigrades are known to be able to go for decades without food or water, to survive temperatures from near absolute zero to well above the boiling point of water, to survive pressures from near zero to well above that on ocean floors, and to survive direct exposure to dangerous radiations.
In the south-east of Romania, in Constanța county close to the Black Sea and the Bulgarian border, there lies a barren featureless plain. The desolate field is completely unremarkable, except for one thing.
Below it lies a cave that has remained isolated for 5.5 million years. While our ape-like ancestors were coming down from the trees and evolving into modern humans, the inhabitants of this cave were cut off from the rest of the planet.
Despite a complete absence of light and a poisonous atmosphere, the cave is crawling with life. There are unique spiders, scorpions, woodlice and centipedes, many never before seen by humans, and all of them owe their lives to a strange floating mat of bacteria.
The brilliant flash of an exploding star’s shockwave—what astronomers call the “shock breakout” — is illustrated in this cartoon animation. The animation begins with a view of a red supergiant star that is 500 times bigger and 20,000 brighter than our sun. When the star’s internal furnace can no longer sustain nuclear fusion its core to collapses under gravity. A shockwave from the implosion rushes upward through the star’s