Dark Matter Scientists Observe the Rarest Event in History

A dark matter detector in Italy has observed a once-in-a-billion-billion-lifetimes event.

Researchers at the XENON dark matter observatory have spotted something incredibly rare. Unfortunately, it’s not dark matter, but it is the next best thing. The detectors at the observatory have spotted the decay of xenon-124, the rarest event ever recorded in human history. Read more.

Holy Pleistocene, answer’s in bat cave

Let’s say you wanted to solve a 20,000-year-old mystery, where would you start? Perhaps archaeology and geology come to mind. Or, you could sift through a three-metre pile of bat faeces.

Researchers from James Cook University in Cairns chose the bat poo in their quest to answer to a long-standing question: why is there so much biodiversity on the islands of Sumatra, Borneo and Java, when not so long ago (geologically speaking) they were all part of one vast continent? Read more.

Straddling the Evolutionary Divide

Just west of Lake Turkana in northwestern Kenya, the rocky, arid terrain of the desert badlands, like a southern New Mexico landscape, can wear a hiker down very quickly. Without ample water supply, dehydration becomes one’s worst enemy. Temperatures typically vary between 100 and 110 degrees Fahrenheit with little available shade. Venomous snakes and scorpions abound. Malaria is not uncommon among those who live and work here. For Sammy Lokorodi, a local Turkana tribesman who is a resident of these parts, this is a familiar and livable landscape. He is also, among other things, a fossil and artifact hunter. As an integral part of scientific field expeditions, he has been specially trained by experience to see and excavate fossils and artifacts that likely could be millions of years old, teasing them from a surrounding matrix of desert rock and soil that, to anyone with an untrained eye, would make them unrecognizable. On any given day, this would be routine for Lokorodi.

But one day in 2011, while working as a member of the field team for the West Turkana Archaeological Project (WTAP), he found himself front-and-center in a discovery that would end up raising new questions with far-reaching implications about the human evolutionary past. Read more.

Ancient child's tooth reveals picture of Alaska’s early inhabitants

Research on a newly rediscovered 9,000-year-old child’s tooth has reshaped our understanding of Alaska’s ancient people, their genetic background and their diets.

The tooth is only the third known remnant of a population of early migrants known as Ancient Beringians. Combined with previous University of Alaska Fairbanks research, the find indicates that Ancient Beringians remained in Alaska for thousands of years after first migrating across the Bering Land Bridge that connected eastern Asia and Alaska. Read more. See the video here.