Stunning ‘Auld Lang Syne’ from University College Dublin’s choir
THIS NEEDLE IS HOW A CHINESE SOLDIER KEEPS HIS POSTURE
HAVE YOU EVER WONDERED WHAT THE TOP OF MT. EVEREST LOOKS LIKE?
A BIRDS EYE VIEW OF THE TAJ MAHAL
HIS IS HOW BIG THE GREAT PYRAMID OF GIZA REALLY IS COMPARED TO A HUMAN
A CYCLISTS LEGS AFTER THE 16TH STAGE OF TOUR DE FRANCE MARATHON
THIS IS WHAT THE INSIDE OF AN AIRPLANE TRANSPORTING HORSES LOOKS LIKE
THE INCREDIBLE SIZE OF A FULLY INFLATED HORSE LUNG
IN ICELAND THEY INSTALL ELECTRIC PYLONS IN THE FORM OF UNUSUAL IRON GIANTS
THE STATUE OF LIBERTY TORCH ON DISPLAY IN 1876
PAINTING THE EIFFEL TOWER, 1932
BUILDING THE HOLLYWOOD SIGN, 1923
CHRIST THE REDEEMER STATUE UNDER CONSTRUCTION RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL, 1931
TWO MEN WORKING ON THE 60 FOOT GRANITE HEAD SCULPTURE OF GEORGE WASHINGTON
PEOPLE DON’T REALIZE JUST HOW HUGE THE MICHELANGELO DAVID REALLY IS
PAINTERS ON THE BROOKLYN BRIDGE, 1914
|This illustration depicts a 52-foot Otodus megalodon shark predating on a 26-foot Balaenoptera whale in the Pliocene epoch, between 5.4 to 2.4 million years ago.|
Faster than any shark alive today and big enough to eat an orca in just five bites: A new study suggests the extinct shark known as a megalodon was an even more impressive superpredator than scientists realized before.
The Otodus megalodon, the inspiration behind the 2018 film “The Meg,” lived more than 23 million years ago. Fossils of the extinct giant are hard to come by: While there are plenty of fossilized shark teeth, their bodies mainly consist of cartilage rather than bones, and are rarely preserved.
A research team led by Jack Cooper, a paleobiologist at Swansea University, set out to use 3D modeling from a rare and exceptionally well-preserved megalodon spinal column to extrapolate information about the shark’s movement and behavior. Their research was published in Science Advances.
“We estimate that an adult O. megalodon could cruise at faster absolute speeds than any shark species today and fully consume prey the size of modern apex predators,” wrote the researchers.
Most of what we know about megalodons come 65 feet through a comparison with great white sharks, thought of as their “best available ecological analog,” since they both occupy the top rung in the food chain, according to the article.
The researchers used a megalodon vertebral column from Belgium, a tooth from the United States, and the chondrocranium – the cartilaginous equivalent of a skull – from a great white shark to build their 3D skeleton. Then they used a full-body scan of a great white shark to estimate how flesh would sit on the megalodon’s skeleton.
With a complete 3D rendering, they came up with estimates for the volume and body mass of the shark’s whole body. By comparing the figures to the size of modern sharks, they estimated the shark’s swimming speed, stomach value, calorie needs, and prey encounter rates.
The megalodon they modeled would have been almost 16 meters, or 52 feet, long. It weighed around 61,560 kilograms, or 135,717 pounds, according to their estimates.
They estimated the megalodon would have been able to devour prey the size of orca whales – which can be up to 26 feet long and weigh over 8,000 pounds – in just five bites.
Prey the size of a modern humpback whale would have been too big for a megalodon to eat in full, according to the researchers. Eating large prey may have given the megalodon a competitive edge over other predators. Eating large amounts at a time would have also allowed them to travel great distances without eating again, much like modern great white sharks.
An adult megalodon would have needed to eat a whopping 98,175 calories per day, 20 times higher than an adult great white shark. They could have met their energetic needs by eating around 31.9 kilograms of shark muscle, according to the researchers’ estimates.
The megalodon was also faster than any shark alive, with a theoretical average cruising speed of around 3.1 mph. This speed would have allowed it to encounter more prey, helping it meet its massive caloric demands.
Overall, the data extrapolated from the 3D model paints the portrait of a “transoceanic superpredator,” say the researchers.
Luckily, today’s orcas don’t have to worry about running into the massive shark. The megalodon went extinct around 3.6 million years ago, according to the United Kingdom’s Natural History Museum, for reasons scientists are still trying to understand.
Neptune is seen with its rings, a rare sight.
NASA, ESA, CSA and STScI
When we imagine a world embraced by cosmic haloes, we typically envision Saturn. Honestly, one might argue Saturn based its entire personality on those dazzling rings, and rightfully so. They're solid. Visible. Luxurious even.
But if you didn't already know, it is my honor to tell you Neptune has rings too.
They're just much daintier and therefore superhard to see without superpowered telescopes. The planet itself, in fact, lies 30 times farther from the sun than Earth does and appears to standard stargazing instruments as nothing more than a weak speck of light.
Despite our inability to admire Neptune's fragile hoops from here, scientists caught a wonderful glimpse of them girding the azure realm in 1989 thanks to NASA's traveling probe Voyager -- and on Wednesday, the agency's equally exceptional James Webb Space Telescope presented us with round two.
"It has been three decades since we last saw these faint, dusty rings, and this is the first time we've seen them in the infrared," Heidi Hammel, Neptune system expert and interdisciplinary scientist for the JWST, said in a statement. "Webb's extremely stable and precise image quality permits these very faint rings to be detected so close to Neptune."
And as if that weren't enough, this new image exhibits Neptune, surely emanating a soft lavender glow under the JWST's Near-Infrared lens, against a backdrop of galaxies deftly picked up by the same piece of next-gen space tech. It's unambiguous proof that the JWST is far too sensitive to capture what we might consider "blank space." This machine is powerful enough to serendipitously open a box of treasure every single time it gazes into the void.
When it comes to the Fugate family, you may think of the color blue. It’s not every day you get to see a person whose skin color is blue. This makes it easier to understand why people found the Fugate family as an interesting topic. It’s disheartening, but many of the members of the Fugate family remained hidden because of the uniqueness of their situation. You can’t truly blame either side, especially since it sounds almost impossible if you think about it. The possibility of the color blue as a skin tone becoming a hereditary trait feels like a cartoon show. Still, it was an actual situation for the family that was mixed with half-French and half-American. In fact, the Fugate family still exists to this day and their descendants still carry this gene.
The Fugate family has earned many nicknames over time. They’ve been called the Blue People of Kentucky, the Huntsville Subgroup, and the Blue People of Troublesome Creek Kentucky. This is because some members of the family had blue skin. A lot of people had different stories regarding the Fugate family’s skin origin, but the truth is that they have a genetic disease called methemoglobinemia.
- While children of identical twins are legally first cousins, genetically, they are actually half siblings. I found this one particularly interesting because I have twin daughters.
- Did you know that chocolate can actually protect your teeth against tooth decay?
- And that, 95% of us report washing our hands after using a public toilet....but a study of 8,000 people in big US cities found that the figure was actually closer to 67%? (Gross!)
- Cats happily climb up trees, but do you know why they can't find their way down? Turns out a cat can't climb down headfirst because every claw on its paw points the same way. To get down from a tree, a cat must back down.
- While Neil Armstrong got to be the first to take a step on the moon, Buzz Aldrin managed his own historic first, becoming the first person to urinate on the moon. (Take that, Mr. One Small Step!)