February 22, 2024

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Megalosaurus, the fossil that introduced dinosaurs to the world

Megalosaurus, the fossil that introduced dinosaurs to the world

Editor's Note: A version of this story appeared in CNN's science newsletter Wonder Theory. To get it in your inbox, Sign up for free here.



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Dinosaurs are all around us, both figuratively and literally.

Most of these diverse creatures became extinct 66 million years ago, but the ancient ancestors of modern birds are woven into the fabric of scientific conspiracies and popular culture.

Colorful dinosaurs roam animated shows — and their livelier counterparts in “Jurassic Park” offer a menacing look at life alongside the massive reptiles.

Paleontologists have discovered dozens of… Previously unknown dinosaur species Every year, it enriches the vision of what the world was like before humans set foot in it.

Scientists You don't always get it right the first time They try to visualize long-extinct creatures by piecing together their bones.

But imagine living at a time – just 200 years ago – when the existence of dinosaurs was not known to everyone.

Natural History Museum/Alamy Stock Photo

Fossilized jawbone belonging to Megalosaurus, the first dinosaur to be scientifically described and named.

When huge fossilized bones were unearthed from slate quarries in Oxfordshire, England, in the late 1600s, people believed they had once been part of a Roman war elephant. The concept of dinosaurs, and even the word dinosaur, was centuries away from entering the public imagination.

But William Buckland, the first professor of geology at Oxford University, changed all that in 1824 when he named… First known dinosaur: Megalosaurus.

Initial illustrations of the giant reptiles were not entirely accurate, but Buckland's discovery was a start A new scientific field that is still growing today.

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Paleontologists believe that only a small fraction of the dinosaur fossils that once inhabited the world have been found, meaning that thousands or millions more species may be waiting to be discovered.

Authorities have moved the site of a power plant installation near Rome after workers discovered an ancient cemetery.

Archaeologists found 67 skeletons, many decorated with gold jewelry, that had been buried Surrounded by valuables inside elaborate tombs Designed to look like their homes.

“We found several skeletons still wearing their expensive socks and shoes,” said Emanuele Giannini, the site's chief archaeologist. “All this riches, and the fact that the bones show no sign of stress or physical labor, (leads us to believe) they were not local farmers, but upper-class members of Roman families coming from the cities.”

Many tombs were built for those with family connections, and some skeletons were found wrapped around each other.

JAXA

An artist's drawing showing what Japan's “Moon Sniper” mission will look like after landing on the moon.

The race to the moon has been heating up in the past few years, and now Japan's soon-to-be lunar spacecraft aims to demonstrate “definable” landing technology. The SLIM lander, also known as the “Moon Sniper”, is scheduled to carry out the mission It will land on the moon on January 19.

After a long wait, some Most of the expected space missions are preparing for launch In fall 2024.

NASA's Europa Clipper rover will launch in October to see if Jupiter's icy moon Europa has what it takes to support life in its subsurface ocean.

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Next November, the Artemis 2 mission is expected to send four astronauts on a trip around the moon. If the lunar project succeeds, it will pave the way for NASA and its partners to launch Artemis 3, returning humans to the lunar surface for the first time since 1972.

Prepare to see a The sky is full of heavenly wonders this year.

In addition to the meteor shower and full moon, there will be multiple types of lunar and solar eclipses that can be seen from different points around the world.

One of the most anticipated events is the total solar eclipse that will cross Mexico, the United States and Canada on April 8.

And watch for the northern lights and southern lights in unexpected places as the sun's activity heats up before it reaches solar maximum later this year.

Courtesy Bo Xiao

A “living skin” of plants and small, rootless microorganisms known as biocrusts covers the soil surfaces of the Great Wall.

The “living skin” protects the Great Wall of China from deterioration and corrosion.

Scientists studied the rammed earth portions of the famous landmark. The builders created these sections by compressing natural materials into the soil, and they were considered a weak point in the construction.

Instead, the researchers discovered that protective biocrusts, or networks of small, rootless plants and microorganisms, cover soil surfaces. By studying the samples, scientists determined Parts covered with bio-veneer are three times stronger Of sections of the earth shocked without it.

“They thought this type of plant was destroying the Great Wall of China. Our results show the opposite,” said Bo Xiao, a professor of soil science at China Agricultural University.

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Take a closer look at these interesting reads:

– Navajo Nation Objection to landing human remains on the moon It led to a last-minute meeting at the White House.

— To meet the need for clean energy, some experts believe now is the time to build Solar farms in space that radiate sunlight To the surface of the Earth, but others say The plan is too far-fetched.

— During expeditions to a remote area in northern Greenland, researchers discovered previously unknown fossils Predatory worms called “terror monsters” ruled the seas Half a billion years ago.

– Newly equipped versions of Voyager 2 images show the real shapes Neptune and Uranus, revealing that the two worlds are more similar in color than previously thought.

Like what I read? Oh, but there's more. Register here To receive in your inbox the next issue of Wonder Theory, brought to you by CNN Space and Science writers Ashley Strickland And Katie Hunt. They find wonder at planets beyond our solar system and discoveries from the ancient world.