Scientific discoveries, technological advancements, and time-saving inventions are crucial to human life and understanding the origins of the planet. Every year, papers are published, studies are conducted, and patents are filed for countless new discoveries. However, there are some revelations that could be game changers. With that in mind, here are 20 surprising science-based facts revealed in 2016.
1. Gravitational waves are, in fact, a reality.
2. Another planet, which closely resembles Earth, exists a mere four light years away.
3. Science and Technology conquered human intellect when a computer beat the world champion in the game of “Go.”
4. It was confirmed that the Zika virus does, in fact, result in microcephaly, which is a medical condition where a baby’s head is significantly smaller than expected.
5. It was confirmed that there are four species of giraffe in existence, not just one as previously believed.
6. It was discovered that a group of red squirrels in Britain carry a strain of leprosy last seen in humans during the Middle Ages.
7. Tanzania, a country in East Africa with a population of nearly 50 million, has a 54 billion cubic feet reserve of helium gas.
8. There is a so-called underwater lost city located off the coast of Greece, which is, in actuality, a group of naturally-formed, uniform rock formations.
9. It has been theorized that human penises lost their baculum, which is also known as the penis bone, when homo sapiens became monogamous.
10. Researchers at the California Institute of Technology presented strong evidence to support the contention that there might be a ninth planet in the solar system after all, following the reclassification of Pluto as a dwarf planet in August 2006, which is 10 times larger than Earth, orbiting 20 times farther away than Neptune, and orbiting the Sun every 15,000 years.
Other surprising science-based facts revealed in 2016 include the following:
11. Dinosaurs were likely brought to extinction by soot and other atmospheric contaminants.
13. A third of Earth’s population cannot view the Milky Way galaxy from where they live.
15. There is a slow-moving, deep-sea shark that has a lifespan of nearly 400 years.
16. Cloned animals can age and reach maturation without long-term health effects.
17. According to scientists, approximately 800 million years ago, a minor genetic change in a single molecule, which is referred to as GK-PID, may have allowed organisms to progress from a single cell organism to multicellular organisms.
18. Astronomers identified IDCS 1426 as the most distant, massive galaxy cluster discovered to date. It is located around 10 billion light years from Earth.
19. At the University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre, scientists identified Glycerol 3-phosphate phosphatase (G3PP), which is an enzyme that prevents sugar being stored as fat.
20. NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) confirmed that 2015 was the hottest year on record globally (since 1880), shattering the previous record by the largest margin ever recorded in the annals of Science.
Alas, science is a complex and fickle friend. There are numerous discoveries, advancements, and inventions being introduced annually that could prove vital to human life and understanding the origins of the solar system. Every year, papers are published, studies are conducted, and patents are filed for countless new innovations. Some of these revelations could be game changers, while others might remain unsubstantiated or disproven outright. Hopefully, readers will find this list of 20 surprising science-based facts, which were revealed in 2016, food for thought and fodder for discussion.
Written and Edited by Leigh Haugh
New York Times–Genetic Flip Helped Organisms Go From One Cell to Many
MIT News–Most Distant Massive Galaxy Cluster Identified
Listverse–10 Amazing Scientific Discoveries of 2016
NASA–NASA, NOAA Analyses Reveal Record-Shattering Global Warm Temperatures in 2015
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