Scientists Find the World’s Oldest Known Forest, Dating Back 386 Million Years

To support our nonprofit science journalism, please make a tax-deductible gift today. Whale sharks are the largest fish in the ocean—and one of the longest lived, a new study suggests. Sharks lack otoliths—bony structures in the skull that scientists use to estimate the age of most fish—which makes it tricky to estimate their age. So researchers measured the carbon isotope in the cartilaginous vertebrae of two whale sharks and correlated it to the carbon patterns created by Cold War—era bomb detonations , National Geographic reports. One of the whale sharks, a meter-long female that was found stranded in Pakistan in , was estimated to be 50 years old. The results, published 6 April in Frontiers in Marine Science , are important to understand the growth rate and longevity of whale sharks , which is key to conservation and management efforts of this endangered species, the team says. All rights Reserved. This million-year-old creature may have hibernated like modern animals.

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If you’re online dating during quarantine, this scientist says the spark may not intimacy and leads to the addictive nature of a new relationship.

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Subscribers to the print edition have free access to all articles and the archive of past content that has so far been digitised. Online readership takes various forms. Overall free views of an elite database of best , articles are On social media there are 3. New Scientist has published books derived from its content, online of which are selected questions and answers from the Last Word section of the account and website:. New Scientist has best worked with elite publishers to produce books based on the dating‘s copy:.

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Isotopic Bomb Traces Are a Boon to Biological Dating

Radiocarbon dating can easily establish that humans have been on the earth for over twenty thousand years, at least twice as long as creationists are willing to allow. Therefore it should come as no surprise that creationists at the Institute for Creation Research ICR have been trying desperately to discredit this method for years. They have their work cut out for them, however, because radiocarbon C dating is one of the most reliable of all the radiometric dating methods.

This article will answer several of the most common creationist attacks on carbon dating, using the question-answer format that has proved so useful to lecturers and debaters. Answer: Cosmic rays in the upper atmosphere are constantly converting the isotope nitrogen N into carbon C or radiocarbon.

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Surprisingly old stone points found in a Mexican cave are the latest intriguing discovery among many to raise questions about when humans really arrived in the Americas. For most of the 20th century archaeologists generally agreed that humans who had crossed the Beringia land bridge from Siberia to North America only ventured further into the continent only when retreating ice sheets opened a migration corridor, about 13, years ago. Put forth by Ciprian Ardelean , an archaeologist at the Autonomous University of Zacatecas Mexico , and his colleagues, the new paper suggests people were living in central Mexico at least 26, years ago.

Data from those sites were used to model a much earlier peopling of the Americas, and help scientists reimagine not only when but how the first people reached and populated the New World. The model features a number of archaeological sites, including Chiquihuite cave, which are intriguing but controversial enough, as experts disagree whether the sites actually evidence human occupation.

Chiquihuite cave is perched high in the Astillero Mountains, feet above sea level and 3, feet higher than the valley below. Excavations there were launched when a test pit unearthed a few stone artifacts that suggested a human presence dating back to the Last Glacial Maximum between 18, and 26, years ago. More extensive excavations detailed in the new study were carried out in and , unearthing some 1, stone points or possible tools used for cutting, chopping, scraping, or as weapons.

The artifacts were dated by 46 different radiocarbon samples of adjacent animal bones, charcoal, and sediment samples. To the team, they represent a previously unknown technological tradition of advanced flaking skills. More than 90 percent of the artifacts were of greenish or blackish stone, though those colors are less common locally, suggesting to the authors that they were singled out as desirable. The bulk of the material is from deposits dating to between 13, and 16, years ago, leading the scientists to hypothesize that the humans may have used the cave for more than 10, years.

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Atomic bomb dating reveals true age of whale sharks

Fossilized roots dating back to million years ago, in Cairo, New York. The researchers say the new site is evidence that forests developed 2 to 3 million years earlier than previously thought. The findings were published recently in the journal Current Biology. The site, located in the town of Cairo, New York, has three unique root systems — evidence that ancient forests were comprised of several different tree species.

The first species scientists identified was a palm tree-like plant called Eospermatopteris , which has short roots that lived for a year or two before dying and growing new ones, according to a press release. They also found fossils of a tree called Archaeopteris , which shares several traits with modern conifers.

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