It's been a busy week or so in the world of science - a lot to keep track of. Here's a quick guide for those who, like me, are feeling a bit overwhelmed.
First, there's the Old: A couple of new dinosaurs have been identified.
One of them is a miniature cousin of the best-known predatory dinosaur, T. rex. This little guy (well relatively little, but still way bigger than any of us) has been named Nanuqsaurus hoglundi - meaning, roughly, polar bear lizard - and he roamed the Arctic 70 million years ago. You can read more about him, and find some pictures, here and here.
The other was found a few thousand kilometres south and east, in the states of North and South Dakota. It's a strange, half-birdlike creature that scientists have nicknamed "the chicken from Hell" - not because it's so scary, although its claws are impressive, but because it was found in a geological formation called Hell Creek. A little more formally, the chicken from Hell is Anzu wyliei, and you can learn more about it here.
And then there's the Oldest: What physicists think is a kind of cosmic fingerprint from the beginning of the universe - evidence of rapid expansion from the first split second after the Big Bang. It has caused a lot of excitement, and a lot of confusion. If you want to get unconfused, here are a few links:
- A handy-dandy non-scientist's guide to what all the excitement is about.
- A story about the impact of the discovery on the scientific world.
- And a delightful short video of one of the scientists who predicted this discovery learning that his prediction appears to have been confirmed.