This week the fossilized skin of a reptile that existed 45 million years before the earliest known dinosaur has been discovered, Jupiter has been discovered to have magnetic jets, and giant 10-foot-tall apes once roamed China. Finally, we investigate why 42 is the answer to life, the universe, and everything.
Subscribe to the IFLScience newsletter for all the biggest science news delivered straight to your inbox every Wednesday and Saturday.
The United States Just Grew By 1 Million Square Kilometers In Size
The United States has grown in size by 1 million square kilometers (more than 386,000 square miles) – that’s almost twice the area of Spain. The unexpected growth spurt was not the result of strange geological forces, nor the invasion of a foreign land, but the States attempting to lay claim to its surrounding ocean-floor territory. Read the full story here
NASA Finally Removes Last Two Fasteners To Access Historic Bennu Asteroid Sample
The final hurdle to retrieving the full sample of asteroid Bennu collected by OSIRIS-REx – the first asteroid return sample in US history – has at last been overcome. NASA technicians have been able to successfully remove the two fasteners from the sampler head that have been preventing them from opening the canister fully since September. Now, NASA can get to the pristine asteroid material inside. Read the full story here
Oldest Known Fossilized Skin Dates Back 45 Million Years Before First Dinosaurs
Fossilized skin from a reptile that lived at least 45 million years before the first dinosaur has been found. Although we know nothing else about the animal it came from, along with seven skin casts of similar age, the record-smashing 288 million-year-old discovery helps reveal the early evolution of skin. Read the full story here
Jupiter Discovered To Have Magnetic Jets - And It's A Big Deal For The Whole Solar System
Magnetosheath jets are fast plasma streams that form in the region between a planet’s magnetic field and the solar wind, the stream of charged particles that come from the Sun. It’s an area of peculiar magnetism where the field lines are weak and irregular, and the jets play an important role. These temporary events have been found around Earth and Mars, and now they've discovered Jupiter has them too. Read the full story here
Giant 10-Foot-Tall Apes Once Roamed China Until Their Mysterious Demise
Standing over 3 meters (10 feet) tall, Gigantopithecus blacki was the largest species of primate to ever walk the Earth (that we know of). This elusive beast stomped around what is now modern-day China until it fell into extinction between 295,000 and 215,000 years ago under mysterious circumstances. We may now know why. Read the full story here
TWIS is published weekly on our Linkedin page, join us there for even more content.
Feature of the week:
Life, The Universe, And Everything: Why 42 Really Is The Ultimate Answer
Wherever you find big questions, one answer just keeps cropping up. We know the Answer is 42, but what we really need is an answer to the question of what the Question was to get that Answer. Any questions? Read the full story here
Have you seen our free e-magazine, CURIOUS? Issue 18 January 2023 is out now. Check it out for exclusive interviews, book excerpts, long reads, and more.
PLUS, the entire season 3 of IFLScience's The Big Questions Podcast is available now.