21 Facts We Didn't Know At The Start Of 2017
Science has been busy.
1. 2016 was officially the hottest year on record.
2. If Earth continues warming, a current that keeps Europe and North America toasty could collapse.
3. The moon is probably slightly older than we previously thought. At 4.51 billion years old, it formed just 60 million years after the solar system itself.
4. Wolf-sized otters lived on Earth 62 million years ago.
5. Some dinosaur eggs took six months, and possibly even longer, to hatch after the dinosaur laid them.
6. Red pandas and giant pandas evolved the ability to digest bamboo separately, but it left a similar mark on their genomes.
7. A crab discovered 20 years ago on the island of Guam in the Pacific Ocean is actually a new species – scientists have called it Harryplax severus.
8. We've been showering the moon in oxygen from Earth for billions of years.
9. Preliminary results of NASA's twin study with astronaut siblings Scott and Mark Kelly show that space might change how your body works in unexpected ways.
10. Being active, even just walking, has been linked to being happier.
11. If you can only make time to exercise on the weekend, it's probably still worthwhile – there's evidence it will still reduce your likelihood of getting cancer or cardiovascular disease.
13. Almost half of men in the US might have genital HPV.
14. It's possible to get a pig's heart pumping again by wrapping a soft robotic sleeve around it.
15. Alcohol seems to turn on brain cells that make someone feel hungry, at least in mice.
16. Puppies respond better when you talk to them like you would a baby.
17. Reggae and soft rock music might help dogs in kennels to relax.
18. There's a giant bow-shaped wave on Venus that's probably a gravity wave created in the planet's atmosphere by mountains on its surface. (Note: not a gravitational wave, which is a totally different thing.)
19. It's possible to melt a solid below its freezing point in the lab.
20. Saturn's rings might contain millions of "moonlets" that have cleared gaps in the rings.
21. There might be "stardust" – aka tiny, tiny meteorites – collecting on your rooftop.