A yellow-brown mineral called jarosite—rare on Earth but abundant on Mars—has been identified deep in an Antarctic ice core. This discovery suggests the brittle substance forms from dust accumulating and reacting inside massive ice deposits.
Scientists recorded groups of more than 100 electric eels working together to circle shoals of small prey fish and herd them to shallow waters in a lake in North Brazil. Once the fish were corralled, up to 10 eels would move in and unleash a synchronized shock.
A computer algorithm processing satellite images of Addo Elephant National Park proved as accurate as the human eye at counting the animals against complex backgrounds. Currently conservationists spend hours in low-flying planes to tally the creatures.
A fossilized track of 10 footprints in the Alps points to a crocodilelike animal that was at least four meters long and lived shortly after the Permian mass extinction. Its survival of the event some 250 million years ago suggests more of the ecosystem endured than previously thought.
A painting of pigs in dark-red mineral pigment, found in a cave on the island of Sulawesi, dates back at least 45,000 years and sets the record for the earliest-known figurative art. Additional samples could push the date even earlier.
A materials scientist’s new recycling process is turning plastic waste and sand into bricks that are five to seven times stronger than concrete. Her factory can accommodate a variety of plastic types.
This article was originally published with the title “Quick Hits” in Scientific American 324, 4, 15 (April 2021)