An Evolutionary Discovery
Nearly 3.7 million years ago, an Australopithecus (pronounced a-struh-luh-pi-thuh-kuhs) named Little Foot fell around 30 feet into a hole in a cave. Australopithecus is an ancestor species of humans that evolved in East Africa. Millions of years later, Little Foot’s bones were discovered. It took nearly 20 years for archeologists to safely remove her skeleton from the sediment in the cave, and they saw that she had both human and ape-like traits.
The bones show that she stood a little over four feet tall and slept in trees. She had strong hands and a special big toe that gave her the ability to climb much better than her modern human relatives.
Now, scientists have discovered that Little Foot could move her head in different directions from modern humans, probably because she spent a lot of her time in trees. Humans have lost the ability to be such expert climbers, and do not need such a range of head movement. Scientists found that she still had her atlas, a bone located between the neck and head. Her atlas is similar to that of chimpanzees.
The Astronomical Start of Spring
If you’ve been stuck inside due to the Coronavirus, you may not have noticed the signs of spring. The weather is warming up, the sun is coming out, and daffodils are in full bloom.
The northern hemisphere celebrated the Spring Equinox on March 19 this year – marking the astronomical start of spring. There are two equinoxes each year – the spring (vernal) equinox and the autumn equinox. These two days mark events when the center of the sun is directly above the equator, and daytime and nighttime are of equal length everywhere on the planet.
The word “equinox” comes from the Latin word aequinoctium, from aequus (equal) and noctis (night) – meaning of equal day and night. On this day, every location on Earth has 12 hours of sunlight.
But wait, doesn’t spring start on March 1? The first day of March is the start of spring according to the calendar, where the year is divided into four seasons of three months in length. The astronomical start of spring is different because it tracks the location of the sun. The vernal equinox is celebrated with the symbols of spring rebirth – eggs, bunnies, and flowers – that are still familiar today.
Olympic Games on Hold Due to COVID-19
The Coronavirus pandemic has affected most of the world. Now, the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games have been postponed. The games are meant to promote peace through sporting competition. The first modern event was in 1896, and since then, the Olympics have only been canceled three times.
The first cancelation was in 1916 during World War I. The German Empire was supposed to host the games that year and even built a 30,000-seat stadium in Berlin just for the event. But war broke out in 1914, and there weren’t enough athletes free to compete.
World War II saw the Olympics canceled twice, in 1940 and 1944. Japan was scheduled to host the 1940 Olympics; however, in 1937, Japan went to war with China and lost its right to host the games. The 1944 London Olympics were canceled because of the war. Italy was to host the winter Olympics, but that event was also stopped.
Now, in 2020, a different type of “war” has delayed the Olympics. Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he didn’t want to cancel the event entirely, and the games may be postponed until 2021.