Earth Day 2016: The 20 Most Amazing Discoveries Since Earth Day 2015

By Andrew Simontacchi, Epoch Times
April 22, 2016 12:45 pm Last Updated: April 22, 2016 12:45 pm

To celebrate Earth Day 2016, we have compiled some of the amazing archeological finds that our Earth has been hiding since last Earth Day. From ancient crowns to incredible animals and intricate buildings—and that’s only within one year of discovery.

1. Winged Dinosaur Discovered in China (Video)

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“Strange wing” is what its name “Yi qi” translates to in English. Based on the remains, it has been estimated that the dinosaur lived about 160 million years ago, making it one of the earliest known birds to have ever existed.

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2. The 6,000-Year-Old Crown Found in a Dead Sea Cave

Left: The oldest crown in the world, found in the Nahal Mishmar Hoard. (Hanay/Wikimedia Commons) Background: The Dead Sea (Xta11/Wikimedia Commons)
Left: The oldest crown in the world, found in the Nahal Mishmar Hoard. (Hanay/Wikimedia Commons) Background: The Dead Sea (Xta11/Wikimedia Commons)

The oldest known crown in the world, which was famously discovered in 1961 as part of the Nahal Mishmar Hoard, dates back to the Copper Age between 4000–3500 B.C. The ancient crown is just one out of more than 400 artifacts that were recovered in a cave in the Judean Desert near the Dead Sea more than half a century ago

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3. 4,000-Year-Old Body of Teenager Near Stonehenge May Give Clues About Bronze-Age Life

Stonehenge (Darren Hendley/iStock/Thinkstock)
Stonehenge (Darren Hendley/iStock/Thinkstock)

Archaeologists have unearthed the 4,000-year-old body of an adolescent near Stonehenge, who was buried in the fetal position wearing an amber necklace. Scientists hope the studies will provide information about the people who lived near and built Stonehenge in the Vale of Pewsey.

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4. Underwater Discovery: 9,300-Year-Old Pillar Evidence of Advanced Society, Say Researchers

A monolith found submerged between the coasts of Sicily and Tunisia, including a closeup of a hole in the monolith. (Science Direct)
A monolith found submerged between the coasts of Sicily and Tunisia, including a closeup of a hole in the monolith. (Science Direct)

At least 9,300 years ago, Stone Age hunter-gatherers in a now-submerged area of the Mediterranean Sea accomplished a feat beyond what today’s experts thought possible for the time: they cut a 15-ton limestone pillar with precision, drilled holes in it and transported it nearly 984 feet (300 meters). The monolith is 39 feet (12 meters) long.

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5. 1,200-Year-Old Telephone, Amazing Invention of the Ancient Chimu Civilization

Right: A communication device created more than 1,000 years ago by the Chimu people of Peru (Travis Rathbone/Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian) Background: Chan Chan, Peru (David Holt/CC BY-SA)
Right: A communication device created more than 1,000 years ago by the Chimu people of Peru (Travis Rathbone/Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian) Background: Chan Chan, Peru (David Holt/CC BY-SA)

The Peruvian telephone thought to have been made 1,200 to 1,400 years ago, a marvel of ancient invention, surprises almost all who hear about it. Found in the ruins of Chan Chan, Peru, the delicate communication artifact is known as the earliest example of telephone technology in the Western hemisphere.

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6. Giant Predatory Lizard Co-Existed With Humans 50,000 Years Ago (Video)

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Giant prehistoric lizards likely roamed Earth during the same time as humans, according to recent research. And, for the first time, scientists believe they have the evidence to confirm that people should be considered a factor in their extinction along with climate change.

These revised historical views are based on the discovery of a tiny bone, about a third of an inch long, which was found buried deep in a cave in Australia.

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7. Archaeologists Say They Found Mona Lisa’s Bones, but Can’t Extract DNA

"Mona Lisa," by Leonardo da Vinci (Public Domain)
“Mona Lisa,” by Leonardo da Vinci (Public Domain)

A team of researchers seeking to unveil the true identity of the mysterious model who sat for Leonardo da Vinci’s world renowned painting, “The Mona Lisa,” say they have found bones of the woman with the enigmatic smile.

Archaeologists working in Florence, Italy, said in late September that they have fragments of bone which they are certain belonged to Lisa Gherardini Del Giocondo—the woman thought to have sat for da Vinci’s famous painting. But the remains cannot be DNA tested due to their decayed condition.

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8. Fossil Remains of 76-Million-Year-Old Pig-Snouted Turtle Unearthed (Video)

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Seventy-six million years ago, this sleek reptile was well adapted to the environment of what’s now present-day Utah—where the fossil remains of the new species were uncovered. Back in the Cretaceous Period, when the two-foot-long turtle existed alongside carnivorous tyrannosaurs and others, southern Utah was more akin to what Louisiana is like now: humid and filled with rivers and bayous.

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9. Dog-Sized Giant Rats Once Roamed Our Planet (Video)

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Fossils of the largest known rats ever in existence have been discovered on the island nation of East Timor.
Researchers from the Australian National University found seven species of ancient rats, one of which was roughly 10 times the size of those living today. Dr. Julien Louys noted, “They are what you would call mega-fauna. The biggest one is about five kilos, the size of a small dog. Just to put that in perspective, a large modern rat would be about half a kilo.”

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10. Stonehenge May Have Been in Wales, Then Dismantled and Moved

Stonehenge (Darren Hendley/iStock/Thinkstock)
Stonehenge (Darren Hendley/iStock/Thinkstock)

Archaeologists have pinpointed the exact quarry in Wales where prehistoric builders got the bluestones of Stonehenge’s inner horseshoe. The hazelnut shells and other organic matter left by those workers has been carbon-dated. The stones were extracted around 3400 B.C. in one location and 3200 B.C. in another. That leaves a 500-year gap between the extraction of the stones and their erection at the Stonehenge site around 2900 B.C.

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11. Fossil of 30-Foot Crocodile Found in Sahara Desert

The head of a Sarcosuchus imperator in Expominer 2007, Barcelona, Spain. The Sarcosuchus imperator is the largest crocodile ever found, with a length of up to 40 feet. (Eduard Solà Vázquez/Wikipedia Commons)
The head of a Sarcosuchus imperator in Expominer 2007, Barcelona, Spain. The Sarcosuchus imperator is the largest crocodile ever found, with a length of up to 40 feet. (Eduard Solà Vázquez/Wikipedia Commons)

Scientists have discovered the fossilized remains of a Cretaceous-era crocodile in the Sahara Desert, Tunisia. The fossil is incomplete, but the newly named “Machimosaurus rex,” is estimated to be 31 feet (nearly 10 meters) long, making it the largest known ocean-crocodile in history.

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12. Findings on Fossil of 75 Million-Year-Old Baby Dinosaur Released

Life reconstruction of a juvenile chasmosaurus.(Michael Skrepnick)
Life reconstruction of a juvenile chasmosaurus.(Michael Skrepnick)

In 2010, scientists discovered the nearly-complete fossil of a juvenile Chasmosaurus in Dinosaur Provincial Park in Alberta, Canada. The Chasmosaurus is a relative of the more famous triceratops. “For the first time ever, we have a complete skeleton of a baby ceratopsid,” Professor Philip Currie of the University of Alberta, who found the fossil, said in a statement.

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13. ‘Oldest Known Jurassic Dinosaur’ Found in Wales (Video)

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A significant dinosaur discovery has been made in Wales. A recently published study states that the 201-million-year old creature is “the oldest known Jurassic dinosaur and it represents the first dinosaur skeleton from the Jurassic of Wales.”

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14. Mammoth Remains Uncovered During Football Field Renovation (Video)

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The remains of what was likely a mammoth have been uncovered during construction at Oregon State University’s Reser Stadium. Anthropology professor Loren Davis, who was called to the site of the find, said, “There are quite a few bones, and dozens of pieces. Some of the bones are not in very good shape, but some are actually quite well preserved.”

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15. Two Ants Fighting 100 Million Years Ago Preserved in Amber (Video)

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Two ants of different species fighting and preserved in amber from 100 million years ago shine new light on the ancient insects’ evolution, according to researchers at the American Museum of Natural History and the University of Kansas.

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16. Giant Bird Confirmed to Have Roamed The Arctic 50 Million Years Ago (Video)

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A giant bird that lacked the ability to fly, has been confirmed to have roamed the Arctic around 53 million years ago, according to researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing and the University of Colorado Boulder.

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17. Is This a Huge Million-Year-Old, Man-Made Underground Complex?

Hirbat Midras, in Adullam Grove Nature Reserve in Israel, part of what geologist Dr. Alexander Koltypin hypothesizes to be a massive complex of prehistoric underground structures stretching across the Mediterranean. (Courtesy of Alexander Koltypin)
Hirbat Midras, in Adullam Grove Nature Reserve in Israel, part of what geologist Dr. Alexander Koltypin hypothesizes to be a massive complex of prehistoric underground structures stretching across the Mediterranean. (Courtesy of Alexander Koltypin)

Most archaeologists and historians agree that human civilization only emerged some 10,000 to 12,000 years ago. Yet many researchers have drawn attention to artifacts and various other evidence of advanced civilizations long before this, even millions of years earlier.

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18. Scientists Think They Found a ‘Pregnant’ T. Rex Fossil

The skeleton of Tristan the Tyrannosaurus Rex seen during a media preview at the Museum fuer Naturkunde (Natural History Museum) on December 16, 2015 in Berlin, Germany. (Axel Schmidt/Getty Images)
The skeleton of Tristan the Tyrannosaurus Rex at the Museum fuer Naturkunde (Natural History Museum) on Dec.16, 2015 in Berlin, Germany. (Axel Schmidt/Getty Images)

Is that giant Tyrannosaurus rex fossil you saw at the museum a male or a female? Even for paleontologists who devote their lives to studying dinosaur fossils, it’s a tough call, because the bones themselves rarely give away a dinosaur’s sex. “Just being able to identify a dinosaur definitively as a female opens up a whole new world of possibilities. Now that we can show pregnant dinosaurs have a chemical fingerprint, we need a concerted effort to find more,” Zanno said.

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19. Video: Scientists Thaw ‘Puppy’ Mummified for More Than 12,000 Years

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The well-preserved body of a 12,400-year-old “puppy” has been discovered in northeastern Russia.
Found near remnants of ancient human activity, where the bones of other animals showed evidence of having been cut and burned, the extinct Pleistocene-era dog is believed to have been a pet to humans.

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20. 1,500-Year-Old Mummy Found in Mongolia

Archaeologists say they have found an ancient mummy in Mongolia from 1,500 years ago in the Altai Mountains.
The remains, which were wrapped in felt, are being called the first Turkik burial found in Central Asia, reported the Siberian Times. Near the remains were a bridle, a clay vase, a bowl, an iron kettle, the remains of an entire horse, different types of Mongolian clothes, and a saddle. There were also pillows, a sheep’s head, and a travel bag.

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