The Epoch Times’s 2010 Science Gallery of feature photos that appeared in our print and web editions over the past year. From cute animals to the enigmatic Udumbara flower, these pictures show us the wonder of Nature.
Description of scientific discoveries related to the photos follows the image gallery.
The Large-Billed Reed Warbler Rediscovered
Researchers have rediscovered the large-billed reed warbler (Acrocephalus orinus), which has only been sighted on three occasions, in Northeastern Afghanistan.
A study previously found that about a dozen stuffed large-billed reed warblers in museums around the world had been incorrectly classified as the common species of reed warbler. Their findings showed that the bird probably lived in Northeastern Afghanistan during the 1930s.
“Very little is known about this species,” Olsson told The Epoch Times. “Up to now, about 12 birds exist in museums and 17 have been seen alive. It breeds at least in Afghanistan, but perhaps also in nearby countries, like Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Kazakhstan. It has also been recorded in India, Burma, and Thailand.”
The Legendary Udumbara Flower
According to Buddhist scriptures, there is a flower called the Udumbara flower, which blossoms once every 3,000 years. Udumbara is a Sanskrit word; it means “an auspicious flower from heaven.” The appearance of Udumbara blossoms is a sign of the arrival of the Holy King Who Turns the Wheel, rectifying the Dharma in the world.
In the past two decades, people around the world have encountered a flower that is believed to be the Udumbara. The flower was first found in Korea in 1997. Later, it appeared in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, and America. It has been found to grow on other plants, metal, and Buddha statues.
A new species of crab has been discovered in Kenting, Taiwan, during the Long-Term Ecological Research project in the Kenting National Park Sea Area. Kenting National Park entrusted National Taiwan Ocean University to conduct the research.
The new crab’s carapace is 2.5 cm (1-inch) wide and red with white spots, leading researchers to call it the “strawberry crab.”
Researchers have confirmed that this species has not been documented before and classified it in the genus Neoliomera.
Hermit Crabs Upgrade Homes Through Social Networking
Hermit crabs require empty snail shells for shelter. Scientists have found that hermit crabs usually find the best new shells when they gather together.
A strategy found among the crabs is the formation of a synchronous vacancy chain, a lively group activity. When a new shell becomes vacant, the group would gather around it and line up from largest to smallest. Once the largest crab moves into the empty shell, the other crabs move into a shell in front of them, consequently giving a new shell to each crab in the entire chain.
When hermit crabs find an empty but oversized shell, they wait nearby rather than just walk away. Once a small group gathered, the crabs would begin piggybacking by holding onto the shell of a larger crab—such behavior seemed to increase the chance of a synchronous vacancy chain.
Deep, Open Ocean Most Underexplored Area
Scientists know the least about the largest habitat for life on Earth—the deep, open ocean—according to a study by U.K. and U.S. researchers.
Most of our knowledge about marine biodiversity comes from the shallow oceans and the seabed, while the deep, dark water column remains largely unexplored, says the research published in the journal PLoS One.
Supernova Explosion Seen in 3-D
The European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) Very Large Telescope (VLT) has been able to construct a three-dimensional picture of the aftermath of a nearby supernova, according to an ESO report on Wednesday, August 4, 2010.
The supernova is approximately 180,000 light-years away in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a small satellite galaxy to our own Milky Way Galaxy.
Lunar Eclipse Photos: Stage by Stage
A lunar eclipse was in clear view to North and Central Americans early Tuesday morning, December 21, 2010. Epoch Times photographer Mark Zou captured the stages of the eclipse from Ft. Myers, Fla.