With the evolution of social media and an over inundation of pop culture, we can become easily distracted with meaningless “news” that has no effect on our future as a species. We’ve spent most of the past year obsessing over this celebrity or that presidential candidate without taking much store in the groundbreaking discoveries that are being made right under our noses.
So, when you begin to feel like 2016 has been a wash and an all around waste of time, take a look at some of the strides science has made that are sure to make a difference in the world.
1. Gravitational waves do exist.
2. It was proven by the CDC that the Zika Virus causes microcephaly, a condition in which the brain does not develop properly.
3. Scientists discovered that there are actually 4 different species of giraffes.
4. Human penises may have lost their bone AKA baculum when our species became monogamous.
5. There could be a 9th planet in our solar system that is 10 times bigger than Earth and orbiting 20 times farther away than Neptune.
6. Ninety-nine million years ago a little dinosaur got its tail trapped in amber, and its feathers were perfectly preserved.
7. Mathematicians discovered a new prime number, 2^74,207,281 – 1.
8. Cybernetic helped a quadriplegic man move his fingers again.
9. The Antarctic ozone layer may actually be healing.
10. A group of red squirrels in Britain carry a strain of leprosy seen in humans in the Middle Ages.
11. Earth has a second moon, technically a quasi-satellite named (469219) 2016 HO3.
12. Stem cells injected into stroke patients enable them to walk.
13. A new hypothesis believes that soot may have caused dinosaur extinction.
14. Pluto’s atmosphere is more compact and cold than previously discovered.
15. Ducklings have the ability to recognize “same” and “different.”
16. A 54 billion cubic feet reserve of helium gas exists in Tanzania.
17. The Greenland shark a member of the “sleeper shark” family can live for nearly 400 years.
18. Swearing isn’t necessarily a sign of limited vocabulary (duh.)
19. A third of the planet’s population can’t view the Milky Way from where they live.
20. A slight genetic mutation 800 million years ago leads to multicellular life.
21. Cloned animals can age healthily.
22. England and Wales’ dementia rates have dropped drastically in the two decades up to 2011.
23. If parents learn this new method of interacting with their autistic child, it could lessen the severity of the child’s symptoms.