The bodies of ancient princes and princesses may have rested in two ancient tombs lined with gold that were recently found at the site of Pylos in Greece, archaeologists announced Dec. 17.
Inside the 3,500-year-old tombs, the archaeologists found intricately carved jewelry and human remains, though they can only speculate as to whether the bodies belong to royalty.
The archaeologists also can’t say how many bodies are buried in the tombs, or anything about their sex and ages, since their analysis of the human bones is ongoing, they noted.
Related: Photos: Mysterious Ancient Tomb in Amphipolis.
The tombs were found near what modern-day archaeologists call the “Palace of Nestor,” which was discovered in 1939, and near another tomb, found in 2015, that also contained elaborate jewelry.
When the archaeologists found the tombs, they were sealed beneath 40,000 stones about the size of watermelons. That covering was meant to protect the tombs from grave robbers — a danger in both ancient and modern times.
At the time the tombs were built, what is now called the Mycenaean civilization flourished in mainland Greece and on Crete. The Mycenaean people built massive palaces and developed a writing system that archaeologists call Linear B. This civilization flourished until around 3,200 years ago, when it collapsed.
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When the researchers excavated the tombs, they found a heap of gold leaf that had fallen from the walls of the tombs.
Golden walls were just some of the bling found in the burials. For instance, a gold ring found in one of the tombs depicts two bulls surrounded by sheaves of barley. “It’s an interesting scene of animal husbandry — cattle mixed with grain production. It’s the foundation of agriculture,” Jack Davis, a classics professor and archaeologist at the University of Cincinnati, who is co-director of the team that discovered the tombs, said in a statement.
Another intricate piece of jewelry in the tombs, an agate sealstone, depicts two lion-like creatures called “genii,” which are shown standing upright on clawed feet. The lions are carrying an incense burner and serving vase that they are giving as tribute to an altar decorated with a sapling tree and two horns, Sharon Stocker, a senior research associate at the University of Cincinnati, who is co-director of the team, said in the statement. Above the image of the lions is a 16-point star.
A gold pendant found in one of the tombs seems to have played some sort of protective role, as it depicts the Egyptian goddess Hathor. “Its discovery is particularly interesting in light of the role she played in Egypt as protectress of the dead,” Davis said in the statement.
Many more artifacts made of gold, carnelian, amethyst and amber were discovered in the tombs and are in the process of being analyzed. The artifacts shed light on trade between the Mycenaeans and other regions, as archaeologists found that the amber originated in the Baltic, while the amethyst hailed from Egypt.
The team plans to continue work in the area for at least another two years.
In Photos: Tomb of Royal Woman Found in Ancient Egypt
By Owen Jarus February 03, 2018
A tomb dating back over 4,300 years that held a woman named Hetpet has been discovered in a cemetery on the Giza Plateau in Egypt. She was a senior official in the royal palace, archaeologists say. [Read more about the ancient Egyptian discovery]
The tomb contains well preserved wall paintings, including this image showing fish and other goods being presented to Hetpet, who is shown seated at the far left.
This painting from Hetpet’s tomb shows a monkey reaping fruit. There appears to be a baby monkey holding onto its back.
An orchestra is seen playing in this painting. A variety of wind and string instruments are used by the different musicians. Archaeologists say that there is a monkey (not seen) dancing in front of this orchestra.
Slaughtering a cow
In this painting from Hetpet’s tomb, three men appear to be in the process of slaughtering a cow. One of the cow’s legs is about to be cut off.
In this tomb scene, men can be seen herding or corralling cattle and people are carrying a variety of goods.
Offerings for Hetpet
Three men are seen carrying what appear to be birds. They may be offerings for Hetpet. The tomb was discovered recently by an Egyptian archaeological mission led by Mostafa Waziri, Secretary-General of the ministry’s Supreme Council of Antiquities.
China’s Chang’e-4 lunar rover has discovered an unusually colored, ‘gel-like’ substance during its exploration activities on the far side of the moon.
The mission’s rover, Yutu-2, stumbled on that surprise during lunar day 8. The discovery prompted scientists on the mission to postpone other driving plans for the rover, and instead focus its instruments on trying to figure out what the strange material is.
Day 8 started on July 25; Yutu-2 began navigating a path through an area littered with various small impact craters, with the help and planning of drivers at the Beijing Aerospace Control Center, according to a Yutu-2 ‘drive diary’ published on Aug. 17 by the government-sanctioned Chinese-language publication Our Space, which focuses on space and science communication.
The drive team, excited by the discovery, called in their lunar scientists. Together, the teams decided to postpone Yutu-2’s plans to continue west and instead ordered the rover to check out the strange material.
With the help of obstacle-avoidance cameras, Yutu-2 carefully approached the crater and then targeted the unusually colored material and its surroundings. The rover examined both areas with its Visible and Near-Infrared Spectrometer (VNIS), which detects light that is scattered or reflected off materials to reveal their makeup.
VNIS is the same instrument that detected tantalizing evidence of material originating from the lunar mantle in the regolith of Von Kármán crater, a discovery Chinese scientists announced in May.
So far, mission scientists haven’t offered any indication as to the nature of the colored substance and have said only that it is “gel-like” and has an “unusual color.” One possible explanation, outside researchers suggested, is that the substance is melt glass created from meteorites striking the surface of the moon.
Yutu-2’s discovery isn’t scientists’ first lunar surprise, however. Apollo 17 astronaut and geologist Harrison Schmitt discovered orange-colored soil near the mission’s Taurus-Littrow landing site in 1972, prompting excitement from both Schmitt and his moonwalk colleague, Gene Cernan. Lunar geologists eventually concluded that the orange soil was created during an explosive volcanic eruption 3.64 billion years ago.
The Chang’e-4 lander and Yutu-2 rover powered down for the end of lunar day 8 on Aug. 7, and began their ninth lunar day over the weekend. The Yutu-2 rover woke up at 8:42 p.m. EDT on Aug. 23 (00:42 GMT Aug. 24), and the lander followed the next day, at 8:10 p.m. (00:10 GMT).
During lunar day 9, Yutu-2 will continue its journey west, take a precautionary six-day nap around local noontime, and power down for a ninth lunar night around Sept. 5, about 24 hours hours ahead of local sunset.
The Most Interesting Science News Articles of the Week
By Live Science Staff 4 days ago
Each week we uncover the most interesting and informative articles from around the world, here are some of the coolest stories in science this week.
The ancient DNA from four children who lived thousands of years ago is rewriting what geneticists thought happened in sub-Saharan Africa. [Read more about the mystery.]
Proving the Experts Wrong
Physicists dropped objects on a satellite for two years to test Galileo’s theory of falling objects. [Read more about the effort.]
The voice of an ancient Egyptian priest has been heard for the first time in more than 3,000 years, thanks to a detailed reconstruction of his vocal tract from his mummified remains. [Read more about the sounds.]
The End Nears
A hypothetical timepiece called the Doomsday Clock measures our nearness to Armageddon — by nuclear weapons, climate change and other global threats. [Read more about the prediction.]
A man who died in Herculaneum during the historic Vesuvius eruption was found with an exploded skull and glass-like brain tissue. [Read more about the discovery.]
Oldest Impact Site
The ancient impact site is more than 2.2 billion years old — some 200 million years older than any other site like it on Earth. [Read more about the meteor.]
A new technique for studying ancient microbes in glaciers has led to the discovery of previously unknown viruses. [Read more about germs.]
Scientists are searching for a ghostly neutrino particle that acts as its own antiparticle. If they find it, the discovery could resolve a cosmic conundrum: Why does matter exist at all? [Read more about the particle.]
In 2016, about 5.7 million people rode the New York City subway. Add in the number of subway commuters in the U.S. in general and we can conclude that it’s a popular mode of transportation. The subway is also where a sense of normalcy seems to stop.
People can be strange, and that statement isn’t truer than when talking about the folks you meet on a subway ride. Fortunately, a few of the peculiar antics of some subway commuters have been caught on camera. We compiled a list of weird, mind-blowing, and hilarious things that happen on the subway.
Inner Peace While Commuting
We’ve seen a contortionist, a hanging man, and now, there’s the yogist. We have to admit that this isn’t the first of subway yoga snaps we’ve come across but this lady is completely in the zone which makes the photo even more intriguing.
Leave alone the fact that she set up her exercise mat on the subway and started channeling her inner yogi, but we can’t fail to mention that she is quite limber. If she runs a yoga studio and was using this public display to drum up business, she definitely caught the attention of the man standing nearby.
What Can You Do While Waiting For The Subway? Shave Your Legs!
Life gets crazy, particularly if you have a 9 to 5 job that keeps you constantly on the move. Understandably, we might let ourselves go at times because we simply don’t have the time to perform some grooming needs.
On the other hand, the lady above proves that you can always squeeze in time to get some grooming done—like shaving your legs. A video of this woman shaving her legs, oblivious to her surroundings, was taken in 2018 at the subway stop in Times Square. The video and photos went viral because it isn’t something you see every day.
An Unusual Coffin Procession Straight To The Rails
The subway systems across the globe are popular modes of transportation, and they serve a wide range of commuters. Most people simply use this public means of transportation because it’s affordable. Plus, it often helps forego traffic. Also, some people prefer the subway because it allows them to ferry a diverse range of items at no extra cost.
Above, we see a group of men carrying a coffin to the subway. From what we gather, it isn’t empty. The photo is a still taken from a video that captured the extraordinary event. The gentlemen even managed to get the coffin past the turnstiles!
An Encounter With Some Subway Furries
What in the fur is going on above? We are still trying to wrap our heads around it, and we conclude that the gentleman above might be wearing some form of costume. The cosplay scene has expanded, and we won’t put it past the man above to have thrown on something for an impromptu convention.
The only shortcoming we see with his costume is the fact that it makes sitting rather difficult. We also can’t miss the furry set of ears! We imagine the tail kept the man on his toes the entire time.
This Man Is Not Amused With The Toenail Clipping Action That’s Going On
We’ve seen the woman who decided to shave her legs while waiting for the subway. Now, meet the woman who chose to clip her toenails in the subway. She’s keen on the task at hand and not bothered by her surroundings. However, the look on the man next to her spells out the disapproval we all feel.
Similar photos of subway commuters who clip their nails on the subway sparked numerous open letters shared online. One published on Mic.com back in 2013 sums what we would all like to tell the lady that her action is “disgusting and inhospitable.”
It’s A Good Day To Make A Fashion Statement By Matching Outfits With The Train Seat
There are self-proclaimed subway spotters who love to use the rapid transit system to pick up on new trends. It’s the place to see people step out in unique and fashionable clothes. On some occasions, you guys might even bump into someone wearing a similar outfit. However, it isn’t every day that you end up wearing something that matches something on the subway.
Call it sheer coincidence, but we believe there’s a reason why the man above ended up sitting on a subway seat with a pattern that matched the one on his shirt. The man looks quite happy with the accidental camouflage.
We Are Cordially Invited To An Artistic Snooze Session
It isn’t uncommon for subway commuters to take a snooze, particularly on long rides. After all, some of them travel very early in the morning to start off their day. On the other hand, others travel in the evening when going back home. One scene you don’t see often is a mass snooze session, like the one above.
Honestly, the image looks like it’s taken right out of a renaissance painting! The lot seems to have taken a train home from a party, which could explain why they were extremely fatigued. It seems to be alcohol-induced, and the poor guys couldn’t help but fall asleep in this artistic position.
Butcher Shop On The Go
We can now say we’ve seen it all after seeing what looks like a butcher shop inside the subway. The photo even sparked debate online concerning its authenticity. Have you ever come across a subway with a butcher stand selling diverse meat cuts?
As it turns out, there is a Chinese commuter train that does have a butcher stand inside the subway. In fact, it opens three days a week. The subway from the Cheongdam Station and a few others started operations in 2008, selling diverse agricultural products. Best yet, the products are apparently 30% cheaper compared to market prices!
The Curious Case Of The Great Dane
As long as they don’t appear dangerous, you can take your pooch along with you on the subway in London. It’s also required that the canines should remain leashed or within a crate. Also, they are not allowed on the seats. However, the Great Dane above broke all the rules.
The dog was spotted comfortably perched on a seat in the Underground Central line in London. The image first appeared on Reddit. Someone even commented that they saw the dog’s owner carrying the pooch in the escalator! According to the subway rules, this is to prevent them from hurting their paws while getting on and off.
TBH, We’re More Concerned About The Guy On The Bottom Right…
Halloween is that day of the year that brings out all the crazies, and a ride on the subway is quite something on this occasion. However, when it isn’t Halloween or a day close to the spook-tacular holiday, anyone wearing a costume on the subway raises curiosity.
There isn’t an occasion when seeing anyone dressed up as The Nun would be less scary. The photo above doesn’t help things. It’s even creepier when you look at the man sitting on the bottom left side of the photo. This is one train we are happy to have missed.
There’s A Glitch In The Matrix
When you enter the subway, you should open your mind to witnessing the unconventional. It can sometimes be like watching an episode of The Twighlight Zone. You might be traveling with regular folk, and the trip might start normally before something unusual catches your attention.
It looks like a scene right out of the Matrix, and we’re left wondering if what we’re seeing is some form of a glitch. Perhaps the bald gentlemen were from a Mr. Clean convention, or—as we have come to realize about all things that happen on the subway—it’s just a coincidence.
The Aftermath Of A Hair Raising Fight
All sorts of people use the subway, and there are bound to be a couple of misunderstandings. We’ve seen videos of subway arguments sparked by small things. There’s that one commuter who accidentally stepped on toes or that person hogging a seat.
Most of these brawls usually start at the subway stop, and the photo above seems to capture the aftermath of one. It seems like some hair extensions were lost, a couple of toupees, and handfuls of strands. If anything, this is a fight we would have wanted to witness in video form because it looks like it would snatch our wigs off.
Pest Control Services Required
You never know what kind of pests and critters are drudged into the subway daily. Fortunately, subway trains run a lot of advertisements. Actually, we bet one of them is about pest control services that can greatly benefit the transit service providers.
The photo above is one of those perfectly timed pictures, which gives a subliminal message. Below, we can see a bunch of crabs congregated, which leaves us with more questions unanswered. Above, we see an advertisement. Combined with all the crabs below, it provides an entirely different message.
We Feel Sorry For The Owner Of This Missing Lunch
The subway also provides an opportunity to meet new people and strike up interesting conversations. However, most people often prefer to keep to themselves, and the best way to create that shield is by staying glued to your phone.
Perhaps, on this particular day, the sandwich stuck on the subway’s doors would have been a great conversation starter. Most couldn’t even resist taking a photo of it! Our guess is that the sandwich owner was getting off the train just when the doors were about to close. Unfortunately, they couldn’t get their lunch out on time.
It Never Hurts To Smile
Continuing with the subject about meeting new people on the subway, if you are one of those people who set out to make new friends, it all starts with a smile. Before you even say a word to anyone, your body language will make them decide whether or not they want to engage with you.
The guy above with his permanently plastered creepy face mask might not make you warm up to them. In fact, you might want to move a few seats away from him because you can’t tell what’s going on underneath the mask.
A Good Night’s Rest
Going back to sleeping on the subway, if you’ve ever caught a good rest on the train you know that it’s quite possible and refreshing. Not everyone can get a good rest with the motions of the train and they might need a little help to enjoy some shut-eye.
Case in point is the guy above who decided to make the most out of his commute by getting as comfortable as he could. He set up a hammock and didn’t have any trouble catching some much-needed sleep on his way to wherever he was headed.
Before And After?
This picture sums up what New York City is all about – diversity. NYC is the hub of various ideas and art movements, and it’s also a melting pot of different cultures. Ethnic diversity is often a controversial subject but we choose to focus on the positives.
That’s why we can’t help but break into a smile seeing this picture because if anything it reminds us of the bigger picture. It sends an even stronger message about what NYC represents. It’s the city that gave a home to everyone who needed it and amongst the few places where you can snap such a photo.
What… Can’t A Girl Just Hang Around?
Here is yet another case of a subway commuter just hanging around. There’s possibly sitting space around and therefore, we must assume that this lady took the subway to put on a show. For some reason, other travelers have steered clear of the area.
We’ll give it to her for having the courage and flexibility to perform such moves in public. She clearly set out to entertain and that’s what she’s achieved. We still feel antsy about subway hangers because they heighten their chances of a slip and fall incident.
Keep Cool And Stay Still
Let’s start by giving it to the lady sitting next to the covertly dressed creature. She might as well have a Ph.D. in minding her own business because if it were anyone else they would probably break out in laughter or possibly run away.
But who’s the fella who looks like they rolled in the meadow only to catch the subway to wherever? Could it be a sniper or soldier in training on their way to a covert training session? We’ll never know but this photo serves to remind us that you have to be ready for anything when you take a subway ride.
Hold On To Your Nostrils!
It gets tiring keeping a 9 to 5 and relying on public transportation to get you between work and home. It doesn’t help if the distance traveled is far and the best of us have found ourselves catching some shut-eye on the subway.
The lady above must have been extremely exhausted to go into what we can best describe as a catatonic state of sleep in an equally peculiar position. We can’t imagine how she felt when she woke up because it might have felt like she had been punched in the face. If anything, we hope that she didn’t miss her stop.
Can It Get Any Darker?
In our opinion, two things are ruining this girl’s style. One is the fact that she’s riding the subway instead of flying away in a witches’ broom. The other is the color of her bag, which is not black.
But don’t get us wrong. We’re not criticizing this young woman’s style; on the contrary; we’re admirers of her commitment to her unique look. We cannot believe she went as far as getting a pet raven to complete it! Let’s hope she’s heading out to a beautiful Metal concert and not to a Salem-styled ritual fest where that well-behaved raven will most likely end up sacrificed.
Always Protect the Endangered Species
The problem with getting out of the house dressed as a giant panda is that society is not fully ready to accommodate you. The metro doors, for instance, were designed for people who are not dressed as a giant panda. For that reason, this lovely creature is making a fuss in the subway after getting stuck in the door.
Trying to help the endangered bamboo-loving species, these three subway officers are doing their best to push our giant panda inside the carriage. Let’s hope the man/woman wearing the suit will not be late for his/her panda-related appointment.
The Perfect Timing
When we first glanced at this picture, we felt very disturbed and creeped out. But after taking a closer look, we have realized this man’s head isn’t yellow. This funny and perfectly-timed snap is the work of a talented subway photographer who knows all there is to know about pressing ‘shoot’ in the best possible moment.
The nails in the subway’s yellow holding bar are an excellent replacement for the human eyes. Its circular shape kind of looks like a sort of head when seen from the right perspective.
She Comes In Peace
A lot of people just wear simple clothes when they ride the subway and it looks like everyone just wants to be left in peace and unbothered. For the woman in the photo above, it looks like she was in the mood to turn heads on the subway that.
She wore what looks likes a knitted alien mask. It’s either she was sleeping under the mask and didn’t want to mind the world around her or she wanted to entertain people. Either way, we’re sure it was a great story she told her friends and family.
Time Stands Still
The types of subway snoozers are diverse and we have the standing sleepers like the woman above. Sometimes you simply can’t fight off the heavy eyes, and the motions of the subway can lull the best of us into a state of slumber.
This lady must have had a super early morning and she couldn’t resist catching a few minutes of sleep. Fortunately, she has a metal aid with her that’s providing chin support and possibly keeping her standing even with the bumps experienced during a subway ride. For her sake, we hope the ride wasn’t too short so that she can rejuvenate.
Cool Outfit, Bro
We all know that it’s best to mind your own business and avoid eye contact when riding the subway. That’s unless you enjoy small talk or even ride the subway as a way of meeting new people or making friends.
However, we would break this rule if we were in the same subway as the man in the dress holding what seems like a duck-shaped mini boat. He went all out and paired his grey dress with white stockings and we can’t help but wonder the story behind it all. The lady sitting nearby seems to be following her gut and decided to mind her own business.
Happy Feet Live At The London Underground
If you watched the movie called Happy Feet, then there’s a chance that you want to see a penguin in real life. For people in the London Underground, there was a day where the subway station was infested with penguins. Well, people in penguin costumes who didn’t have anything better to do that day.
It looks like all the people here were willing to spend money on this penguin train invasion because all their costumes are identical. They also completed the whole look by putting on face paint. The guy wearing the glasses on the right looked like he could care le
No, It’s Not A Tarantino Movie
Kids are adorably cute and when we come across them on the subway most of us can’t help making faces at them. This toddler, however, was out to leave other commuters in awe, showing off his flexible moves in sync with his mom.
Talk of a massive overdose of cuteness in one photo! It takes us back to when we were super flexible and can’t even recall it. The mom also gets points for going along with the picture-perfect move. We are sure this was a fun trip for the little one and also a memorable one.
Wow, Has Traffic Gotten That Bad?
Going back to the things that people bring on the subway ride along with them we wouldn’t have ever imagined seeing a car as one of them. The two conflicting modes of transportation barely makes sense, right? But we are once again proven wrong, and we have to wonder, was the traffic too much?
Also, how did he manage to get the automobile past the turnstiles? Maybe it’s a form of mobility support vehicle we don’t know about. Either way, he gets to enjoy the best of both worlds with his personalized choice of music, air conditioning, and comfortable seats.
Knitting Your Way To The Top
If you add up all the time we spend on the subway you’ll realize that it’s more than enough and also the best opportunity to pick up a new skill. You could polish your language skills by taking along books or audiotapes for the ride.
The man above decided to use the time to get some knitting done. He also seems to have gotten good at it because he’s donning a knitted ensemble which he probably worked on himself. He’s possibly an up and coming NYC designer who is ready to take the subway by storm.
It’s Always Training Time
Anna McNulty is a popular young YouTuber who is known for her series of flexibility videos and the photos she posts on her social media accounts. She’s even spawned several challenges with multiple people trying to achieve the ultra-flexible poses she does.
Above, she showed us how she passes the time when she’s waiting for the subway. We tip our hats at how she makes posing for the move look like she’s almost limbless. Great thing is that she offers flexibility tutorials on her YouTube channel and perhaps some of us who would like to learn a thing or two have hope.
Palmerston Island is located 2,000 miles northwest of New Zealand. The scenic white sand destination is home to 62 people, 59 of whom are direct descendants of a man named William Marsters, who settled the place. There are no shops or markets on Palmerston because the community does not use money except to purchase supplies from the outside world. Palmerston is typically visited by a supply ship twice a year, but it is not uncommon for residents to go up to 18 months without a shipment.
As long as you can hack the 8-day boat voyage from Tahiti, residents are very welcoming of visitors and invite them to stay in their personal homes. You won’t be roughing it completely – there are two telephones on the island, as well as 6 hours per day of electricity and 4 hours of internet access.
2. Supai Village, Arizona
Despite the fact that the Grand Canyon is one of the most visited locations in the United States, nearby Supai Village is visited much less often. The tribal center of the Havasupai Tribe, Supai is a remote village located in the southwestern branch of the canyon. Tourists are welcome at the protected reservation, but it takes a rugged 8-mile hike or horseback ride, unless you can snag a helicopter.
Havasupai means “People of the Green Blue Waters” in reference to the four beautiful waterfalls to be found along the Havasu Creek. The waterfalls serve as the community’s water source. The 208 permanent residents get their mail via mule.
3. Oymyakon, Russia
If you’re a fan of extremes, you may want to put Oymyakon, Russia on your bucket list. This remote location is the coldest continually inhabited place on the planet, with average temperatures of -58 degrees. To get there, fly from Moscow to either Takutsk or Magadan, which will put you about 560 miles away. Then it’s a treacherous drive on the “Road of Bones” to Oymyakon.
There is no running water because everything is frozen, so be prepared to use an outhouse – quickly! It is impossible to grow crops in this climate, so typical meals include frozen fish, reindeer meat, and (get ready for this) ice cubes of horse blood with macaroni. Somewhere around 500 residents make their lives in this frozen locale, a place that experiences 21 hours a day of darkness.
4. Pitcairn Island, British Overseas Territory
You may be familiar with the story “Mutiny on the Bounty,” and if you are, you’ll recognize Pitcairn Island as the location settled in 1790 by the mutineers from that tale. There were earlier settlers, however, as the mutineers discovered the remains of a Polynesian establishment, including earthen ovens, burial sites, and stone gods.
Pitcairn Island is a British Overseas Territory located 3,300 miles from New Zealand, which plays the role of the island’s administrative headquarters. Today 50 people call Pitcairn their home. Tourists who undertake a 32-hour yacht ride visit regularly, but rarely does a new resident settle there.
5. Siwa Oasis, Egypt
Despite being the historically exciting location of Cleopatra’s Bath, the Siwa Oasis is not regularly visited because it is a 5-hour bus ride from Cairo. But the area’s isolation in the middle of the Western Desert has kept the residents’ Siwi language and Amazigh culture very well preserved.
If you can handle the bus ride, you will be rewarded with the chance to swim in Cleopatra’s Bath, a luxurious mineral spring, as well as sample delicious locally-grown olives and dates. There is an eco-lodge built of mud and salt available to house visitors.
6. Socotra Island, Yemen
Socotra Island is unusual in that it has 40,000 residents yet only built its first road in 2011. It is also home to 800 rare species of plants, some with such odd shapes that they look like they came from another planet. In fact, the unusual appearance of these plants, 1/3 of which cannot be found anywhere else on Earth, is evidence of life’s ability to adapt to the environment.
The island is located about 400 miles from the capital of Yemen and has a tropical desert climate. You can fly there from Sanaa.
7. Tristan da Cuhna
This remote island is volcanic, but that doesn’t stop about 258 people from calling it home. And there are many creature comforts to be found on Tristan da Cunha, including stores, schools, churches, and a hospital. There is no electrical grid, but residents do have gas generators for power.
The island was named by its discoverer, who gave the place his moniker but never actually set foot upon it. Today, the island is a British territory. To visit, you must plan carefully. It is a 1,732 mile boat ride from Cape Town, South Africa, and ships visit the island only 9 times per year.
8. Utqiagvik, Alaska (Barrow)
This frigid city has two names. Barrow was the name given in honor of Sir John Barrow, 2nd Secretary of the British Admiralty, though it is not clear why. But archeological evidence suggests that people have been living there since at least AD 500. The native people call the city Utqiagvik.
Despite the 3-month “warm” season consisting of temperatures around 36F (cold season averages 3F with 65 straight days of darkness), an impressive 4,429 people make their home in Utqiagvik. They heat their homes with natural gas and have water and sewer service, as well as phone, mail, radio, cable, and internet. There are hotels and restaurants. However, the city is only accessible via a 1 ½ hour plane ride from Anchorage.
9. La Rinconada, Peru
Located high in the Andes Mountains, La Rinconada is the kind of place you might like to say you’ve been, but you won’t want to linger long. At over 16,000 feet, it is the highest human habitation in the world. Visitors often experience symptoms of altitude sickness, including headaches, nausea, and shortness of breath.
About 50,000 people live there due to a gold rush in the early 2000s, but the majority live below the poverty line in a community with no amenities, infrastructure, or plumbing. There are no real roads, but a 6 hour ride from the closest city will get you close enough to hike up.
10. Bantam, Cocos (Keeling) Islands
The isolation of the Cocos Islands, located about 1,700 miles from Perth, Australia, has kept the traditional oral language and religious and cultural practices of the native Cocos Malay thriving. About 600 people call the islands their home.
But despite its isolation, the area also invites tourism. Residents are welcoming and have made efforts to provide activities like snorkeling, surfing, kitesurfing, and bird watching available to visitors. There are flights twice a week from Perth.
11. Changtang, Tibet
Though not quite as high as La Rinconada, Tibet’s Chantang is up there with an altitude range of 4,000 to 9,000 feet. Colloquially called “The Roof of the World,” this 990-mile stretch of plateau is inhabited only by nomadic people called the Changpa. Of course, a variety of wildlife also call the place home, especially snow leopards and yaks.
If you like the idea of roughing it in Chantang’s cold, arid climate, you can access the area via Leh Airport, Udhampur Railway Station, or in a vehicle from Manali or Srinagar. However, you’ll need a permit to enter, and those can cost several thousand dollars.
So where will you go first? Is a warm private island in your future, or do you plan to rough it in the frigid temps near the top of the world? The isolated life certainly has its charms, and we can understand why the residents of these 11 remote places are happy where they are.
Though you might not be ready to completely eschew the convenience of drive-through restaurants and smartphones, any one of these locations would make an educational and worthwhile vacation.
Humans have been battling viruses since before our species had even evolved into its modern form. For some viral diseases, vaccines and antiviral drugs have allowed us to keep infections from spreading widely, and have helped sick people recover. For one disease — smallpox — we’ve been able to eradicate it, ridding the world of new cases.
The strain that is driving the current epidemic, Ebola Zaire, kills up to 90 percent of the people it infects, making it the most lethal member of the Ebola family. “It couldn’t be worse,” said Elke Muhlberger, an Ebola virus expert and associate professor of microbiology at Boston University.
But there are other viruses out there that are equally deadly, and some that are even deadlier. Here are the nine worst killers, based on the likelihood that a person will die if they are infected with one of them, the sheer numbers of people they have killed, and whether they represent a growing threat.
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Scientists identified Marburg virus in 1967, when small outbreaks occurred among lab workers in Germany who were exposed to infected monkeys imported from Uganda. Marburg virus is similar to Ebola in that both can cause hemorrhagic fever, meaning that infected people develop high fevers and bleeding throughout the body that can lead to shock, organ failure and death.
The mortality rate in the first outbreak was 25 percent, but it was more than 80 percent in the 1998-2000 outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as in the 2005 outbreak in Angola, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
The first known Ebola outbreaks in humans struck simultaneously in the Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1976. Ebola is spread through contact with blood or other body fluids, or tissue from infected people or animals. The known strains vary dramatically in their deadliness, Muhlberger said.
One strain, Ebola Reston, doesn’t even make people sick. But for the Bundibugyo strain, the fatality rate is up to 50 percent, and it is up to 71 percent percent for the Sudan strain, according to WHO.
The outbreak underway in West Africa began in early 2014, and is the largest and most complex outbreak of the disease to date, according to WHO.
Although rabies vaccines for pets, which were introduced in the 1920s, have helped make the disease exceedingly rare in the developed world, this condition remains a serious problem in India and parts of Africa.
“It destroys the brain, it’s a really, really bad disease,” Muhlberger said. “We have a vaccine against rabies, and we have antibodies that work against rabies, so if someone gets bitten by a rabid animal we can treat this person,” she said.
However, she said, “if you don’t get treatment, there’s a 100 percent possibility you will die.”
In the modern world, the deadliest virus of all may be HIV. “It is still the one that is the biggest killer,” said Dr. Amesh Adalja, an infectious disease physician and spokesman for the Infectious Disease Society of America.
An estimated 36 million people have died from HIV since the disease was first recognized in the early 1980s. “The infectious disease that takes the biggest toll on mankind right now is HIV,” Adalja said.
Powerful antiviral drugs have made it possible for people to live for years with HIV. But the disease continues to devastate many low- and middle-income countries, where 95 percent of new HIV infections occur. Nearly 1 in every 20 adults in Sub-Saharan Africa is HIV-positive, according to WHO.
In 1980, the World Health Assembly declared the world free of smallpox. But before that, humans battled smallpox for thousands of years, and the disease killed about 1 in 3 of those it infected. It left survivors with deep, permanent scars and, often, blindness.
Mortality rates were far higher in populations outside of Europe, where people had little contact with the virus before visitors brought it to their regions. For example, historians estimate 90 percent of the native population of the Americas died from smallpox introduced by European explorers. In the 20th century alone, smallpox killed 300 million people.
“It was something that had a huge burden on the planet, not just death but also blindness, and that’s what spurred the campaign to eradicate from the Earth,” Adalja said.
Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) first gained wide attention in the U.S. in 1993, when a healthy, young Navajo man and his fiancée living in the Four Corners area of the United States died within days of developing shortness of breath. A few months later, health authorities isolated hantavirus from a deer mouse living in the home of one of the infected people. More than 600 people in the U.S. have now contracted HPS, and 36 percent have died from the disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Previously, a different hantavirus caused an outbreak in the early 1950s, during the Korean War, according to a 2010 paper in the journal Clinical Microbiology Reviews. More than 3,000 troops became infected, and about 12 percent of them died.
While the virus was new to Western medicine when it was discovered in the U.S., researchers realized later that Navajo medical traditions describe a similar illness, and linked the disease to mice.
During a typical flu season, up to 500,000 people worldwide will die from the illness, according to WHO. But occasionally, when a new flu strain emerges, a pandemic results with a faster spread of disease and, often, higher mortality rates.
The most deadly flu pandemic, sometimes called the Spanish flu, began in 1918 and sickened up to 40 percent of the world’s population, killing an estimated 50 million people.
“I think that it is possible that something like the 1918 flu outbreak could occur again,” Muhlberger said. “If a new influenza strain found its way in the human population,and could be transmitted easily between humans, and caused severe illness, we would have a big problem.”
Dengue virus first appeared in the 1950s in the Philippines and Thailand, and has since spread throughout the tropical and subtropical regions of the globe. Up to 40 percent of the world’s population now lives in areas where dengue is endemic, and the disease — with the mosquitoes that carry it — is likely to spread farther as the world warms.
Dengue sickens 50 to 100 million people a year, according to WHO. Although the mortality rate for dengue fever is lower than some other viruses, at 2.5 percent, the virus can cause an Ebola-like disease called dengue hemorrhagic fever, and that condition has a mortality rate of 20 percent if left untreated.
“We really need to think more about dengue virus because it is a real threat to us,” Muhlberger said. There is no current vaccine against dengue, but large clinical trials of an experimental vaccine developed by French drug maker Sanofi have had promising results.
Two vaccines are now available to protect children from rotavirus, the leading cause of severe diarrheal illness among babies and young children. The virus can spread rapidly, through what researchers call the fecal-oral route (meaning that small particles of feces end up being consumed).
Although children in the developed world rarely die from rotavirus infection, the disease is a killer in the developing world, where rehydration treatments are not widely available.
The WHO estimates that worldwide, 453,000 children younger than age 5 died from rotavirus infection in 2008. But countries that have introduced the vaccine have reported sharp declines in rotavirus hospitalizations and deaths.
A newly identified coronavirus has been spreading in China, and has now reached several other countries. As the number of confirmed cases and deaths continue to rise, health officials are working on all fronts to learn more about the virus and put measure into place to curtail its spread. Here’s a look at what you need to know about the virus, now called 2019-nCoV.
What is a coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause respiratory illnesses such as the common cold, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Most people get infected with coronaviruses at one point in their lives, but symptoms are typically mild to moderate. In some cases, the viruses can cause lower-respiratory tract illnesses such as pneumonia and bronchitis.
These viruses are common amongst animals worldwide, but only a handful of them are known to affect humans. Rarely, coronaviruses can evolve and spread from animals to humans. This is what happened with the coronaviruses known as the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) and the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-Cov), both of which are known to cause more severe symptoms.
How many people have the new virus?
As of Jan. 24, there are more than 830 confirmed cases and 26 deaths linked to the 2019-nCoV virus in China, according to The Washington Post.
How far has the virus spread?
The first cases of the pneumonia-like virus were reported in Wuhan, China on Dec. 31, 2019. Since then, the virus has spread to various other countries, including Thailand, Japan, the Republic of Korea and the United States.
The first U.S. case was confirmed on Jan. 21 in a man in Washington state who had recently traveled to Wuhan. On Jan. 24, officials confirmed a second case in a woman from Chicago who had also recently traveled to the Chinese city. Both cases were hospitalized, but doing well, officials said.
The CDC is also investigating more than 60 people in 22 states for a possible infection with the new virus, officials said Friday (Jan. 24). Eleven of those people have so far tested negative for the virus.
Where did the virus come from?
Since the virus first popped up in Wuhan in people who had visited a local seafood and animal market, officials could only say it likely hopped from an animal to humans. In a new study, however, researchers sequenced the genes of 2019-nCoV (as the virus is now called), and then they compared it with the genetic sequences of more than 200 coronaviruses that infect various animals around the world. Their results, detailed in the Journal of Medical Virology, suggested that 2019-nCoV likely originated in snakes.
As for what kind of snake, the scientists noted there are two snakes that are common to southeastern China where the outbreak originated: the many-banded krait (Bungarus multicinctus) and the Chinese cobra (Naja atra).
However, some experts have criticized the study, saying it’s unclear if coronaviruses can indeed infect snakes.
How did the virus hop from animals to humans?
Some viruses are known to become capable of transmitting to humans, and this coronavirus is one of those. But how? The study published in the Journal of Medical Virology, revealing the likely snake host, also found that a change to one of the viral proteins in 2019-nCoV allows the virus to recognize and bind to receptors on certain host cells. This ability is a critical step to entering cells, and the researchers said that the change in this particular protein may have helped the virus hop to humans.
Can the virus spread between people?
Yes, in limited cases, according to the CDC, but the primary mode of transmission seems to be from animal to human. In terms of how one would catch the virus, the CDC says that human coronaviruses are most commonly spread between an infected person and others via:
—the air (from viral particles from a cough or sneeze);
—close personal contact (touching or shaking hands);
—an object or surface with viral particles on it (then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands);
—and rarely from fecal contamination.
How would this virus cause a pandemic?
In order for this virus, or any, to lead to a pandemic in humans, it needs to do three things: efficiently infect humans, replicate in humans and then spread easily among humans, Live Science previously reported. Right now, the CDC is saying this virus passes between humans in a limited manner, but they are still investigating.
How does the virus compare to SARS and MERS?
MERS and SARS have both been known to cause severe symptoms in people. It’s unclear how the new coronavirus will compare in severity, as it has caused severe symptoms and death in some patients while causing only mild illness in others, according to the CDC. All three of the coronaviruses can be transmitted between humans through close contact.
MERS, which was transmitted from touching infected camels or consuming their meat or milk, was first reported in 2012 in Saudi Arabia and has mostly been contained in the Arabian Peninsula, according to NPR. SARS was first reported in 2002 in southern China (no new cases have been reported since 2004) and is thought to have spread from bats that infected civets. The new coronavirus was likely transmitted from touching or eating an infected animal in Wuhan.
During the SARS outbreak, the virus killed about 1 in 10 people who were infected. The death rate from 2019-nCoV isn’t yet known, although most of the patients who have died from the infection have been older than 60 and have had preexisting conditions. However, more recently, a young healthy man died in Wuhan, raising concern that the virus might be more dangerous than thought, according to The Washington Post.
What are the symptoms of the new coronavirus and how do you treat it?
Symptoms of the new coronavirus include fever, cough and difficulty breathing. These symptoms are similar to those caused by SARS, according to a recent study published in the journal The Lancet.
Despite sharing some symptoms that were similar to SARS, there “are some important differences,” such as the absence of upper respiratory tract symptoms like runny nose, sneezing and sore throat and intestinal symptoms like diarrhea, which affected 20% to 25% of SARS patients, lead author Bin Cao, from the China-Japan Friendship Hospital and the Capital Medical University, both in Beijing, said in a statement.
There are no specific treatments for coronavirus infections and most people will recover on their own, according to the CDC. So treatment involves rest and medication to relieve symptoms. A humidifier or hot shower can help to relieve a sore throat and cough. If you are mildly sick, you should drink a lot of fluids and rest but if you are worried about your symptoms, you should see a healthcare provider, they wrote. (This is advice for all coronaviruses, not specifically aimed toward the new virus).
There is no vaccine for the new coronavirus but researchers at the U.S. National Institutes of Health confirmed they were in preliminary stages of developing one. In addition, the drug company Regeneron announced that it is in the early stages of developing a treatment for this virus, according to NBC News.
What is being done to stop the spread of the coronavirus?
Swedish sculptor Oscar Nilsson reconstructed the face of an 18-year-old young woman, dubbed Avgi, whose 9,000-year-old bones were found in a cave in central Greece. [Read more about the facial reconstruction]
A plastic 3D-printed skull was made based on scans of the original bones found in Greece. Nilsson used this replica as the base for his sculpture.
Layers of clay
Plastic pegs guided Nilsson as he added clay muscle to the face.
He faithfully recreated each individual muscle between the bone and the skin. Because of this meticulous process, each sculpture takes about 220 hours from start to finish.
For his reconstructions, Nilsson bases the thickness of the muscle and fat on scientists’ determination of the age, sex, weight, and ethnicity of the person he’s trying to recreate.
Avgi opens her eyes
Half of the skull is finally covered with clay “skin.”
A much more lifelike silicone “skin” is finally added over the face, complete with pores and wrinkles. Not much is known about Avgi’s life, but Nilsson hopes viewers could feel a connection with her by seeing her face.
Some say that two heads are better than one, but a grave in the Scotland Highlands dating to the 15th century held several heads too many.
Archaeologists counted six skulls in the grave when it was uncovered in 1997 at St. Colman’s Church in the fishing village of Portmahomack. Buried inside were two complete male skeletons and four additional skulls; this highly unusual “six-headed” burial likely held powerful members of a local clan, experts told Live Science.
Now, researchers are offering a glimpse at what one of those men may have looked like in life. Forensic experts recently reconstructed the craggy, freckled face of an occupant of that crowded grave, creating a highly detailed and glowering visage that included a generous, ginger neck beard.
The two complete skeletons in the grave likely belonged to successive clan chiefs, possibly killed during clashes with a neighboring clan, archaeologist Cecily Spall told Live Science in an email. Spall is a scientist with Field Archaeology Specialists (FAS) Heritage, a private company investigating historically significant sites. FAS and the University of Bradford in England have spent several years excavating St. Colman’s Church and the surrounding area, as part of the Tarbat Discovery Programme, according to the project website.
The grave was centrally located inside the ruins of the church near the entrance; this position hinted at the importance of the people who rested within the burial, FAS Heritage representatives said in a statement. St. Colman’s Church burned down sometime in the late 1400s, around the same time as a battle between the Ross and MacKay clans. The men in the grave may have lost their lives — and in some cases, their heads — during the conflict between those clans, the statement said.
Between 1994 and 2007, archaeologists at the site excavated 88 skeletons belonging to men, women and children. One group of bodies dated to between the 13th and 14th centuries, and another group was laid to rest during the 15th and 16th centuries, according to a report published in 2016 by the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.
Initially, the grave held just one complete skeleton, which lay on its back, that of a man who had suffered terrible sword wounds to his face. In fact, one of his injuries was so dire that it had nearly separated the man’s jaw from his head, Spall said. Four skulls without their lower jaws were arranged in the grave around the man’s head, though researchers don’t know if these belonged to family, friends or foes of the man.
Then, “perhaps a generation later,” the coffin was opened and the body of another man was added, researchers wrote in the report.
“The skull of the first man was moved to the foot of the coffin to make way for the second man’s head, which was then also surrounded by the extra skulls,” Spall said.
Researchers said that both of the men in the grave were likely between the ages of 46 and 59 years old when they died; burial rituals and the arrangement of these skeletons along with other bodies nearby suggest that the grave belonged to “a prominent family,” according to the report.
Scientists with Face Lab at the Liverpool School of Art and Design digitally modeled the face of the grave’s second clan leader. They sculpted his features by first calculating the average depth of facial soft tissue from datasets of modern European faces, Ching Yiu Jessica Liu, a Face Lab project manager, told Live Science in an email.
The researchers then used high-resolution facial textures to craft individual features “based on the morphology of the skull,” Liu said.
Further investigation of the six-skull burial will use techniques such as radiocarbon dating, DNA analysis and stable isotope analysis to uncover more clues about the burial, “including the date of both interments, the date(s) of the extra skulls, possible familial connections or shared ancestry, and physical appearance,” Spall said.