Science News Roundup: Chinese Astronauts Board Space Station Module on Historic Mission; China fossils reveal new species of extinct giant rhinos that roamed Asia and beyond
Below is a summary of the latest scientific news.
Chinese astronauts climb the space station module on a historic mission
Three Chinese astronauts flew to an unfinished space station in China’s first manned mission since 2016 on Thursday, expanding the country’s already growing low-Earth presence and challenging U.S. leadership in orbital space. The astronauts sailed to Tianhe on Shenzhou-12 or “Divine Ship” – the module that will be the living quarters of China’s completed space station. The crew boarded the module where they will live for three months, the longest stay in any Chinese citizen’s near-Earth orbit.
China fossils reveal new species of extinct giant rhinos that roamed Asia
Fossils found in northwest China’s Gansu Province indicate a new species of giant rhinoceros that lived more than 26 million years ago, according to an article published Thursday in the journal Communications Biology. The fossils, including a skull and two vertebrae, found in the reddish-brown sandstone of the Linxia Basin shed light on how the ancient rhinos, some of the largest land mammals of all time, evolved and migrated through what is now Asia.
Fish once called a “living fossil” surprise scientists again
The coelacanth – a wondrous fish believed to have died out along with the dinosaurs 66 million years ago before it was unexpectedly found alive and well off the east coast of South Africa in 1938 – offers even more surprises. Scientists said a new study of these large and nocturnal deep-sea creatures shows that they live about five times longer than previously thought – about a century – and that females carry their young for five years, the longest known gestation period of any animal.
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