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Science News Briefs from around the World: December 2023

The explosive secret behind Saturn’s rings, a Scandinavian arrow frozen for 4,000 years, the world's deepest-known virus, and much more in this month’s Quick Hits

CHINA

Scientists discovered by using contraband bits of the animals' natural armor confiscated in Hong Kong and Yunnan. The anteaterlike creatures are among the world's most trafficked animals, prized for meat and distinctive scales that some believe have medicinal properties.

NORWAY

Melting ice in Norway has revealed a 4,000-year-old arrow, probably shot by a hunter pursuing reindeer. A team of glacial archaeologists, racing against climate change to save thawing artifacts, stumbled on the weapon in the Jotunheimen mountain range.

PACIFIC OCEAN

A virus was discovered in the Mariana Trench almost 30,000 feet below the surface, the deepest a virus has been detected in the ocean. It infects bacteria found in deep-sea sediments and hydrothermal vents.

SATURN

A collision between two moons a few hundred million years ago may have formed . Simulations show how the crash scattered rock and ice, with some of the debris forming the present-day rings.

SOUTH AFRICA

A conservation group named African Parks will to protected areas across the continent over the next 10 years. The rhinos were purchased this year from a controversial captive-rhino breeding project.

TURKEY

A previously unknown Indo-European language, spoken 3,000 years ago, was at Boğazköy-Hattusa, the site of the ancient capital of the Hittite Empire. Researchers believe the text documents a foreign religious ritual of interest to Hittite scribes.

ZAMBIA

Two uncovered in a riverbed near Kalambo Falls, along with several wood tools, may be the oldest example to date of early humans using wood to build. The water-preserved logs were found fitted together with a carved notch.

Lori Youmshajekian is a New York City–based science journalist covering health and the environment. She was previously a TV and video journalist at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), where she focused on pandemic policy and international news. In 2020 she won two journalism awards for her contributions to a campaign supporting the survivors of sexual assault. She is currently pursuing her master's degree in science, health and environmental reporting at New York University. Follow Youmshajekian on X (formerly Twitter)
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ݮֱ Magazine Vol 329 Issue 5This article was originally published with the title “Quick Hits” in ݮֱ Magazine Vol. 329 No. 5 (), p. 17
doi:10.1038/scientificamerican1223-17