10 Weird Discoveries That Science Can't Explain
Just because scientists can see, observe, and study something doesn't mean they're able to fully explain it. In this Archive, we're going to explore ten things that exist - though we can't figure out how or why they do.
10. Why Do We Dream?
Have you ever woken up from a horrific dream and wondered why your brain did that to you? Well, nobody has an answer, really. We know that we do dream, but scientists aren't sure why we do. Theories are thrown around involving forms of memory processing that consolidates short-term to long-term memories, an extension of waking consciousness, the brain's response to biochemical and electrical changes that occur during sleep, and the brain's means of preparing for threatening events and dangers. Have fun pondering over those concepts the next time you're lying awake, waiting for sleep to take you.
9. The Mars Hole
We know that the surface of Mars is a cratered mess, but there's a feature that was discovered in 2017 near the planet's South Pole that has left NASA scientists perplexed. Amidst the expected planet-wide pockmarks is a pit that's quite a bit deeper than expected. Though it's known that meteorite impacts have altered Mars' terrain, there's no indication of what caused the deep pit. Imaging of the odd feature has shown that ice does form at its base, but that doesn't help determine what caused the near 1,000-foot hole. For now, it remains one of the many mysteries of space.
8. The Tully Fish
Look at this ugly thing. It looks like something you'd create in Spore. Nobody? Eh, moving on. The Tully Fish was an ancient sea creature that created a series of debates among scientists, one that was thought to have ended in 2017 when it was classified as a vertebrate. Unhappy with that answer, however, another group of researchers have stepped in to say the aquatic creature could not have been a fish. And so, we're back at square one. There is only one species of Tully Fish, the T. gregarium, and the only fossils to be discovered were in the Mazon Creek fossil beds of Illinois. While scientists are still going back and forth, I'm sticking with Spore. Okay, fine. Nobody plays that anymore.
7. Humpback Super-Groups
The first important question to answer is "what is a humpback supergroup." In short, it's a large group of humpbacks, as many as 200, observed together in one location. Fairly simple answer, but that doesn't answer the pressing question that remains - why are they grouping together in regions they otherwise wouldn't? According to a paper published in the journal Plos One, why the supergroups are forming "remains speculative," but one of the more popular answers deals with a changing ecosystem that's dwindling the presence of humpback prey. A far less exciting reason is that this isn't really new behavior - we just haven't observed it yet.
6. The Great Pyramid of Giza Cavities
In 2016, the ScanPyramids project, which scanned the interiors of the Old Kingdom pyramids of Egypt using various technologies, uncovered two unknown cavities in the Great Pyramid of Giza. The team of researchers from Cairo University's Faculty of Engineering and a Paris-based non-profit known as Heritage Innovation and Preservation, discovered one cavity 345-feet from the ground on the northeastern edge of the pyramid and a second "void" located on the northern side by the upper part of the entrance gate. Further research provided them a 3D scan of the cavities for further study, but there is still no answers as to what they were used for.
5. Earthquake Booms
We've covered them in prior Archives, the unmistakable boom that sometimes happens before an earthquake hits. They're nothing new and there are plenty of videos online about them, but why do they occur? According to the United States Geological Survey, these naturally occurring booms are a mystery, but scientists predict they may be connected to shallow earthquakes that aren't recorded by seismographs. Whatever their cause, they are haunting noises that sound more like a signal of the apocalypse.
4. Blood Types
Why we have different blood types is a question that probably hasn't crossed your mind yet. We just kind of accept it. In 1900, Karl Landsteiner first discovered blood types and, since then, it's been a battle to uncover everything about them. As University of California biologist Ajit Varki puts it, "We still don't know exactly what they're for." One proposed reason for their existence relates to diseases, specifically the prevalence of Type O blood in regions with high cases of malaria. Based on this research, it's believed that blood type was an evolutionary advantage intended to ward off diseases as malaria has a hard time infected Type O blood cells. It's not a definitive answer, however, and the question remains.
3. The Space Roar
In 2009, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center sent the Absolute Radiometer for Cosmology, Astrophysics, and Diffuse Emission (ARCADE) into space in search of radiation from the universe's earliest stars. What it wound up picking up, however, was a large amount of radio noise that's become known as the "space roar." At six times louder than what scientists expected, the "space roar" is an anomaly, with several theories in place to try and explain it. Some scientists think it's a remnant from the earliest stars while others believe it's coming from gases in large galaxy clusters. Unfortunately, nobody thinks that it's aliens.
2. Star Jelly
On multiple occasions around the globe, gelatinous blobs have been reported falling from the sky. In Texas, Scotland, the United Kingdom - it's a worldwide occurrence that nobody can quite get a grasp on. Though scientists have studied samples of the jelly, they're unable to determine its precise origin. In the 18th century, Thomas Pennant believed it to be a material "vomited up by birds or animals," such as frog spawn that amphibian-eating avian are gobbling up and regurgitating. Problem is, the jelly is quite large for frog spawn. The National Geographic Society even commissioned scientists to perform tests, but no traces of DNA were found.
1. The Light of KIC 8462852
Also known as Tabby's Star or Boyajian's Star, the F-type main-sequence star in the Cygnus constellation, more than 1,470 light-years away from Earth, has an unusual trait that researchers can't quite pin down. At certain points in time, light from the star fluctuates, sometimes up to 22% dimmer, and nobody really knows why. There are several theories, including a circumstellar dust ring, a planetary debris field, a nearby planet with oscillating rings, and the star's consumption of a planet; but our favorite is the hypothesis of an artificial megastructure. Maybe it's not the most popular theory - but it's definitely the most fun.
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