An international team of researchers said they will soon begin analyzing cosmic particles collected inside Egypt’s Bent Pyramid to search for clues as to how it was built and learn more about the 4,600-year-old structure.

Mehdi Tayoubi, president of the Heritage Innovation Preservation Institute, said that plates planted inside the pyramid last month have collected data on radiographic particles known as muons that rain down from Earth’s atmosphere. The particles pass through empty spaces but can be absorbed or deflected by harder surfaces. By studying particle accumulations, scientists may learn more about the construction of the pyramid, built by the Pharaoh Snefru. It is believed to have been ancient Egypt’s first attempt to build a smooth-sided pyramid.

 

Bird die-off alarms experts

Tens of thousands of dead birds are washing up on the beaches of Alaska’s Prince William Sound, an unexplained mass die-off that some experts said may be related to the changing climate.

The birds, all of a species known as the common murre, appear to have starved to death, federal wildlife officials said, suggesting disruptions to the supply of herring and other fish that make up the birds’ diet. Even for a region that has seen die-offs of murres before, this event seems exceptional, local officials said. David Irons, a biologist who recently retired from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s migratory bird division, said: “Seabird biologists say seabirds are indicators of the health of the ecosystem. Now they’re dying, and that is telling us something.”

 

Ancient crocodile nearly size of bus

Paleontologists in Tunisia made a discovery of massive proportions: the world’s largest sea-dwelling crocodile, previously unknown to science.

This prehistoric crocodile is believed to have measured more than 30 feet long and weighed three tons. The skull alone is more than five feet long. Researchers named the new species the Machimosaurus rex and described their findings this week in the journal Cretaceous Research.

“Massive” is how lead author Federico Fanti of the University of Bologna described the crocodile. “It’s just big. It’s almost the size of a bus.”

This discovery is groundbreaking for other reasons; Fanti said this finding undermines previous theories about prehistoric life. This group of crocodiles was considered to have gone extinct about 150 million years ago at the end of the Jurassic Period, but this particular M. rex lived about 130 million years ago. “That’s leading us to consider the mass extinction theory is wrong,” Fanti said.

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