As we've discussed before, the world is much bigger than those yowling marionettes at Disneyland would have us believe. We're still finding new places and things in it, despite having lived around these parts for 200,000 years or so. Every day, science discovers something fascinating in a part of the world that the human race had previously shrugged at and said, "Eh, it's probably just more rocks and shit." For example ...
#4. Scientists Discover a Trove of Untouched Species in Australian "Lost World"
For millions of years, a good chunk of land high in the Cape Melville mountain range of northern Australia has been isolated from the rest of the world, protected from Starbucks and McDonald's moving in and setting up shop by massive boulders and cliffs. No man had set foot there ... until last month, when a handful of scientists and their camera crew went for a stroll and discovered three species that had never been seen before.
Tim Laman/National Geographic
"What a coincidence, we've just discovered a new species, too: Annoyus photographia."
Among these new additions to Australia's already wacky fauna -- which evolved differently in part due to geographic isolation -- are a freakishly long gecko and a lizard that apparently had babies with a leaf.
"OUR LOVE WAS PURE!"
That's just what they found on the first expedition. Who knows what new animals they could discover and/or ancient curses they could unleash next?
#3. An Active Volcano Was Found Underneath Antarctica -- and It's Gonna Erupt (Eventually)
In a discovery that would give Al Gore night sweats, scientists reported earlier this month that right underneath the ice continent of Antarctica waits something that could melt the damn place like an unattended Popsicle: an active volcano, which researchers discovered with radio waves reflected from the features beneath the ice.
Blankenship and Young/Nature Geoscience
"The red dot's some other thing that popped up there, too. We sent the Norwegian team to check it out."
We've known for a while that there are volcanoes beneath Antarctica, but this is the first one that, judging by the tremors, is still alive and pissed off. Scientists fear that when (not "if") it eventually erupts, it could create "millions of gallons of water beneath the ice," which is probably bad news for anyone who owns beachside property and great news for everyone who owns almost-beachside property. But not all underground discoveries are so terrifying ...
#2. Kenya Finds 70 Years' Worth of Water Right Underneath Itself
The Turkana region of northern Kenya is mostly inhabited by nomadic herders and extremely thirsty people, since this is one of the driest places on Earth. Well, scientists recently found out there was another inhabitant there all along: massive, massive amounts of water right under the ground, which could supply the entire country with H2O for the next 70 years.
The number was reduced to 40 years after the celebratory wet T-shirt contest.
The hidden lake was found using satellite and radar technology and is said to be cleaner than groundwater. For this drought-stricken region, that's more awesome than striking a pool of oil that simultaneously shoots out gold nuggets and porn mags.
"Actually, projectile Hustlers have killed half my village."
#1. Explorers Find Huge-Ass Cave With Its Own Weather System
Last month, explorers crawling around the guts of China's giant caverns found a series of tunnels that led them to a system of even bigger caverns that had never been seen before. The system, soon named Er Wang Dong, is so huge that it was found to have its own weather. Yes, all of the world is now in awe of China's lush and beautiful Dong.
"Beavis and Butthead called. They want their jokes back." -The Cracked reception desk
The underground system, complete with its own forest, clouds, and river for Tomb Raider-style wading, includes tunnels and caves that are near impassable and can only be traversed with swims and ropes. Presumably they have also found chests and weapons conveniently scattered around the place and are consulting a YouTube tutorial to glitch past those impassable caves.
There's also a rumor that if you walk around the third stalagmite three times, the researchers will take their tops off.
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