6. A perfectly frozen and preserved fossil of a million-year-old plant was found under the ice at a secret Cold War military camp in Greenland in 2019. It has revealed much about Greenland’s past geology and the world’s probable future.
In 1959, US Army Corps Engineering started building camp in Greenland. The project was named “Project Iceworm.” The goal was to construct a base that could hold hundreds of nuclear warheads and be within striking distance of the Soviet Union. The project eventually failed, and the place was abandoned.
It was only in 2019 that it was rediscovered, and scientists of the University of Vermont found some parts of a million-year-old plant. The fragments were so well preserved that it apparently looked like it had died just a day before the finding.
The researchers discovered that the entire ice of Greenland almost vanished at some point in history contrary to earlier findings that stated the ice was 2.6 million years old. These findings have some bearing now on ice sheet variability and the rate at which the world is going to face Global Warming in the future. (1, 2)
7. The “Children of Llullaillaco,” the mummies of three Inca children, were found in Argentina in 1999. The three children are said to be drugged and sacrificed during an Inca ritual.
This discovery was made by Johan Reinhard and his fellow archaeologists on 16 March 1999 near the summit of Llullaillaco at the height of 6,739 meters. The place lies between the Argentina-Chile borders.
The three children were forced inside a small chamber 1.5 meters beneath the ground and were left to die there. Inspections found that they were drugged and most probably sacrificed in the name of a religious Inca ritual around the year 1500.
One of the children was a 13-year-old girl, and the other two were younger than her, one boy and another a girl.
The hairs on their body were used for the analysis, and it was found that they consumed alcohol and coca heavily. The scientist who examined the body said that the bodies were so well preserved that it looked like they were just asleep. They were indeed the best-preserved Inca mummies, and also one of the most well-preserved mummies in the world.
The three mummies were declared as Argentina’s National Historic Properties on 20 June 2001 and since 2007, they have been kept in an exhibition in the Museum of High Altitude Archaeology in the city of Salta, Argentina. (1, 2)
8. A piece of a meteorite from Mars was found in Antarctica which potentially holds the discovery of life possibilities on Mars. The meteor was named “Allan Hills 84001” and was discovered in 1984.
A team of American meteor hunters discovered a fragment of a Martian meteorite in Allan Hills of Antarctica on 27 December 1984.
Allan Hills 84001 was apparently thought to have its origin on Mars, but it was technically different from its other counterparts from Mars in terms of its mass.
After strong research in 1996, a scientist claimed he discovered bacteria-based life on Mars from the microscopic fossils of bacteria they found on the meteorite. The news spread quickly and grabbed worldwide attention. Then-President Bill Clinton also made a speech on the possible discoveries.
Although the scientific community later rejected the hypothesis and all the unusual shreds of evidence were used to prove that there is no such possibility yet. Even if the event was controversial to begin with and later proved inappropriate, the initially published papers and public attention turned it into a historically significant event in the field of astrobiology. (1, 2)
9. The Iceman Otzi, a natural mummy of a man who lived between 3400 to 3100 BCE, was discovered on the border of Austria and Italy in 1991.
The name “Otzi| was derived from the place of its founding which is the Otzal Alps that lie between Austria and Italy. The age-old mummy was discovered by two German tourists named Elmquist and Erika Simon. They found Otzi at an elevation of 3,210 meters on 19 September 1991.
Soon, the body was transported to the University of Innsbruck and archaeologists started examining it. They found that Otzi was murdered because there was a clear arrowhead embedded in the left shoulder and there were other wounds on the body too.
The University of Innsbruck was only able to research the body until 1998. After that, the Italians demanded the precious discovery, and from then on, the corpse was displayed at the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano.
10. In 2016, a gold miner found a 57,000-year old puppy of a wolf in the Yukon Territory of Canada. It is the oldest fossil of a wolf ever found.
Neil Loveless was trying to take down a wall in permafrost with a water cannon. He was hoping to find some hidden gems or riches inside but saw something else, something weird melting out of ice.
It was a mummy of a wolf puppy which was 57,000 years old. The dead body of the frozen puppy is said to be the oldest and the most complete body of a wolf ever found.
It was the summertime of 2016 when Loveless found the mummified cub, so he quickly placed the body in the freezer before paleontologists arrived and took a look at the finding. The reports said that it was a juvenile, female puppy with all her body intact and only the eyes were missing.