3 Riddles Solved by Scientists

Why do stones “crawl”, starlings “dance”, and a dying person sees a light at the end of the tunnel?

Science does not stand still. Humanity and technology have even made it possible for each of us to have fun at home online, for example on the 22Bet login website.

What was considered a phenomenon and an unsolvable riddle yesterday has received evidence-based scientific explanations today. Read about the most amazing secrets that scientists have revealed in this article below.

The Phenomenon of Human Growth

With each generation, people are getting taller. This natural phenomenon has recently been studied in detail and described by scientists using the example of the Dutch — the highest nation on Earth. Over the past 200 years, the inhabitants of the Netherlands have grown by about 20 cm. The average height of a man was 1.84 m, women – 1.71 m. Trying to understand the reasons for such rapid growth of the nation, a team of specialists analyzed a database of 94,516 residents of three northern provinces of the country. 

Scientists took into account only people over 45 years old who were born in the Netherlands to Dutch parents. It turned out that in the period from 1935 to 1967, most children were born to tall men. Women chose higher partners, as growth was associated with better health, a good level of education, and income. The growth spurt demonstrated by the Dutch can serve as a clear example of human evolution in action and proof that it has not ended yet, scientists say. “This study proves that the human population is still subject to natural selection,” said Stephen Stearns, a biologist at Yale University.

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Crawling Stones

Self-moving stones that literally “crawl” over a dried—up lake in Death Valley, a national park in the USA, have been under the close attention of scientists since the late 1940s. During this time, a lot of hypotheses were put forward to explain the geological phenomenon: about a hurricane wind, the effects of magnetic fields, and an anomalous zone, there was even an assumption that the stones were moved by park workers. There were always more questions than answers. Is the wind able to move a boulder weighing up to 350 kg at a distance of up to 200 m? Why do the stones move randomly, without a common direction? Why do some of them remain motionless? And where, finally, do the boulders disappear, from which only traces remain?

In 2011, a team of researchers from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography started an experiment. Scientists installed a weather station in the Valley of Death and brought 15 boulders equipped with GPS receivers to the lake. The National Park management forbade experimenting with native stones in the Valley of Death. Three-year observations allowed us to confirm one of the hypotheses expressed earlier: stones roll under the influence of wind force, and this happens only in winter, when ice crusts form on the boulders on frosty nights, acting as a sail. At the same time, scientists managed to whitewash tourists in the eyes of park rangers — they believed that empty paths from the stones prove that visitors steal valuable “exhibits”. The researchers convinced them that these were just traces of melted ice floes.

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Murmuration of Birds

The incredibly spectacular flight of flocks of starlings is scientifically called a murmuration. This phenomenon, more like a dance or an air show because of the amazing celestial figures appearing in the sky, was one of the main mysteries for ornithologists. Scientists had several hypotheses about how and why thousands of birds gather in huge flocks and arrange a show in the sky. Some experts believe that such flights are needed by birds to exchange information about where to fly and where there are places with food. Others believed that dancing helped starlings defend themselves from enemies by misleading and intimidating them. 

Even complex algorithmic models did not help to explain this natural phenomenon. However, last year scientists from the University of Warwick in the UK made an important discovery. They explained the phenomenon of a murmuration of starlings using the dynamics of dark and light spots in a flying flock. It was noticed that each starling in a giant flock takes such a position that light falls on it from all sides. This makes it possible to get maximum information during flight. All the figures and changes in the mass “dance” occur because starlings maintain this state of extreme transparency, changing their position depending on sunlight.

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