What’s New in the World of Science?

By Leong Qi Tyng – Contributing Writer

A new year brings new scientific discoveries. In this article, I summarised a few of the recent discoveries made by researchers around the world. While researching for this topic, I was amazed and excited to find that some of the new studies were published just a week ago!

  1. Trump, the moth

Via Wikipedia

Via Wikipedia


The poor moth was named after Donald Trump, all because it has golden flakes covering its tiny head. The Neopalpa donaldtrumpi was discovered by researcher Vazrick Nazari in California, and is native to southern California and the Mexican region of Baja California. Mr. Nazari hoped by naming the moth after Trump, the president would make the conservation of fragile ecosystems his top priority.

2. Aliens in Australia

Via Wikipedia

Via Wikipedia


Heavy rains in central Australia caused a sudden boom of alien-like creatures; a type of crustacean known as the Shield Shrimp, described by the Telegraph as looking “more like an alien tadpole with double-pronged tail.” One of the species in Australia, the Triops australiensis, is commonly found in the middle of the continent. Its eggs will remain dormant for years until there is significant rain, which will trigger a population explosion, and the eggs can survive for years in the desert clay before hatching. Although not considered a true shrimp, it belongs to a crustacean group known as Branchiopods. This means that they have gill feet: leaf-like and lobed, each bearing a gill plate to enable them to breathe.

3. What happened to the woolly giants in St Paul Island?

Via Wikipedia

Via Wikipedia


Researchers estimated that mammoths disappeared from North America’s mainland 10000 to 14000 years ago. However, the mammoths on St. Paul Island, Alaska, persisted for millennia after that. The mammoths survived even longer on Wrangel Island, deep in the Russian Arctic, the Wrangel mammoths were alive even as Egypt erected its great pyramids.

St. Paul wasn’t always an island: around 11000 years ago, climate change rose temperatures and made the sea level rise, turning the area into an island over the next 2000 years. This trapped the mammoths and the isolation protected the mammoths for a while.

So, what killed the mammoths? Thirst. The combination of the diminished size of the island, rising temperatures, and erosion caused by the mammoths themselves led to the fouling of their own water. According to Russell Graham, a paleontologist from Pennsylvania State University, elephants need 70 to 200 litres of fresh water every day – mammoths were no different.

4. Turf wars: fairy circles in Namibian desert not done by Tinkerbell

Via Wikipedia

Via Wikipedia