Tall Tales

Brian Cox says universe could have 200bn alien civilisations

And other stories from the stranger side of life

Physicist Brian Cox has said there could be as many as 200 billion alien civilisations in the universe. As speculation grows that we are not alone, the space expert said: “There have to be other civilisations in the universe. I can’t imagine we are the only one.” Speculating on what form these civilisations may take, he added: “We’d all like ET to be real. We’d like ET to arrive. But we don’t want Darth Vader coming down.”

Worms survive 24,000 years in Siberian frost

A microscopic worm-like creature, which has thrived for millions of years without having sex, has now been shown to endure for at least 24,000 years in Siberian permafrost before reproducing. Experts say the bdelloid rotifers, which have a complete digestive tract that includes a mouth and anus, survive by halting all activity and almost entirely arresting their metabolism. Their persistence has led to them being dubbed an “evolutionary scandal”.

Massive dinosaur discovered down under

A new species of dinosaur discovered in Queensland has been officially recognised as the largest ever found in Australia and among the biggest in the world. It is believed that the Australotitan cooperensis, a plant-eating dinosaur of the family known as titanosaurs, lived between 92 million and 96 million years ago. Experts said the colossal creature would have been up to 6.5m (21ft) tall and 30m long, or “as long as a basketball court”.

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