One of the biggest problems with volumetric displays is the difficulty in portraying shading of object surfaces and displaying opaque objects, both of which are common in real-world situations. To improve these traits, the researchers developed a new technique that modifies the original input data in such a way as to allow the light rays to produce more shading and darkening effects. They call the modified dataset a “lumi-volume.” The researchers demonstrated that, when they fed the lumi-volume data into the IEVD, the emitted light field and image contained shading effects as good as the shading found in images rendered on a traditional 2D computer screen – an achievement that was once thought to be impossible. The technique could also generate better quality opaque objects.“Our paper mathematically formalizes the rendering equation/model for these displays, minimizing the difference between the intended 3D output and the actual one,” Mora told PhysOrg.com. “Without such formalization, shading cannot be kept under control. This can be compared with the traditional use of such a display by spatially lighting and coloring the 3D object’s surface, which is intuitive from a modeling point of view, but, unfortunately, cannot reproduce proper shading.” (Left) The Perspecta volumetric display generates 3D images, and is based on a sweeping plane that performs 24 rotations per second. (Right) A 3D volumetric image of a rabbit. Image credit: Benjamin Mora, et al. (Left) A 3D volumetric image of a tower, based on a 2D rendering from a computer. (Right) A 3D volumetric image of a face. Image credit: Benjamin Mora, et al. (PhysOrg.com) — Volumetric 3D displays have been around for nearly a century, but they face several challenges that have prevented their use in widespread applications. Recently, a team of researchers from the UK and the US have made some significant improvements that may pave the way toward commercializing volumetric displays for 3D viewing. Volumetric displays involve thousands of 3D pixels (or “voxels” for “volume elements”) that either absorb or emit light from an “isotropically emissive light device” (IEVD). The voxels are projected onto a screen that rotates 24 times per second, creating a 3D image. Because the image is composed of either the presence of absence of light, it creates an X-ray-like effect of the input data. Ideally, the technique could be used for data visualization, such as viewing complex mathematical surfaces, technical designs, and biological and chemical structures, as well as for entertainment purposes.Researchers Benjamin Mora and Min Chen of Swansea University in Singleton Park, Swansea, UK, along with Ross Maciejewski and David S. Ebert of the Purdue School of Electrical and Computer Engineering in West Lafayette, Indiana, US, have developed a technique that improves the image quality in volumetric 3D displays. Their study will appear in an upcoming issue of IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics. Volumetric 3D displays have several inherent advantages compared with other kinds of 3D displays. For instance, viewers don’t need to wear special glasses, but can still observe the 3D scene from multiple angles and depths. Also, unlike holographic techniques, volumetric displays don’t require extremely large amounts of computation for data processing. And now, the shading effects can capture surface curvature and texture to provide improved image quality.“3D displays have several advantages when compared to similar techniques,” Mora said. “Stereo techniques need either special glasses or special 3D screens, which may not suit every user. Other more complex 3D devices use multiplex images on a horizontal axis, but not on the vertical axis. This may result in a distorted 3D image if the user is not located at a pre-defined distance from the display.”Further improvements are still needed before immediately jumping to applications, the researchers said. But they expect that this study will stimulate further research into hardware improvements, increasing the field of view, and reducing transparency effects. They suggest that some of these problems might be solved by projecting two images onto opposite sides of the rotating screen, enabling the use of two different lumi-volumes and better quality renderings.Eventually, volumetric 3D displays could be easily incorporated into a future computer system as a second monitor. The 3D monitor could have applications in data visualization, medical and military training, and movies and games.“Virtually any 2D application could eventually be ported to a 3D volumetric display system and then experience some visual improvement,” Mora said. “However, current technology limits prevent these devices from going mainstream. Thus, 3D displays are mainly suitable to domains like entertainment, education, and scientific visualization. For instance, gaming or watching a video on such a display may not yet be ideal due to a lack of power on current processors; however, this technology can already be deployed in museums for showcasing virtual objects. Also, these devices have strong potential for estimating the visual impact of objects (e.g., car design, buildings, etc.) in their environment and the interpretation of complex 3D datasets and medical images, although more user studies there would be needed.” More information: Mora, Benjamin; Maciejewski, Ross; Chen, Min; and Ebert, David S. “Visualization and Computer Graphics on Isotropically Emissive Volumetric Displays.” IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics. To be published.Copyright 2008 PhysOrg.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without the express written permission of PhysOrg.com. Explore further This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Images in the air: Researchers turn to femtosecond lasers Citation: Improved Volumetric Displays May Lead to 3D Computer Monitors (2008, December 22) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2008-12-volumetric-3d.html
Simulation of the X-ray binary system Swift J1357.2-0933. In this view, the dips produced by the vertical structure are maxima. Credit: Gabriel Perez Diaz, Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias (Servicio MultiMedia) Play Simulation of the X-ray binary system Swift J1357.2-0933. The system is formed by a “normal” star which is transferring material (through an accretion disc) into a black hole. The simulation starts with a top view of the system and then moves to perspective of the system as seen from Earth. The system has a large inclination which allowed the team to observe an obscuring vertical structure in the accretion disc. This structure produces eclipses or dips to the light coming from the inner parts of the disc (close to the black hole). In the top-left panel we see these dips. Moreover, the vertical structure moves outward with the days which produces an increase in the dip recurrence period as shown in the top-right panel. Credit: Gabriel Perez Diaz, Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias (Servicio MultiMedia) That the structure appears capable of hiding the black hole from view is important because space researchers have been baffled by the apparent lack of black holes that should be evident in observations made from Earth. After a half century of study and analysis, only 18 have been confirmed to exist in the Milky Way and none of those have an eclipse that would cause X-ray emissions to be blocked. Scientists have theorized that many black holes cannot be seen due to the angle at which they exist relative to us—this new research suggests it could also be due to structures similar to the one observed in the accretion disk of Swift J1357.2, blocking their X-ray emissions. PausePlay% buffered00:0000:00UnmuteMuteDisable captionsEnable captionsSettingsCaptionsDisabledQuality0SpeedNormalCaptionsGo back to previous menuQualityGo back to previous menuSpeedGo back to previous menu0.5×0.75×Normal1.25×1.5×1.75×2×Exit fullscreenEnter fullscreen This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. © 2013 Phys.org PausePlay% buffered00:0000:00UnmuteMuteDisable captionsEnable captionsSettingsCaptionsDisabledQuality0SpeedNormalCaptionsGo back to previous menuQualityGo back to previous menuSpeedGo back to previous menu0.5×0.75×Normal1.25×1.5×1.75×2×Exit fullscreenEnter fullscreen More information: A Black Hole Nova Obscured by an Inner Disk Torus, Science, 1 March 2013: Vol. 339 no. 6123 pp. 1048-1051. DOI: 10.1126/science.1228222ABSTRACTStellar-mass black holes (BHs) are mostly found in x-ray transients, a subclass of x-ray binaries that exhibit violent outbursts. None of the 50 galactic BHs known show eclipses, which is surprising for a random distribution of inclinations. Swift J1357.2−093313 is a very faint x-ray transient detected in 2011. On the basis of spectroscopic evidence, we show that it contains a BH in a 2.8-hour orbital period. Further, high–time-resolution optical light curves display profound dips without x-ray counterparts. The observed properties are best explained by the presence of an obscuring toroidal structure moving outward in the inner disk, seen at very high inclination. This observational feature should play a key role in models of inner accretion flows and jet collimation mechanisms in stellar-mass BHs. Explore further Citation: Researchers find ‘structure’ in black hole accretion disk (2013, March 1) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-03-black-hole-accretion-disk.html Play Video showing a different point of view of the X-ray binary system. Credit: Gabriel Perez Diaz, Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias (Servicio MultiMedia) The researchers don’t know what the structure is, but have found that it does not demonstrate periodic variation, an indication that it’s vertical, and that it is capable of hiding the black hole from view. They report also that it behaves like a wave, moving through the disk in an outward direction, which accounts for the rapid dimming. (Phys.org)—A team of researchers working at the Astrophysical Institute of the Canary Islands has found evidence of a previously unknown structure in the accretion disk of a black hole that is part of an X-ray binary system. The structure, as they describe in their paper published in the journal Science, presents itself with a wave like movement through the disk, moving outward. Computer model shows strong magnetic fields may alter alignment of black hole accretion disks and plasma jets Journal information: Science A binary system, is of course, one made of two components—sometimes two stars, others times as with Swift J1357.2, a star and a black hole—the remnant of a star that exploded. In the latter case, the binary is known as an X-ray binary system because the accretion disk that develops between the two occasionally emits X-rays. The accretion disk is a mass of material that has been pulled from the star by the black hole. In this new research, the team has found evidence of a structure on the outer portion of the accretion disk that causes a dimming of the system—one that cannot be explained by the companion stars’ orbit around the system’s center of mass, which in this case, is one of the shortest ever seen, just 2.8 hours. The dimming, the researchers report occurs sometimes as often as every few seconds.
Salmon sickness detected in farmed Canadian fish Citation: Study exposes possible reason for ‘drop out’ fish in aquaculture salmon farms (2016, May 25) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2016-05-exposes-fish-aquaculture-salmon-farms.html As the world continues to yearn for ever more sources of food, some entities had taken to fish farming as a way to provide sustainable seafood yields. But, as the business matures, most have noted losses that occur in the form of “drop out” fish—individual fish which do not grow as large as others, become morose, cease moving around and eventually die or get tossed into the trash pile. To date, because the science of fish farming is still somewhat new, little is known about such “drop out” fish, or if something can be done to prevent them from occurring, thereby reducing losses.To learn more, the researches obtained many samples of such fish, along with healthy fish taken from the same fish farm sites in Norway, and did some digging. Suspecting, based on their “sad” behavior, that the fish were possibly experiencing a form of fish depression, the team took measurements of cortisol production and elevated brain serotonergic activation, both of which are common in humans that experience chronic depression or in other animals that have been exposed to long periods of stress. They report that they found both present in the “drop out” salmon, suggesting that they became listless due to overexposure of stimuli and other stress factors, which led to them becoming seriously depressed—so depressed that they became incapable of responding to new sources of stress.The researchers suggest that the “drop out” fish came to their condition due to stresses they encountered that were not in their natural environment (overcrowding, aggressiveness from other fish, handling by humans, vaccinations, etc.) Stresses that all of the fish in the fish farm were forced to endure—it was only those that were not able to cope with the highly stressful environment that were overwhelmed and succumbed to depressive-like symptoms. The team further suggests that losses due to “drop out” fish could be reduced by reducing or eliminating the stress inducers that exist as a normal part of aquaculture processes. © 2016 Phys.org Explore further More information: Marco A. Vindas et al. Brain serotonergic activation in growth-stunted farmed salmon: adaption versus pathology, Royal Society Open Science (2016). DOI: 10.1098/rsos.160030AbstractSignalling systems activated under stress are highly conserved, suggesting adaptive effects of their function. Pathologies arising from continued activation of such systems may represent a mismatch between evolutionary programming and current environments. Here, we use Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) in aquaculture as a model to explore this stance of evolutionary-based medicine, for which empirical evidence has been lacking. Growth-stunted (GS) farmed fish were characterized by elevated brain serotonergic activation, increased cortisol production and behavioural inhibition. We make the novel observation that the serotonergic system in GS fish is unresponsive to additional stressors, yet a cortisol response is maintained. The inability of the serotonergic system to respond to additional stress, while a cortisol response is present, probably leads to both imbalance in energy metabolism and attenuated neural plasticity. Hence, we propose that serotonin-mediated behavioural inhibition may have evolved in vertebrates to minimize stress exposure in vulnerable individuals. (Phys.org)—A team of researchers from Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands has found evidence that might explain “drop out” fish in salmon and other fish farms. In their paper published in the journal Royal Society Open Science, the team describes their studies of salmon brain chemistry of specimens taken from fish farms and what their findings might mean for improving fishery results. Oncorhynchus gorbuscha. Credit: Timothy Knepp/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Journal information: Royal Society Open Science This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. (Phys.org)—A team of Spanish astronomers has recently observed a newly discovered asteroid designated P/2016 G1 (PANSTARRS), revealing its activity and measuring its total dust loss. The findings, detailing the most probable hypothesis that could explain the cause of this activity, were published July 12 on arXiv.org. P/2016 G1 (PANSTARRS), or P/2016 G1 for short, was detected by R. Weryk and R. J. Wainscoat in April 2016 with the 1.8-m Pan-STARRS1 telescope in Hawaii. With an asteroid-like orbit, having a semimajor axis of about 2.85 AU and an eccentricity of 0.21, this body exhibits transient, comet-like activity. Therefore, the scientific community still argues whether objects like P/2016 G1 should be called “main-belt comets” (as they orbit the sun within the asteroid belt) or rather asteroids showcasing dust activity.The real nature of these bodies could be revealed by detailed observations focusing on the processes taking place on their surfaces. For that reason, a team of researchers led by Fernando Moreno of the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia in Spain, started observing P/2016 G1 shortly after its discovery. They used the 10.4m Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC) at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory in La Palma, Canary Islands to observe the asteroid during three nights spanning from late April to June 8, 2016.”Observations of P/2016 G1 were scheduled immediately after the discovery alert, within our long-term GTC program of activated asteroid observations. CCD images of P/2016 G1 have been obtained under photometric and excellent seeing conditions on the nights of April 20, May 28, and June 8, 2016,” the scientists wrote in a paper.From the GTC imaging data and the Monte Carlo dust tail modeling, the team was able to get insights on the asteroid’s evolution and active processes. In particular, the model employed by the researchers computed the dust tail brightness of a comet or activated asteroid by adding up the contribution to the brightness of each particle ejected from the parent nucleus.According to the team’s observations and modeling, P/2016 G1 was activated about 350 days before perihelion (around Feb. 10, 2016). The activity had a duration of approximately 24 days and the total dust mass emitted from the asteroid was at least at a level of 17,000 tons.This activity could be caused by various physical processes, including impact, thermal fracture, rotational instabilities and ice sublimation. However, due to the fact that P/2016 G1 is located in the inner region of the main belt and has a small semi-major axis, the researchers excluded ice sublimation as the possible driver of this activity.The scientists concluded that the most probable explanation for this activity is an impact event that would have induced a partial destruction of the asteroid, emitting dust grains to space nearly isotropically while the body is being torn apart.”We speculate that this dust ejection could be associated to an impact, and that the subsequent modeled activity is due to the asteroid partial or total disruption. The impact itself had produced the ejection of some 240 tons of dust,” the paper reads.The team also noted that if the impact scenario is true, the smaller fragments of the parent body could exist in the vicinity of the asteroid’s dust cloud. However, deeper imaging of the object is needed to confirm this. More information: arxiv.org/abs/1607.03375 Early evolution of disrupted asteroid P/2016 G1 (PANSTARRS) arXiv:1607.03375 [astro-ph.EP]AbstractWe present deep imaging observations of activated asteroid P/2016 G1 (PANSTARRS) using the 10.4m Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC) from late April to early June 2016. The images are best interpreted as the result of a relatively short-duration event with onset about 350+10−30 days before perihelion (i.e., around 10th February, 2016), starting sharply and decreasing with a 24+10−7 days (Half-width at half-maximum, HWHM). The results of the modeling imply the emission of ∼1.7×107 kg of dust, if composed of particles of 1 micrometer to 1 cm in radius, distributed following a power-law of index —3, and having a geometric albedo of 0.15. A detailed fitting of a conspicuous westward feature in the head of the comet-like object indicates that a significant fraction of the dust was ejected along a privileged direction right at the beginning of the event, which suggests that the parent body has possibly suffered an impact followed by a partial or total disruption. From the limiting magnitude reachable with the instrumental setup, and assuming a geometric albedo of 0.15 for the parent body, an upper limit for the size of possible fragment debris of ∼50 m in radius is derived. Active asteroid 324P/La Sagra observed by Hubble © 2016 Phys.org Explore further Median stack images of P/2016 G1 obtained with the OSIRIS instrument of the 10.4m GTC through a Sloan r′ filter, at the indicated dates. North is up, East to the left. The directions opposite to Sun and the negative of the orbital velocity motion are shown. The arrow in the middle of central panel indicates the westward feature that emerges from the inverted C-shaped mentioned in the text. The dimensions of the panels (from left to right, in km projected on the sky at the asteroid distance) are 27930×27930, 26305×26305, and 27025×27025. The images are stretched linearly in brightness, with maximum intensity levels, from left to right, of 8×10−14, 5×10−14, and 4×10−14 solar disk intensity units. Faint trailed stars are apparent near the head of the object, perpendicular to the tail, in the 8.91 June 2016 image, the brightest one being indicated by an arrow. Credit: Moreno et al.,2016. Citation: Scientists study early evolution of activated asteroid P/2016 G1 (2016, July 19) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2016-07-scientists-early-evolution-asteroid-p2016.html
Last hurried glance at the mirror, patting errant hair into place. Slipping one’s shoes on at the front door. Struggling with the key in the lock.Well nine artistes have joined hands to showcase their works on the same theme. Each artist has a story behing his art work. participating artistes for this exhibition are Gireesh G V, OP Parameswaran, Preeti Gupta, Priyanka Dua, Darius Chinoy, Gaurav Chawla, Rekha Bajpe Aggarwal, Ruchi Chadha, Shashi Kr. Paul. Artist Darius Chinoy entered the world of photography in 1996 and over the last sixteen years he has travelled the length and breadth of India. The result was a view to life he would never have experienced had he not taken up the lens. Artist Gaurav Chawla never had any formal training in art. Art has always been his passion. He has experimented across various mediums. Even with an attack of optical neuritis in December, 2009, a right eye that can barely see, loss of colour, he remains inspired and active and determined to paint. His works remains one of brightest in terms of colour mixture across most art shows.When: 1 February Where: Dhoomimal Art Gallery
Using the right makeup products during summer can be a tedious task for women, but keeping some factors in mind can help. Experts
If you pay extra attention to the probability of dangerous diseases that you may suffer in future, you are probably suffering from what is being termed as ‘Angelina Jolie syndrome’, a study warns.The politicisation and commercialisation of health issues in today’s Western culture have led to growing healthism — a peremptory idea of self-preserving behaviour. This approach criticises everything that fails to fit into the glamorous standards of a beautiful, young and slim body. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’“But even simple concerns about the ‘standards’ of physical condition may provoke hypercorrection, such as surgery on a healthy body,” said study author Evgenia Golman from National Research University Higher School of Economics, Russia. More widespread displays of healthism include the boom in diets, fitness, plastic surgery and organic food, as well as the popularity of mobile apps for health monitoring.“Popular healthcare policy today often shifts the responsibility for health from healthcare institutions to individuals themselves, and shifts the focus from treatment to prevention, including prevention of even purely hypothetical pathologies,” Golman wrote in her paper. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixPreventive medicine undoubtedly helps prevent many diseases and can save a lot of resources for families and the state.But if ‘calculation’ of sicknesses and idealisation of beauty and healthy body standards are understood improperly, in a purely commercial way, they can lead to mass neurosis and a social obsession with complying to healthist fashion.“The most dangerous thing is that such an approach stigmatises everything that doesn’t fit in with the model of a ‘healthy lifestyle’,” the researcher warned. A person not only obsessively monitors every bodily manifestation, but starts detecting signs of imaginary sicknesses.The study was published in the Journal of Social Policy Studies.
Do you have the habit of sitting glued to the idiot box everyday? Beware, you may be at nearly twice the risk of developing blood clots, researchers warn. The findings showed that risk of blood clots in the veins of the legs, arms, pelvis and lungs known as venous thromboembolism or VTE increases with the amount of time spent watching television even if people get the recommended amount of physical activity. “Watching TV itself isn’t likely bad, but we tend to snack and sit still for prolonged periods while watching,” said Mary Cushman, Professor at the University of Vermont in Burlington.For the study, the team examined 15,158 middle-aged (45-64 years) participants. Those who watched TV “very often” were at 1.7 times higher risk of developing blood clots compared with those who watch TV “never or seldom”.The people, who met recommended guidelines for physical activity and reported watching TV “very often”, had 1.8 times higher risk compared to those who reported watching TV “never or seldom”.”Think about how you can make the best use of your time to live a fuller and healthier life. You could put a treadmill or stationary bike in front of your TV and move while watching,” Cushman said. The results were presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2017 in California. Previous studies have associated prolonged TV viewing with heart disease involving blocked arteries.Although venous thromboembolism is more common in people 60 and older, it can occur at any age.Besides avoiding prolonged TV watching, one can also lower the risk of venous thromboembolism by maintaining a healthy weight and staying physically active, the researchers suggested.But that’s not the end of the problems. There are various other issues that you will keep on encountering later in life. Sitting for long hours in front of television not only develop blood clots but also increases the risk of cancer, heart diseases and diabetes. Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health, took into account published scientific studies dating from 1970 all the way to 2011 and found that collectively, the data from those studies reveal a clear correlation between more than two hours of TV viewing time and risk factors for type 2 diabetes, as well as cardiovascular disease. The risk of heart disease increased by 15 percent. For diabetes, the risk increased by 20 percent for people that watched TV more than two hours a day.Yet another study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology in 2011 revealed that when people lower their activity from over 10,000 steps a day to less than 5,000 steps a day, physical changes in the body directly increase that person’s risk to death due to various diseases.agencies
Like old photographs, the visual quality of our memories declines over time, according to a study. When people remember the past, they remember it with varying degrees of clarity. Sometimes people remember lots of details about an event, as if they are reliving the moment as it happened, said Maureen Ritchey, an assistant professor at Boston College in the US. Other times, it seems like the memory has faded, and the details are fuzzy, according to the study published in the journal Psychological Science. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfPrevious research has shown that emotionally significant events – like a car accident – are remembered more vividly than everyday events. “We wanted to know whether this feeling of memory vividness is related to not just what is remembered, but how it is remembered – the visual quality of the memory,” Ritchey said in a statement. She said people reported changes to their memories akin to using a filter to edit a picture. “A simple analogy is what happens when you post a photo on Instagram. You are cued to apply a filter that changes the brightness or colour saturation of the image,” Ritchey said. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveIn three experiments, participants studied emotionally negative and neutral images that varied in visual quality – luminance and colour saturation. They then reconstructed the visual qualities of each image in a subsequent test. The findings revealed that memories were recollected as less visually vibrant than they were encoded, demonstrating a novel memory-fading effect, the researchers said. Negative emotions subjects experienced when viewing the images increased the likelihood that images would be accurately remembered but did not influence memory fading. In addition, subjective ratings of memory vividness were lower for less accurate memories and for memories that had visually faded, the team found. These findings provide evidence that the vibrancy of low-level details – such as colours and shapes associated with an event – fade in memory while the gist of the experience is retained. People may remember going to a music festival and watching their favourite band, but the intensity of that sensory experience, including the bright stage lights and strength of the bass, will slowly fade. “We found that memories seem to literally fade: people consistently remembered visual scenes as being less vibrant than they were originally experienced,” said post-doctoral researcher Rose Cooper. “We had expected that memories would get less accurate after a delay, but we did not expect that there would be this qualitative shift in the way that they were remembered,” Cooper said. The fading effect happened less for memories that were rated as subjectively stronger. “We were also surprised to find that emotional memories did not influence the amount of fading, only the likelihood with which people remembered the images at all,” she added.
You never know what you might turn up when you dig in your backyard, aside from bits of glass, rusty nails, and tulip bulbs. One couple in Utah undertaking a renovation project discovered what they thought was the skeleton of a cow. But it turned out to be a 16,000-year-old horse. Talk about a buried treasure! Horses are of course associated with the Wild West, but their lineage is not continuous. Horses lived in North America from 50 million years ago to 11,000 years ago, when they went extinct for reasons not fully understood. Million-year-old fossils of direct ancestors to modern-day horses have been discovered in Wyoming and Idaho, among other U.S. regions. Europeans re-introduced domesticated horses to the continent in the 15th and 16th centuries.And though today we think of Utah as a dry state, much of the region was buried under water until 14,000 years ago. From around 500 million years ago, Lake Bonneville covered Utah and parts of surrounding Idaho and Nevada, at a depth of more than 1,000 feet, until it released through the Red Rock Pass in Idaho during a period of climate change. Today’s Great Salt Lake is a remnant of Lake Bonneville.Evolution of horse. Photo: Mcy jerry CC BY-SA 3.0Laura and Bridger Hill came across the skeleton in their yard in Lehi, Utah, in September 2017, when landscapers unearthed it during their backyard renovation. The bones had been preserved beneath seven feet of sandy clay. At first, the Hills thought it was the skeleton of a cow, as the area used to be farmland around the edges of Utah Lake. For months, they left the uncovered bones, which were exposed to air, the prodding of curious children, and the abuse of landscaper equipment.But eventually, the Hills showed the bones to their neighbor, who happens to be a geologist at nearby Brigham Young University. He told them he suspected the skeleton was from the Pleistocene Age. The Hills then turned to bones over to the Museum of Ancient Life, also in Lehi.Rick Hunter, a paleontologist at the museum who is making a study of the bones, said the horse bones were well preserved, which indicates it was buried soon after it died. Hunter speculated that the horse may have been trying to escape a predator or may have drowned in an upstream river and floated down to the lake. Because the bones were in a former lake bed, they remained moist for thousands of years.Skeletal evolution of horses. Photo: H. Zell CC BY-SA 3.0Hunter visited the site and fascinated local children with impromptu talks about fossils, paleontology, and the study of old bones. He told news outlets that it is unclear whether the horse was male or female but that based on arthritic-looking formations on its spine, it was likely older. A bone on one ankle has evidence of cancer. It was shorter and stockier than a modern-day horse, around the size of a Shetland pony. Its skull had been shattered and moved by the landscapers.Illustration of extinct horses. From left to right: Mesohippus, Neohipparion, Eohippus, Equus scotti and Hypohippus.Arid Utah is home to many sites where fossils of dinosaurs, saber-toothed tigers, mastodons, and mammoths have been discovered. Several sites have hundreds of well-preserved dinosaur footprints; there are dinosaur quarries where visitors can see hundreds of bones. The Museum of Ancient Life itself has 60 complete dinosaur skeletons, a mock quarry dig, and a functioning paleontology lab, where workers are uncovering real dinosaur bones.Read another story from us: An archaeological dig on the Swedish island of Öland reveals a massacre that happened 1,500 years agoBut not that many people find 16,000-year-old bones in their backyards. The horse will be named the Hill Horse in honor of the family on whose land it was found. Laura Hill was pleased, according to the New York Times, saying to the paper’s reporter, “Now all these little kids want to be paleontologists.”E.L. Hamilton has written about pop culture for a variety of magazines and newspapers, including Rolling Stone, Seventeen, Cosmopolitan, the New York Post and the New York Daily News. She lives in central New Jersey, just west of New York City