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wall formations of mud bricks.
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Photo courtesy of History with Kayleigh

Egyptian archaeologists have discovered what is believed to be the largest city of the Egyptian empire, and it has been buried for 3,400 years.

The city, Aten, is being described as the most important archaeological discovery since Tutankhamun’s tomb was discovered nearly 100 years ago.

Aten has been described as the lost golden city and dates back to the reign of Amenhotep III, one of Egypt’s most powerful pharaohs, who ruled from 1391 to 1353 BC.

“There’s no doubt about it; it really is a phenomenal find,” Salima Ikram, an archaeologist who leads the American University in Cairo’s Egyptology unit, told National Geographic. “It’s very much a snapshot in time—an Egyptian version of Pompeii.”

Archaeologists began excavating the site last September, and it wasn’t long before their efforts started paying off.

“To the team's great surprise, formations of mud bricks began to appear in all directions,” Dr. Zahi Hawass, the former Egyptian Minister of State for Antiquities Affairs, said in a statement. “What they unearthed was the site of a large city in a good condition of preservation, with almost complete walls, and with rooms filled with tools of daily life. The archaeological layers have laid untouched for thousands of years, left by the ancient residents as if it were yesterday.”

After another seven months of searching, the team has uncovered several neighborhoods, including a bakery with ovens and storage pottery, as well as residential areas.

Archaeologists have found a wide variety of items including jewelry, colored pottery vessels, scarab beetle amulets and mud bricks bearing the seals of Amenhotep III. Tools for spinning and weaving have given archaeologists a small glimpse into Egyptian life as the country was at the peak of its power. Archaeologists have even unearthed a human skeleton and the skeleton of a cow or bull. Experts will continue working on the excavation of the lost golden city and attempting to uncover what happened to the city and its inhabitants.

New, Bright Orange Toadlet Identified

orange frog in front of mushroomWhat are tiny, bright orange and extremely TOXIC? Pumpkin toadlets from the east coast of Brazil. And now, scientists have identified a new species of these special amphibians.

Brazil is home to more than 1,000 species of amphibians and has dozens of kinds of these little pumpkin toadlets. The newest one is Brachycephalus rotenbergae and grows to about the size of an adult’s thumbnail. The discovery is the work of a team led by zoologist Ivan Nunes that was just published in the science journal PLOS ONE.

Pumpkin toadlets are cute and amazing. When they hatch from their eggs, they don’t emerge as tadpoles like a lot of frogs and toads do. Instead, they emerge as smaller brownish toadlets. As adults, females grow a bit larger than the males.

orange frog croaking

Their bright pumpkin color may be a warning to potential predators to stay away. Although tiny and DELICATE, pumpkin toadlets have strong neurotoxins in their skin and organs. Interestingly, under ultraviolet (black) light, the toadlets’ skull and a backbone plate glow!

 This new species is smaller than other pumpkin toadlets. It is found living at higher elevations in the coastal forests near São Paulo, Brazil. Sadly, about 93 percent of the Atlantic Forest there has been lost to deforestation and farming, so scientists are scrambling to find new species like this before they go extinct. 

May 2021