Wonder Is Everywhere: the World’s Longest Snake, Disappearing Meteorites, and More From Around the Web

Wonder is everywhere. That’s why, every other week, Atlas Obscura drags you down some of the rabbit holes we encounter as we search for our unusual stories. We highlight surprising finds, great writing, and inspiring stories from some of our favorite publications.


by Kate Knibbs, Wired

Fearful that extreme weather could erase Aruba’s history, archivists have digitized and uploaded more than 100,000 documents, images, audio and video recordings, and even 3-D scanned objects—from institutions including the National Library, the National Archives, and the University of Aruba—to the Internet Archive, making the Caribbean island’s story available to people around the world.

by Sascha Pare, Live Science

Wisdom is a female Laysan albatross who spends part of the year on Midway Atoll, a remote island off of Hawaii. She is thought to be in her 70s—decades beyond the average lifespan for her species—and she is believed to be a widow. Her life-long mate, Akeakamai, has not been seen in several years. Now, Wisdom is dating again, participating in mating dances in search of a new partner.

by University of Cambridge

In Turkey’s Trabzon region, just a few thousand people still speak Romeyka, a millennia-old variety of Greek. To preserve the fading language, a professor from the University of Cambridge has launched an online effort to capture their voices, which may hold the key to understanding the evolution of modern tongues.

by Kevin Gepford, Hakai Magazine

The cloud forest on Saint Helena is under quarantine. The British territory in the South Atlantic, a lonely island not quite halfway between Angola and Brazil, is battling a deadly water mold that threatens to destroy its ecosystem, including 47 species of trees found nowhere else on Earth.


by Katherine Kornei, New York Times

More than 60 percent of 80,000 meteorites humans have found on Earth have been discovered in Antarctica. (The ice makes spotting the dark rocks easier.) But climate change is making the search more difficult. The meteorites are more likely to melt into the snow and ice, disappearing below the surface of the continent.

by Kyle Evans and Dinah Lewis Boucher, Pacific Beat

Twelve miles from Nuku’alofa, the capital of Tonga, researchers have discovered the remains of what could be one of the first cities in the Pacific. The find suggests that urbanization existed in Tonga hundreds of years earlier than previously believed, before the arrival of Western explorers.

by Riis Williams, Scientific American

Twenty years ago, a scientist found a prehistoric fossil in a coal mine in western India. Believing the bones to be more evidence of an already identified species of extinct crocodile, he set them aside. Now researchers believe the 27 vertebrae may belong to the largest snake species ever to exist on Earth. The Vasuki indicus—named for Vasuki, an enormous serpent king in Hindu folklore—lived 47 million years ago and stretched as much as 49 feet long.


by Cassie Ordonio, Hawaiʻi Public Radio

For the first time in 30 years, the public can see the latte stones—carved symbols of the Chamorro culture of the Northern Mariana Islands—at the Bishop Museum in Honolulu. The stones, long neglected, are undergoing restoration, and a conversation about the repatriation of the enormous stones (some reach seven feet tall and weigh 5,000 pounds) is beginning.

by Kelsey Ables, Washington Post

Outside the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich, visitors can see the Futuro House, a rare UFO-style home. Inside, at least briefly, alongside works by Picasso and Kirchner, they could see artwork by an employee of the museum—someone who surreptitiously hung his own drawing on the wall. The museum, which removed the renegade art, would not comment on its quality.

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