As polar ice melts new rivers are revealed in Antarctica. Astronomers find what they believe to be direct visual evidence of a black hole. And a new discovery in North America shakes up paleontologists' views of American prehistory. It's Earthy Thursday, our segment for science and Earth-related news! All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!

When explorers were first visiting the Antarctic continent many, many decades ago they believed they may have run across rivers, a strange phenomenon in a frozen, desolate landscape. Much later, scientists discovered they were right. Now, hundreds of rivers and streams have been found in Antarctica. But the question on everyone's mind is: are they multiplying as climate change takes effect?

Recently, Google revised its popular Google Earth program that charts the Earth's geography and overlays it with photos and local information. Not everyone's a big fan of the update however. At Popular Science, Kelsey D. Atherton explains why some scientists are critical of the new version.

Black holes are famously stars that after burning out become so heavy that even light is unable to escape their gravitational pull. But that doesn't necessarily mean you can't observe them, if you know what you're looking for. National Geographic details the search for black holes.

Humpback whales are well-known for their sonorous means of communicating over long distance, with male whales capable of being heard from miles away. But not all humpbacks are so loud: a new discovery shows that young whales are in fact very quiet, perhaps wisely considering other species like killer whales (aka orcas) often prey on them.

One of the tricks about archaeology and paleontology is that you're trying to piece together the piece from what you understand to be fragments of a greater whole. That means of course that sometimes your inferences are not complete or somehow incorrect. A new recent discovery has controversially called into question the time at which humans are believed to have first settled the Americas. Now, if the new study is correct, it would seem humans arrived one tenth of a million years earlier.


Top image by Alain r