1.1.2020 6:43 PM

Science

2019's 20 most incredible stories about our planet 

From feral hogs to sustainable diets, these stories are unmissable.

CSA Images / Getty Images

In 2019, Inverse covered a cornucopia of incredible studies and discoveries that change the way we see the world. We also kept up on the weirder aspects of the planet we call home (20-pound invasive rodents, anyone?). From why dog eyebrows make you weak at the knees to how Cold War satellites can help shine a light on climate change, these are the 20 biggest Earth stories from 2019.

Did we miss anything? Email us your favorite stories about our incredible planet from 2019.

20. Cold War-era spies are being recruited to help climate scientists

The United States was very motivated to “study” this hard-to-access region back in the ‘70s…

19. Americans are losing their minds over a 20-pound rodent

Nutria are chomping up parts of California and Louisiana — humans have some bizarre ways of dealing with them.

18. Way too many people can’t afford a sustainable diet

The top sustainable diet is unaffordable for one-fifth of the population — food systems need to change.

17. Melting ice puts “Doomsday” seed vault under threat

Arctic warming is making permafrost way less permanent, with dire consequences for seed banks.

16. Long-lost landscapes, frozen for 40,000 years, exposed by melting Arctic ice

Parts of Baffin Island haven’t seen the light of day for millennia — but that’s rapidly changing.

15. Great white sharks are most afraid of this liver-eating marine predator

Great whites just can’t dine on elephant seals in peace.

14. Shocking amounts of plastic smother this uninhabited island in the Atlantic

Inaccessible Island is full of garbage, and the problem is getting worse every year.

13. Study reveals bees’ brains are much more powerful than we thought

If a tiny bug’s brain can do math, so can you.

12. Scientists discovered a lost continent shoved underneath Europe

It may be lost, but you can still see evidence of Greater Adria today.

11. Science confirms: Moms meddle in their children’s love lives

Bonobo males are better off if their mom wants them to get it on — chimps aren’t so lucky.

10. Scientists may have answered a decades-old question about ape intelligence

Great apes show evidence of “theory of mind,” the ability to infer their own and others’ internal states.

9. Taking these three steps can help protect the Amazon rainforest

Inverse looks back on the 2019 fires and how you can make a difference.

8. Long-lasting household chemicals could age the body from the inside out

A notorious class of chemicals could have invisible effects that take a toll over time.

7. When Earth runs on smarter plastics, we’ll have teenagers to thank

In 2019, Inverse met a young “upcycling” enthusiast who created a more eco-friendly plastic.

6. Mindful mold? Scientists unveil “blob” that can reason like an animal

It’s some spooky, slimy science.

5. An Irish folk medicine can stop antibiotic-resistant bacteria

Modern medicine is taking a lesson from the past.

4. Scientists: No, you cannot kill 30 to 50 feral hogs with an automatic rifle

There is a lesson to be learned from this 2019 meme.

3. Dogs have us on a tight leash, thanks to one adorable trait

“Puppy dog eyes” aren’t just sweet — they evolved to manipulate us.

2. Giant birds may help scientists finally solve the mystery of the Nazca lines

The newest approach: ornithological identification.

1. In 2019, scientists claimed to find humanity’s ancestral hometown

The controversial study zooms in on at least one place our species called home.

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