Castoroides ohioensis, the giant beaver, was a huge rodent species that lived in N America during the Pleistocene and became extinct at the end of the last Ice Age, roughly 10,000 years ago. Fossils of the creature, first found in 1837, indicate that it could grow as large as 8.2 ft (2.5 m) long and weigh up to 220 lb (100 kg). While the teeth of modern beavers are suited for gnawing on wood, the giant beaver's teeth were bigger and broader. Did it construct lodges like modern beavers do?
Back in the day
When Pope John Paul II visited Syria's Umayyad Mosque, where the head of John the Baptist—a holy figure in both Christianity and Islam—is said to be interred, he became the first Catholic Pope to enter and pray in an Islamic mosque. The address he delivered there, promoting peace between Muslims and Christians, reflected his ongoing ecumenical efforts, which included meeting with religious leaders from other faiths and denominations. While in Syria, the pope aroused controversy by kissing what?
Born on a day like today
Peary was a US Naval officer and explorer who made several attempts to reach the geographic North Pole between 1898 and 1909. On April 6, 1909, accompanied by fellow explorer Matthew Henson and four Inuit men, he reached what he thought was the pole and became widely acknowledged as the first explorer to attain that goal. His claims, however, have since come into question. What factors have led experts to doubt the veracity of Peary's account of the expedition?