Science advances: the 5 most incredible discoveries of 2023

Determining the most impactful scientific discoveries of 2023 requires a close look at those that transcend the boundaries of the knowledge and reveal fundamental aspects about the nature and evolution of life.

National Geographic has undertaken this mission, exploring the frontiers of what we know about ourselves and what we can become.

With one eye on the past and another on the future, the selection highlights stories that shape the trajectory of humanity and our planet.

The 5 most impactful technological discoveries of 2023

1. Return of the voice

Brain implant can give voice back to those who have lost it. – Image: Brown University/Reproduction

In 2023, we will witness the presentation of a prototype implant capable of decoding brain waves into words and sentences.

This innovative technology, powered by artificial intelligence, raises ethical debates while at the same time offering the promise of significantly improving communication for those with speech difficulties.

2. Origin of life

Representation of two primordial eukaryotic organisms – Image: Eureka Alert/Reproduction

In Australian lands, fossils were discovered revealing a “forgotten kingdom” of life forms called eukaryotes.

These sophisticated cells, dating back 800 million to 1.6 billion years, contribute to understanding the lineage of humans and other species with nuclei.

One discovery that redefines our understanding of the origin of life on our planet.

3. Ripples in spacetime

Interaction of black holes gave rise to waves – Image: Live Science/Reproduction

In June, the North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves announced the detection of low-frequency gravitational waves.

These ripples, arising from the interaction between supermassive black holes, could validate Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, creating ripples in the fabric of space-time.

4. Menopause in the Animal Kingdom

Chimpanzee menopause occurs around the age of 50 – Image: Unsplash/Reproduction

This year, chimpanzees were added to the select list of mammals that go through menopause.

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The discovery, made when observing a group of wild animals in Uganda for more than two decades raises questions about the evolutionary benefits of living long beyond the reproductive period, especially compared to whales, in which older whales play a crucial role in raising younger ones.

5. Largest animal in history

Representation of the prehistoric whale – Image: Adamworks/Reproduction

The blue whale lost the title of largest animal of all time to a distant cousin, the Perucetus colossus.

With fossils found in Peruthese colossal whales are estimated to have lived 37 million years ago, reaching an incredible 20 meters in length and 340 tons.

A revelation that challenges our conceptions about the greatness of marine life.

Each scientific discovery contributes to our understanding of the world we inhabit, presenting fascinating possibilities for the future of science and humanity.

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