First News
Volume:7, Number:41
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FUN FACTS
THIS WEEK

St. Catherine’s Monastery

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Located at the foot of Mount Sinai in Egypt, it is one of the oldest functioning monasteries in the world. It was built between 548 and 565 CE. One reason it has endured is its six-foot-thick granite walls. Another is that the monastery once sheltered and fed the Prophet Muhammad during his early travels. He gave specific orders that St. Catherine’s was to be left unharmed. Muhammad’s protection was written in a charter in the second year of the Hegira (626 CE) and that charter, called the Ashtiname of Muhammad, was faithfully kept and renewed by later Muslim rulers.

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The Dawn Horse

About 1.5 million years ago, a timid herbivore no more than 2 feet tall walked in the forest in North America, grazing on leaves and fruit. It was the eohippus, the ancestor of all modern horses. Its name means “dawn horse.” The evolution of the horse, a mammal of the family Equidae, occurred over a geologic time scale of 50 million years, transforming the small, dog-sized, forest-dwelling eohippus into the modern horse.

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Oldest Life on Earth

Digging in ancient Canadian rock, scientists have recently found what they believe are the oldest fossils. According to a report published in Nature, these tiny filament-like fossils of ancient microbes, about which not much is yet known, are at least 3.77 billion to 4.8 billion years old, making them the oldest ever found. And, therefore, the oldest evidence of life on Earth. The team says the new discovery supports the idea that life emerged and diversified rapidly on Earth.

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