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The keepers at Particle Zoo should ready a new enclosure. Particle hunters are claiming a sighting of a beast of legend – the tetraquark. A jumbo particle made up of four quarks, it is a hitherto undiscovered form of matter.
Tetraquarks were first posited to exist over 30 years ago, as solutions to the equations of quantum chromodynamics. QCD is a theory developed to describe how quarks combine to make two-quark mesons, such as pions and kaons, and three-quark baryons like protons or neutrons.
Although QCD allows for particles made of higher numbers of quarks, such exotic variants have remained in the wild because the physicists hunting them lacked instruments with the power and sensitivity to detect them