A team of researchers with members from several institutions in India has found evidence of ostrich relatives living in India as far back as 25,000 years ago. In their paper uploaded to the open access site PLOS ONE, the group describes finding avian eggshells, their DNA analysis of them and why they believe the finding bolsters certain aspects of continental drift theory.
The prospect of resurrecting mammoths is back in the news after Harvard geneticist George Church announced last month that he may be only two years away from creating a mammoth-elephant hybrid fetus. That’s still a long way from a living mammoth — let alone herds of the animals — and scientists are skeptical that Church will be successful with even a hybrid fetus. The scientific hurdles that will have to be overcome are huge. But the problems with de-extinction only start there
At a 50-square mile nature reserve tucked deep in Arctic Siberia, scientists are working on a radical plan to fight climate change by reviving the ancient grasslands of the last Ice Age – and the beasts that once roamed them.
While this period is better known for the glaciers that swathed the continents until 12,000 years ago, the grasslands of the Mammoth Steppe ecosystem also dominated much of the surface.
The Earth has known several mass extinctions over the course of its history. One of the most important happened at the Permian-Triassic boundary 250 million years ago. Over 95% of marine species disappeared and, up until now, scientists have linked this extinction to a significant rise in Earth temperatures. But researchers have now discovered that this extinction took place during a short ice age which preceded the global climate warming. It’s the first time that the various stages of a mass extinction have been accurately understood and that scientists have been able to assess the major role played by volcanic explosions in these climate processes.
New research has convincingly quantified how much the Earth has warmed over the past 56 years. Human activities utilize fossil fuels for many beneficial purposes but have an undesirable side effect of adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere at ever-increasing rates. That increase – of over 40%, with most since 1980 – traps heat in the Earth’s system, warming the entire planet.
A new material can absorb up to 90 times its own weight in spilled oil and then be squeezed out like a sponge and reused, raising hopes for easier clean-up of oil spill sites.
This contrasts with most commercial products for soaking up oil, called “sorbents”. These are generally only good for a single use, acting like a paper towel used to mop up a kitchen mess and then tossed away. The discarded sorbents and oil are then normally incinerated.
University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science scientist Mark Donelan and his Norwegian Meteorological Institute colleague captured new information about extreme waves, as one of the steepest ever recorded passed by the North Sea Ekofisk platforms in the early morning hours of Nov. 9 2007.
Oceanic crust lives fast and dies young, usually being dragged down a subduction zone after 250m years or so. By contrast, continental crust lives to a ripe old age, with some of the oldest continental crust on Earth – dating to 4bn years – found in Canada and Greenland.
But geologists have long been puzzled as to why there isn’t more continental crust bobbing around. Now new research indicates that some of it might be hidden underneath ocean-island volcanoes.
Malta’s famous Azure Window rock arch has collapsed into the sea after heavy storms.
The popular limestone arch on Gozo island was featured on the first episode of the HBO series Game of Thrones and in several films.
Can a planet be alive? Lynn Margulis, a giant of late 20th-century biology, who had an incandescent intellect that veered toward the unorthodox, thought so. She and chemist James Lovelock together theorized that life must be a planet-altering phenomenon and the distinction between the “living” and “nonliving” parts of Earth is not as clear-cut as we think.
A study of ancient Aboriginal hair samples has revealed distinct Aboriginal populations were present in Australia with little geographical movement for up to 50,000 years.
The discovery of such a long, continuous presence in the those regions emphasised why land was so sacred to Aboriginal people, researchers said.
Alt: Australia was colonized by a single group 50,000 years ago
A memory technique invented by the ancient Greeks can make dramatic and long-lasting improvements to a person’s power of recall, according to research that suggests many of us have extensive untapped memory reserves.
After spending six weeks cultivating an internal “memory palace”, people more than doubled the number of words they could retain in a short time period and their performance remained impressive four months later.
Gentle sound stimulation — such as the rush of a waterfall — synchronized to the rhythm of brain waves significantly enhanced deep sleep in older adults and tripled their ability to recall words, reports a new study. The goal is to make the new technology available for home use.
Many expectant parents prepare for the arrival of a new baby by redecorating its intended bedroom in a soothing colour and buying lots of rattles and cuddly toys.
The research could have huge medical and ethical implications for things such as organ donation
Brain activity may continue for more than 10 minutes after the body appears to have died, according to a new study.
HIIT it! We’re often told that exercise is the best medicine, and it now seems that regular high intensity interval training (HIIT), in particular, is great for reversing the declining ability of our cells to generate energy.
HIIT involves short bursts of very intense activity, interspersed with recovery periods of lower-intensity exercise.
Following a Mediterranean diet could help reduce the risk of contracting one of the worst types of breast cancer by 40%, according to a large study for the World Cancer Research Fund.
The Mediterranean diet, which is rich in olive oil, fish, fruit, nuts, vegetables and wholegrains, has well-publicised benefits, including reducing the risk of stroke and heart disease.