Earth news stories

This Weirdly Smart, Creeping Slime Is Redefining Our Understanding of Intelligence
14th June 2021 | | Earth, Humans, Weird

This bizarre little organism doesn’t have a brain, or a nervous system – its blobby, bright-yellow body is just one cell. This slime mold species has thrived, more or less unchanged, for a billion years in its damp, decaying habitats. And, in the last decade, it’s been changing how we think about cognition and problem-solving.

How and when to watch the solar eclipse on Thursday
8th June 2021 | | Earth, Humans, Space

The moon will partially cover the sun in the UK later this week, but some parts of the northern hemisphere will experience a total eclipse

Amazon-dwellers lived sustainably for 5,000 years
8th June 2021 | | Ancient, Earth, Humans

A study that dug into the history of the Amazon Rainforest has found that indigenous people lived there for millennia with “causing no detectable species losses or disturbances”.

Knowledge of medicinal plants at risk as languages die out
8th June 2021 | | Ancient, Earth, Humans

Knowledge of medicinal plants is at risk of disappearing as human languages become extinct, a new study has warned.

New Research Shows Māori Traveled to Antarctica at Least 1,000 Years Before Europeans
8th June 2021 | | Ancient, Earth, Humans

When we think of Antarctic exploration, the narrative is overwhelmingly white. Now, a new paper by New Zealander researchers suggests that the indigenous people of mainland New Zealand – Māori – have a significantly longer history with Earth’s southernmost continent.

How El Niño climate phenomena helped create humanity
3rd June 2021 | | Ancient, Animal Life, Earth, Humans

Scientists are proposing a new theory of human evolution. A groundbreaking new analysis of data suggests that key evolutionary changes in prehistory were driven by cyclical changes in tropical climate.

Mud cylinders reveal humans’ impact on Earth began earlier than we thought
31st May 2021 | | Ancient, Earth, Humans

Scientists have been uncorking long, thin cylinders of soil from wetlands and riverbeds in an attempt to look back in time and understand the impact humans have had on nature. The results have made them radically rethink previous assumptions about when this started.

Giant, Now Sunken Islands Could Explain Ancient Migration in The Americas
24th May 2021 | | Ancient, Animal Life, Earth

Here’s a mystery: Ancient fossils show animals originating from South America in the Antilles islands off Central America, but how did they get over the sea? The answer is via land masses that have long since sunk from view under the ocean, according to a new study.

Which animals should be considered sentient in the eyes of the law?
19th May 2021 | | Animal Life, Earth, Humans

UK government proposals to recognise vertebrates as sentient beings are welcome, but this should be just the start.

World’s Oldest Cave Paintings Are Fading—Climate Change May Be to Blame
17th May 2021 | | Ancient, Earth, Humans

New research reports that ancient rock art in Indonesian caves is degrading over time, as bits of rock slowly flake away from the walls. It’s a tremendous loss for human history — some of these paintings, which depict everything from animals to human figures to abstract symbols, date back about 40,000 years.

Fossil ‘balls’ are 1 billion years old and could be Earth’s oldest known multicellular life
7th May 2021 | | Ancient, Earth

Scientists have discovered a rare evolutionary “missing link” dating to the earliest chapter of life on Earth. It’s a microscopic, ball-shaped fossil that bridges the gap between the very first living creatures — single-celled organisms — and more complex multicellular life.

Physicists describe new type of aurora
7th May 2021 | Earth, Humans, Space

For millennia, humans in the high latitudes have been enthralled by auroras—the northern and southern lights. Yet even after all that time, it appears the ethereal, dancing ribbons of light above Earth still hold some secrets.

Early humans used fire to permanently change the landscape tens of thousands of years ago in Stone Age Africa
7th May 2021 | Ancient, Earth, Humans

Fields of rust-colored soil, spindly cassava, small farms and villages dot the landscape. Dust and smoke blur the mountains visible beyond massive Lake Malawi. Here in tropical Africa, you can’t escape the signs of human presence. How far back in time would you need to go in this place to discover an entirely natural environment?

Shocking Discovery Reveals The Amazon Has ‘Flipped’ to Become a Major Emitter
5th May 2021 | | Animal Life, Earth, Humans

The Brazilian Amazon released nearly 20 percent more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere over the last decade than it absorbed, according to a stunning report that shows humanity can no longer depend on the world’s largest tropical forest to help absorb human-made carbon pollution.

Then and now: When silence descended over Victoria Falls
3rd May 2021 | | Animal Life, Earth, Humans

We reveal some of the ways that planet Earth has been changing against the backdrop of a warming world. Here, we look at the effects of global heating on Victoria Falls, one of the natural wonders of the world – and how Sub-Saharan Africa is learning to cope with the climate crisis.

Modelling the ‘superhighways’ travelled by First Australians
29th April 2021 | Ancient, Earth, Humans

Indigenous Australians have long pointed out that their ancestors have lived on and cared for this continent since time immemorial. Hampered by entrenched misconceptions and outdated curricula, it’s only in recent decades – with discoveries like Mungo Man and Mungo Lady – that science has started to catch up.

News stories covering the environment, plant life, and the Earth itself.