Earth news stories

Ancient Amazonians intentionally created fertile ‘dark earth’
21st September 2023 | Ancient, Earth, Humans

A study led by researchers at MIT, the University of Florida, and in Brazil aims to settle the debate over dark earth’s origins. The team has pieced together results from soil analyses, ethnographic observations, and interviews with modern Indigenous communities, to show that dark earth was intentionally produced by ancient Amazonians as a way to improve the soil and sustain large and complex societies.

Pink diamonds have an origin in violent eruptions
20th September 2023 | Ancient, Earth

More than 1.3 billion years ago, two continents collided at modern-day Argyle in Western Australia, causing pressures so intense that it forced carbon deep underground to form diamonds with glittering pink, red and brown hues. Or, at least, that’s the theory proposed by a study in Nature Communications.

Tiny sea creatures reveal the ancient origins of neurons
20th September 2023 | | Ancient, Animal Life, Earth

A study in the journal Cell sheds new light on the evolution of neurons, focusing on the placozoans, a millimetre-sized marine animal. Researchers at the Centre for Genomic Regulation in Barcelona find evidence that specialized secretory cells found in these unique and ancient creatures may have given rise to neurons in more complex animals.

Asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs allowed flowers to thrive in a post-apocalyptic world
19th September 2023 | | Ancient, Earth

The giant asteroid that snuffed out the dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous period (145 million to 66 million years ago) left flowers relatively unharmed, and the blooms thrived in the aftermath, a new study has found.

Seven Weird Mushroom Facts to Please Your Inner Myco-Nerd
12th September 2023 | Earth, Weird

Somewhere between plants and animals lies a group of organisms among the most captivating life forms on Earth: Mushrooms.

Pigment production adapted to cultural changes and availability of mineral resources 40,000 years ago in Ethiopia
12th September 2023 | Ancient, Earth, Humans

An international research team from Spain and France has carried out the chemical and technological analysis of the largest known collection of red and yellow mineral pigments, commonly called ochre, dated to the Middle Stone Age, between 300,000 and 40,000 years ago, and found at Porc-Epic cave, Ethiopia. See the research here.

Scientists Discover ‘Pure Math’ Is Written Into Evolutionary Genetics
5th September 2023 | | Animal Life, Earth, Humans

A team of researchers has just uncovered another striking connection between math and nature: between one of the purest forms of mathematics, number theory, and the mechanisms governing the evolution of life on molecular scales, genetics. See the study here.

New research reveals Earth’s ancient ‘breath’: Study reveals connection between atmospheric changes and mantle chemistry
4th September 2023 | | Ancient, Earth

The study, which was led by researchers at the University of Portsmouth and the University of Montpellier, sheds new light on the evolution of life on our planet and the rise of atmospheric oxygen.

The indigenous groups fighting against the quest for ‘white gold’
29th August 2023 | | Earth, Humans

Jujuy is located in what has become known as the “lithium triangle”, a stretch of the Andes straddling the tri-border area between Argentina, Bolivia and Chile, which holds the world’s biggest reserves of lithium.

New ancient ape from Türkiye challenges the story of human origins
24th August 2023 | Ancient, Animal Life, Earth, Humans

A new fossil ape from an 8.7-million-year-old site in Türkiye is challenging long-accepted ideas of human origins and adding weight to the theory that the ancestors of African apes and humans evolved in Europe before migrating to Africa between nine and seven million years ago. See the study here.

An Ancient Fire Wiped Out Entire Species. It’s Happening Again, Scientists Fear
20th August 2023 | | Ancient, Animal Life, Earth, Humans

In a new study, published in August 2023, we sought to understand changes that were happening in California during the last major extinction event at the end of the Pleistocene, a time period known as the Ice Age.

New evidence suggests the world’s largest known asteroid impact structure is buried deep in southeast Australia
10th August 2023 | Ancient, Earth, Space

The Deniliquin structure, yet to be further tested by drilling, spans up to 520 kilometres in diameter. This exceeds the size of the near-300km-wide Vredefort impact structure in South Africa, which to date has been considered the world’s largest. See research here.

50 years ago, mysterious glass hinted at Earth’s violent past
9th August 2023 | | Ancient, Earth

In 1994, tektites and concentric fault lines in southern Virginia revealed an 85-kilometer-wide impact crater under Chesapeake Bay. Science News reported that “a structure this size would rank as the largest crater in the United States” and would be among the largest on Earth

Man finds 8,000-year-old dolphin bones in back garden
4th August 2023 | | Ancient, Animal Life, Earth, Humans

The bottlenose dolphin is thought to have washed up on an ancient shoreline after the last Ice Age. Archaeologists have described the prehistoric discovery in Causewayhead, Stirling, as “the find of a lifetime”.

Oldest species of swimming jellyfish discovered in 505m-year-old fossils
4th August 2023 | | Ancient, Animal Life, Earth

The new species, which has been named Burgessomedusa phasmiformis,resembles a large, swimming jellyfish with a saucer or bell-shaped body up to 20cm high. Its roughly 90 short tentacles would have allowed it to capture sizeable prey.

‘Not always king’: fossil shows mammal sinking teeth into dinosaur
19th July 2023 | | Ancient, Animal Life, Earth

Experts revealed the 125m-year-old fossil that froze in time after being taken on by a small mammal a third of its size. They are tangled together, the mammal’s teeth sunk into the beaked dinosaur’s ribs, its left paw clasping the beast’s lower jaw. See research here.

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