Earth news stories

World’s earliest fossilised forest discovered in Minehead, Somerset
8th March 2024 | | Ancient, Earth

Scientists have found what they believe to be the world’s earliest known fossilised forest in cliffs on the coast of South West England. The researchers say the fossil forest is about four million years older than the previous record holder in New York State.

Psilocybin Mushrooms Have Been Growing on Earth Since Dinosaurs Went Extinct
5th March 2024 | Ancient, Animal Life, Earth, Misc.

Psilocybe mushrooms appear to have started producing psilocybin roughly 67 million years ago, right around the dinosaurs’ demise, new research shows.

390 million-year-old fossilized forest is the oldest ever discovered
5th March 2024 | | Ancient, Earth

Fossilized trees discovered by chance in southwest England belong to Earth’s earliest-known forest, new research has found. The 390 million-year-old fossils supplant the Gilboa fossil forest in New York state, which dates back 386 million years, as the world’s oldest known forest.

“The Future Is Fungal” – A New Era for Boreal Biodiversity
4th March 2024 | Earth, Misc.

Nestled within the photosynthetic, or light-eating, tissue of the boreal trees – and within the bountiful cloud-like lichens and feathery mosses that carpet the ground between them – are fungi. These fungi are endophytes, meaning they live within plants, often in a mutually beneficial arrangement. See the research here.

The Snake Is The Spearhead of Reptile Evolution, But Why?
4th March 2024 | | Ancient, Animal Life, Earth

Roughly 128 million years ago, snakes suddenly burst into an abundant existence on Earth, eventually diversifying into the 4,000 or so species we see today. See the research in Science.

UK government can never accept idea nature has rights, delegate tells UN
23rd February 2024 | | Animal Life, Earth, Humans

The dismissal of a concept that has already been recognised in UN declarations and is a fundamental belief of many Indigenous communities was described by critics as shameful, contradictory and undemocratic.

New study reveals how common ayahuasca-induced death experiences are and their link to personal transformation
23rd February 2024 | | Earth, Humans, Misc.

Two studies of ayahuasca ceremony participants found that at least 50% of these individuals had an ayahuasca-induced personal death experience. These experiences were associated with an increased sense that consciousness will continue after death and increased concerns for the environment. The paper was published in the Frontiers in Psychiatry.

Ancient Fossil That Baffled Scientists For Decades Finally Reveals Its True Identity
18th February 2024 | | Ancient, Animal Life, Earth, Weird

It’s called Tridentinosaurus antiquus, excavated in 1931, and considered a truly remarkable find. Dating to 280 million years ago, before the dinosaurs, it was thought to represent one of the oldest lizard fossils ever found…Well, now we know why we’ve never found another fossil like it: that soft tissue, according to a new, painstaking analysis, is not soft tissue at all. It’s paint. The research has been published in Palaeontology.

Pterosaur: Unique flying reptile soared above Isle of Skye Published
6th February 2024 | | Ancient, Animal Life, Earth

A unique species of flying reptile, or pterosaur, that lived 168-166 million years ago has been discovered on the Isle of Skye…Scientists were surprised to find a pterosaur from this period off Scotland’s west coast – they were thought to mostly live in China.

AI helps scholars read scroll buried when Vesuvius erupted in AD79
6th February 2024 | | Ancient, Earth, Humans

Scholars of antiquity believe they are on the brink of a new era of understanding after researchers armed with artificial intelligence read the hidden text of a charred scroll that was buried when Mount Vesuvius erupted nearly 2,000 years ago.

An asteroid may have exploded over Antarctica about 2.5 million years ago
6th February 2024 | | Ancient, Earth, Space

The evidence comes from a chemical analysis of more than 100 tiny pieces of rock entrained within the White Continent’s ice, researchers report in the Feb. 1 Earth and Planetary Science Letters.

‘We were gobsmacked’: 350 million-year-old tree fossils are unlike any scientists have ever seen
5th February 2024 | | Ancient, Earth

Rare tree fossils preserved with their leaves have an architecture unlike any plant known today and represent the earliest evidence of smaller trees growing beneath the forest canopy. See the study, published in the journal Current Biology.

Antarctica mysteries to be mapped by robot plane
4th February 2024 | | Animal Life, Earth, Humans, Tech

The autonomous plane will map areas of the continent that have been out of bounds to researchers.


Sound makes soil fungi bloom & could restore damaged ecosystems
31st January 2024 | Animal Life, Earth, Weird

A study has found that playing a soundscape to a common, plant-promoting fungus found in soil caused it to grow more rapidly than fungi that weren’t exposed to sound. The novel ‘eco-acoustic’ approach has the potential to restore damaged ecosystems.

Image from: Plogeo (Wiki Commons)



‘This might be the seeds of life’: Organic matter found on asteroid Ryugu could explain where life on Earth came from
30th January 2024 | | Earth, Humans, Space

A detailed investigation of asteroid Ryugu samples has provided further evidence that the organic molecules which gave rise to life to our planet were brought here by ancient comets.

Hell Chicken Discovery Could Tell Us Just How Doomed The Dinosaurs Were
29th January 2024 | | Ancient, Animal Life, Earth

Were dinosaurs already on their way out when an asteroid hit Earth 66 million years ago, ending the Cretaceous, the geologic period that started about 145 million years ago? It’s a question that has vexed paleontologists like us for more than 40 years.

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