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The algae that terraformed Earth

The algae that terraformed Earth

Image copyright Stuart Hay/ANU Image caption The biomolecules were contained in oil extracted from deeply buried rock A planetary takeover by ocean-dwelling algae 650 million years ago was the kick that transformed life on Earth. That’s what geochemists argue in Nature this week, on the basis of invisibly small traces of biomolecules dug up from […]

Freeze-dried dung gives clue to Asian elephant stress

Freeze-dried dung gives clue to Asian elephant stress

Image copyright SANJEETA SHARMA POKHAREL Image caption Researchers freeze-dried samples on site for later analysis “Collecting fresh faecal samples is not as easy as it may sound,” says researcher Sanjeeta Sharma Pokharel. But her efforts have helped scientists in India devise a unique, non-invasive way to monitor the physiological health of wild elephants. The key […]

Radioactive ‘pooh sticks’ trace carbon’s ocean journey

Radioactive ‘pooh sticks’ trace carbon’s ocean journey

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Scientists say iodine traces from Sellafield have travelled to the waters off Bermuda Radioactive iodine from nuclear reprocessing plants in the UK and France has been detected deep in the waters near Bermuda. Scientists say the contaminants take a circuitous route travelling via the Arctic Ocean and down past […]

‘Frankenstein dinosaur’ mystery solved

‘Frankenstein dinosaur’ mystery solved

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption About the size of a large dog: Chilesaurus was unearthed in South America Scientists have solved the puzzle of the so-called “Frankenstein dinosaur”, which seems to consist of body parts from unrelated species. A new study suggests that it is in fact the missing link between plant-eating dinosaurs, such […]

‘Donald Trump forest’ climate change project gains momentum

‘Donald Trump forest’ climate change project gains momentum

Image copyright MARTIN BERNETTI Image caption Campaigners hope to plant enough trees to offset the climate impact of President Trump A campaign to plant trees to compensate for the impact of President Trump’s climate policies has 120,000 pledges. The project was started by campaigners upset at what they call the president’s “ignorance” on climate science. […]

Scotland’s largest solar farm gets green light

Scotland’s largest solar farm gets green light

Image copyright Elgin Energy Image caption Scotland’s largest solar farm currently is at Errol Estate in Perthshire The green light has been given for what will be Scotland’s largest solar farm. Moray Council has granted Elgin Energy planning permission for a 20MW project near Urquhart, which could see about 80,000 solar panels installed. The farm […]

Cassini skims Saturn’s atmosphere

Cassini skims Saturn’s atmosphere

Image copyright NASA/JPL-Caltech Image caption Cassini will “dip its toes” into the atmosphere during the final passes The Cassini probe has begun the final phase of its mission to Saturn. The satellite has executed the first of five ultra-close passes of the giant world, dipping down far enough to brush through the top of the […]

Fish sauced? Goldfish turn to alcohol to survive icy winters

Fish sauced? Goldfish turn to alcohol to survive icy winters

Image copyright Mary Evans Picture Library Image caption Goldfish and their relatives have the ability to turn lactic acid into alcohol Scientists have decoded the secrets behind a goldfish’s ability to survive in ice-covered lakes. They’ve worked out how and why the fish turn lactic acid in their bodies into alcohol, as a means of […]

Penguin feathers record migration route

Penguin feathers record migration route

Image copyright Chinstraps How do you trace where a penguin has swum across the vastness of the Southern Ocean? The surprising answer is from the chemistry of a single tail feather. Incredibly, specific compounds in penguin feather proteins allow scientists to track the birds’ migration over many hundreds of kilometres. The plumage records a kind […]

‘Dodgy’ greenhouse gas data threatens Paris accord

‘Dodgy’ greenhouse gas data threatens Paris accord

Image copyright JUNGFRAUJOCH Image caption The air monitoring station at Jungfraujoch, in Switzerland, has detected the Italian emissions for nine years Potent, climate-warming gases are being emitted into the atmosphere but are not being recorded in official inventories, a BBC investigation has found. Air monitors in Switzerland have detected large quantities of one gas coming […]

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