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Ancient skulls give clues to China human history

Ancient skulls give clues to China human history

Image copyright Xiujie Wu Image caption The skulls provide insights into the predecessors of modern humans in the region Two skulls found in China shed light on the ancient humans who inhabited the region before our own species arrived. We know that Europe and western Asia was dominated by the Neanderthals before Homo sapiens displaced […]

DNA clues to why woolly mammoth died out

DNA clues to why woolly mammoth died out

Image copyright SPL Image caption Breakthroughs in ancient DNA sequencing give a window into the past The last woolly mammoths to walk the Earth were so wracked with genetic disease that they lost their sense of smell, shunned company, and had a strange shiny coat. That’s the verdict of scientists who have analysed ancient DNA […]

Weather supercomputing ‘heads to Italy’

Weather supercomputing ‘heads to Italy’

Image copyright ECMWF Image caption The Italian data and supercomputing centre would be built on the site of an old tobacco factory The next-generation supercomputer that will drive Europe’s medium-range weather forecasts looks set to be housed in Bologna, Italy, from 2020. It would succeed the current system based in Reading, UK. Member states of […]

Amazon forest ‘shaped by pre-Columbian indigenous peoples’

Amazon forest ‘shaped by pre-Columbian indigenous peoples’

Image copyright AFP Image caption The Amazon is the world’s largest tropical forest and covers almost one third of South America Indigenous peoples who inhabited the Amazon before the arrival of European colonisers planted a vast number of trees, a new study argues. They played an important role in the current composition of the forest, […]

Earliest evidence of life on Earth ‘found’

Earliest evidence of life on Earth ‘found’

Image copyright M Dodd Image caption Ancient life: These clumps of iron and filaments show similarities to modern microbes Scientists have discovered what they say could be fossils of some of the earliest living organisms on Earth. They are represented by tiny filaments, knobs and tubes in Canadian rocks dated to be up to 4.28 […]

‘Best ever’ view of what a dinosaur really looked like

‘Best ever’ view of what a dinosaur really looked like

Image copyright Julius T. Csotony Image caption Anchiornis: A feathered dinosaur from China A dinosaur that lived 160 million years ago had drumstick-shaped legs much like living birds, according to palaeontologists. The feathered dinosaur also had bird-like arms similar to wings. Scientists used high-powered lasers to reveal invisible details of what the creature looked like. […]

Tagged animals at risk from hunters and nature-lovers

Tagged animals at risk from hunters and nature-lovers

Image copyright Science Photo Library Image caption Tagged sharks were found and then hunted by people homing in on radio signals At-risk species, including wolves and sharks, are being targeted by hunters using signals sent by radio tags to home in on the animals. The behaviour of non-endangered species is also being skewed as nature […]

Scotland’s non-biting midges

Scotland’s non-biting midges

Image copyright Alan Watson Featherstone/Trees for Life Image caption One of the 17 species of non-biting midge found at Dundreggan, a wooded area of the Highlands Last week it was revealed that Scotland has a previously unrecorded species of midge. But there is no need to reach for the insect repellent, this beastie is one […]

Nest-boxes no substitute for tree cavities, says study

Nest-boxes no substitute for tree cavities, says study

Image copyright M.Maziarz Image caption Some species, such as the marsh tit, preferred tree cavities as nesting sites Conservationists cannot consider nest-boxes to be a substitute for naturally occurring tree cavities, a study has suggested. A study found the artificial nesting sites had higher humidity levels and poorer insulation than tree cavities. Researchers also found […]

‘Oldest’ Iron Age gold work in Britain found in Staffordshire

Media captionFriends dig up Britain’s ‘oldest’ Iron Age gold in Staffordshire Two friends have unearthed jewellery which could be the oldest Iron Age gold discovered in Britain. Mark Hambleton, who went back to metal detecting after advice from his late father, made the find with Joe Kania, on Staffordshire Moorlands farmland. The three necklaces and […]