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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

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

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 […]

Fracking: Shale rock professor says UK gas reserves ‘hyped’

Image copyright AFP The gas reserves in shale rocks in the UK have been “hyped”, a geology professor has warned. Prof John Underhill from Heriot-Watt University said UK shale deposits were formed 55 million years too late to trap substantial amounts of gas. He said the government would be wise to formulate a Plan B […]

‘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

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. […]

‘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

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. […]

Plants ‘hijacked’ to make polio vaccine

Image copyright John Innes Centre Image caption A close relative of tobacco has been turned into a polio vaccine “factory” Plants have been “hijacked” to make polio vaccine in a breakthrough with the potential to transform vaccine manufacture, say scientists. The team at the John Innes Centre, in Norfolk, says the process is cheap, easy […]

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 […]

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