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Art

Fossil coral reefs show sea level rose in bursts during last warming

Scientists from Rice University and Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi’s Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies have discovered that Earth’s sea level did not rise steadily but rather in sharp, punctuated bursts when the planet’s glaciers melted during the period of global warming at the close of the last ice age. The researchers found fossil evidence in drowned reefs …Continue reading →

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Researchers discover 48-million-year-old lipids in a fossil bird

As a rule, soft parts do not withstand the ravages of time; hence, the majority of vertebrate fossils consist only of bones. Under these circumstances, a new discovery from the UNESCO World Heritage Site “Messel Pit” near Darmstadt in Germany comes as an even bigger surprise: a 48-million-year old skin gland from a bird, containing lipids of the same age. …Continue reading →

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Duplications of noncoding DNA may have affected evolution of human-specific traits

Duplications of large segments of noncoding DNA in the human genome may have contributed to the emergence of differences between humans and nonhuman primates, according to results presented at the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) 2017 Annual Meeting in Orlando, Fla. Identifying these duplications, which include regulatory sequences, and their effect on traits and behavior may help scientists explain …Continue reading →

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Understanding the coevolving web of life as a network

Coevolution, which occurs when species interact and adapt to each other, is often studied in the context of pair-wise interactions between mutually beneficial symbiotic partners. But many species have mutualistic interactions with multiple partners, leading to complex networks of interacting species. Toucans, such as this green-billed toucan, are major dispersers of seeds of some tropical forest trees,  including palms [Credit:… …Continue reading →

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Research sheds new light on early turquoise mining in Southwest US

Turquoise is an icon of the desert Southwest, with enduring cultural significance, especially for Native American communities. Yet, relatively little is known about the early history of turquoise procurement and exchange in the region. Based on isotopic analysis, researchers were able to match samples from Canyon Creek to several turquoise artifacts,  including this one, that are currently housed in museums …Continue reading →

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Lost mountains in the Karoo reveal the secrets of massive extinction event

Millions of years ago, a mountain range that would have dwarfed the Andes mountains in South America, stretched over what is currently the southern-most tip of Africa. Fossil records near the lost Gondwanides mountains show that the Permian-Triassic extinction started  1 million years prior to what was previously believed [Credit: Pia Viglietti]Remnants of these mountains — called the Gondwanides, after …Continue reading →

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Mysterious stone structures discovered on edge of ancient volcanoes in Saudi Arabia

Hundreds of mysterious structures have been discovered on ancient lava domes in Saudi Arabia by an archaeologist using Google Earth. The gate structures on the side of a lava dome [Credit: Google Earth]David Kennedy, professor of archaeology at the University of Oxford, discovered around 400 stone walls that could be more than 9,000 years old in the western Harrat Khaybar …Continue reading →

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Scientists in Argentina discover a new species of condor

With the wings open, its total length is around 2 meters and 50 centimeters and because it had stronger claws than the current condor, paleontologists estimate that it could hunt its prey. The fossil was found in Marcos Paz, just 34 kilometers from the capital city of Buenos Aires. Illustration of Pampagyps imperator with two scientists [Credit: Agencia CTyS]The researcher …Continue reading →

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The missing mass: what is causing a geoid low in the Indian Ocean?

The Earth’s interior is still a mystery to us. While we have sent missions to probe the outer reaches of our Solar system, the deepest boreholes on Earth go down to only a few kilometres. The only way to learn what’s going on deep inside our planet, in the core and the mantle, is by indirect methods. A map modelling …Continue reading →

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Microbes leave “fingerprints” on Martian rocks

At the Department of Biophysical Chemistry at the University of Vienna, Tetyana Milojevic and her team have been operating a miniaturized “Mars farm” in order to simulate ancient and probably extinct microbial life — based on gases and synthetically produced Martian regolith of diverse composition. The team investigates interactions between Metallosphaera sedula, a microbe that inhabits extreme environments, and different …Continue reading →

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