The latest data shows huge swings in the level of methane in the atmosphere as the seasons change, and new types of organic molecules capable of preserving life just beneath its surface.
Wednesday, 13 June 2018
Friday, 8 June 2018
NASA’s veteran Curiosity rover has found complex organic matter buried and preserved in ancient sediments that formed a vast lake bed on Mars more than 3 billion years ago.
The discovery is the most compelling evidence yet that long before the planet became the parched world it is today, Martian lakes were a rich soup of carbon-based compounds that are necessary for life, at least as we know it.
Wednesday, 6 June 2018
Saturday, 2 June 2018
New research supports an early sea arrival, by way of the Pacific coast. By dating rocks and animal bones, scientists conclude that the coast of southeastern Alaska was largely ice-free and full of plant and animal life some 17,000 years ago—a welcoming environment for people venturing south into a new world.
Wednesday, 23 May 2018
Researchers extracted DNA from ancient bones found in modern-day Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Myanmar to estimate when new genes started flowing into the Indigenous hunter-gatherer populations of the time. They found an influx of genes from South China coincided with the appearance of agriculture in South-East Asia around 4,100 to 4,500 years ago, alongside pottery and tools made in the southern Chinese style. A second gene "pulse" flowed from China to South-East Asia a couple of thousand years later.
Thursday, 17 May 2018
Scientists have discovered the fastest growing black hole known in the universe. It is growing at a rate of 1 per cent every 1 million years, and it is so big it is consuming a mass equivalent to the Sun every two days.
Wednesday, 16 May 2018
A team from Google DeepMind and University College London in the United Kingdom have trained a form of artificial intelligence to traverse a virtual environment from one point to another.
Thursday, 26 April 2018
Wednesday, 18 April 2018
Tuesday, 10 April 2018
Archaeologists on Monday announced the discovery of a fossilised human finger bone in the desert of Saudi Arabia that they said was 85,000 years old. If confirmed, the finding would be the first and earliest Homo sapiens fossil found on the Arabian Peninsula, as well as the oldest specimen of our species to be directly dated outside of Africa and its doorstep, the Levant.
Sunday, 8 April 2018
Friday, 6 April 2018
A group of scientists say they have discovered a new fluid-filled space inside human tissue that could be its largest organ. Called interstitium, the space is found everywhere throughout the body, from under the skin to between the organs. It surrounds arteries, muscles, and the digestive and urinary tracts in a layer long thought to be dense connective tissue.
Wednesday, 4 April 2018
Thursday, 22 March 2018
As the earth shook and the climate swung between extremes, early humans in East Africa underwent a radical shift in cultural behaviour. This happens to be around the time anatomically modern Homo sapiens appear in the fossil record.
Wednesday, 14 March 2018
Below whirling jet streams, 3,000 kilometres deep, lies a dense, rotating core of liquid hydrogen and helium. Under such crushing pressures, atoms are torn apart, and the fluid core acts like a solid mass. But the new data also toss up a mystery of their own: what's causing the strangely symmetrical, stable pattern of cyclones at Jupiter's poles?
Thursday, 1 March 2018
Astronomers have detected a signal from the first stars as they appeared and illuminated the universe, in observations that have been hailed as “revolutionary”. The faint radio signals suggest the universe was lifted out of total darkness 180m years after the big bang in a momentous transition known as the cosmic dawn. The faint imprint left by the glow of the earliest stars also appears to contain new and unexpected evidence about the existence and nature of dark matter which, if confirmed by independent observatories, would mark a second major breakthrough.
Wednesday, 28 February 2018
Friday, 16 February 2018
Wednesday, 14 February 2018
Sunday, 11 February 2018
More than 7,000 ancient stone tools have been discovered in India that show a distinct upgrade in stone-shaping techniques — including advanced blades, points and scrapers — dating as far back as 385,000 years ago. This suggests that modern stone tools were being made in India 250,000 years earlier than previously thought. The tools may have been made by an archaic species of hominin, rather than modern humans.
Friday, 9 February 2018
Researchers using a high-tech aerial mapping technique have found tens of thousands of previously undetected Mayan houses, buildings, defence works and pyramids in the dense jungle of Guatemala's Peten region, suggesting that millions more people lived there than previously thought.
Wednesday, 7 February 2018
A tiny arachnid discovered in 100-million-year-old amber looks just like a spider, except for one thing: its whip-like tail. The fossil fills a critical gap in the arachnid family tree between today's spiders and spider-like arachnids that lived before the dinosaurs.
Monday, 5 February 2018
Astrophysicists have discovered for the first time a population of planets beyond the Milky Way galaxy. Using microlensing—an astronomical phenomenon and the only known method capable of discovering planets at truly great distances from the Earth among other detection techniques — researchers were able to detect objects in extragalactic galaxies that range from the mass of the Moon to the mass of Jupiter.
Thursday, 1 February 2018
Modern humans were wandering out of Africa at least 180,000 years ago — some 60,000 years earlier than previously thought. The new migration date comes after ancient stone tools and part of a fossilised Homo sapiens jaw bone with teeth were discovered in a cave in northern Israel. Until now, the oldest evidence for modern humans outside Africa were only 90,000 to 120,000 years old.
Wednesday, 17 January 2018
The discovery of a mountain of frozen water lying just under the surface of Mars has been hailed by scientists as game-changer for exploration of the Red Planet. The massive ice cliffs soar 100 metres high, but scientists believe they could be just the beginning when it comes to what lies beneath the surface of the arid planet. The ice could also provide a frozen record of the planet's changing climate over millennia.
Thursday, 7 December 2017
It had a graceful, swan-like neck but bizarre "killer claws" that could tear prey to shreds: The fossil of a new, 75-million-year-old species of "duck dinosaur" has been discovered in Mongolia. The fossil represents a new species of amphibious dinosaur, one that walked on two legs on land like ducks, but also used its flipper-like forelimbs to manœuver in water like penguins. It also relied on its long neck for foraging and ambush hunting. The scientific name of the creature is Halszkaraptor escuillie.
Wednesday, 6 December 2017
Tuesday, 5 December 2017
Monday, 4 December 2017
A cache of hundreds of eggs discovered in China sheds new light on the development and nesting behaviour of prehistoric, winged reptiles called pterosaurs. A single sandstone block held at least 215 well-preserved eggs that have mostly kept their shape. Sixteen of those eggs have embryonic remains of the pterosaur species Hamipterus tianshanensis.
Wednesday, 29 November 2017
Astronomers have detected a planet orbiting an elderly star in our galactic neighbourhood. The new planet, known as HD76920b, is four times the size of Jupiter and orbits a star much larger than the Sun, nearly 600 light years away in the constellation of Volans — also known as the flying fish. It has the most eccentric orbit yet detected around any giant star.
Wednesday, 22 November 2017
Wednesday, 15 November 2017
Humans have made and quaffed wine for at least 8,000 years, with the earliest evidence for the grape drink found in what is now Georgia. Archaeologists found telltale chemical traces of the fermented drop in pieces of pottery dug from ancient villages.
Thursday, 2 November 2017
A small feathered dinosaur called Sinosauropteryx sported a stripy tail, "bandit mask" across its eyes and a pale belly to help it blend into the background, according to new research. The researchers suggest the bird-like dinosaur that lived 130 million years ago had camouflaging patterns in order* to escape being eaten.
* This misrepresents evolutionary theory. Adaptations arise 'because of' ('as a result of'), not 'in order to'. That is, this wording falsely ascribes purpose to evolution instead of reason and result.
Wednesday, 1 November 2017
Scientists have detected a powerful X-ray aurora hotspot near Jupiter's south pole and it does not behave how they expected. Rather than pulsing in sync with the northern aurora, the southern hotspot runs to its own regular beat.
Thursday, 26 October 2017
Researchers have shown what parents everywhere already know: babies can recognise a range of emotional reactions such as "mmm!" and "aww!" and connect them to their probable cause, such as a dessert or another cute baby.
Friday, 20 October 2017
Thursday, 19 October 2017
Thursday, 5 October 2017
The largest marsupial to have ever lived, Diprotodon optatum, a 3,000-kilogram herbivore that stood 1.8 metres tall at the shoulder, may have been a migratory species, an analysis of a fossil tooth suggests.
Wednesday, 4 October 2017
Scientists have detected gravitational waves — tiny ripples in the fabric of space-time — for the fourth time. Just like the first three detections, these ripples were caused by the merging of two black holes.
Thursday, 28 September 2017
Using fossils and a large comparative analysis of modern animals, a team of evolutionary biologists has found that the loss of teeth and the emergence of beaks are connected processes in theropods. As the beak grew across the dinosaur’s face, it also inhibited the growth of teeth. On an evolutionary scale this transition happened until theropods developed mouths that resembled the bird beaks seen today.
Wednesday, 27 September 2017
Thursday, 21 September 2017
Wednesday, 30 August 2017
Monday, 14 August 2017
Thursday, 3 August 2017
Wednesday, 2 August 2017
The ancient Canaanites, who the Bible says were commanded to be exterminated, did not die out, but lived on to become modern-day Lebanese, according to the first study to analyse their DNA.
Monday, 31 July 2017
NASA’s Kepler space telescope has received signal of what could potentially be the first discovered “exomoon,” a moon orbiting a planet beyond our solar system. Astronomers believe the candidate moon, which lies some 4000 light-years from Earth, is about the size and mass of Neptune, and is orbiting a planet the size of Jupiter but with 10 times the mass. Further observations of the exomoon using the Hubble Space Telescope will take place in October.
Friday, 28 July 2017
New excavations of a rock shelter near Kakadu National Park indicate humans reached Australia at least 65,000 years ago — up to 18,000 years earlier than archæologists previously thought.
Thursday, 27 July 2017
Thursday, 20 July 2017
Tuesday, 11 July 2017
The fastest-moving stars in our galaxy may have been shot off the bow of a passing smaller galaxy. These so-called "galactic hypervelocity stars" are large and short-lived but travel up to 1,000 kilometres per second. Strangely, most of them appear to be in an unusual cluster in the northern hemisphere sky, and the origin of these huge speedsters has been a bit of a puzzle. But now, researchers from the University of Cambridge argue these stars may have been flung off the front of the Large Magellanic Cloud, a dwarf galaxy travelling at high speed past the edge of the Milky Way galaxy.
Sunday, 9 July 2017
Scientists investigating how bees see colours say the insect's highly efficient visual system could revolutionise the way robots and drones view the world. The way humans see colour is heavily affected by the changing light around them, such as during a sunset or in the middle of the night, but bees see the same colour regardless. The Melbourne-based team has studied how bees solve this problem, by using three special eyes on top of their head, in addition to two main eyes at the front. The three eyes point skyward, and they directly sample the colour of the light above us.