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Mount Etna may not really be a ‘proper’ volcano at all

Posted on 15 Jan 2018 in Earth Science, Journalism

Mount Etna, one of the world’s most famous volcanoes, may be misunderstood. According to one geologist, the material feeding the cone is mostly water, so Etna is effectively a giant hot spring. But other geologists are unconvinced. Image: Alessandro Rossi ©

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Odd fossils hint first complex life hung on long after its time

Posted on 22 Dec 2017 in Earth Science, Journalism, Palaeontology

A strange 380-million-year-old fossil that was initially identified as a worm might actually be the last known survivor of an early form of life that no one fully understands. So claims one palaeontologist – but others are sceptical. Image: Ryan Somma

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The mass extinction that might never have happened

Posted on 19 Oct 2017 in Earth Science, Featured, Journalism

Should the “big five” really be the “big four”? For decades, we have recognised five devastating mass extinctions that punctuate the last half-billion years of evolution. But now two geologists are controversially arguing that the end-Triassic extinction has no place on that list. Image: Sparkle Motion

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We’ve drawn iconic sail-wearing Dimetrodon wrong for 100 years

Posted on 13 Oct 2017 in Earth Science, Featured, Journalism, Palaeontology

Dimetrodon, one of the most recognisable of the pre-dinosaur predators, is due a makeover. For more than a century, it has been depicted as a sluggish, belly-dragging beast with sprawling legs – but it might actually have held its legs in a more upright position and kept its stomach off the ground as it walked. Image: puuikibeach

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Ancient ‘sea woodlice’ had surprisingly complicated guts

Posted on 28 Sep 2017 in Earth Science, Journalism, Palaeontology

A rare glimpse inside a 510-million-year-old digestive system suggests feeding was a complicated business for the first arthropods. Even this early in animal evolution, some animals had a variety of structures in their gut for storing and processing food. Image: James St. John

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Tiny worm burrows may reveal when first complex animals evolved

Posted on 11 Sep 2017 in Animal Behaviour, Earth Science, Evolution, Journalism

A set of tiny burrows could resolve a big puzzle: how complex animals evolved and spread around the world without revealing their presence. Image: Luke Parry/Russell Garwood

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