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Strange mantle plume under Iceland helps keep Scotland afloat

Posted on 3 May 2017 in Earth Science, Journalism

The plume of hot rock that sits beneath Iceland has long-reaching fingers – two of which stretch all the way to Scotland and Norway. This perhaps explains why the breathtaking scenery of areas such as the Scottish Highlands isn’t submerged beneath the waves. Image: NASA Goddard Photo and Video

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Homo naledi is only 250,000 years old – here’s why that matters

Posted on 25 Apr 2017 in Earth Science, Human Origins, Journalism

In 2013, Lee Berger at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg and his colleagues made an extraordinary discovery – deep inside a South African cave system they found thousands of bones belonging to a brand new species of early human — and now we finally may know when this species lived and how it fits into our evolutionary tree. Image: pijpers662

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Traces in rock may be the oldest evidence of life on Earth ever

Posted on 1 Mar 2017 in Earth Science, Evolution, Featured, Journalism

Are we closing in on life’s cradle? What is claimed to be the oldest evidence of life on Earth yet found backs the idea that the first microbes originated around hydrothermal vents on the seafloor – but the work is already proving controversial. Image: Matthew Dodd

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Breath of life: Did animals evolve without oxygen?

Posted on 18 Jan 2017 in Earth Science, Evolution, Journalism

At the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea, just south of Greece, there is a lake. Complete with a delicate shoreline and an inviting deep blue surface, the L’Atalante basin looks almost like a lake on land. But this is an inhospitable place. Image: crimsonwoods_flickr

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Complex life may have had a false start 2.3 billion years ago

Posted on 16 Jan 2017 in Earth Science, Featured, Journalism

It was a sign of things to come. About 2.3 billion years ago, our primitive planet was an oxygen-poor world profoundly different from now – but then it briefly and mysteriously gained an oxygen-rich atmosphere. This so-called Lomagundi Event could have provided a fleeting opportunity for complex, animal-like creatures to evolve billions of years before the ancestors of all animals we know today appeared. Image: maxelman

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The oldest mass migration known

Posted on 6 Sep 2016 in Earth Science, Journalism, Palaeontology

Is this a real example of the blind leading the blind? A group of geologists think they have found evidence that eyeless “woodlice”, known as trilobites, marched across the ocean floor in prehistoric conga lines. Image: Katrina Koger

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