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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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Where will we find the first telltale signs of the Anthropocene?

Posted on 1 Sep 2016 in Earth Science, Featured, Journalism

The idea of the Anthropocene – the period in which human activity profoundly shapes the environment – has taken an important step closer to general acceptance. If it is made official the real work will begin. Somewhere near the top of the to-do list is one burning question: where in the world gives us the best view of the dawn of the Anthropocene? Image: Sara Simmonds

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Weather bombs could help us see deep inside Earth

Posted on 25 Aug 2016 in Earth Science, Journalism

Severe storm clouds have an unexpected silver lining: they may help us visualise parts of our planet’s interior that are otherwise hidden. Image: Francesca Sacco

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