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Glaciers seed ocean with silicon – and fuel plankton growth

Posted on 21 Aug 2015 in Earth Science, Environment, Journalism

From icy water comes life. The meltwater beneath Greenland’s glaciers is an important source of the silicon that some plankton need to build their glassy skeletons – and climate change could alter the input. Image: Bernd Thaller

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Watery time capsule hints at how life got started on early Earth

Posted on 20 Aug 2015 in Earth Science, Journalism, Life

It has all the ingredients of a primordial soup. What’s more, the chemicals of life – discovered in a pocket of water that last saw the light of day 1.5 billion years ago – appear to have formed without any influence from biological processes. Image: brewbooks

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Pumping CO2 into frack wells could prevent water contamination

Posted on 18 Aug 2015 in Earth Science, Journalism, Technology

Sometimes two problems can cancel each other out. Carbon dioxide emissions from power plants could be put to good use, preventing fracking chemicals from contaminating drinking water supplies. Image: brims1285

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Fussy eating may have doomed ape-like humans

Posted on 15 Jul 2015 in Earth Science, Evolution, Human Origins, Journalism

It was the first fussy eater. Most ancient hominins ate a broad diet, but one species specialised on sedges, which might have led to its downfall. Image: PriscillaBurcher

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Dinosaurs were discovered by British scientists

Posted on 15 Jun 2015 in Dinosaurs, Earth Science, Evolution, Featured, Journalism, Palaeontology

Britain was where the first fossil dinosaur fragments were studied by scientists; where the first essentially complete dinosaur skeleton was unearthed; where the very word “dinosaur” was born about 170 years ago; and where the name almost died just a few decades later. Image: I like

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Oldest broken bone reveals our ancestors’ switch to life on land

Posted on 20 May 2015 in Animal Behaviour, Earth Science, Evolution, Featured, Journalism, Palaeontology

It was one small fall for a tetrapod, but it signals one giant leap for tetrapod kind. A broken leg bone pushes back the emergence of our four-legged ancestors from water on to land by at least 2 million years. Image: 2015 Bishop et al.

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