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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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Ice age fashion showdown: Neanderthal capes versus human hoodies

Posted on 8 Aug 2016 in Archaeology, Journalism

Early modern humans dressed for ice age success – Neanderthals, not so much. An analysis of animal remains at prehistoric hominin sites across Europe suggests modern humans clad themselves in snug, fur-trimmed clothing, while Neanderthals probably opted for simple capes. Image: Nationalmuseet

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Some of the earliest plants took root by growing up, not down

Posted on 8 Aug 2016 in Earth Science, Environment, Evolution, Journalism

It was one of the first examples of geoengineering: when plants began to colonise the land they stabilised sediments, generated soils and greened the planet. Now we have a window on the process, thanks to a spectacular rock formation in South China. Image: Jinzhuang Xue

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Neanderthal skulls and brains may have developed just like ours

Posted on 25 Jul 2016 in Featured, Human Origins, Journalism

Great minds grow alike. Evidence from Neanderthals’ skulls suggests that their large brains grew in the same way as ours do. That in turn suggests that Neanderthals were perhaps not so cognitively different from us – although not everyone agrees with this interpretation. Image: p_a_h

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Well-travelled chimps more likely to pick up tools and innovate

Posted on 19 Jul 2016 in Animal Behaviour, Journalism

Spot a tool-using chimpanzee in Uganda’s Budongo Forest, and you could probably say it’s come a long way – in more ways than one. Chimps here are more likely to make use of tools to gather food if they have used up precious energy reserves travelling in the previous week. Image: feverblue

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Monkey stone tools in Brazil pre-date discovery of Americas

Posted on 11 Jul 2016 in Animal Behaviour, Archaeology, Journalism

They are literally a tough nut to crack. To enjoy tasty cashews you first have to figure out a way to remove the shells, which contain a caustic chemical. The bearded capuchin monkeys of Brazil may have been up to the task for centuries – and watching them work could even have taught us how to eat cashew nuts safely. Image: Dick Knight

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