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evolution Archives - State of the Planet
Scientists have long determined what extinct animals ate by analyzing carbon isotopes locked inside their fossil teeth. But a new study shows that in many cases, they may be plugging the wrong numbers into their equations. The findings may change some views of how mammals, including us, evolved.
Adding protective barriers around street trees could reduce load on city sewers, study finds.
Ancient humans migrated out of Africa to escape a drying climate, says a new study—a finding that contradicts previous suggestions that ancient people were able to leave because a then-wet climate allowed them to cross the generally arid Horn of Africa and Middle East.
East Africa’s rift valley is considered by many to be the cradle of humanity. In the Turkana region of northwest Kenya, researchers Christopher Lepre and Tanzhuo Liu of Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory are cooperating with colleagues to study questions of human evolution, from the creation of the earliest stone tools to climate swings that have affected developing civilizations.
Who were our earliest ancestors? How and when did they evolve into modern humans? And how do we define “human,” anyway? Scientists are exploring Kenya’s Lake Turkana basin to help answer these questions.
Because of climate change, spring, summer, fall and winter in the temperate zones are all arriving on average 1.7 days earlier than they ever have before. The changing climate with its more extreme weather is affecting many plant and animal species, disturbing their habitat and disrupting ecosystem functioning. How will plants and animals deal with these challenges?
Life arose from the sea, so they say,
And Earth’s family tree is still branching today.
Our view of the old structure way down below:
Mysterious, shrouded, a faded tableau.
An ancient island’s trove of treasure: Madagascan fauna
Tenrec, fossa, lemur, hippo, dugong, bat, iguana.
A giant bird – O, wondrous beast! – a half a ton, and tall,
Laid foot-long eggs, had beefy legs, and did not fly at all.
On a high ridge in Arizona’s Petrified Forest National Park, paleontologist Paul Olsen sits on the fallen trunk of a 215-million-year-old tree, now turned to stone. The tree once loomed 70 or 80 feet above a riverine landscape teeming with fish, turtles, giant crocodilians and tiny, early species of dinosaurs.