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Scientists find evidence of ancient Martian lake

A US spacecraft orbiting Mars has provided evidence of an ancient crater lake fed by groundwater, adding further support to theories that the Red Planet may once have hosted life, NASA said Sunday. Spectrometer data from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) shows traces of carbonate and clay minerals usually formed…

On the trail of dinosaur fossil swindlers

Dinosaur fossils are big business, with complete skeletons fetching millions. And that much cash attracts swindlers, science writer Brian Switek reports Fossils are priceless. I mean that in both senses: they are invaluable clues about vanished lives and their worth should never be measured in dollars. But Eric Prokopi made…

‘Forgotten man of evolution’ gets his moment

Alfred Russel Wallace formed the theory of natural selection, but Darwin’s connections ensured he got the glory, writes Robin McKie Alfred Russel Wallace is far from a household name, but he changed the world. Recovering from a bout of malaria on the remote Indonesian island of Halmahera, the young British…

Mercury treaty adopted in Geneva by 140 countries

Delegations from some 140 countries have agreed to adopt a ground-breaking treaty limiting the use of health-hazardous mercury, the Swiss foreign ministry said. The world’s first legally binding treaty on mercury, reached after a week of thorny talks, will aim to reduce global emission levels of the toxic heavy metal…

Amazon rainforest showing signs of degradation due to climate change, NASA warns

Rainforest area twice the size of California experiencing drought rate that is unprecedented in a century, study shows The US space agency Nasa warned this week that the Amazon rainforest may be showing the first signs of large-scale degradation due to climate change. A team of scientists led by the…

European space agency considers smashing spacecraft into asteroid

European space officials are considering sending a spacecraft to smash into a small asteroid — one of the pair of orbiting rocks, named Didymos, that will sail closely past the Earth in 2022 — to see if they can throw them off course, according to Ars Technica. The idea behind…

Spotted salamander first solar-powered vertebrate discovered

While scientists have known about multiple animals that can turn sunlight into energy, they haven’t been sure that any vertebrate could do so — until now. As far back as 1888, a biologist found that the eggs of a spotted salamander contained a kind of green algae, but now firm…

DNA database not so anonymous on the Internet: study

On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog — but it is getting increasingly easy for someone to figure it out. As more and more of our personal data — and those of the people we know and are related to — gets posted online, the anonymity promised by the…

Study confirms link between climate change and early blooming

As global average temperatures warm due to climate change, scientists have learned that plants are flowering earlier in the year than ever before. More troubling, scientists explained this week in the journal PLOS ONE that Massachusetts and Wisconsin in particular saw the earliest flowerings in recorded history during 2010 and…

Temperature hits all-time record in Sydney

Temperatures in Sydney hit their highest level on record on Friday, with the mercury in Australia’s biggest city reaching 45.8 degrees Celsius (114.4 Fahrenheit) in the mid-afternoon. Sydney’s previous hottest recorded temperature was 45.3 degrees set in 1939. “It’s a historic day for Sydney today,” Weather Channel meteorologist Dick Whitaker…

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