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Phallus-shaped worm-like creature sheds light on Earth’s biodiversity

Fossilised forms of a phallus-shaped invertebrate have shed light on a dramatic spurt in Earth’s biodiversity that occurred half a billion years ago, Canadian scientists reported on Wednesday. Remains of 10-centimetre (four-inch) worm-like creatures were found in shale beds in Yoho National Park in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. The sediment…

World’s sixth mass extinction may be underway: study

PARIS (AFP) – Mankind may have unleashed the sixth known mass extinction in Earth’s history, according to a paper released by the science journal Nature. Over the past 540 million years, five mega-wipeouts of species have occurred through naturally-induced events. But the new threat is man-made, inflicted by habitation loss,…

World’s sixth mass extinction may be underway: study

PARIS – Mankind may have unleashed the sixth known mass extinction in Earth’s history, according to a paper released on Wednesday by the science journal Nature. Over the past 540 million years, five mega-wipeouts of species have occurred through naturally-induced events. But the new threat is man-made, inflicted by habitation…

New botanic database holds a million plant names

Capping the UN’s International Year of Biodiversity, botanists in Britain and the United States on Wednesday unveiled a library of plant names aimed at helping conservationists, drug designers and agriculture researchers. The database, accessible at www.theplantlist.org, identifies 1.25 million names for plants, ranging from essential food crops such as wheat,…

UN says lack of crop diversity threatens food supply

Experts from the Rome-based organisation warned that the loss of biodiversity will have a major impact on humankind’s ability to feed itself in the future as the global population rises to nine billion by 2050. “There are thousands of wild crop relatives that… hold genetic secrets that enable them to…

UN fears ‘irreversible’ damage to natural environment

GENEVA — The UN warned on Monday that “massive” loss in life-sustaining natural environments was likely to deepen to the point of being irreversible after global targets to cut the decline by this year were missed. As a result of the degradation, the world is moving closer to several “tipping…

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