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Current Fossil News and Events, Fossil News Articles.
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Hydrogen-powered heavy duty vehicles could contribute significantly to achieving climate goals
A partial transition of German road transport to hydrogen energy is among the possibilities being discussed to help meet national climate targets. Researcher from the IASS have examined the hypothetical transition to a hydrogen-powered transport sector through several scenarios. Their conclusion: A shift towards hydrogen-powered mobility could significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and greatly improve air quality - in particular, heavy duty vehicles represent a low-hanging fruit for decarbonization of German road transport. (2020-12-01)

Scientists warn of the social and environmental risks tied to the energy transition
New international research by the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) warns that green energy projects can be as socially and environmentally conflictive as fossil fuel projects. While renewable energies are often portrayed as being environmentally sustainable, this new study cautions about the risks associated with the green energy transition, arguing for an integrated approach that redesigns energy systems in favor of social equity and environmental sustainability. (2020-12-01)

UIC researchers identify new process to produce ammonia with a much smaller carbon footprint
Researchers describe a new process to produce ammonia with a potentially much lower carbon footprint. (2020-11-30)

Water-to-land transition in early tetrapods
The water-to-land transition is one of the most important major transitions in vertebrate evolution. However, there is still uncertainty about when the water-land transition took place and how terrestrial early tetrapods really were. A new paper in Nature addresses these questions and shows although these early tetrapods were still tied to water and had aquatic features, they also had adaptations that indicate some ability to move on land. (2020-11-25)

From fins to limbs and water to land
The study shows how and when the first groups of land explorers became better walkers than swimmers. The analysis spans the fin-to-limb transition and reconstructs the evolution of terrestrial movement in early tetrapods. (2020-11-25)

Ireland's only dinosaurs discovered in antrim
The only dinosaur bones ever found on the island of Ireland have been formally confirmed for the first time by a team of experts from the University of Portsmouth and Queen's University Belfast, led by Dr Mike Simms, a curator and palaeontologist at National Museums NI. (2020-11-24)

Reducing aerosol pollution without cutting carbon dioxide could make the planet hotter
Humans must reduce carbon dioxide and aerosol pollution simultaneously to avoid weakening the ocean's ability to keep the planet cool, new UC Riverside research shows. (2020-11-17)

New analysis refutes claim that dinosaurs were in decline before asteroid hit
New research suggests that dinosaurs were not in decline before the asteroid hit. The study contradicts previous theories and concludes that had the impact not occurred dinosaurs might have continued to be the dominant group of land animals. (2020-11-17)

Paleontologists uncover three new species of extinct walruses in Orange County
Millions of years ago, in the warm Pacific Ocean off the coast of Southern California, walrus species without tusks lived abundantly. But in a new study, Cal State Fullerton paleontologists have identified three new walrus species discovered in Orange County and one of the new species has ''semi-tusks'' -- or longer teeth. (2020-11-16)

Fossil shark turns in to mystery pterosaur
Lead author of the project, University of Portsmouth PhD student Roy Smith, discovered the mystery creature amongst fossil collections housed in the Sedgwick Museum of Cambridge and the Booth Museum at Brighton that were assembled when phosphate mining was at its peak in the English Fens between 1851 and 1900. These fossils found while workmen were digging phosphate nodules were frequently sold to earn a little bit of extra money. (2020-11-10)

New fossil seal species rewrites history
An international team of biologists, led by Monash University, has discovered a new species of extinct monk seal from the Southern Hemisphere -- describing it as the biggest breakthrough in seal evolution in 70 years. (2020-11-10)

Newly discovered fossil shows small-scale evolutionary changes in an extinct human species
Males of the extinct human species Paranthropus robustus were thought to be substantially larger than females -- much like the size differences seen in modern-day primates such as gorillas, orangutans and baboons. But a new fossil discovery in South Africa instead suggests that P. robustus evolved rapidly during a turbulent period of local climate change about 2 million years ago, resulting in anatomical changes that previously were attributed to sex. (2020-11-09)

Decrease in fossil-fuel CO2 emissions due to COVID-19 detected by atmospheric observations
Atmospheric observations at Hateruma Island, Japan, successfully detected the decrease in fossil-fuel CO2 emissions in China associated with the COVID-19 outbreak. The weather in Hateruma island is frequently influenced by the northwest monsoon travelling over China, which carries the emission signals of air pollutants. The observed ratios of CO2 and CH4 variabilities showed a significant decrease during February-March 2020, corresponding to about a 30% decrease in China's fossil-fuel CO2 emissions, according to a chemistry-transport model simulation. (2020-11-06)

Global food system emissions threaten achievement of climate change targets
Even if greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel use in the global food system were immediately halted, the remaining greenhouse gasses otherwise produced from global food production would make meeting the Paris Agreement's target of limiting temperature increases to 1.5° Celsius (C) above preindustrial levels very difficult, a new study reports. (2020-11-05)

A species identified in 2016 as an ancient form of chameleon was misidentified at that time, say researchers
A species identified in 2016 as an ancient form of chameleon was misidentified at that time, say researchers, many of whom were part of the original 2016 report. (2020-11-05)

Reducing global food system emissions key to meeting climate goals
Reducing fossil fuel use is essential to stopping climate change, but that goal will remain out of reach unless global agriculture and eating habits are also transformed. (2020-11-05)

Keeping our cool
Fossil fuel burning accounts for the majority of global greenhouse gas emissions, and to the world's credit, several countries are working to reduce their use and the heat-trapping emissions that ensue. The goal is to keep global temperatures under a 1.5° to 2°C increase above preindustrial levels -- the upper limits of the Paris Climate Agreement. (2020-11-05)

A 520-million-year-old five-eyed fossil reveals arthropod origin
Researchers from the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (NIGPAS) have discovered a shrimp-like fossil with five eyes, which has provided important insights into the early evolutionary history of arthropods. (2020-11-04)

How to fix the movement for fossil fuel divestment
Bankers and environmentalists alike are increasingly calling for capital markets to play a bigger role in the war on carbon. In the absence of a meaningful global price on carbon, however, capital continues to flow freely toward fossil fuels and other carbon-intensive industries. The movement for fossil fuel divestment has been trying since 2012 to reverse this trend. (2020-11-03)

New species of ancient cynodont, 220 million years old, discovered
''This discovery sheds light on the geography and environment during the early evolution of mammals,'' Kligman said. (2020-11-03)

Lizard skull fossil is new and 'perplexing' extinct species
A new species of extinct lizard, Kopidosaurus perplexus, has been described by a graduate student at The University of Texas at Austin. The first part of the name references the lizard's distinct teeth; a 'kopis' is a curved blade used in ancient Greece. But the second part is a nod to the 'perplexing' matter of just where the extinct lizard should be placed on the tree of life. (2020-11-02)

New Denisovan DNA expands diversity, history of species
Ancient Denisovan mitochondrial DNA has been recovered in sediments from Baishiya Karst Cave, a limestone cave at the northeast margin of the Tibetan Plateau, 3280 meters above sea level and adds more evidence to the record that Denisovans, a group of extinct hominins that diverged from Neanderthals about 400,000 years ago, may have more widely inhabited northeast central Asia. (2020-10-29)

Seafood extinction risk: Marine bivalves in peril?
Marine bivalves are an important component of our global fishery, with over 500 species harvested for food and other uses. Our understanding of their potential vulnerability to extinction lags behind evaluation of freshwater bivalves or marine vertebrates, and so Shan Huang and colleagues, in analyses presented at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America, used insights and data from the fossil record to assess extinction risk in this economically and ecologically important group. (2020-10-28)

Antarctica yields oldest fossils of giant birds with 21-foot wingspans
Some of the largest birds in history, called pelagornithids, arose a few million years after the mass extinction that killed off the dinosaurs and patrolled the oceans with giant wingspans for some 60 million years. A team of paleontologists has found two fossils -- each from individual pelagornithids with wingspans of 20 feet or more -- that show this gigantism arose at least 50 million years ago and lasted at least 10 million years. (2020-10-27)

Modern computational tools may open a new era for fossil pollen research
By integrating machine-learning technology with high-resolution imaging, scientists are improving the taxonomic resolution of fossil pollen identifications and greatly enhancing the use of pollen data in ecological and evolutionary research. (2020-10-26)

Super-resolution microscopy and machine learning shed new light on fossil pollen grains
Plant biology researchers at the University of Illinois and computer scientists at the University of California Irvine have developed a new method of fossil pollen identification through the combination of super-resolution microscopy and machine learning. The team developed and trained three convolutional neural network models to identify fossil pollen specimens from an unknown group of legumes. (2020-10-23)

Paper recycling must be powered by renewables to save climate
The study, published in Nature Sustainability, found that greenhouse gas emissions would increase by 2050 if we recycled more paper, as current methods rely on fossil fuels and electricity from the grid. (2020-10-19)

Deep sea coral time machines reveal ancient CO2 burps
The fossilised remains of ancient deep-sea corals may act as time machines providing new insights into the effect the ocean has on rising CO2 levels, according to new research carried out by the Universities of Bristol, St Andrews and Nanjing and published today [16 October 2020] in Science Advances. (2020-10-16)

Was Hong Kong once a coral reef paradise?
Researchers from The University of Hong Kong's School of Biological Sciences and The Swire Institute of Marine Science, have for the first time investigated the historical presence of coral communities in the Greater Bay Area, revealing a catastrophic range collapse and loss of diversity that occurred in the last several decades. (2020-10-15)

Artificial cyanobacterial biofilm can sustain green ethylene production for over a month
Ethylene is one of the most important and widely used organic chemicals. The research group at the University of Turku led by Associate Professor Yagut Allahverdiyeva-Rinne has designed a thin-layer artificial biofilm with embedded cyanobacterial cell factories which were specifically engineered for photosynthetic production of ''green'' ethylene. The fabricated biofilms have sustained ethylene production for up to 40 days. (2020-10-15)

Climate change likely drove early human species to extinction, modeling study suggests
Of the six or more different species of early humans, all belonging to the genus Homo, only we Homo sapiens have managed to survive. Now, a study reported in the journal One Earth combining climate modeling and the fossil record in search of clues to what led to all those earlier extinctions suggests that climate change--the inability to adapt to either warming or cooling temperatures--likely played a major role in sealing their fate. (2020-10-15)

A deadly long-distance hunter: DNA study reveals insights about the scimitar-toothed cat
Researchers from the University of Copenhagen have mapped the entire nuclear genome of a sabre-toothed cat. The genetic study reveals new insights about a socially intelligent pack animal, specialized in endurance-based hunting over long distances. (2020-10-15)

Beak bone reveals pterosaur like no other
A new species of small pterosaur - similar in size to a turkey - has been discovered, which is unlike any other pterosaur seen before due to its long slender toothless beak. (2020-10-14)

Cement, salt and water: From Politecnico di Torino a new material toward green heat
A study carried out from the Turin university in collaboration with the Advanced Energy Technology Institute CNR-ITAE and published on the journal Scientific Reports, suggest a low cost technology to store heat during the summer and use it during the winter, thus saving in fossil fuels. (2020-10-08)

Past tropical forest changes drove megafauna and hominin extinctions
Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History (MPI-SHH) and Griffith University have discovered that Southeast Asia, today renowned for its lush rainforests, was at various points in the past covered by sweeping grasslands. The expansion and reduction of these grasslands had drastic effects on local megafauna, variously supporting success and inducing extinction. (2020-10-07)

Body size of the extinct Megalodon indeed off the charts in the shark world
A new study shows that the body size of the iconic gigantic or megatooth shark, about 15 meters (50 feet) in length, is indeed anomalously large compared to body sizes of its relatives. (2020-10-05)

Seeking ancient rainforests through modern mammal diets
Closed-canopy rainforests are a vital part of Earth's modern ecosystems, but tropical plants don't preserve well in the fossil record so it is difficult to tell how long these habitats have existed and where rainforests might have once grown. Instead, scientists look to the diets of extinct animals, which lock evidence of the vegetation they ate into their teeth. A new study finds that the paradigm used to identify closed-canopy rainforests needs to be reassessed. (2020-10-05)

Ice Age manatees may have called Texas home
Manatees don't live year-round in Texas, but these gentle sea cows are known to occasionally visit, swimming in for a 'summer vacation' and returning to warmer waters for the winter. New research has found fossil evidence for manatees along the Texas coast dating back to the most recent ice age. The discovery raises questions about whether manatees have been visiting for thousands of years, or if ice age manatees once called Texas home. (2020-10-01)

Dinosaur feather study debunked
A new study published in ''Scientific Reports'' provides substantial evidence that the first fossil feather ever to be discovered does belong to the iconic bird-like dinosaur, Archaeopteryx. This debunks a recent theory that the fossil feather originated from a different species. (2020-09-30)

"Immortal" in tree resin
The phenomenon of using DNA from old fossils preserved in amber already inspired Hollywood - in the film Jurassic Park, scientists reproduce the DNA of dinosaurs extracted from a fossil mosquito and thereby resurrect them. In reality, however, all previous studies in which researchers took DNA samples from insects enclosed in tree resin were useless under the scientific method. Researchers now detected DNA from ambrosia beetles that were trapped in recent tree resin. (2020-09-30)

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