Three-dimensional fossil algae more than 541 million years old reveal a modern-looking ancestry of the plant kingdom

Reconstruction of a cross-section through Protocodium sinense, showing likeness to modern Codium. Credit: Shu Chai Paleontologists have identified a new genus and species of algae called Protocodium sinense that predates the origin of land plants and modern animals and provides new insight into the early diversification of the plant kingdom. Discovered at a site in … Read more

More than 1.1 million sea turtles poached over last three decades: study

The East Pacific hawksbill turtle is among the most endangered sea turtle populations and one of the oldest creatures on Earth. In a new ASU study spanning a 30-year period, 95% of poached sea turtles came from two species — green and hawksbill turtles — both of which are listed under the US Endangered Species … Read more

Pulsars are Blasting out Cosmic Rays With a Million Billion Electronvolts

We are living in an exciting time, where next-generation instruments and improved methods are leading to discoveries in astrophysics, astrophysics, planetary science, and cosmology. As we look farther and in greater detail into the cosmos, some of the most enduring mysteries are finally being answered. Of particular interest are cosmic rays, the tiny particles consisting … Read more

Molecular atlas of an Australian dragon’s brain sheds new light on more than 300 million years of brain evolution

The Australian bearded dragon Pogona vitticeps. Credit: Max Planck Institute for Brain Research / G. Laurent These days, dragons are keeping “Game of Thrones” fans on their toes. But they are also providing important insights into vertebrate brain evolution, as revealed by the work of Max Planck scientists on the brain of the Australian bearded … Read more

Dark energy eludes astronomers studying 100 million galaxies

Scientists are still coming up empty in the hunt for flaws in Einstein’s theory of general relativity that could explain the mysterious force driving the accelerating expansion of the universe. The researchers studied 100 million galaxies looking for signs that the strength of gravity has varied throughout the universe’s history or over vast cosmic distances. … Read more

Student loan forgiveness could help more than 40 million

President Joe Biden speaks about student loan debt forgiveness in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2022, in Washington. Credit: AP Photo/Evan Vucci More than 40 million Americans could see their student loan debt reduced—and in many cases eliminated—under the long-awaited forgiveness plan President Joe Biden announced Wednesday, a historic but … Read more

Scientists discover fossils of giant sea lizard that ruled the oceans 66 million years ago

Artist’s representation of Thalassotitan atrox. Credit: Andrey Atuchin Researchers have discovered a huge new mosasaur from Morocco, named Thalassotitan atrox, which filled the apex predator niche. With massive jaws and teeth like those of killer whales, Thalassotitan hunted other marine reptiles—plesiosaurs, sea turtles, and other mosasaurs. At the end of the Cretaceous period, 66 million … Read more

60 million years of climate change drove the evolution and diversity of reptiles

Artistic reconstruction of the reptile adaptive radiation in a terrestrial ecosystem during the warmest period in Earth’s history. Image depicts a massive, big-headed, carnivorous erythrosuchid (close relative to crocodiles and dinosaurs) and a tiny gliding reptile at about 240 million years ago. The erythrosuchid is chasing the gliding reptile and it is propelling itself using … Read more

Earth’s Magnetic Field Almost Completely Collapsed 550 Million Years ago

More than half a billion years ago, Earth experienced an almost-complete collapse of its magnetic field. It began in the early Cambrian period. Then, after a period of about 15 million years, the field began to grow again. The cause of that collapse and the bounceback of the field was a mystery. Then, a group … Read more

Climate change killed 40 million Australian mangroves in 2015. Here’s why they’ll probably never grow back

Credit: Norman Duke, author provided In the summer of 2015–2016, some 40 million mangroves shriveled up and died across the wild Gulf of Carpentaria in northern Australia, after extremely dry weather from a severe El Niño event saw coastal water plunge 40 centimeters. The low water level lasted about six months, and the mangroves died … Read more