Glacial episodes have been linked to Ordovician–Silurian extinction events, but cooling itself may not be solely responsible for these extinctions. Teratological (malformed) assemblages of fossil plankton that correlate precisely with the extinction events can help identify alternate drivers of extinction. Here we show that metal poisoning may have caused these aberrant morphologies during a late Silurian (Pridoli) event. Malformations coincide with a dramatic increase of metals (Fe, Mo, Pb, Mn and As) in the fossils and their host rocks.

The Sendai Nuclear Power Plant on the island of Kyushu broke a four-year lull on 11 August when it switched one of its reactors back on. The restart is the first since Japan’s nuclear-power industry ground to a halt two years ago following safety concerns in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi disaster.

Original Source

Middle Pliocene hominin species diversity has been a subject of debate over the past two decades, particularly after the naming of Australopithecus bahrelghazali and Kenyanthropus platyops in addition to the well-known species Australopithecus afarensis. Further analyses continue to support the proposal that several hominin species co-existed during this time period. Here we recognize a new hominin species (Australopithecus deyiremeda sp. nov.) from 3.3–3.5-million-year-old deposits in the Woranso–Mille study area, central Afar, Ethiopia.

Anthropogenic climate change is predicted to decrease oceanic oxygen (O2) concentrations, with potentially significant effects on marine ecosystems. Geologically recent episodes of abrupt climatic warming provide opportunities to assess the effects of changing oxygenation on marine communities. Thus far, this knowledge has been largely restricted to investigations using Foraminifera, with little being known about ecosystem-scale responses to abrupt, climate-forced deoxygenation.

Phosphorus (P) is one of the most important limiting nutrients for the growth of oceanic phytoplankton and terrestrial ecosystems, which in turn contributes to CO2 sequestration. The solid-phase speciation of P will influence its solubility and hence its availability to such ecosystems.

Groundwater is essential to modern human survival during drought periods. There is also growing geological evidence of springs associated with stone tools and hominin fossils in the East African Rift System (EARS) during a critical period for hominin evolution (from 1.8 Ma). However it is not known how vulnerable these springs may have been to climate variability and whether groundwater availability may have played a part in human evolution.

Genetic studies have identified substantial non-African admixture in the Horn of Africa (HOA). In the most recent genomic studies, this non-African ancestry has been attributed to admixture with Middle Eastern populations during the last few thousand years. However, mitochondrial and Y chromosome data are suggestive of earlier episodes of admixture. To investigate this further, we generated new genome-wide SNP data for a Yemeni population sample and merged these new data with published genome-wide genetic data from the HOA and a broad selection of surrounding populations.

Apes and Old World monkeys are prominent components of modern African and Asian ecosystems, yet the earliest phases of their evolutionary history have remained largely undocumented. The absence of crown catarrhine fossils older than ~20 million years (Myr) has stood in stark contrast to molecular divergence estimates of ~25–30 Myr for the split between Cercopithecoidea (Old World monkeys) and Hominoidea (apes), implying long ghost lineages for both clades.

Whereas fossil evidence indicates extensive treeless vegetation and diverse grazing megafauna in Europe and northern Asia during the last glacial, experiments combining vegetation models and climate models have to-date simulated widespread persistence of trees. Resolving this conflict is key to understanding both last glacial ecosystems and extinction of most of the mega-herbivores. Using a dynamic vegetation model (DVM) we explored the implications of the differing climatic conditions generated by a general circulation model (GCM) in “normal” and “hosing” experiments.

Chandigarh: The Punjab government is planning to start eco-tourism trail in Shivalik Hills where fossils of wild camel, horses and bulls dating back to nearly three million years have been found.