After nearly two months, the largest wildfire in California history has finally been put out. The Ranch Fire can now officially take its place in the record books, having burned a grand total of 459, 123 acres. Continue reading The Largest Wildfire in California’s History Is Finally Out
The Amazon and the adjacent Andean slopes in South America host an astonishing richness of plants and animals. These species have been sources of food, shelter and medicine since the arrival of humans and a target of scientific curiosity since the days of the earliest European naturalist explorers.
For years, archaeologist Huw Groucutt and his team had driven one particular stretch of desert on their way to dig sites in Saudi Arabia. As they drove they caught glimpses of what looked like bones, emerging from the slowly eroding sand. Finally, in 2014, the team decided to explore the array of bones at Al Wusta. Within two years, amidst more than 800 fossilized animal bones and nearly 400 stone artifacts, they discovered something remarkable: the middle digit of a finger bone, from what appeared to be a modern human. Continue reading Rare 85,000-year-old Finger Bone Complicates Our Understanding of African Migration
Stretching 3.5 million square miles across northern Africa, the vast sand dunes and rocky plateaus of the Sahara cover more ground than the continental United States. Now, a pair of scientists is making a provocative claim that the world’s largest desert has expanded 10 percent since the early 20th century, effectively adding another Texas-sized chunk. Continue reading What’s Going On With the Sahara Desert?
President Trump’s proposed 2019 budget calls for deep cuts to research, and while it is unlikely to gain traction in Congress, it is a troubling statement of the administration’s priorities. As Neil deGrasse Tyson tweeted, “The fastest way to Make a America Weak Again: Cut science funds to our agencies that support it.” Continue reading NASA almost never came to be. Its creation is a lesson in political power.
Scientists have known for some time that trees not only have a sex, but can sometimes switch between sexes. But they haven’t always known why. Now, as The Washington Post’s Amy Ellis Nutt reports, a new study suggests that for at least one species, the switch happens after injury.
If the world gets warmer by two degrees Celsius, we’re screwed. To prevent that, the United Nations signed the Paris Agreement, an international treaty designed to keep the average global temperature “well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels”…A.K.A. what the Earth was like before factories started spewing greenhouse gases into the air.