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Modern humans left Africa much earlier

Modern humans left Africa much earlier

Image copyright Israel Hershkovitz, Tel Aviv Uni Image caption The teeth are in the upper size range of what’s seen in modern humans Researchers have identified the remains of the earliest known modern humans to have left Africa. New dating of fossils from Israel indicates that our species (Homo sapiens) lived outside Africa around 185,000 […]

Most UK bat species ‘recovering or stable’

Most UK bat species ‘recovering or stable’

Image copyright John Altingham Image caption Bechstein’s bat: Some of the woodland species are not so easy to count The UK’s bats are holding their own, according to the most recent national survey. Of the 18 resident species, most are growing in number or are stable. It is evidence that protective measures introduced in recent […]

Antarctica’s Weddell Sea ‘deserves protected status’

Antarctica’s Weddell Sea ‘deserves protected status’

Image copyright Christian Åslund Image caption Very few people have ridden submersibles down into the Antarctic deep A submersible mission in Antarctic waters has revealed unique ecosystems so rare they deserve special protection, say scientists. The seabed investigation, co-ordinated by the campaign group Greenpeace, will help build the case for the creation of the world’s […]

The human-elephant conflict in India’s tea state Assam

The human-elephant conflict in India’s tea state Assam

Image caption The huge expanse of Assam’s tea gardens bordering Bhutan Growers of world-famous Assam tea are encroaching into forests, fuelling a conflict between elephants and humans, locals and authorities in the Indian state have said. Officials blame small-scale plantations for most of the encroachment but local leaders told the BBC there was no up-to-date […]

New Caledonian crows show how technology evolves

New Caledonian crows show how technology evolves

Media captionThe crows select specific plant material to craft their hooks Tool-making crows have allowed us to see the first foundations of a technological breakthrough. New Caledonian crows spontaneously make hooks out of plant material, using them to “fish” for grubs and spiders. Experiments have now revealed that these hooked tools are 10 times faster […]

Why you can’t judge a zebra by its stripes

Why you can’t judge a zebra by its stripes

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Plains zebra live in family groups of a stallion with mares and their young offspring You can’t judge a zebra by its stripes. That’s the finding of research that is shaking up the family tree of the African wild horse. The common (plains) zebra lives on the grasslands of […]

Are diesel cars always the most harmful?

Are diesel cars always the most harmful?

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Modern diesel engines are equipped with filters to reduce particulate emissions Sales of diesel-powered cars fell dramatically last year, declining more than 17% compared with 2016. People within the industry blame anti-diesel rhetoric from the government, local authorities and clean air campaigners for eroding consumer confidence. They insist that […]

Hope for threatened ‘little tiger cat’

Hope for threatened ‘little tiger cat’

Image copyright Jerry Laker Image caption Güiñas are considered pests by some people as they can steal chickens It’s the smallest cat in the Americas, occupying the smallest area of land. Listed as vulnerable to extinction, the güiña wildcat of Chile has lost much of its natural home as forests are chopped down or converted […]

Scapa Flow microplastics levels ‘similar to Forth and Clyde’

Scapa Flow microplastics levels ‘similar to Forth and Clyde’

Image caption Orkney beaches were used for the study Scientists have found levels of microplastic pollution on beaches around Scapa Flow in Orkney are similar to those in industrialised areas like the Forth and Clyde. Researchers at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh took more than 100 sediment samples from 13 beaches on Hoy and the Orkney […]

2017 ‘warmest year without El Niño’

2017 ‘warmest year without El Niño’

Image copyright Getty Images Manmade climate change is now dwarfing the influence of natural trends on the climate, scientists say. Last year was the second or third hottest year on record – after 2016 and on a par with 2015, the data shows. But those two years were affected by El Niño – the natural […]