Month: August 2020

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Animals have been hibernating for a long, long time, a new study shows. Researchers have analysed 250 million-year-old fossils and found evidence that the pig-sized mammal relation, a genus called Lystrosaurus, hibernated much like bears and bats do today.   Finding signs of shifts in metabolism rates in fossils is just about impossible under normal conditions –
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Songbirds in tropical rainforests curtail their reproduction to help them survive droughts, according to a study Monday. Species with longer lifespans were better able to cope with this environmental volatility than previously thought, researchers found.   With more record hot spells gripping parts of the planet and biodiversity threatened by human encroachment on habitats, a
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Plants have a seemingly effortless skill – turning sunlight into energy – and scientists have been working to artificially emulate this photosynthesis process. The ultimate benefits for renewable energy could be huge – and a new approach based on ‘photosheets’ could be the most promising attempt we’ve seen so far.   The new device takes CO2, water, and
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Where do dreams come from? It’s an age-old question, something people have been wondering and theorising about for millennia. Whereas ancient civilisations may have interpreted dreams as having supernatural or spiritual origins, in modern society, we’re more likely to analyse our dreams in terms of our waking life, looking for meaningful connections linking the content
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Scientists from Leeds and Edinburgh universities and University College London analysed satellite surveys of glaciers, mountains, and ice sheets between 1994 and 2017 to identify the impact of global warming. Their review paper was published in the journal Cryosphere Discussions.   Describing the ice loss as “staggering,” the group found that melting glaciers and ice sheets could
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In 2020, we’re sadly used to hearing how disinformation campaigns are being waged to influence people’s thinking, spread fake news, and further political agendas But the same tactics aren’t solely a threat in terms of long-term social manipulation, scientists warn.   In a new study, researchers demonstrate that weaponised disinformation campaigns could also hypothetically be exploited
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Prehistoric sculptures depicting human-like faces have some scientists thinking certain expressions might well be universal across time and culture. New research has found ancient Maya people and other Mesoamerican civilisations, such as the Olmec, were sculpting scenes of pain, elation, sadness, anger, strain and determination in ways that are still recognisable to us up to
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Having strong, biased opinions may say more about your own individual way of behaving in group situations than it does about your level of identification with the values or ideals of any particular group, new research suggests.   This behavioural trait – which researchers call ‘groupiness’ – could mean that individuals will consistently demonstrate ‘groupy’
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In the north of the Arabian Peninsula, bordering the Nefud Desert, archaeologists have recently catalogued vast stone monuments dating back 7,000 years. Shaped like long rectangles, the ‘mustatil‘ structures are a mystery – but new evidence suggests they were possibly used for ritual or social purposes.   Mustatils are amongst the earliest forms of large-scale