There have been long periods of cooling in Earth’s history. Temperatures had already fallen for more than 10 million years before the last ice age began about 2.5 million years ago. At that time, the northern hemisphere was covered with massive ice masses and glaciers. A geoscientific paradigm, widespread for over 20 years, explains this cooling with the formation of the large mountain ranges such as the Andes, the Himalayas and the Alps. As a result, more rock weathering has taken place, the paradigm suggests. This in turn removed more carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere, so that the greenhouse effect decreased and the atmosphere cooled. This and other processes eventually led to the ice Age. Read more.
Narwhals (Monodon monoceros) and beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) are medium-sized toothed whales and the sole representatives of the Monodontidae family. They are the only toothed whales endemic to the Arctic region. While they are each other’s closest relatives and roughly equal in size, these two species differ in their morphology and behavior. Now, a series of DNA and stable isotope analyses of an anomalous toothed whale skull has allowed researchers to confirm that the two species can interbreed successfully. Read more.
Plants use light energy from the sun for photosynthesis to turn carbon dioxide (CO2) into biomass. Animals can’t do that. Therefore, some of them have teamed up with bacteria that carry out a process called chemosynthesis. It works almost like photosynthesis, only that it uses chemical energy instead of light energy. Many animals rely on chemosynthetic bacteria to supply them with food. The symbionts turn CO2 into biomass and are subsequently digested by their host. Kentron, a bacterium nourishing the ciliate Kentrophoros, was thought to be ‘just another’ chemosynthetic symbiont. However, recent results indicate that it is not. Read more.
The core of earth, which is in a semi-solid state, has been mixing with other layers, suggests a new study which discovered that innermost part of the earth has been leaking into mantle plumes that slowly reach the surface of the earth. This discovery has helped to settle a long debate about whether the core of the earth interfaces with the mantle. Read more.
The Negev desert that sprawls across Israel is one of the driest places on Earth, but deep below its surface is a different story. Held in the sandstone deep underground is a reservoir of fossil water that lay undisturbed for hundreds of thousands of years. Researchers know this water is old, because it can’t have been replenished by any recent rainfall. There’s barely enough every year to moisten the ground - just a few inches at most. Read more.
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