Hundreds of radioactive cubes — which once sat at the heart of a failed nuclear reactor built in secret by Nazi scientists — are being hunted by US researchers. After mysteriously receiving one of the cubes, Timothy Koeth of the University of Maryland has been working to unpick the reactor's history and learn the fate of its other parts. Accompanying the cube of uranium was a crumpled note, which read: ‘Taken from Germany, from the nuclear reactor Hitler tried to build. Gift of Ninninger.’ Read more.
As the planet warms due to climate change, the Arctic winters are seeing longer open water spells and less sea ice. It also now rains more often than snow during this period, something that is directly affecting wildlife like the Svalbard reindeer.
Named after the group of Norwegian islands they’ve lived on for 5,000 years, these 20,000–plus reindeer are now eating seaweed to survive the increasingly warm winters. According to researchers, the reindeer are turning to seaweed because the plants they normally eat are becoming harder to get to. Read more.
Extreme fluctuations in atmospheric oxygen levels corresponded with evolutionary surges and extinctions in animal biodiversity during the Cambrian explosion, according to a new study.
The Cambrian explosion was a crucial period of rapid evolution in complex animals that began roughly 540 million years ago. The trigger for this fundamental phase in the early history of animal life is a subject of ongoing biological debate. Read more.
Two astronomers think they've pinpointed the ancient stellar collision that gave our solar system its cache of precious gold and platinum — some of it, anyway.
In a new study, the duo analyzed the remnants of radioactive isotopes, or versions of molecules with different numbers of neutrons, in a very old meteorite. Then, they compared those values with isotope ratios produced by a computer simulation of neutron star mergers — cataclysmic stellar collisions that can cause ripples in the fabric of space-time. Read more.
Scientists say Homo luzonensis lived at least 50,000 years ago
In a cave in the Philippines, researchers made a remarkable discovery of fossil bones and teeth. These remains appear to come from a new human-like species. This human relative, or hominid, lived at least 50,000 years ago. Scientists have just dubbed its species Homo luzonensis. They took the name from Luzon, the island on which the fossil remains were found. Read more.