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New human species identified from Kenya fossils

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Fossil foot bones hint at mystery walker

Scientists have obtained a fascinating new insight into the evolution of humans and our ability to walk.

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Male Y chromosome extinction theory challenged

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Half of Great Barrier Reef coral lost in last 27 years

Australia's Great Barrier Reef has lost more than half its coral cover in the past 27 years, a new study shows. Researchers analysed data on the condition of 217 individual reefs that make up the World Heritage Site. The results show that coral cover declined from 28.0% to 13.8% between 1985 and 2012. They attribute the decline to storms, a coral-feeding starfish and bleaching linked to climate change. The research is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of…

The sabre-tooth tiger, known as smilodon, was one of the few sabre-toothed cats that would have encountered humans. Whilst sabre-tooths in Africa and Europe became extinct before our species had evolved, Smilodon survived until the end of the ice age. Three species lived in the Americas over time. The ancestors of the Native Americans might have met two of these, Smilodon fatalis and Smilodon populator. The latter was a heavily built animal, weighing more than a Siberian tiger.

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World's glaciers 'out of balance'

Earth's glaciers are seriously out of balance with the global climate and are already committed to losing almost 40% of their volume.

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Biodiversity loss: How accurate are the numbers

Twenty years ago, the Earth Summit in Rio resulted in a Convention on Biological Diversity, now signed by 193 nations, to prevent species loss. But can we tell how many species are becoming extinct?

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Record minimum for Arctic sea ice

Arctic sea ice has reached its minimum extent for the year, setting a record for the lowest summer cover since satellite data collection began.

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First spiral galaxy in early Universe stuns astronomers

Astronomers have spotted the earliest known spiral galaxy, dating to just three billion years after the Big Bang. Theories of galaxy formation held that the Universe was still too chaotic a place to allow such a perfectly formed or "grand-design" spiral to form.