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Ministers will not appeal pollution ruling

Ministers will not appeal pollution ruling

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Air pollution has been described as a “public health emergency” The UK Government will publish its draft plan to tackle illegal levels of air pollution after it decided not to appeal against a High Court ruling. Last week, the High Court’s rejected a bid by ministers to delay publication […]

Secrets of tea plant revealed by science

Secrets of tea plant revealed by science

Image copyright Lizhi Gao Image caption All tea is made from the leaves of the tea plant, Camellia sinensis Botanists have unlocked the genetic secrets of the plant prized for producing tea. A team in China has decoded the genetic building blocks of the tea plant, Camellia sinensis, whose leaves are used for all types […]

DNA of extinct humans found in caves

DNA of extinct humans found in caves

Image copyright MPI For Evo Anthro / J. Krause Image caption The remains of Neanderthals had previously been found at Vindija Cave in Croatia The DNA of extinct humans can be retrieved from sediments in caves – even in the absence of skeletal remains. Researchers found the genetic material in sediment samples collected from seven […]

Cassini set for first Saturn gap plunge

Cassini set for first Saturn gap plunge

Image copyright NASA/JPL-CALTECH Image caption Artwork: Cassini will run the gap between the planet and the rings on 22 occasions The Cassini probe is about to make the first of 22 dives in between the rings of Saturn and the planet’s atmosphere. The orbits represent the last science-gathering phase of this remarkable mission before it […]

Physics of throwing analysed by scientists

Physics of throwing analysed by scientists

Image copyright SPL Image caption The act of throwing is more complex than you would expect Scientists have calculated the optimal strategy for throwing something accurately – whether it’s a dart or a crumpled-up piece of paper. US researchers say the slow-is-more-accurate rule generally applies. In a series of calculations, they looked at the physics […]

Primitive human ‘lived much more recently’

Primitive human ‘lived much more recently’

Image copyright John Hawks Image caption Homo naledi has much in common with early forms of the genus Homo A primitive type of human, once thought to be up to three million years old, actually lived much more recently, a study suggests. The remains of 15 partial skeletons belonging to the species Homo naledi were […]

Family tree of dogs reveals secret history of canines

Family tree of dogs reveals secret history of canines

Image copyright SPL Image caption Dog breeds evolved to fill certain roles The largest family tree of dogs ever assembled shows how canines evolved into more than 150 modern breeds. Dogs were first selected and bred for their ability to perform tasks such as herding goats or cattle, say scientists. Later, they were selected for […]

‘World’s oldest fungus’ raises evolution questions

‘World’s oldest fungus’ raises evolution questions

Image copyright Stefan Bengtson Image caption The fossil life forms were inside a bubble of lava 0.8mm in diameter Fungus-like life forms have been found in rocks dating back 2.4 billion years. The fossils, drilled from rocks that were once beneath the seafloor, resemble living fungi. Scientists say the discovery could push back the date […]

Plastic-eating caterpillar could munch waste, scientists say

Plastic-eating caterpillar could munch waste, scientists say

Image copyright CÉSAR HERNÁNDEZ/CSIC Image caption Wax worm caterpillars in a petri dish A caterpillar that munches on plastic bags could hold the key to tackling plastic pollution, scientists say. Researchers at Cambridge University have discovered that the larvae of the moth, which eats wax in bee hives, can also degrade plastic. Experiments show the […]

Munch inspired by ‘screaming clouds’

Munch inspired by ‘screaming clouds’

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Edvard Munch’s The Scream: One of the world’s most famous works of art Norwegian scientists have put forward a new theory to explain the inspiration behind one of the most famous works of art ever produced. The Scream (1892), by Edvard Munch, depicts a figure holding its face, which […]