Astronomy Chemistry Paleontology 

Exploding Stars and Life on Earth

By Brian C. Thomas (@DrBrianAstroBio) A massive star that exploded near Earth about 2.5 million years ago—a supernova—may have helped drive the megalodon to extinction and may even have affected human evolution. Research by an international team of scientists and I have produced the most detailed picture ever of just how such a scenario played out. We’ve combined observations from astrophysics and geochemistry with new computer simulations to explore all the possible effects that life on Earth may have experienced. We’ve found that ozone in the atmosphere could have been…

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Old Threats Cause New Harm to Endangered Right Whales Animals Environment Oceanography 

Old Threats Still Endangering Right Whales

By Emily Rhode @riseandsci After decades of recovery from the brink of extinction, the North Atlantic right whale is once again under serious threat from human activity. But this time the decline is not due to overhunting the animals (once prized for being the “right” whales because of their slow speed and tendency to float on the surface when killed). After a long struggle to recover, injury or death from entanglement in fishing gear and a dramatic decrease in whale births have turned this once hopeful success story into a…

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Biology Citizen Science Environment 

Strengthening the Endangered Species Act

By Neha Jain @lifesciexplore Have you ever heard of the Ōlulu plant? What about the vernal pool tadpole shrimp or Fender’s blue butterfly? These are the lesser known species among the almost 1,600 currently listed in the Endangered Species Act (ESA) that require long-term intervention strategies to ensure their survival. Despite numerous success stories, it is becoming more difficult to recover species. The ESA is beset by persistent and pervasive threats to species, pressures from climate change, uneven distribution of funding among species, and a rapidly growing list of species…

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