When humans look out at a visual landscape like a sunset or a beautiful overlook, we experience something — we have a conscious awareness of what that scene looks like. This awareness of the visual world around us is central to our everyday existence, but are humans the only species […]

A global study finds that species numbers reported in the wild fell sharply between 1990 and 2015. PHOTOGRAPH: DEAGOSTINI/GETTY IMAGES THIS STORY ORIGINALLY appeared in The Guardian and is part of the Climate Desk collaboration. The number of wild bee species recorded by an international database of life on earth has declined by a quarter […]

Over millions of years, most living organisms suffocated in oxygen-deprived oceans. In the aftermath, modern vertebrates conquered the world. (Credit: Rich Carey/Shutterstock) We think of mass extinctions as brief moments of havoc — profoundly devastating but over within a geologic instant. The Devonian, the second of the so-called “Big Five,” […]

When NASA’s Voyager spacecraft visited Saturn’s moon Enceladus, they found a body with young, reflective, icy surface features. Some parts of the surface were older and marked with craters, but the rest had clearly been resurfaced. It was clear evidence that Enceladus was geologically active. The moon is also close to Saturn’s E-ring, and […]

Kötlujökull, the fourth largest glacier in Iceland, hosts abundant microorganisms sustained by hydrogen produced by weathering of basaltic bedrock. Credit: Eric S. Boyd. Using years of data collected from ice-covered habitats all over the world, a Montana State University team has discovered new insights into the processes that support microbial […]

Scientists have long debated which genetic information carrier — DNA or RNA — started life on Earth, but a new study suggests life could have begun with a bit of both. The research, led by scientists from the Medical Research Council (MRC) Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB), in Cambridge, shows for the first time […]