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Fossil tracks left by an ancient crocodile that ‘ran like an ostrich’

Fossil tracks left by an ancient crocodile that ‘ran like an ostrich’

Science
Scientists have been stunned to find that some ancient crocodiles might have moved around on two feet.The evidence comes from beautifully preserved fossil tracks in South Korea.Nearly a hundred of these 18-24cm-long indentations were left in what were likely the muddy sediments that surrounded a lake in the Early Cretaceous, 110-120 million years ago.The international team behind the discovery says it will probably challenge our perception of crocodiles. "People tend to think of crocodiles as animals that don't do very much; that they just laze around all day on the banks of the Nile or next to rivers in Costa Rica. Nobody automatically thinks I wonder what this [creature] would be like if it was bipedal and could run like an ost...
Britain goes coal free as renewables edge out fossil fuels

Britain goes coal free as renewables edge out fossil fuels

Science
Britain is about to pass a significant landmark - at midnight on Wednesday it will have gone two full months without burning coal to generate power.A decade ago about 40% of the country's electricity came from coal; coronavirus is part of the story, but far from all.When Britain went into lockdown, electricity demand plummeted; the National Grid responded by taking power plants off the network.The four remaining coal-fired plants were among the first to be shut down.The last coal generator came off the system at midnight on 9 April. No coal has been burnt for electricity since. The current coal-free period smashes the previous record of 18 days, 6 hours and 10 minutes which was set in June last year.The figures apply to Britain only, as Northern Ireland i...
Fossil suggests Homo erectus was walking 200,000 years earlier than thought

Fossil suggests Homo erectus was walking 200,000 years earlier than thought

Science
April 3 (UPI) -- Paleontologists have unearthed the oldest fossil belonging to the hominin species Homo erectus. The 2 million-year-old fossil skull, excavated over a five-year period in South Africa, suggests the early human relative emerged between 100,000 and 200,000 years earlier than previously thought. Scientists described the discovery in a new paper published this week in the journal Science. "The Homo erectus skull we found, likely aged between 2 and 3 years old when it died, shows its brain was only slightly smaller than other examples of adult Homo erectus," lead study author Andy Herries, research professor and head o the the archaeology and history department at the La Trobe University in Australia, said in a news release. Using high-resolution dating methods, scientists co...
Fossil worm shows us our evolutionary beginnings

Fossil worm shows us our evolutionary beginnings

Science
A worm-like creature that burrowed on the seafloor more than 500 million years ago may be key to the evolution of much of the animal kingdom. The organism, about the size of a grain of rice, is described as the earliest example yet found in the fossil record of a bilaterian.These are animals that have a front and back, two symmetrical sides, and openings at either end joined by a gut.The discovery is described in the journal PNAS.The scientists behind it say the development of bilateral symmetry was a critical step in the evolution of animal life.It gave organisms the ability to move purposefully and a common, yet successful way to organise their bodies. A multitude of animals, from worms to ins...

The Hartford to limit insurance for fossil fuel companies

Technology
A major insurer is limiting its insurance coverage of companies in the fossil fuel business, citing concerns about climate changeByThe Associated PressJanuary 2, 2020, 10:54 PM2 min readHARTFORD, Conn. -- A major insurer is limiting its coverage of companies in the fossil fuel business, citing concerns about climate change. The Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. won't cover companies that get more than a quarter of their revenue from thermal coal mining or that produce more than a quarter of their energy from coal. The company also said it will not write policies or make investments in companies that generate more than 25% of their revenue directly from extracting oil from tar sands. It won't cover or invest in the construction and operation of new coal-fired plants. The company sa...