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Dinosaurs: Restoring Mongolia’s fossil heritage

Dinosaurs: Restoring Mongolia’s fossil heritage

Science
Eighty million years ago, during the Cretaceous Period, Mongolia's Gobi Desert was a dinosaur's paradise of vast valleys, freshwater lakes and a humid climate. Mammal-eating velociraptors, lizard-hipped sauropods and spike-armoured ankylosaurs could have been spotted roaming in what are now the Martian red sandstone spires of Bayanzag's Flaming Cliffs. These prehistorically favourable conditions make the Gobi Desert the largest dinosaur fossil reservoir in the world. Over almost 100 years of palaeontological research in the Gobi, more than 80 genera have been found. But for many people living there, this scientific heritage remains unknown."Putting a fence up is not protection; protection is people's knowledge," Mongolian palaeo...
Scientists turn fossil fuel pollutant into usable industrial chemical

Scientists turn fossil fuel pollutant into usable industrial chemical

Science
Nov. 22 (UPI) -- Scientists have developed a new material, called a metal-organic framework, that successfully captures nitrogen dioxide, or NO2, a toxic pollutant produced by fossil fuel combustion. The new gas-capturing technology can extract NO2 from the exhaust of a power plant or factory, according to the latest research, published this week in the journal Nature Chemistry. The NO2 captured by the metal-organic framework can be converted easily into nitric acid, which is used to make fertilizer, rocket propellant, nylon and more. Metal-organic frameworks are metal compounds with three-dimensional lattice structures featuring nano-sized pores. The new framework is called MFM-520, and scientists characterized the shape and size of of its internal pores -- the pockets where NO2 gas bec...
‘Astonishing’ fossil ape discovery revealed

‘Astonishing’ fossil ape discovery revealed

Science
Fossils of a newly-discovered ancient ape could give clues to how and when walking on two legs evolved.The ability to walk upright is considered a key characteristic of being human.The ape had arms suited to hanging in the trees, but human-like legs. It may have walked along branches and even on the ground some 12 million years ago, pushing back the timeline for bipedal walking, say researchers.Until now the earliest fossil evidence for walking upright dates back to six million years ago. The four fossils - of a male, two females and a juvenile - were unearthed in a clay pit in Bavaria between 2015 and 2018."The finds in southern Germany are a milestone in palaeoanthropology, because they raise fundamental questions about our pr...
Clean electricity overtaking fossil fuels in Britain

Clean electricity overtaking fossil fuels in Britain

Science
For the first time since the Industrial Revolution, Britain is obtaining more power from zero-carbon sources than fossil fuels.The milestone has been passed for the first five months of 2019.National Grid says clean energy has nudged ahead with 48% of generation, against 47% for coal and gas.The rest is biomass burning. The transformation reflects the precipitous decline of coal energy, and a boom from wind and solar. National Grid says that in the past decade, coal generation will have plunged from 30% to 3%.Meanwhile, wind power has shot up from 1% to 19%.Mini-milestones have been passed along the way. In May, for instance, Britain clocked up its first coal-free fortnight and generated record l...
Huge fossil discovery made in China's Hubei province

Huge fossil discovery made in China's Hubei province

Science
Scientists say they have discovered a "stunning" trove of thousands of fossils on a river bank in China. The fossils are estimated to be about 518 million years old, and are particularly unusual because the soft body tissue of many creatures, including their skin, eyes, and internal organs, have been "exquisitely" well preserved. Palaeontologists have called the findings "mind-blowing" - especially because more than half the fossils are previously undiscovered species.The fossils, known as the Qingjiang biota, were collected near Danshui river in Hubei province. More than 20,000 specimens were collected, and a total of 4,351 have been ...