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Red squirrels sniff out danger better than greys

Red squirrels sniff out danger better than greys

Science
A native predator of the red squirrel appears to be an unlikely ally in its battle with the grey squirrel. Scientists from Queen's University Belfast discovered that, while the pine marten preys on both species, the greys are much more vulnerable to attack. The key seems to be in the reds' innate ability to "sniff out" the danger posed by the pine marten. The findings are published in the Royal Society journal Open Science. Wide-eyed and cute as they may appear, pine martens are sharp-clawed predators. Their agility and tree-climbing skills make them the enemy of any squirrel. Previous research has shown that pine martens had a beneficial impact on red squirrel numbers and caused declines in the greys, but the reasons were not fully understood. ...
Trans-Eurasian crop exchange began 3,000 years earlier than thought

Trans-Eurasian crop exchange began 3,000 years earlier than thought

Science
Feb. 14 (UPI) -- Agricultural crops were traded between European and Asian populations 3,000 years earlier than thought, a scientific study published this week indicates. A cave excavation by Chinese scientists in the eastern Altai Mountains -- which border China, Mongolia, Kazakhstan and Russia -- yielded cereal grains radiocarbon-dated to be 5,200 years old. The samples are the oldest recorded examples of wheat and barley farming ever recorded in that area of Asia, and move the dates for early farming in the region backward by at least 1,000 years. The discovery also reinforces the theory that Asian and European cross-development of agriculture and technology long predates the Silk Road network of trade routes, which began around the 2nd century. The early exchanges played a crucial ro...
Deepwater Horizon oil spill was bigger than previously thought, study finds

Deepwater Horizon oil spill was bigger than previously thought, study finds

Science
Feb. 12 (UPI) -- Oil from the Deepwater Horizon disaster spread well beyond the spill footprint established by satellites, according to new analysis by scientists at the University of Miami. To determine the true size of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, researchers supplied oil-transport models with water sampling results and remote sensing data. The simulations confirmed that a portion of the oil spilled in the wake of the deadly explosion remained invisible to satellites, but proved toxic to marine wildlife. "We found that there was a substantial fraction of oil invisible to satellites and aerial imaging," Igal Berenshtein, lead author of the new study and a postdoctoral researcher at Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, said in a news release. "The spill w...
Coronavirus poses greater global threat than terrorism, WHO warn

Coronavirus poses greater global threat than terrorism, WHO warn

World
The coronavirus is "the worst enemy you can ever imagine" and poses a greater global threat than terrorism, the World Health Organisation has warned.Urging the world to "wake up" and be as aggressive as possible in tackling the outbreak, the UN health agency has given a new name to the disease that has sickened more than 44,600 people. It is now going to be officially known as COVID-19 - CO stands for corona, VI for virus, D for disease and 19 for the year it emerged. Image: Leading doctors say the coronavirus must be treated as 'public enemy number one' Chinese health officials have expressed hope that the outbreak will be over in April, but the head of the World Health Organisation was far less optimistic.Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyes...
Deforested parts of Amazon ’emitting more CO2 than they absorb’

Deforested parts of Amazon ’emitting more CO2 than they absorb’

Science
Up to one fifth of the Amazon rainforest is emitting more CO2 than it absorbs, new research suggests.Results from a decade-long study of greenhouse gases over the Amazon basin appear to show around 20% of the total area has become a net source of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.One of the main causes is deforestation.While trees are growing they absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere; dead trees release it again. Millions of trees have been lost to logging and fires in recent years.The results of the study, which have not yet been published, have implications for the effort to combat climate change.They suggest that the Amazon rainforest - a vital carbon store, or "sink", that slows the pace of global warming - may be turning...