An extraordinary fossil unearthed in southwestern China shows a pregnant long-necked marine reptile that lived millions of years before the dinosaurs with its developing embryo, indicating this creature gave birth to live babies rather than laying eggs. Scientists on Tuesday said the fossil of the unusual fish-eating reptile called Dinocephalosaurus, which lived about 245 million years ago during the Triassic Period, changes the understanding of the evolution of vertebrate reproductive systems.
A new study finds evidence that the last time Earth was as warm as it is today, cold freshwater from a melting Greenland ice sheet circulated in the Atlantic Ocean as far south as Bermuda, elevating sea levels and altering the ocean’s climate and ecosystems. The research shows a large pulse of cold freshwater covered the North Atlantic for a brief period of time about 125,000 years ago.
For the 100 million people who live within 3 feet of sea level in East and Southeast Asia, the news that sea level in their region fluctuated wildly more than 6,000 years ago is important, according to research published by a team of ocean scientists and statisticians, including Rutgers professors Benjamin Horton and Robert Kopp and Rutgers Ph.D. student Erica Ashe. That’s because those fluctuations occurred without the assistance of human-influenced climate change.
Scientists have described a new kind of sea creature in what’s now central China. It lived 540 million years ago, and the tiny, baggy organism could occupy a peripheral spot on our own evolutionary tree. When scientists like Simon Conway Morris discover a new animal, they get to name it. He and his colleagues in China don’t seem to give compliments where they aren’t deserved.
The world’s primary economic source of iron ore, iron formations, are ancient sedimentary rocks that appear as solid as rocks can be. How did they get to be like that? According to researchers, it has to do with “green rust” that formed in the water and sank to the bottom of the ocean billions of years ago. In a study published in the journal Nature Geoscience, Itay Halevy and colleagues suggested that green rust was the foundation for today’s iron formations. It might be rare now, but green rust used to be highly abundant.
Scientists seeking an oceanic counterpart to the tree rings that document past weather patterns on land have found one in the subtropical waters of Dry Tortugas National Park near the Florida Keys, where long-lived boulder corals contain the chemical signals of past water temperatures. By analyzing coral samples, USGS researchers and their colleagues have found evidence that an important 60- to 85-year-long cycle of ocean warming and cooling has been taking place in the region as far back as the 1730s.
Methane is stored under the sea floor, concentrated in form of hydrates, crystalline ice structures that stay stable under high pressure and in low temperatures. Several studies suggest that as the ocean warms, the hydrates might melt and potentially release methane into the ocean waters and atmosphere.
Fresh understanding of West Antarctica has revealed how the region’s ice sheet could become unstable in a warming world.
Tropical Porites corals adjust their internal pH to enable themselves to form calcium carbonate and grow under elevated carbon dioxide concentrations — even for a longer period of time. In order to understand the ability of pH regulation in more detail, researchers have used the boron isotope method to examine samples of corals that have existed at natural carbon dioxide vents in Papua New Guinea for decades.
Researchers have built a microscope that can be used up to 100 meters underwater to peer into the secret lives of coral, the tiny invertebrates whose skeletal superstructures make up the foundation of life in the seas.
The North Atlantic Ocean played a key role in the last great tipping point in Earth’s climate system, pioneering new research has shown.
The earliest instrumental records of Earth’s climate, as measured by thermometers and other tools, start in the 1850s. To look further back in time, scientists investigate air bubbles trapped in ice cores, which expands the window to less than a million years.