Scientists are still trying to piece together how Earth transformed from a molten planet to one with living creatures walking around on its silicate mantle and crust. Hints lie in the strange ways materials behave under extreme temperatures and pressures.
“It’s rare to get this many sporangia with well-preserved spores that you can measure,” said Andrew Leslie, referring to a new species of ancient plant. “We just kind of got lucky in how they were preserved.”
Researchers have discovered an ancient plant species whose reproductive biology captures the evolution from one to two spore sizes – an essential transition to the success of the seed and flowering plants we depend on.
New research indicates river delta deposits within Mars’ Jezero crater – the destination of NASA’s Perseverance rover on the Red Planet – formed over time scales that promoted habitability and enhanced preservation of evidence.
Researchers present new evidence that the deoxygenation of the ocean wiped out biodiversity during one of the “Big Five” mass extinctions in Earth’s history – relevant information as climate change contributes to decreasing oxygen in the oceans today.
Upending an evolutionary theory proposed in the 1950s, scientists have found that the groups most resistant to extinction also contain the greatest ecological diversity – their members perform a larger number of different functions in ecosystems.