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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
Since arriving on the island of Guam in the 1940s, the brown tree snake ( Boiga irregularis ) has extirpated native...
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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ScienceShot: For Life's Evolution, Stellar Chemistry Matters
26 July 2012 5:14 pm
Planetary scientists agree that a planet's distance from its parent star is of paramount importance for creating conditions where liquid water might spur life. But what about the host star's chemical makeup? A paper in press at The Astrophysical Journal Letters argues that a greater abundance of carbon, sodium, magnesium, and silicon should be a plus for an inner solar system's long-term habitability. That's because the abundance of these elements make the star cooler and cause it to evolve more slowly, thereby giving planets in its habitable zone more time to develop life as we know it. The stellar abundance of oxygen, in particular, seems crucial in determining how long newly formed planets stay in the habitable zone around their host star, the researchers report. If our own sun had a lower abundance of oxygen, for example, Earth would have left the habitable zone a billion years ago, well before complex organisms evolved.
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