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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
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...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
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...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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Primeval Land Rises From the Ashes
10 May 2012 2:19 pm
Sandwiched between the coal layers of an open-pit coal mine in the Wuda basin in Inner Mongolia is the imprint of a lush forest from the Early Permian period. The forest, whose imprint spans an estimated 20 square kilometers, was preserved when a volcano erupted roughly 298 million years ago. Ash hardened into a 66-centimeter-thick band of chalklike tuff that entombed trunks, branches, and even whole trees. Around the world, just a few ancient forests are known to have been preserved under ash. The Wuda tuff flora—the first discovered in Asia—is remarkably accessible and thick and contains a puzzling group of extinct fernlike plants. Protecting the remaining tuff bed long enough to study it will be no small feat, however. The region's economy depends on coal. Mining has already claimed parts of the fossilized forest, while excavations to extinguish coal-seam fires have destroyed other swaths.