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- The House GOP's Immigration Overhaul Is on the Brink of Collapse
- Police: Bear that mauled searcher likely killed Alaska hiker
- Elon Musk Shoots for Mars — And Strains His Balance Sheet
- Hundreds of Immigrants Imprisoned in the U.S. Are Being Held 'Incommunicado'
- Dead plankton, stunned fish: the harms of man-made ocean noise
Human-caused ocean noise and its dangers to marine life are the focus of meetings at the United Nations this week, a victory for advocacy groups that have long warned of the problem. - What are the causes of ocean noise? Advocacy groups focus on seismic airguns, which are used by oil and gas interests to find reserves on the ocean floor.
- 'He Might Change His Mind in Minutes or Hours.' Migrant Mothers React to Trump Ending Border Separations
- Giant telescope project before Hawaii Supreme Court again
HONOLULU (AP) — The Hawaii Supreme Court heard arguments Thursday in an appeal that could determine whether an embattled multi-nation telescope project can be built on a mountain Native Hawaiians consider sacred or have to move to a backup site in Spain's Canary Islands that's less desirable to scientists hoping to use the instrument for groundbreaking discoveries.
- 'Help My Sisters.' Chilling 911 Call From Teenage Girl Who Escaped the Turpin Family Details Abuse
- Bear researcher attacked by grizzly to stay on career path
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A grizzly bear researcher who was attacked by a grizzly bear last month said Thursday that her recovery has been slow, but the encounter has done nothing to change her mind about her career path.
- Japan Is Canceling Evacuation Drills Meant to Prepare Civilians for North Korean Missiles
- Daughter of radio host killed in alleged murder-for-hire plot on saying goodbye to her mom
- Officials Confirm 10-Year-Old Girl With Down Syndrome Separated From Mother at Border
- Washington, D.C., Roman Catholic Archbishop Removed Over 'Credible' Allegations of Sexually Abusing a Teenager
- Marijuana Will Be Legal in Canada on Oct. 17, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Says
- Immigration Votes Cap a Rough Week for the GOP
- Mike Pompeo Vows U.S. Will Protect 'the Most Vulnerable Refugees' Amid Trump Administration's Family Separation Controversy
- ‘There Is No Way We Can Turn Back.’ Why Thousands of Refugees Will Keep Coming to America Despite Trump’s Crackdown
- Litter of Mountain Lion Kittens Found in Santa Monica Mountains
A litter of mountain lion kittens were recently discovered in the Santa Monica Mountains in Calabasas, California, according to a National Park Service video released June 19.
The Santa Monica Mountains Recreation Area shared the news on their Twitter page on June 19. “We recently discovered a litter of 4 mountain lion kittens, all female,” the unit shared. Footage shows the kittens in their den with one of them hissing and showing her teeth to the camera.
After collecting tissue samples from each kitten, the unit found that the litter weighed between four and a half and five pounds and were four and a half weeks old. Credit: Santa Monica Mountains Recreation Area via Storyful
- President Trump Promotes 'Tough' Immigration Policies at Minnesota Rally After His Turnaround on Family Separation
- The Trump Administration Is Scouting Military Bases to House Migrant Children
- Today Is the Longest Day of the Year. Here's What to Know About the 2018 Summer Solstice
- An extinct gibbon was found buried in an ancient tomb. Did humans kill them off?
Inside a desk drawer at a Chinese museum, a British paleontologist came across the face and jaw bones of a long-dead gibbon in 2009. Five years earlier, scientists had discovered the bones inside an elaborate 2,200-year-old tomb belonging to a woman of Chinese royalty. It's not unusual to find the bones of bears, leopards, and gibbons in these imperial burials, but there is something curious about these particular gibbon bones. SEE ALSO: Why scientists think cows could be the largest animals on land in 300 years "The specimen remains are not just a unique species, but a new genus," James Hansford, a researcher at the Zoological Society of London, said in an interview. Hansford is the co-author of a new study in the journal Science detailing the gibbon finding. The discovery of the bygone gibbon, Junzi imperialis, is reportedly the first evidence of an ape going extinct in modern human history — since the ice age ended. The study's authors also argue that it's quite possibly the earliest evidence of a human-caused primate extinction. The skull bone of the new gibbon species, Junzi imperialis.Image: Samuel turvey/zslIn the gibbon's time, humans in this imperial, developed society would have cut down forests to make room for agriculture, taken wildlife captive, and exploited largely-untouched habitats for resources. "That would have been a death sentence for this unique gibbon," said Hansford. It's typical for paleontologists to have few fossils to work with when identifying new species, said Hansford, but in this case, the bones were quite useful. "We have one exceptionally preserved species because he was held in a tomb for 2,000 years — so we’re really lucky in that respect," said Hansford. The researchers scanned the bones in 3D to give them precise measurements before comparing the bones to hundreds of specimens from other known gibbons. "It really stands out mathematically as a completely distinct animal," he said. "The math is good — they’re employing good methodologies to do this," Trudy Turner, a primate anthropologist at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee who had no involvement in the study, said in an interview. The researchers, however, couldn't remove any pieces of tooth and bone from the fossils for genetic analysis, as these gibbon remains were part of a burial, and protected from destructive scientific processes. How did the gibbon go extinct? It's hard to say with absolute certainty that these gibbons were driven to extinction by humans, because gibbon population records weren't kept thousands of years ago. But, the species' demise is certainly consistent with the impacts humans have on wildlife today. "It is difficult to speak with authority about the fate of species that lived thousands of years ago, but it would not be surprising to learn that overhunting and habitat loss could have interacted to drive certain species extinct, especially species that were closely linked to a specific habitat or food source," David Steen, a wildlife ecologist, said over email. "Today the primary threat is habitat loss, but overhunting and the introduction of disease also play important roles," Steen, who had no involvement in the study, added. An adult Southern Yellow-cheeked Crested Gibbon hangs in a tree.Image: Jurgen Christine Sohns/imageBROKER/REX/ShutterstockUnderstanding the population history of Junzi imperialis and other primates in China is all the more challenging because there's a poor fossil record to begin with, said Hansford. Gibbons live in forests, where dead bodies get scavenged before they can fossilize. But one thing is clear: There is no evidence that this gibbon species is around today. So, if not humans, then what else could have killed it? Sometimes species go extinct for reasons that aren't so obvious, said Steen. "In these cases we cannot rule out a natural extinction, but this process is exceedingly rare and occurs over geologic time scales," he said. But human-influenced death is a leading theory for why Junzi imperialis disappeared. "As long as there have been humans, there’s been impacts," added Turner. "I think this is an interesting hint at human activities." There's less doubt, however, about the state of gibbons today. "Gibbons are undoubtedly the most endangered of all ape species and are threatened primarily by loss of their forest habitat," according to the World Wildlife Federation. And one of the most threatened mammal species on Earth lives in southern China today. Only about 26 Hainan gibbons remain in the wild. Perhaps, asks Hansford, these gibbons have been slowly picked off for thousands of years — not just in the last few hundred or so. "What we have today is a more damaged population than we previously thought," he said. WATCH: Ever wonder how the universe might end?
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- Japan’s Hayabusa 2 probe closes in on asteroid Ryugu – and captures close-ups
Look! Up in the sky! It’s a dumpling … It’s a “Star Trek” Borg cube … It’s the asteroid Ryugu! Our view of Ryugu, a half-mile-wide space rock nearly 180 million miles from Earth, is coming into sharper focus with the approach of the Japanese probe Hayabusa 2. Three and a half years after its launch, the spacecraft is now within 35 miles of the asteroid, closing in on what’s expected to be a standoff orbital distance of 12 miles. The pictures that it’s been sending back throughout the approach provide enough detail to reveal Ryugu’s blocky shape. “It looks… Read More
- Most Americans Approve of How Trump Is Handling North Korea Following Summit
- Press Freedom Is Under Attack Across Southeast Asia. Meet the Journalists Fighting Back
- Rosetta Space Probe's Last Images Were of its Own Grave, ESA Footage Shows
The European Space Agency released a video on June 21 showing the final images recorded by the Rosetta Probe as it crash-landed onto the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in September 2016, ending its 10-year mission.
The ESA said of Rosetta’s last recordings: “As it moved closer towards the surface it scanned across an ancient pit and sent back images showing what would become its final resting place.” Credit: ESA via Storyful