Something strange is happening to the oceans. As coral reefs wither and fisheries collapse, octopuses are multiplying like mad. As soon as they perceive weakness, they will amass an army and invade the land, too.
How the dinosaurs went extinct is a contentious topic of endless scientific debate. Were they killed by a giant asteroid, a rash of volcanic eruptions, or some deadly combination of the two? Or, perhaps, we’ve been thinking about the problem all wrong.
Africa is one of the last great holdouts for charismatic megafauna. But as the human population continues to grow and industrialize, lions, zebras, and elephants are being edged out of existence. A harrowing new series by photographer Nick Brandt makes this transformation visceral.
A vast region of Greenland is experiencing a freakishly early spring thaw. Summer-like temperatures—a balmy 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit)—have created a melt area encompassing 12 percent of the planet’s northernmost ice sheet, according to analysis by the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI). That’s not…
Something strange is happening to our planet. Around the year 2000, the North rotational pole started migrating eastward at a vigorous clip. Now, scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory have figured out what’s going on—and you’ll be shocked to learn that humans are behind it.
History has a way of repeating itself. Humans are currently conducting a grand experiment with Earth’s climate, but the outcome of that experiment may be foretold. According to Penn State climate scientist Richard Alley, the future—or a somewhat diluted version of it—happened 55.9 million years ago.
If we want to know what sorts of creatures will survive the next mass extinction, the best place to look is the fossil record. After examining the bones of Lystrosaurus, a vertebrate that famously thrived during the worst apocalypse in the history of life on Earth, a team of paleontologists think they know how it…
For years, the term “Anthropocene” has been used to informally describe the human era on Earth. But new evidence suggests there’s nothing informal about it. We’re a true force of nature — and there’s good reason to believe we’ve sparked a new and unprecedented geological epoch.
Earth is the only planet in our Solar System where life is known to exist. Note the use of the word “known,” which indicates that our knowledge of the Solar System is still in its infancy, and the search for life continues. However, from all observable indications, Earth is the only place in our Solar System where…
The Anthropocene, for the uninitiated, is a proposed (albeit still informal) geological epoch, characterized by the global impact of human activity. But the question these days, at least among researchers concerned with such things, doesn't have to do with what the Anthropocene is, but when.
And tomorrow's Americans will be louder, still.
Our planet has been witness to plenty of strange weather happenings recently, from devastating floods to the polar vortex. These events are providing a glimpse of what it was like during the pre-Holocene era — a time of volatility and destruction. But it could also be a demonstration of where climate change is taking…
Fossil and genetic evidence tell us that animals have been going extinct since long before the existence of modern humans – but how might extinction rates differ if humans suddenly ceased to exist? A recently updated calculation suggests the rate of die-offs would be lower. Much, much lower.
Humans have had such a dramatic impact on the planet that we've changed geological history. Future scientists will be able to find humanity's distinctive chemical signature written into the rocky record of Earth's crust. That signature marks the beginning of the Anthropocene, or the new human age.
For more than 250 years, humanity has been weaving a tangled web of transportation around the world. This global network is one of the defining features of what scientists have informally dubbed "the Anthropocene," a new geological era characterized by the global impact of human activity.