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Environment

  • Lizard tails offer clue to regrowth

    Lizard tails offer clue to regrowth

    Understanding how lizards shed and regrow their tails could lead to muscle and nerve regeneration in humans, say scientists. Researchers have identified a genetic programme that triggers new tissue growth after a lizard sacrifices its tail to...

  • Hummingbirds evolved sweet tooth

    Hummingbirds evolved sweet tooth

    Hummingbirds have evolved a sweet tooth that sets them apart from their feathered friends and has made them highly specialised nectar feeders, research shows. Scientists analysed the genetic codes of 10 bird species and found that only...

  • The Chinese banyan tree

    The Chinese banyan tree

    The Chinese banyan tree, like the fig tree, is a member of the mulberry family. It is widely planted along roads and in public gardens in many parts of the world, including the Maltese islands. It has many other names, mostly associating the tree...

  • Animal calls are ‘more like language’

    Animal calls are ‘more like language’

    Dr Dolittle’s ability to talk to the animals may have at least some scientific basis, according to research that challenges the uniqueness of human language. An analysis of vocalisations made by animals ranging from finches to whales and...

  • Earth slips into ‘ecological debt’

    Earth slips into ‘ecological debt’

    Humans have used up the natural resources the world can supply in a year in less than eight months, campaigners have warned. The world has now reached ‘earth overshoot day’, the point in the year when humans have exhausted supplies such as land,...

  • African elephant threatened

    African elephant threatened

    Poaching is inflicting unsustainable losses on African elephants, with more than 33,600 animals killed each year between 2010 and 2012, a study has shown. Over that period alone, an estimated 6.8 per cent of the continent’s elephant population was...

  • A brief study on street trees

    A brief study on street trees

    Greening is generally understood to be the process of transforming a space, lifestyle or brand image into a more environmentally-friendly version (such as greening your home or greening your office). The wider act of greening often involves...

  • Humans causing glacier retreat

    Humans causing glacier retreat

    Man-made greenhouse gas emissions have become the dominant cause of melting in glaciers from the Alps to the Andes that is raising world sea levels, a study said. Human emissions accounted for an estimated 69 percent of loss of ice from glaciers...

  • Tibet’s glaciers at their warmest in 2,000 years

    The Tibetan plateau, whose glaciers supply water to hundreds of millions of people in Asia, were warmer over the past 50 years than at any stage in the past two millennia, a Chinese newspaper said, citing an academic report. Temperatures and...

  • The fig tree

    The fig tree

    The fig tree is synonymous with the Mediterranean area even though it is originally from the Middle East and western Asia. Along with the grape vine and olive tree, the fig tree was one of the first trees to be domesticated. Its cultivation marked...

  • Yawning contagious among apes too

    Yawning can be as contagious between bonobos as it is among people, suggesting that the apes are capable of human-like empathy. Over five years, scientists compared yawning behaviour in humans and bonobos, a cousin of the chimpanzee said to be the...

  • As air travel grows, so will fuel emissions

    As air travel grows, so will fuel emissions

    Efforts to reduce aviation carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions will be outweighed by the growth in air passengers, according to research. Plane ticket prices would need to rise by at least 1.4 per cent a year for emission levels to fall, the research...

  • Scientists store energy in used cigarette filters

    Scientists store energy in used cigarette filters

    Scientists in South Korea say they have found a way of converting used cigarette butts into a material capable of storing energy that could help power everything from mobile phones to electric cars. In a study published in the journal...

  • Quake watch

    Quake watch

    Four weak earthquakes struck close to Malta during July. Three occurred along the Malta graben, about 30 to 40 kilometres southwest of Malta (red stars on map), on July 9, 14 and 15. Another earthquake struck close to Sicily along the Malta...

  • Mitigating geological hazards between Malta and Sicily

    Representatives from five Maltese and Sicilian organisations that are partners in a project entitled ‘Establishment of an integrated system of Italo-Maltese Civil Protection’ (SIMIT), met in Catania, Sicily, in July to discuss the progress of...

  • Your own beach living room

    Your own beach living room

    Beach concession operators seem to always conceive innovative ways as to how to best utilise the restricted sandy swathes on these islands. For instance, hordes of sofas have recently been placed at Armier, and a handful of other beaches,...

  • Migratory waders

    Migratory waders

    Several trapping sites which were being used to catch waders were found earlier this week. Some of the trapping sites were very large and sophisticated. They included areas of water to create the aquatic habitat favoured by birds as well as bird...

  • Bees spot best flowers from afar

    Like discerning shoppers checking out vegetables on display in a supermarket, bumblebees can spot the best quality flowers from a distance, a study has shown. They are able to link differences in pollen quality with floral features such as petal...

  • A lunar anniversary

    A lunar anniversary

    Last month, mankind celebrated the 45th anniversary of the first lunar landing. American astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin became the first humans to walk on the lunar surface. Their mission was followed by five more successful...

  • Geo-engineering dilemma

    Geo-engineering dilemma

    Shifting the blame for climate change and global warming from man-made carbon dioxide emissions to the ‘spraying of poisonous chemicals by civilian aircraft’ is a criminal way of dodging responsibility for the challenges now facing our...

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