We could cut atmospheric carbon by 25% by planting a forest the size of the United States

A new study lays out a green (very green), data-driven plan to capture much of our atmosphere's carbon pool.

Image source: Avigator Fortuner/Shutterstock
  • The right trees planted in the right place could have a major impact on climate change.
  • The study identifies .09 billion hectares of available land for the necessary new forests.
  • The new forests would capture 205 gigatons of carbon dioxide.
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Surprising Science

Lightning forced human ancestors to become bipedal, Kansas researchers say

Intense lightning could have burned us out of the trees.

Photo credit: YE AUNG THU / AFP / Getty Images
  • A new paper proposes that a couple of supernovae led to the loss of our tree habit, forcing us down to the savannah.
  • The telltale clues are iron-60 isotopes and lots of unexplained charcoal and soot in the geologic record.
  • The theory is an intriguing combination of astronomy, physics, geology, and anthropology.
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Surprising Science

Report: Just 23% of Earth's wilderness remains

A new paper in Nature adds urgency to the fight against climate change.

Photo: Pixabay
  • "Seventy-seven percent of land (excluding Antarctica) and 87 percent of the ocean has been modified by the direct effects of human activities," states a new paper in Nature.
  • Just 5 countries — Russia, Canada, Australia, the U.S., and Brazil — contain 70 percent of the world's wilderness (excluding Antarctica).
  • The paper emphasizes the urgent need to protect large-scale ecosystems, calling them a buffer against the Anthropocene.
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Surprising Science

Trees Prove That Life Isn't Just about Survival of the Fittest

Trees are far from dumb; they talk and share, because they need each other to live better lives. 

Illustration by Julia Suits

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Culture & Religion