How mutants save a species

There's one obvious reason why it's easier for a species to survive a gradual environmental change than a sudden one: more individuals stay alive when change is gradual or moderate, meaning there are more chances for a winning mutation to emerge.

One fifth of world's reptiles endangered, says report

Almost one in five of the world's reptile species is threatened with extinction, a report from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) warns.

New dates support impact theory of dinosaur extinction

Scientists say they're homing in on the precise date of both the extinction of the dinosaurs 66 million years ago, and the massive impact that's believed by many to have caused it.

Humans killed off Tasmanian Tigers single-handed

It really is all our fault: the Tasmanian Tiger, or thylacine, was wiped out entirely by human actions; disease didn't play a part, as was previously thought.

Long-beaked echidna may still survive in Australia

The western long-beaked echidna, believed to have become extinct in Australia thousands of years ago, may still be alive and kicking in parts of the country today.

The puzzling extinction of the sabre-tooth cat

The news that the sabre-tooth cat became extinct despite the fact that it was ‘well-fed’ deepens the mystery of why they disappeared from America 12,000 years ago.

Cambridge center to study tech extinction risks

A proposed new center at Cambridge University will examine technologies, from biotechnology to artificial intelligence, that could perhaps threaten the future of our species.

Cretaceous ecosystems vulnerable before asteroid impact

The mass extinction that saw the end of the dinosaurs was made worse than it might have been by the structure of the ecosystems of the time.

Earth 'too hot for life' after early mass extinction

Extreme temperatures meant it took five million years for the Earth to recover from the greatest mass extinction of all time.

Two dozen primate species on brink of extinction

Twenty-five species of primate are now close to extinction, according to a report released at the UN’s Convention on Biological Diversity.

Mass extinction underway before dino-killer asteroid

The mass extinction that took out the dinosaurs was already well underway by the time a six-mile asteroid slammed into Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula 65 million years ago, it appears.

Earth took 10 million years to recover from mass extinction

The Earth's greatest mass extinction, 250 million years ago, was so severe that it took 10 million years for the planet to recover.

Some dinosaurs were dying out before asteroid strike

Many dinosaur species were already on their way out before the asteroid strike that's believed to have led to their mass extinction.

Team solves mystery of 'megafauna' extinctions

The long-ago extinctions of some of the world's largest animals were caused by both human activity and natural climate change, according to new research from the University of Cambridge.

Climate models may underestimate extinction rates

We may be being grossly complacent about the scale of species extinctions caused by climate change, according to US scientists.

Short gamma ray bursts could cause mass extinction

Short gamma ray bursts could be more damaging to life on Earth than longer ones, says a Washburn University astrophysicist who's been studying data from the SWIFT satellite.

Baptistina asteroid wasn't dinosaur killer after all

The asteroid widely believed to be responsible for the demise of the dinosaurs probably couldn't have been, observations from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) telescope show.

Scientists say sex is key to evolution

Worms conceived via sexual reproduction are apparently endowed with a bolstered immune system that helps the creatures fight off deadly parasites.

Greenhouse gases threaten mass mortality in oceans

High levels of greenhouse gases could kill off life in the oceans in the same way as happened during prehistoric times, geologists warn.

Religion's doomed in many countries, say mathematicians

Religion's on its way out in every one of nine countries studied by a team of scientists.