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The extinction enigma

The marsupial lion is just one of numerous big-bodied animals, or "megafauna," that went extinct in Australia between about 50,000 and 45,000 years ago. Who or what killed them off, and why over such a short period? Gifford Miller, a professor of geological sciences at the University of Colorado at Boulder, has been studying this question for years. In Miller's opinion, humans, who are thought to have arrived in Australia not long before the megafauna went extinct, had something to do with it, though no one has yet been able to conclusively show how—or, for that matter, to rule out climate change or other possible causes. Here, Miller describes what role human-started fires might have played, what he'd ideally like to find to help solve the mystery, and what lessons the mass extinction has for us today. Interview linked to NOVA documentary Bone Diggers.

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Clues found for early Europeans

An archaeological find in Russia has shed light on the migration of modern humans into Europe. Artefacts uncovered at the Kostenki site, south of Moscow, suggest modern humans were at this spot about 45,000 years ago.

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Global warming scare hits ski country

This week, when the results of a $60,000 climatology study were released, more than 1,000 residents of Park City crowded into an auditorium to hear the news. "Temperatures are projected to rise 6 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century," announced Mark Williams, a University of Colorado scientist who specializes in temperature and precipitation modeling. "For the high emission scenario, there's just no snow on Park City's mountains," said fellow scientist Brian Lazar, who explained that "high emission" meant that the world would continue to accelerate its use of carbon based fuels that create greenhouse emissions.

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Get your skiing in now; Global warming could shrink Utah’s winter season

Utah's trademark Greatest Snow on Earth could be a memory by 2075, say a pair of Colorado climatologists, who warn that global warming could shrink the ski season to a mere two months a year.

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Snow Science Hall of Fame

Some of the all-star INSTAAR snow science team involved in the Bureau of Reclamation-funded San Juan Avalanche Project gathered around a dinner table for an informal reunion at the biennial International Snow Science Workshop in Telluride.

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Tropical rainforest nutrients linked to global carbon dioxide levels

Extra amounts of key nutrients in tropical rain forest soils cause them to release more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, according to research conducted by scientists at the University of Colorado (CU) - Boulder.

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