Water horses: a mother and baby hippo swim at a zoo in Mexico City. Photo: Getty
Michael Brooks: Hippo fossils offer clues about swimming
By Michael Brooks - 30 July 15:00

Fossilised guides to what the earth was like millions of years ago are rare, and understanding water tracks can make a difference.

Down at the bottom of the garden: visitors inside a garden shed on show at the 2014 Chelsea Flower Show. Photo: Getty
Tracey Thorn: gardening porn vs reality and the pampas grass swingers’ code
By Tracey Thorn - 03 July 17:00

Given we had bought the house from friends, I consigned the pampas “fact” to a small compartment at the back of my mind…

A beaver in Germany. Photo: Getty
The government is capturing wild beavers for the first time in centuries
By Anoosh Chakelian - 01 July 16:32

Beavers are the new badgers as the government's decision to trap England's wild beavers causes outrage among wildlife lovers.

Residents stand near a giant rubber duck on a lake at the newly developped town of Phu My Hung in Ho Chi Minh city on April 28, 2014. Photo: Getty Images
Our plastic waste is changing the geology of the Earth's rocks
By Emma Woollacott - 27 June 15:28

The tiny pieces of plastic that we throw away every year are forming a new layer of sedentary rock across the planet - just another sign of our careless attitude to waste.

A Sami family, Lapland, c.1900. They saw their homeland as the centre of the world. Photo: Galerie Bilderwelt
John Burnside: The tyranny of the world’s “centre”
By John Burnside - 26 June 10:00

For generations, people on the periphery have watched their ways of life – often informed by deep wisdom and ancient traditions – being sacrificed for “resources” for those in central nations. 

Mane event: horse placenta has been used to treat footballers’ injuries. Photo: Getty
The placenta is a marvel that scientists can’t match
By Michael Brooks - 24 June 9:25

Nothing we can engineer has come close to replicating the placenta’s ability to act as the kidney, lungs, hormone source, nutrition channel and waste disposal unit for a growing foetus.

The frontispiece from a volume of articles entitled “The Passenger Pigeon”, published 1907. Image: Wikimedia Commons
Humans not entirely at fault for passenger pigeon extinction
By Safya Khan-Ruf - 23 June 15:15

New research suggests that the human impact coincided with a natural decrease in population size.

A cobra in India. Photo: Getty
No one will die of a snakebite in Britain this summer. Why?
By Michael Brooks - 19 June 10:00

The most recent snakebite death in the UK was in 1975. If only that were true elsewhere: snakebites kill up to 94,000 people and necessitate hundreds of thousands of amputations every year.

Acres of oilseed rape in flower amid the limestone hills of Yunnan, southern China. Photo: George Steinmetz/Corbis
There is nothing very lovely about oilseed rape
By John Burnside - 05 June 12:32

Don’t be fooled by its seas of scented acid-yellow blooms, the plant otherwise known as canola is one of the world’s most unethical crops.

A grey squirrel in St James's Park in London. Photo: Getty
The solution to the grey squirrel crisis? Pastry, a roux sauce, mushrooms and hazelnuts
By Susan Bailey - 19 May 17:04

An organised cull of grey squirrels could also be a culinary opportunity.

Illuminating idea: volunteers light 5,000 candles in the shape of planet earth, during Earth Hour 2012, Berlin. Photo: Getty
The Gaia guy: how James Lovelock struggled to be taken seriously
By Steven Poole - 16 May 11:24

Nowadays, the area of study called “earth systems science” uses many ideas originally championed by Lovelock, though people are still allergic to the name Gaia.

Alive alive-o: cockles picked on the shore in Falmoth, Cornwall. Photo: Getty
“A stained valentine, like a crash-landed space shuttle”: the beauty of bivalves
By Jen Hadfield - 08 May 17:02

The poet Jen Hadfield describes foraging for clams, cockles and mussels in spring on the Shetland shores. 

Having a flutter: a lack of food for butterfly larvae has eaten into numbers. Photo: Getty
Butterflies are beautiful but we need to love their larvae too
By Michael Brooks - 30 April 10:00

The numbers of monarch butterflies are at a record low and a large part of this is because of the disappearance of the milkweed plant, eaten by caterpillars.

Image: Laura Carlin
Waiting for the bees and the blossom of the cherry plum
By Katherine Swift - 29 April 9:12

The author Katherine Swift gives us her reflection on spring, a time of the returning sun and fresh life in the garden. 

Jane Goodall: “I don't think anyone who knows me could accuse me of plagiarism”
By Henry Nicholls - 01 April 11:00

As Jane Goodall turns 80, Henry Nicholls talks to her about her remarkable career studying chimpanzee behaviour, her animal welfare activism, and accusations of plagiarism in her latest book.

Prince Philip looks on as David Cameron plants an oak tree in the grounds of Chequers, February 2014. (Photo: Getty)
Squashed by two fat ladies, Churchill’s choice of oak and “Crinks” the lost Liberal
By Stefan Buczacki - 27 March 10:00

Notes by the former Gardeners’ Question Time chairman Stefan Buczacki.

Majestic flight: hawks have been considered sacred in cultures throughout history.
Hawk eyed: how to write about birds of prey
By John Burnside - 20 March 10:00

From sacred symbolism in ancient mythology to paeans by 20th-century naturalists, hawks and eagles have always been lauded in art and literature.

The sexually transmitted dog cancer that could tell us how tumours develop
By Michael Brooks - 11 February 13:30

The mutations of canine transmissible venereal tumour (CTVT) promises to show how the tumours develop and respond to environmental pressures.

If we want to be happy, should we all move to the country?
By Martha Gill - 30 January 13:47

Green spaces, biodiversity and real lawns have all been shown to boost mental wellbeing.

Resurrecting dinosaurs with medical scanners and 3D printers
By Shireen Chan - 28 November 9:52

CT scans and 3D printers are making it possible to see fossils that were previously inaccessible inside rock.

Finding a blood-filled mosquito doesn't mean we can recreate Jurassic Park
By Ian Steadman - 15 October 15:50

Scientists have discovered a preserved mosquito like the one from that dinosaur film for the first time, but alas, dino-cloning will still be impossible.

Meadow.
The highest ground pulsates with life
By John Burnside - 12 September 10:50

High Alpine meadows, like their near relatives prairie and wetland, teach us to consider the world from a fresh perspective.

Felicity Aston: "My life so far has been quite woven up with Antarctica"
By Caroline Crampton - 28 August 8:24

Caroline Crampton talks to the polar explorer and climate scientist Felicity Aston, who in 2012 became the first woman to ski alone across Antarctica.

New Statesman
Rewilding: Who are we to dictate what species live where?
By John Burnside - 28 August 7:21

The idea of “rewilding” the environment with depleted species seems sound. But, warns John Burnside, we mustn’t manipulate the world — which wasn’t built around us — just to suit our impractical fantasies.

Recline with wine.
We search in vain for a message on the bottle
By Nina Caplan - 15 August 6:30

The uselessness of wine labels.

A beach in Dorset.
Sea swims in England are all rocks, cliffs and shingle
By Sophie Elmhirst - 07 August 11:00

In our Nature column, Sophie Elmhirst tips her toe along Dorset's Jurassic Coast to discover the reality of sea-swimming on home turf.

New Statesman
Winged messengers: The precarious lives of birds
By John Burnside - 04 August 9:51

That we can see reverence for birds as old-fashioned or sentimental is merely another indicator of our own outmoded thinking with regard to human success, writes John Burnside.

Leader: Summer loving
By New Statesman - 25 July 8:23

Enjoy the warm, bright days while they last.

Macaws.
Follow the flight of the blackpoll warbler
By Ruth Padel - 11 July 8:17

Diversity is a mark of richness and environmental health - and birds are its flag-bearers.

Caitlin Moran on what makes us human: Sorry, snow monkeys – we win
By Caitlin Moran - 27 June 9:39

Continuing our What Makes Us Human series, Caitlin Moran says that having fun - and having access to fluffy towels - makes all the difference.

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