New research from Northumbria University has revealed that metal-related pollution began in the Balkans more than 500 years before it appeared in Western Europe, and persisted throughout the Dark Ages and Medieval Period, meaning the region played a far bigger role in mineral exploitation than previously believed.
Around four billion years ago, Earth was an inhospitable place, devoid of oxygen, bursting with volcanic eruptions, and bombarded by asteroids, with no signs of life in even the simplest forms. But somewhere amid this chaotic period, the chemistry of the Earth turned in life's favor, giving rise, however improbably, to the planet's very first organisms.
Scientists have identified one of the oldest known plesiosaurs. The 132 million-year-old remains of the ancient sea monster were recovered in 1964 in northern Germany, but only recently examined by researchers.