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Earth & Environment

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Sailfish are named for the sail-like fin on their backs, but they can also be characterized by their elongated bills.

Early Roman plumbing made of lead pipes and taps, such as the segment shown here, increased levels of the metal in the city's drinking water but probably not to concentrations that would have been hazardous to human health, scientists say.

Each year between 1984 and 2011, the area of scorched land increased by 355 square kilometers.

  • Climate

    Letters to the Editor

    Feedback

    Readers discuss the influence of clouds on climate, how to treat addiction and which human-made hazards are the biggest bird-killers.
  • Earth

    
    Science Ticker

    Surge seen in number of U.S. wildfires

    The number and size of wildfires in the western United States has steadily risen over the last three decades.

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    Science Ticker

    Huge space rock rattled Earth 3 billion years ago

    An asteroid almost as wide as Rhode Island may have plowed into Earth 3.26 billion years ago, leaving its mark in South Africa’s Barberton greenstone belt.

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  • Agriculture

  • Ecosystems

  • Toxicology

    
    Science Ticker

    Handling receipts increases exposure to BPA

    People who handle cash register receipts printed on thermal paper show notable exposure to bisphenol A.

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  • Pollution

    
    Science Ticker

    Lead levels in ancient Rome’s water were high, but not toxic

    Ancient Romans probably drank tap water with up to 100 times more lead than the levels found in local spring water.

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    Science Ticker

    Artists' sunsets may reveal past pollution

    The colors artists used in the sunsets of their paintings may provide clues to what was circulating in the air hundreds of years ago.

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  • Sustainability

  • Oceans

    
    Wild Things

    The surprising life of a piece of sunken wood

    Timber and trees that wash out to sea and sink to the bottom of the ocean hold a diverse community of organisms.

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