Abstracts: Neanderthals, Natural Gas, and More


• Previous expert consensus posited that early humans left Africa for Europe 70,000 years ago. But new evidence found in Germany suggests they left the continent and interbred with Neanderthals hundreds of thousands of years earlier. (New York Times)

In a recent study, sandpipers that had oil brushed along their wingtips and tails expended 22 percent more energy than their oil-free counterparts. Visual: alvaroreguly/Flickr

• The EPA will not delay the enforcement of methane regulations established under the Obama administration, ruled an appeals court on Monday. The agency had been trying to stop the regulations, which were designed to prevent methane leaks at oil and gas facilities, from going to effect for years. (NPR)

• New findings reveal that just a minor amount of oil can cause major damage to seabirds, hindering their ability to fly. This suggests that smaller oil spills may be affecting bird populations more than previously believed. (Science)

• Behavioral scientist Francesca Gino breaks down a common phenomenon that has been observed in many different fields: coworkers and peers tend to punish and distrust top performers they work with. New research shows that this phenomenon is even more pronounced in highly collaborative work environments. (Scientific American)

• As Oklahoma experiences a major fracking boom, a Native American tribe in the state is suing dozens of oil and gas companies. The Pawnee Nation argues that fracking cleanup processes are causing the state’s recent uptick in earthquakes, which have damaged the tribe’s historic governmental buildings and reservation property. (National Geographic)

• Just one in eight Americans know that at least 90 percent of scientists agree that human-induced climate change is occurring, according to an annual report about climate change communication. (Vox)

• At one southern Arizona health clinic, volunteers struggle to provide medical care for those who make the treacherous and illegal trip across the Mexican border despite crackdowns on immigration. (STAT)

• Two new studies on climate change provide more evidence to counteract common arguments made by climate deniers. One study on climate sensitivity reaffirmed the notion that greater concentrations of greenhouse gases leads to global warming, and the other debunked the idea that satellite data shows that global warming is happening at a slower pace. (InsideClimate News)

• And finally, environmental groups, businesses, and commercial fisheries — and even both congressional Republicans and Democrats — are joining forces to push back against President Trump’s plans for increased offshore drilling practices that could seriously hurt marine life. (The Atlantic)