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Since fossils of these great beasts were first discovered over 100 years ago, people have fascinated by how they lived. At first, it was generally assumed that they were pretty similar to modern reptiles, and were therefore fairly slow and sluggish, lumbering through their environments, and reliant on external heat to regulate their body temperatures – what we would call cold blooded. But now researchers at the California Institute of Technology have taken the temperature of these long extinct creatures by examining fossilised teeth.
The world's oceans are in a dramatic state of decline, one much bigger and faster than ever before. This startling conclusion about the status of marine life was announced by the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO) this week, which bought together experts from a number of disciplines. In one particularly chilling quote, their report warns that "ocean life is at high risk of entering a phase of extinction of marine species unprecedented in human history". Professor Alex Roger is the IPSO's Scientific Director, and spoke to Science in Action.
Water Acid Maps
One of the findings from the IPSO report showed that a rising carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere is leading to increased acidity of the oceans, as it dissolves in water. Currently there is no global record of how acidic the water around the world actually is – more data is desperately needed. So in what is being billed as the world's largest chemistry experiment is aiming to find provide. Schools around the world are being asked to measure their local body of water, and plot the results on a global map. Pupils in London have been honing their skills, as Science in Action's Ania Lichtarowicz found out.
The European CryoSat satellite has provided a map of how thick the ice is across the entire Arctic Ocean basin. It is giving scientist vital information about how the ice may be affected by changes in climate. The ice map was presented at the Paris Air Show which is also a major event for European Space Science, and the BBC Science Correspondent, Jonathan Amos has been there all week.
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