Penguins die in 'catastrophic' Antarctic breeding season

All but two Adelie penguin chicks have starved to death in their east Antarctic colony, in a breeding season described as "catastrophic" by experts.

It was caused by unusually high amounts of ice late in the season, meaning adults had to travel further for food, according to BBC.

It is the second bad season in five years after no chicks survived in 2015.

Conservation groups are calling for urgent action on a new marine protection area in the east Antarctic to protect the colony of about 36,000.

New evidence on how birds took to the air

New fossil evidence has pushed back a key step in the evolution of bird flight by millions of years.

Skeletal changes that helped birds take to the air happened 120 million years ago, during the hey day of dinosaurs, according to a specimen from China, according To BBC.

Features such as fused bones were thought to be present only in relatively advanced birds, living just before the dinosaurs went extinct.

Mars Study Yields Clues to Possible Cradle of Life

The discovery of evidence for ancient sea-floor hydrothermal deposits on Mars identifies an area on the planet that may offer clues about the origin of life on Earth.

A recent report examines observations of massive deposits in a basin on southern Mars. The authors interpret the data as evidence that these deposits were formed by heated water from a volcanically active part of the planet's crust entering the bottom of a large sea long ago according to Science daily.

"Even if we never find evidence that there's been life on Mars, this site can tell us about the type of environment where life may have begun on Earth," said Paul Niles. "Volcanic activity combined with standing water provided conditions that were likely similar to conditions that existed on Earth at about the same time -- when early life was evolving here."

Monstrous crocodile fossil points to early rise of ancient reptiles

A newly identified prehistoric marine predator has shed light on the origins of the distant relatives of modern crocodiles.

The discovery reveals that an extinct group of aquatic reptiles evolved millions of years earlier than was previously thought, researchers say.

The new species was a 10-foot-long animal that lived in the warm, shallow seas that covered much of what is now Europe. Powerful jaws and big, serrated teeth allowed it to feed on large prey, such as prehistoric squid.

Mars once retained water with help of explosive methane gas bursts – study

A theory as to how Mars managed to sustain water-friendly climate during the beginning of its drying out period some 3.6 billion years ago has emerged through a new scientific study.

It is believed that Mars may have kept liquid water on its surface “for at least several thousand years” because of conditions set by explosive bursts of methane gas, according to RT.

The theory could explain how the red planet managed to sustain its various lakes and rivers in a climate that ordinarily would be too cold and arid to have done so.