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Massive geographic change may have triggered explosion of animal life New analysis of geologic history may help solve the riddle of the ‘Cambrian explosion’ A new analysis of geologic history may help solve the riddle of the “Cambrian explosion,” the rapid diversification of animal life in the fossil record 530 million years ago that has puzzled scientists since the time of Charles Darwin. A paper by Ian Dalziel of The University of Texas at Austin’s Jackson School of Geosciences, published in the November issue of Geology, a journal of the Geological Society of America, suggests a major tectonic event may have triggered the rise in sea level and other environmental changes that accompanied the apparent burst of life. The Cambrian explosion is one of the most significant events in Earth’s 4.5-billion-year history. The surge of evolution led to the sudden appearance of almost all modern animal groups. Fossils from the…

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Harnessing ‘people power’ to manage fisheries in the developing world has significantly benefited local communities and coral reefs, according to new research. “Studies about the environment, and particularly fisheries, abound with bad news, but here, we see a glimmer of hope,” says lead author Professor Joshua Cinner, from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University. Historically, fisheries management in East Africa has followed a ‘top down’ approach, but in 2006, the Kenyan government introduced a pilot program that gave communities the ability to develop and enforce their own fisheries rules and regulations. The researchers studied the impact of the program on both the environment and the livelihood of the fishermen. In an article published in the journal Global Environmental Change, Professor Cinner says the strategies that local communities developed to manage their fisheries benefited the fishery, the corals and importantly the people’s livelihoods. [embedvideo…

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