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‘Impossible To Save’: Scientists Are Watching China’s Glaciers Disappear

Enlarge this image The Tianshan No. 1 glacier is melting fast, receding by at least 30 feet each year. Scientists warn that the glacier — the source of the Urumqi River, which more than 4 million people depend on — may disappear in the next 50 years. Rob Schmitz/NPR hide caption toggle caption Rob Schmitz/NPR At the end of every summer, scientist Li Zhongqin takes his seasonal hike near the top of a glacier in the Tianshan mountains in China’s far northwestern region of Xinjiang. Li scrambles over a frozen…

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[Perspective] Watching speciation in action

Charles Darwin closed his first edition of On the Origin of Species with the poetic words: “There is grandeur in this view of life,…whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved” (1). Today, scientists are using genetics to understand how species multiply, and ecological and behavioral knowledge to understand why they do so. However, many questions remain about the sources of genetic variation and how new…

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