Listen to the latest from the world of science, with Benjamin Thompson.

In this episode:

00:45 World’s oldest DNA shows that mastodons roamed ancient Greenland

DNA recovered from ancient permafrost has been used to reconstruct what an ecosystem might have looked like two million years ago. Their work suggests that Northern Greenland was much warmer than the frozen desert it is today, with a rich ecosystem of plants and animals.

Research Article: Kjær et al.

Nature Video: The world’s oldest DNA: Extinct beasts of ancient Greenland

08:21 Research Highlights

Why low levels of ‘good’ cholesterol don’t predict heart disease risk in Black people, and how firework displays affect the flights of geese.

Research Highlight: ‘Good’ cholesterol readings can lead to bad results for Black people

Research Highlight: New Year’s fireworks chase wild geese high into the sky

10:31 Modelling the potential emissions of plastics

While the global demand for plastics is growing, the manufacturing and disposal of these ubiquitous materials is responsible for significant CO2 emissions each year. This week, a team have modelled how CO2 emissions could vary in the context of different strategies for mitigating climate change. They reveal how under specific conditions the industry could potentially become a carbon sink.

Research Article: Stegmann et al.

News and Views: Plastics can be a carbon sink but only under stringent conditions

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