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Successful completion of Lassa fever vaccine trial

The Vaccine Group, a University of Plymouth spinout company, has successfully completed a project to develop a transmissible vaccine for use in the rats that spread Lassa fever and to reduce its threat to humans.

How pastoral farming can help to avoid a biodiversity crisis

The world is losing its biodiversity. An estimated 41,000 animal species are now threatened with extinction. World leaders will convene at the UN COP15 biodiversity conference in Montreal this month to discuss ways of reversing ...

'Harmless' Listeria species developing pathogenic resistance

In the food processing industry, the deadly bacteria Listeria monocytogenes is monitored closely. Not only can the bacteria make people extremely ill, it is known to be developing resistance to food safety measures around ...

Australia starts building 'momentous' radio telescope

Australia on Monday started building a vast network of antennas in the Outback, its section of what planners say will eventually become one of the most powerful radio telescopes in the world.

Africa

Africa is the world's second-largest and second most-populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² (11.7 million sq mi) including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area. With a billion people (as of 2009, see table) in 61 territories, it accounts for about 14.8% of the World's human population. The continent is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, the Suez Canal and the Red Sea to the northeast, the Indian Ocean to the southeast, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Not counting the disputed territory of Western Sahara, there are 53 countries, including Madagascar and various island groups, associated with the continent.

Africa, particularly central eastern Africa, is widely regarded within the scientific community to be the origin of humans and the Hominidae tree (great apes), as evidenced by the discovery of the earliest hominids and their ancestors, as well as later ones that have been dated to around seven million years ago – including Sahelanthropus tchadensis, Australopithecus africanus, A. afarensis, Homo erectus, H. habilis and H. ergaster – with the earliest Homo sapiens (human) found in Ethiopia being dated to ca. 200,000 years ago.

Africa straddles the equator and encompasses numerous climate areas; it is the only continent to stretch from the northern temperate to southern temperate zones.

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