Amy Middleton

Amy Middleton

Amy Middleton is a Melbourne-based journalist.

Amy Middleton is a Melbourne-based journalist and founding editor of Archer Magazine, the Australian journal of sexual diversity. Amy has written and edited for publications including Australian Geographic, Rolling Stone, The Guardian, Junkie, Meanjin, The Lifted Brow, The Big Issue and The Bulletin. She has a radio show on 3CR in Melbourne, and she was named among Melbourne Writers Festival's 30 under 30 in 2015. In her spare time, she plays pub footy for The Old Bar Unicorns.

  • Australian volcanic rocks reveal secrets

    The key to understanding what lies 30 kilometres beneath us.

    The continental crust of a planet such as Earth serves as a geological timeline of its evolution.  While the Earth’s ...

    July 28, 2019
  • Finding the genes needed to save Australian mammals

    Amy Middleton reports on a genome mapping project designed to protect endangered species.

    When planning to protect threatened species, it’s helpful to consider how they’ve survived and adapted over the milli...

    July 21, 2019
  • Friday profile: The Molybdenum Man

    Michael Druce stepped away from a career in distilling to work in nuclear medicine. Amy Middleton...

    Not everyone can claim that their work saves lives. But Michael Druce, who last week received the gong for Sustained ...

    November 30, 2017
  • Friday profile: Stem cells by the numbers

    Award-winning scientist Jessica Mar prefers a computer lab to a wet lab. She talks to Amy Middleton.

    If stem cells were superheroes, their power would be indefinite self-replication – so says researcher Jessica Mar, ta...

    November 23, 2017
  • Friday profile: The mathematics of the big picture

    Mathematician and physical chemist Rowena Ball is on the hunt for the origins of life itself.

    Explosion and combustion. The origins of life on Earth. Humanity’s role in our own evolution. These are the kind of i...

    November 16, 2017
  • Friday profile: Five schoolgirls, a Raspberry Pi, and the International Space Station

    For a group of Australian high school students, the sky’s the limit. Literally. Amy Middleton rep...

    If you think high school science subjects are still confined to the classroom, think again.A team of students at Avil...

    November 9, 2017
  • Friday profile: Learning light’s alphabet

    Award-winning quantum physicist Jacq Romero talks to Amy Middleton.

    When she finds time to chat to me, Dr Jacq Romero is at L’Oreal headquarters in Melbourne, celebrating her recent 201...

    November 2, 2017
  • Friday profile: Revenge of the nerd

    Tireless US scientist and broadcaster Cara Santa Maria talks to Amy Middleton.

    Los Angeles science communicator Cara Santa Maria.Think IncCara Santa Maria thinks our society has come a long way on...

    October 26, 2017
  • Friday profile: to name a species is to know a species

    Conservation geneticist Rebecca Johnson has a passion for description as a prescription to preser...

    “Homogeneity is so boring!” Dr Rebecca Johnson says when asked to outline her passion for conservation. “Keep the div...

    October 19, 2017
  • Friday profile: The dolphin doctor

    Dr Kate Sprogis always wanted to spend her life studying whales and dolphins. Now she’s truly liv...

    We all know dolphins to be smart, sexual and charismatic creatures, but it turns out their interpersonal relationship...

    October 12, 2017
  • Friday profile: making tiny tech from sunlight

    Baohua Jia’s research is producing heavy results from light science. Amy Middleton reports.

    Microphotonics – a field of light science that deals with nano-fabrication and the manipulation of microscopic partic...

    October 5, 2017
  • Friday profile: Life, the universe, and everything

    Geophysicist Craig O’Neill studies the relationship between plate techtonics and meteorites, spur...

    When asked to reflect on geophysics, his much-loved field of study, Craig O’Neill, director of the Planetary Research...

    September 28, 2017
  • Moon’s surface may hide water-rich interior

    A new study suggests that compounds containing water may be common in the Moon’s mantle

    Parts of the Moon’s mantle – the layer between crust and outer core – could contain as much water as Earth’s interior...

    July 25, 2017
  • Outsourcing unpleasant tasks scientifically proven to make you happier

    Paying other people to do unenjoyable jobs for you can, unsurprisingly, make you more satisfied w...

    Paying someone to help out with odd jobs is on the rise through apps like AirTasker, and new research suggests this b...

    July 25, 2017
  • Why aren’t the biggest animals the fastest?

    Being the fastest animal on land, in the sea or in the air is a trade-off between strength, mass ...

    A new model relating an animal’s mass to its speed has helped shine a light on how the world’s fastest animals reach ...

    July 17, 2017
  • Breathable nanoscale tech worn like a second skin

    Thin, stretchable film is latest development in wearable electronics.

    Sci-fi and future-tech fans take note: the latest development in wearable electronics is a thin, stretchable electron...

    July 17, 2017
  • Indestructible tardigrades will live until the dying Sun boils Earth’s oceans

    A new analysis of cosmic cataclysms suggests that tardigrades may live another 5 billion years, e...

    Great news for everyone’s favourite vacuum bag-shaped microanimal – the near-imperishable tardigrade will outlive us ...

    July 14, 2017
  • Review: Weird Dinosaurs

    A new book brings to life the thrill of the hunt for fossils, writes Amy Middleton.

    NON-FICTION Weird Dinosaurs by John Pickrell NewSouth Publishing (2016) RRP $29.99 John Pickrell isn’t very happy wit...

    June 14, 2017
  • White or wholemeal? It depends on your gut bacteria

    A new study shows that one-size-fits-all dietary advice is a bad idea, writes Amy Middleton.

    White or wholemeal? The science is in, and the answer is a resounding “It depends”.Paul Viant / GettyIs whole wheat s...

    June 8, 2017
  • How much charisma does a leader need?

    A new study suggests that too much charisma can be a bad thing for a business leader. Amy Middlet...

    Highly charismatic leaders tend to be strong on strategy and vision but weaker on operational details.Thomas Barwick ...

    May 30, 2017
  • Rice was domesticated in China almost 10,000 years ago

    Carbon dating of rice fossils from Shangshan in the Lower Yangtze region shows domestication occu...

    Rice paddies in Yunnan, China.Fabio Nodari / GettyThe earliest known domestic rice was cultivated in China as early a...

    May 30, 2017
  • Radio signals may have created a protective magnetic bubble around Earth

    Very low frequency radio communications with deep-sea submarines may keep out high energy electro...

    Very low frequency (VLF) radio communications – the kind we use to communicate with submarines, far below sea level –...

    May 29, 2017
  • Photonic nanostructure, heal thyself

    Structural colours have a brighter future, inspired by biological wound-repair observed in the an...

    A self-healing hydrogel with structural colours.Yuanjin ZhaoStructural colours – materials that employ photonic nanos...

    May 22, 2017
  • Miscarriages in women over 40 causes

    Lack of the protein securin plays a significant role.

    The majority of miscarriages occur due to the embryo having an unusual number of chromosomes, an event that is partic...

    May 21, 2017
  • A stretchable nanostructured surface produces shifting holograms

    Holographic communications are still a way off, but this may be a step in the right direction, wr...

    We haven’t caught up to Star Wars yet, but science is edging closer to holographic message communication. A concept d...

    May 11, 2017
  • Larvacean life: the surprise ocean giants of global carbon capture

    The finger-sized 'giant larvaceans' are zooplankton champions, transferring carbon to the deep o...

    Carbon is cycled from the atmosphere to the deep ocean at astonishing rates, and a new study has revealed one of its ...

    May 10, 2017
  • Tracking birds may stop them coming home

    Attaching tracking devices to migratory songbirds makes them less likely to return to the same te...

    A Cerulean Warbler with attached geolocation device.T. BovesTracking devices provide enormous insight into the behavi...

    May 4, 2017
  • A giant wave in the Perseus galaxy cluster

    A gigantic X-ray tsunami is rolling through the Perseus Galaxy Cluster.

    A giant wave spanning 200,000 light years, dubbed an ‘X-ray tsunami’, is rolling through the Perseus Galaxy Cluster, ...

    May 4, 2017
  • Galactic friends

    A dazzling pair of neighbouring galaxies.

    The galaxies NGC 4302 (left) and NGC 4298 (right), in the Virgo cluster.NASA / ESA / M. MutchlerThese two galaxies ar...

    April 29, 2017
  • A satellite view of a desert oasis

    The beautiful, ephemeral scenery of Lake Mackay comes and goes with the rain.

    Lake Mackay, Australia.ESAEphemeral lakes – like Lake Mackay, on the border of Western Australia and the Northern Ter...

    April 28, 2017
  • Love in a cold climate: how seabirds share and care

    The common murre has a complex co-operative approach to parenting. Amy Middleton reports.

    Common murre in the Farne Islands, UK.Stephan RechFor a great example of complex co-parenting, perhaps we should be l...

    April 26, 2017
  • Are self-driving cars ready for the road?

    The public wants cars that drive themselves, but the technology and infrastructure are still some...

    Inside the RobotCar autonomous vehicle.John Cairns / Oxford University Images / Science Photo LibraryThe majority of ...

    April 12, 2017
  • Phytoplankton greens the Arctic oceans

    Climate change is boosting phytoplankton in the world's coldest regions, with uncertain consequen...

    Photosynthesising phytoplankton tinge Arctic waters green.Westend61/Getty ImagesArctic sea-ice has thinned so much ov...

    March 29, 2017
  • Human activity prods major weather events

    Human culpability in floods and droughts appears more certain, according to new research. Amy Mid...

    Human activity has contributed to increasing severe weather events.Busa Photography/Getty ImagesHuman-induced climate...

    March 29, 2017
  • Did Huns learn to farm from the Romans?

    Being a Hun didn't just involve killing and looting, it seems. Sometimes there was work to do, to...

    A fifth century skull, showing the modified elongated cranium the Huns achieved through binding the heads of their ba...

    March 22, 2017
  • Do you want tiny chips with that?

    New imaging techniques allow nanotech designs to be seen in 3D for the first time. Amy Middleton ...

    3-D rendering of the internal structure of an Intel processor. The material in yellow is copper — showing the process...

    March 15, 2017
  • Surprise fossil trove hints at rapid mass extinction recovery

    A rich and diverse find indicates that species bounced back from the end-Permian 'great dying' fa...

    Artistic view of the diversified and complex Early Triassic marine ecosystem of southeastern Idaho as revealed by the...

    February 15, 2017
  • Clinical trial shows bouts of fasting lowers risk of age-related disease

    A drastic diet for five days a month produces equally drastic results. Amy Middleton reports.

    Fasting just five days every month brings big health benefits.Michaela Begsteiger / Getty ImagesFasting can bring sig...

    February 15, 2017
  • Temperature drop boosts Kiwi glaciers

    But apparent signs of recovery in two of New Zealand’s ice floes isn’t the good news it seems. Am...

    The Franz Josef Glacier in Westland National Park on New Zealand's South Island advanced for 19 of the years between ...

    February 14, 2017
  • Thanks to El Niño, life is now less of a beach in California

    Last year’s weather patterns caused the biggest shoreline retreat on record – and it is set to co...

    Californian coasts are no stranger to being worn away by extreme El Niño events – these houses in Malibu started slid...

    February 14, 2017
  • Explosive beginnings of a supernova spotted for the first time

    Astronomers witnessed the infancy of one of the most spectacular sights in the universe. Amy Midd...

    iPTF13dqy (SN2013fs) exploded in a relatively nearby (~160 million light years) spiral galaxy on 6 October 2013 and w...

    February 14, 2017
  • Clay jars store clues to Earth’s magnetic field strength

    Ancient political ructions in the Middle East are helping scientists understand our planet's magn...

    A stamped handle from Ramat Rahel. Such fragments are an archive of the strength of the Earth's magnetic field at the...

    February 13, 2017
  • Crustaceans in deep water also in deep trouble

    The deepest parts of the ocean have long been considered pristine wildernesses. Think again, repo...

    The ultra-deepwater Hirondellea gigas from the deepest depths of the Mariana Trench in the Northwest Pacific Ocean. T...

    February 13, 2017
  • Baleen whales had a deep voice first

    Ancient whale ear anatomy reveals striking resemblance.

    Baleen whales – such as blue and humpback whales – produce and hear the lowest frequency sounds of any animal. Now ne...

    February 8, 2017
  • Immigration raids linked to low birth weight among Latina mothers

    As White House plans to deport non-citizens come closer to fruition, research suggests they might...

    Following a raid, babies were 24% more likely born with low birth weight compared to those born a year earlier.WIN-In...

    February 2, 2017
  • Trouble sleeping? A weekend camping should help you out

    Solving sleep problems and groggy mornings can be as simple as a couple of nights in the bush und...

    No TVs, no Wi-Fi, no screens ... just the moonlight.vernonwiley / Getty ImagesWaking up to a morning alarm after goin...

    February 2, 2017
  • Bird beak evolution traced – with a little help from citizen scientists

    Clever use of crowdsourcing has resulted in greater insight into large-scale evolution. Amy Middl...

    Few beaks are more distinctive as the toucan's (Ramphastos sulfuratus pictured here). Now the rapid evolution of bird...

    February 1, 2017
  • Brain-reading computer gives paralysed patients a voice

    With a bit of training, a brain-computer interface could decipher yes/no answers from 'locked-in'...

    A brain-computer interface can decipher the thoughts of people otherwise unable to communicate. Here is the NIRS/EEG ...

    January 31, 2017
  • Pilgrims may have spread leprosy across medieval Europe

    Analysis of the remains of a young leprosy sufferer from 12th-century Europe show he was a well-t...

    Remains of a man who suffered leprosy in the 12th century.Roffey, S. and colleagues, PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases...

    January 30, 2017
  • Global warming boosts toxic mercury in lakes and oceans: study

    Increased runoff into fresh and coastal waters will spell bad news for phytoplankton – and whole ...

    Tiny organisms called phytoplankton will suffer from the extra runoff that's predicted with climate change.Roland Bir...

    January 30, 2017
  • Bland tomatoes don’t have tasty genes

    Store-bought tomatoes aren’t the flavour experience they once were.

    It’s no secret that heirloom tomatoes taste superior to their supermarket equivalents. Now research shows certain gen...

    January 26, 2017
  • Erratic bacteria come together to swarm as one

    Physicists watched randomly wriggling Escherichia coli cells organise themselves into a circular ...

    It seems the more we learn about bacteria, the more impressively complex and relatable they become. We know that bact...

    January 23, 2017
  • Microbial ‘bodyguard’ oozes antibiotics in moth larvae gut

    The bacterium Enterococcus mundtii helps keep nasties at bay – at least in the common leafworm. A...

    A group of cotton leafworms, Spodoptera littoralis, chomping through a leafy meal. The older specimens have more of a...

    January 19, 2017
  • Geckoes inspire light-activated sticky pads

    Simply shining UV light on a new adhesive material turns its stickiness off, reports Amy Middleton.

    Microstickers on the new material that look like mushroom-shaped pillars. When exposed to UV light, they relinquish t...

    January 18, 2017
  • Heart-hugging robotic sleeve helps pump blood

    A new device could significantly cut the risk of infection and stroke for heart patients. Amy Mid...

    Sometimes a heart needs a hand.Wuka / Getty ImagesWe've heard about wearing your heart on your sleeve, but what about...

    January 18, 2017
  • Panda false thumb and taste for bamboo evolved twice

    In a nifty example of convergent evolution, distantly related red and giant pandas acquired trait...

    Two-year-old giant pandas chow down on their favourite food, bamboo.James Balog / Getty ImagesApart from their shared...

    January 16, 2017
  • Scientists find and switch on predatory kill instinct in mice

    Two sets of brain cells in the mouse amygdala turn the little animals in hunting machines. Amy Mi...

    Researchers claim to have found brain cells responsible for hunting behaviours in mice.Daniel Trim Photography / Gett...

    January 12, 2017
  • Bacterial blobs broadcast electrical messages to recruit other species

    Deciphering interspecies signalling may lead to new means of infection control. Amy Middleton rep...

    A false-colour scanning electron microscope image of plaque – a collection of microbes forming a biofilm – on a piece...

    January 12, 2017
  • Aches and pains? Don’t blame the weather

    Researchers found no significant link between weather changes and the onset of knee osteoarthriti...

    Changes in temperature, humidity, air pressure, wind and rain don't affect lower back pain or knee osteoarthritis aft...

    January 10, 2017
  • Neolithic veggie meal scraps found in ancient pottery

    Humans prepared wild grains, leafy and aquatic plants in pottery vessels as early as 10,200 years...

    Painted prehistoric rock art in the Libyan Sahara. The painting is full of human figures hunting with spears, and now...

    December 22, 2016
  • Pregnancy remodels a mother’s brain for up to two years

    Hormone surges thin out grey matter in brain areas linked to social cognition, which may play a p...

    Hormonal changes during pregnancy thin out the grey matter in a woman's brain.KidStock / Getty ImagesIt’s official: “...

    December 21, 2016
  • Sticky glowworm traps are spiked with urine

    Researchers found crystals of urea in the water-absorbent glue – perhaps to stop the insects dryi...

    Like beads draped from the ceiling of a cave, glowworms hang their nets. New chemical analysis shows what's in the st...

    December 14, 2016
  • Wild bats instinctively catch fish – and even improve with practice

    If the opportunity arises, insectivorous long-fingered bats can become pescatarians. Amy Middleto...

    Some long-fingered bats eat fish alongside their usual insect diet. A new study shows the fishing behaviour can be le...

    December 14, 2016
  • Silly putty makes seriously state-of-the-art sensors

    Adding graphene to every child’s favourite gooey stuff could turn it into a life-saving medical d...

    Jonathan Coleman of Trinity College Dublin with a sample of 'G-putty' pictured with his son Oisín holding plain old s...

    December 8, 2016
  • Hitting the right notes makes zebra finches feel good

    Charles Darwin learnt a lot from finches, but the little birds still have much to teach us. Amy M...

    Two studies into zebra finches show they get a hit of dopamine when they hear a pitch-perfect song – and when learnin...

    December 8, 2016
  • Old clams give up ocean climate secrets

    Like rings in a tree trunk, layers in shells of quahog clams provide clues to the climate over th...

    Quahog clams can live up to 500 years – living archives of the climate of the period.Paul Poplis / Getty ImagesThe wo...

    December 7, 2016
  • Solar panels have paid their energy debt (or are very close to it)

    Between now and 2018, the photovoltaic solar panel industry will have avoided more greenhouse gas...

    The world has embraced solar energy, and it's paying off.Sean Gallup / Getty ImagesSolar power has produced more ener...

    December 6, 2016
  • Lucy’s bone scans point to life in the trees

    While Australopithecus afarensis could walk on two legs, its skeleton suggests it was still happy...

    A reconstruction of Australopithecus afarensis 'Lucy', who appears to have been a part-time tree-dweller.Tim Boyle / ...

    November 30, 2016
  • Never go to sleep thinking dark thoughts

    Emotional or traumatic memories can solidify if you go to bed with them fresh in mind, researcher...

    A US Marine snatches some sleep while waiting to be transferred out of Helmand province in Afghanistan. Understanding...

    November 29, 2016
  • Digital scans improve 100-year-old embryonic knowledge

    The first two months of human development have been catalogued in a major new interactive atlas, ...

    3-D reconstructions of human embryos at (from left to right) six, eight and 9.5 pregnancy weeks.Bernadette de Bakker,...

    November 24, 2016
  • Coconut crab pinches with the force of a tiger bite

    They have the strongest clamping force of all crustaceans – and the bigger the crab, the more pow...

    A new study confirms the coconut crab's pinch rivals the bite of land predators.Tobias Bernhard Raff / Getty ImagesIn...

    November 23, 2016
  • Once started, Antarctica’s fastest melting glacier’s retreat was unstoppable

    An unusually warm ocean in 1945 started the Pine Island Glacier melting. Even though temperatures...

    Crevasses on Pine Island Glacier, the fastest melting glacier in Antarctica.J SmithThe fastest draining glacier in An...

    November 23, 2016
  • Young blood helps heal muscles in old mice

    ... but it's not enough to reverse all effects of ageing. Amy Middleton reports.

    Mice were sewn together in previous blood transfer studies, meaning they shared other body systems and organs too. No...

    November 22, 2016
  • Icy messages from a dead spacecraft

    Now you see it, now you don’t: vanishing dry ice hints at extreme seasonal variations on Comet 67...

    Artist's impression of Rosetta and Philae at Comet 67P/Churyumov-GerasimenkoESA / ATG medialab; Comet image: ESA / Ro...

    November 17, 2016
  • Star-shaped capsule lodges in the gut for long-term drug dose

    It could be used to fight malaria, tuberculosis and HIV. Amy Middleton reports.

    A dose, tucked away in a capsule (left) and expanded (right).Bellinger et al., Science Translational Medicine (2016)I...

    November 16, 2016
  • This toothpaste-like gel stems uncontrolled bleeding

    The biomaterial, made from synthetic silicate nanoplatelets and gelatin, stopped bleeding in pigs...

    Rahkendra Ice / Avery et al. / Science Translational Medicine (2016)]A new toothpaste-like hydrogel could one day sav...

    November 16, 2016
  • Compound in aged cheese extends lifespan of mice and rats

    Spermidine – also found in legumes and grains – might have therapeutic benefits in people, accord...

    Spermidine is found in legumes, grains – and yes, aged cheese – and seems to increase a rodent's lifespan, according ...

    November 14, 2016
  • How much Arctic sea ice have you melted today?

    For every metric tonne of carbon dioxide emitted, three square metres of sea ice is lost, climate...

    Arctic sea ice extent is shrinking – and it's linked to the carbon dioxide humans have been pumping into the atmosphe...

    November 3, 2016
  • Paint points to sophisticated Stone Age ancestors

    Ochre powder processed in an ancient African cave reveals surprising complex behaviour from early...

    A tool used to grind ochre from the Middle Stone Age levels of Porc-Epic Cave, Dire Dawa, Ethiopia. The black line de...

    November 2, 2016
  • Chimpanzees stress less when a pal is around

    The ape's stress hormones drop when loved ones are nearby, suggesting healthy emotional bonds als...

    Having a good buddy around decreases stress hormones in chimpanzees – even in potential life-or-death situations.Fuse...

    November 1, 2016
  • Why saving African elephants makes economic sense

    Anti-poaching efforts are expensive, but elephants rake in around 25 million tourist dollars each...

    Heavily armed forces protecting elephants in Kenya from poaching – a wise investment, according to an economic analys...

    November 1, 2016
  • Chimpanzees and bonobos: once primate friends with benefits

    The genetic division between two of our closest relatives isn’t as clear as once thought. Amy Mid...

    It's true – they got it on in the past few hundred thousand years. But this muddying of the genetic waters affects ho...

    October 27, 2016
  • Did ancient humans hunt cave lions to extinction?

    When it comes to humans and lions, the question of who hunts whom has always been hazy. Analysis ...

    An artist's impression of the now-extinct Eurasian cave lion, showing its thick, lustrous coat. New research shows hu...

    October 26, 2016
  • How prehistoric settlers reached far-flung Oceania islands

    Scientists paint one of the most vivid and detailed pictures to date of human migration across th...

    Islands such as Samoa are in the middle of nowhere, but people have been living on them for thousands of years. Now r...

    October 25, 2016
  • El Niño boosts infectious disease risk in the US

    The western states will see more insect-borne diseases while the northeast will cop more gut upse...

    With more El Niño events will come more ticks – and the diseases they spread.M Phillips David / Getty ImagesAfter hor...

    October 25, 2016
  • Japanese volcano interrupted an earthquake: study

    It looks like Mt Aso's magma chamber stifled part of the magnitude-7.1 Kumamoto earthquake in Apr...

    The largest active volcano in Japan, Mount Aso, may have put stopped a 7.1-magnitude earthquake in its tracks.STR / A...

    October 20, 2016
  • From stride to slither: how snakes lost their limbs

    The evolutionary path from leggy to legless wasn't a simple one, but researchers in the US and Sw...

    Some snakes, such as pythons, have remnants of claws tucked away in muscle.Olivier Born / Getty ImagesThe body evolut...

    October 20, 2016
  • Echidna’s ‘digging walk’ cultivates Australian soil

    The cute Australian native can turn over 200 cubic metres of soil each year. Amy Middleton reports.

    Short-beaked echidnas going about their day can excavate huge quantities of dirt.Jurgen & Christine Sohns / Getty Ima...

    October 19, 2016
  • Cave art reveals modern-day bison is a hybrid species

    Combination of art and science outlines the big bovines' genetic history. Amy Middleton reports.

    Modern European bison (Bison bonasus) in the Białowieża Forest in Poland.Rafał KowalczykOne of the world’s two remain...

    October 18, 2016
  • Signs of comet collision found in 55-million-year-old rocks

    Back then, Earth was warmer than it is today – perhaps triggered by a heavenly body crashing into...

    Glass blobs in rocks found along the US east coast point to a comet collision a few million years ago.Marc Ward / Sto...

    October 13, 2016
  • Gene editing fixes mutation behind blood disease

    Hope for sickle cell disease patients, with blood stem cells altered using CRISPR-Cas9 technique ...

    Sickle cell disease is marked by malformed red blood cells, severely shortening the life of patients.Omikrom / Getty ...

    October 12, 2016
  • Black widow spider genes found in bacteria-infecting virus

    US researchers find animal-like DNA in a virus that doesn't infect animals. How did it get there?...

    A black widow spider spinning a web. These creatures can be infected by bacteria which, in turn, are infected by viru...

    October 11, 2016
  • Why naked mole rats feel no pain

    They may not look like much but these little rodents have superpowers – and researchers are begin...

    The naked mole rat doesn't feel pain from hot chilli peppers – or other stimuli that would hurt most other animals.Th...

    October 11, 2016
  • Gastro bugs boost growth of Crohn’s bacteria in mice

    Bacterial food poisoning can encourage growth of another bacterium – but this one is associated w...

    The effects of food poisoning, thanks to bacteria such as salmonella, can last long after the infection has been reme...

    October 6, 2016
  • Oldest humans have already hit our natural lifespan limit

    An analysis of global demographic data suggests Jeanne Calment's record as the oldest person is u...

    How many candles can you fit on a birthday cake?WIN-Initiative / Getty ImagesHumans may have already hit the ceiling ...

    October 5, 2016
  • Love fatty food? Desire to gorge on grease may be hard-wired

    A genetic mutation that affects brain cells could drive some people from desserts to the deep-fri...

    Tara Moore / Getty ImagesWhat's your poison – fatty foods or sweet? Your answer may be swayed by your genes.A study b...

    October 4, 2016
  • Mars’ crust ferries molecules to atmosphere above

    Cosmic rays striking the red planet may explain its unexpected xenon and krypton isotope ratios. ...

    A Curiosity selfie.NASA / JPL-Caltech / MSSS Cosmic rays knocking into molecules beneath Mars’ surface create gases t...

    October 3, 2016
  • Bees getting their buzz on have a better outlook on life

    Do insects feel emotion – and if so, how does it change their behaviour? A study into bumblebees ...

    Crab spiders often lay in wait for bees to come along – then strike. New research shows a bee that's fed sugar before...

    September 29, 2016
  • Dogs reach out to humans – it’s in their genes

    New work suggests our pooch pals may be good models for disorders that also affect humans, such a...

    A beagle study found two gene regions were linked to human interaction.Remco Douma / Getty ImagesDogs really are our ...

    September 29, 2016
  • Our prehistoric ancestors were as violent as humans today

    Research shows we've always been aggressive towards each other – as have other primates, suggesti...

    Around 2% of human deaths today are attributed to violence from other members of our own species – around the same ra...

    September 28, 2016
  • Why giant dinosaurs evolved fancy headwear

    Bony skull ornaments appeared in most rapidly growing species, new research suggests. Amy Middlet...

    Theropod dinosaurs – such as dilophosaurus – had bumps, knobs and crests on their head. Science Photo Library / Getty...

    September 27, 2016
  • Extinct Triassic reptile had dino-like domed head

    The bizarre creature was ahead of it time – around 100 million years ahead, in fact. Amy Middleto...

    The Triassic was marked with small carnivorous dinosaurs that walked on two legs. Now a new species has been found th...

    September 22, 2016
  • Species from faeces: tracking bats through poo ‘barcodes’

    A new DNA tool can identify multiple species of the flying mammal in a single glob of guano. Amy ...

    Bunty Khatija / EyeEm / Getty ImagesThere are an astounding 1,300 species of bats known to science, but around 16% of...

    September 21, 2016
  • Hardy tardigrade protein fortifies human cells against radiation

    Japanese researchers uncover the robust little creature's genetic secrets. Amy Middleton reports.

    Tardigrades are found throughout the world and can survive extreme heat, pressure and radiation as well as the vacuum...

    September 20, 2016
  • Hawaiian crows wield tools, just like their New Caledonian cousins

    The dexterity of ‘Alalā may cause a rethink in tool-use development in our early ancestors. Amy M...

    A captive Hawaiian crow (‘Alalā) using a stick tool to extract food from a wooden log. ‘Alalā have relatively straigh...

    September 14, 2016
  • Cave formations tell tales of ancient earthquakes

    Geologists read archives of seismic shifts in layers of stalagmites poking up from cave floors. A...

    Clues to ancient seismic activity can be found in rock formations in caves such as Donnehue's Cave in southern Indian...

    September 14, 2016
  • Newborn’s gut microbes affect allergies and asthma later: study

    A particular pattern of bugs in month-old infants translates to a three-fold higher risk of devel...

    A baby's gut microbes in its first month of life can affect its chances of developing allergies and asthma later in l...

    September 12, 2016
  • Head waggles and ear wiggles help bats hunt

    A new study unveils another trick up the animal's sleeve – subtle movements that help them home i...

    Bats coordinate their chirps and ear and head movements to deduce what's around them – and chase down prey.Melville J...

    September 11, 2016
  • Giraffes come in four species – not one

    First detailed genetic study of the iconic African animal shows they need more conservation support.

    Giraffes are divided into four distinct species, not one species with many offshoots, according to a detailed genetic...

    September 9, 2016
  • To stop nosebleeds, salty water is as good as drug treatments

    For patients suffering chronic nosebleeds, drugs can help. But saline does the trick too, suggest...

    Chronic nosebleed sufferers did benefit from commercial nasal sprays, but simple saline works as well.Image Source / ...

    September 6, 2016
  • For lizards roaming a warming world, shade is vital

    Almost 40% of the world's lizards are expected to become extinct by 2080 thanks to climate change...

    Mountain spiny lizards (Sceloporus jarrovi) were tracked virtually and in real life to see how sun and shade affected...

    September 5, 2016
  • How marmosets scurry and scamper through treetops

    The little monkeys shift their weight and gait to accommodate the flimsiest of branches. Amy Midd...

    Ben Cranke / Getty ImagesEver wondered how tree-dwellers so deftly navigate the flimsy branches and untrustworthy twi...

    August 31, 2016
  • Tasmanian devils evolve defence against deadly cancer

    It appears the remaining population of native marsupials evolved some genetic fortification again...

    Menna JonesTasmanian devils may be adapting to fight back against the deadly contagious cancer that wiped out 80% of ...

    August 30, 2016
  • Societal collapse can be foretold – if you see the early warning signs

    Thriving ancient societies often collapsed after a period of change – and a trio of anthropologis...

    An artist's impression of a typical Neolithic village. New modelling suggests that collapse of societies like this on...

    August 29, 2016
  • Scientists nose out the genes that shape your face

    Facial width, the distance between the eyes, the size of the nose and the distance between the li...

    Yuli Seperi / Getty ImagesThe shapes and traits that make each human face unique – such as the distance between our e...

    August 26, 2016
  • The stories a rat’s whiskers can tell

    Add airflow to the information about location and surroundings provided to rodents by their facia...

    Stephen Dalton/Getty ImagesRats use their whiskers to help them detect movements in the air, says a new study publish...

    August 25, 2016
  • Why you’re jittery after a bad night’s sleep

    Gaps between brain cells suffer without sleep.

    Ever wondered why you’re particularly twitchy after a bad night’s sleep, even though your brain feels like cotton woo...

    August 24, 2016
  • In the ocean, invisibility trumps ultra-vision

    The mirror-like scales on some fish provide a built-in invisibility cloak. But have predators evo...

    Silvery fish, such as these bigeye jacks, melt into the background from a distance. But could their shimmery invisibi...

    August 23, 2016
  • Zika virus harms adult brain cells in mice

    First study on the disease's effects on adult brain cells suggests risk may not be limited to foe...

    The Zika virus has spread through Central and South America, and is becoming more prevalent across the globe – largel...

    August 19, 2016
  • Two wild bird species enter select club of smart animals

    The Barbados bullfinch and Carib grackle are no birdbrains – but the ability to pass a tricky tes...

    The Carib grackle (pictured) and bullfinch, both found in Barbados, have been inducted into a select group of animals...

    August 18, 2016
  • Flu and superbug combo causes fatal lung damage

    The virus causes white blood cells to attack lungs, inflaming the tissue and giving MRSA an easie...

    As if having the flu wasn't bad enough – the virus increases susceptibility to secondary bacterial infections by turn...

    August 16, 2016
  • The moon is shrouded in a dynamic dust cloud

    Meteorites kicked up minuscule particles, forming a moving layer on our biggest natural satellite...

    Despite crashing – on purpose – nearly two years ago, data from the LADEE craft continues to shed light on the moon.N...

    August 15, 2016
  • How two body clocks manipulate your sleepy mind

    Different brain regions tick along to circadian rhythm and sleep pressure in different ways. Amy ...

    Sleepless night? You might find yourself better able to work in the evening.David Zach / Getty ImagesAfter a sleeples...

    August 12, 2016
  • Do dogs have our best interests at heart – really?

    When man's best friend knows something his owner doesn't, he's as likely to play with a toy than ...

    Evan Kafka / Getty ImagesIt’s a time-honoured tale: the dog – think Rin Tin Tin, Lassie, Inspector Rex – alerts human...

    August 11, 2016
  • Two new bizarre ‘barreleye’ fish pulled from the depths

    The family of these bioluminescent deep-sea dwellers just got a couple of new members. Amy Middle...

    Barreleye fish, such as this specimen shot from above, have eyes that look directly upwards to scan for their prey's ...

    August 11, 2016
  • Parts of your brain are wired to ‘get’ physics

    Knowing how the human brain intuitively runs physics calculations might improve robot design. Amy...

    The coloured patches show where the brain's 'physics engine' resides. It revs up when presented with a physics proble...

    August 8, 2016
  • Ancient whales had ultrasonic hearing

    Analysis of a fossilised inner ear shows more rapid and earlier evolution than previously thought...

    An illustration showing how echoes are detected via conduction of vibrations through the mandible and received by the...

    August 5, 2016
  • Giant honeybees shimmy in time to cool the hive

    Researchers saw certain bees act as 'fanners' during the hottest part of the day. Amy Middleton r...

    The giant honeybee (Apis dorsata) is the largest honeybee species in the world. A new study suggests they work togeth...

    August 3, 2016
  • Duck-billed dinosaur with arthritis is a rare find

    Researchers find evidence of ancient disease in a deformed dinosaur bone. Amy Middleton reports.

    An artist's impression of a hadrosaur of the late cretaceous.Artwork by John Francis / De Agostini Picture Library / ...

    August 3, 2016
  • Water shortage killed off island mammoths

    US study shows how current island-dwelling animal populations may also suffer the effects of risi...

    Jonathan Blair / Getty ImagesSome of the last woolly mammoths, surviving on an Alaskan island thousands of years afte...

    August 2, 2016
  • English bulldogs’ shallow gene pool problems

    Distinctive physical features are accompanied by a raft of health problem.

    English bulldogs are among the world’s favourite dogs, but centuries of inbreeding has cursed the pooches with poor h...

    July 29, 2016
  • Antibiotic produced by nose-dwelling microbe kills superbug

    Lugdinin, produced by the bacterium Staphylococcus lugdunensis, seems to keep the nasty S. aureus...

    What else is up there?WIN-Initiative / Getty ImagesResearchers followed their noses to discover a new bacteria-fighte...

    July 28, 2016
  • Himalayan temples tell tales of tremors and quakes

    Tilted pillars, cracked steps and sliding stone canopies in Indian temples are being used to reco...

    This pillar at Lakshi Narayan temple in Chamba, India was likely damaged during the 1555 Kashmir earthquake, new rese...

    July 27, 2016
  • How did the koala cross the road?

    A new study shows that Australia's iconic marsupials are smarter than we thought and learn to use...

    Koalas are smarter than we thought, but they still can't read road signs.John White Photos/Getty ImagesIt sounds like...

    July 26, 2016
  • Meet Murusraptor, a ‘giant thief’ among dinosaurs

    With hollow hips, big body and a pair of savage claws, this newly discovered species refuses to f...

    An artist's impression of a newly discovered dinosaur, Murusraptor barrosaensis.Jan Sovak / University of AlbertaA ne...

    July 21, 2016
  • Ancient brain of our closest fish cousins uncovered

    When soft tissues rot away, how can palaeontologists reconstruct the contents of a millions-year-...

    Using the relationship between cranium and brain of three species of Australian lungfish (such as the one above), res...

    July 20, 2016
  • New dinosaur species had tiny arms like T. rex

    Bones found in Patagonia point to a dino unrelated to the King of the Tyrant Lizards – but with s...

    The characteristically diminutive arms of Tyrannosaurus rex that have long been the subject of jokes and internet mem...

    July 19, 2016
  • Swordfish hit high speeds thanks to lubricating oil

    Their blade-like bills can pierce boats, but at the base is a weak spot housing a unique oil-oozi...

    A swordfish (Xiphias gladius) leisurely swimming in waters near Spain. To reach its top speeds of around 100 kilometr...

    July 6, 2016
  • The secret to a flea beetle’s powerful jumping skills

    Stored energy in their rear legs catapult these garden pests in a fraction of a second. Amy Middl...

    Pesky flea beetles have catapult-loaded back legs, a new study has found.JERZY GUBERNATOR / Getty ImagesThe flea beet...

    July 6, 2016
  • Singing cicada advertises a singles bar for parasitic flies

    These flies don't sniff out potential hosts and mates – they listen for chirps. Amy Middleton rep...

    A mating pair of Emblemasoma erro. Males and females are attracted to the sounds of a cicada known as Neotibicen dors...

    July 6, 2016
  • How frigate birds stay aloft for months

    By hitching a ride on clouds, seabirds can cover amazing distances across oceans. Amy Middleton r...

    A male and female frigate bird soar over the Galapagos islands.Niels van GijnWhen some of the longest-distance flyers...

    July 1, 2016
  • Sizing up the Milky Way’s first monster stars

    Elements forged during a star's spectacular death are retained in the next generation – and tell ...

    Supernova remnant G266.2-1.2, as seen in X-ray and optical wavelengths. Supernova remnants are made of dust that incl...

    June 29, 2016
  • An ‘arms race’ raging beneath our plants

    A crop's DNA-laden root trap manages to hold on to only a quarter of its bacterial prisoners. Now...

    Bacteria (blue) ensnared in a DNA-based trap (yellow). So why does the trap only manage to hold on to a quarter of pr...

    June 23, 2016
  • Polly wants a conjunction? Birds learn artificial grammar

    Our feathered friends can detect the underlying structure of a 'sentence' and apply it to new one...

    The humble budgie can learn sentence structure rules, a new study shows.Siede Preis / Getty ImageSDoes grammar make y...

    June 21, 2016
  • Cats use basic physics to home in on hiding prey

    Our feline companions know when there's something wrong with the laws of physics. Amy Middleton r...

    Lisa Stirling / Getty ImagesCats have a basic grasp of physics and "cause and effect", with a Japanese study showing ...

    June 20, 2016
  • Bright bird brains are packed full of neurons: study

    When it comes to brain cells, our feathered friends are remarkably good at making the most of the...

    Hardly a bird brain – he might be packing more neurons than a monkey.Life On White / Getty ImagesHow do birds manufac...

    June 16, 2016
  • Why pythons and boas look alike

    For two different families of snake, each has evolved in much the same way according to habitat. ...

    An Emerald tree boa native to the Amazon Basin.Joe McDonaldThe evolution of two of the largest snake families in the ...

    June 14, 2016
  • Fish can recognise human faces: study

    Spitting archerfish have shown animals with a simple brain can learn to pick out a person's face....

    The archerfish – famous for its water-spitting prowess – has a brain capable of recognition.ullstein bild / Getty Ima...

    June 14, 2016
  • Parasitic bees reproduce without males – thanks to genetic quirks

    Linked genetic traits may give the cape honeybee a reproductive leg-up. Amy Middleton reports.

    An isolated population of honeybees, the cape bees, can reproduce without males. DR NEIL OVERY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRAR...

    June 9, 2016
  • Herpes virus kills colonic nerves

    Why herpes infection and constipation often go hand-in-hand.

    Feeling a bit backed up but don't know why? Don't rule out a viral infection. New research has found a surprising lin...

    June 8, 2016
  • Sex-shifting dragons hatch a ‘third sex’

    When conditions are right, genetically male lizards can morph into females – with some interestin...

    Male or female .... or both? Sex isn't straightforward for central bearded dragons (Pagona vitticeps).Don Farrall / G...

    June 8, 2016
  • Special scales let sea snakes feel movements in the water

    Tiny structures called 'sensilla' embedded in scales bestow upon the animals a hydrodynamic sense...

    Sea snakes, such as this inquisitive olive sea snake (Aipysurus laevis), have specialised sensing structures to pick ...

    June 8, 2016
  • Bionic leaf turns sunlight into fuel

    An 'artificial leaf' photosynthesises 10 times faster than plants. Amy Middleton reports.

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    June 6, 2016
  • Did humans domesticate dogs twice – in Europe and Asia?

    Scientists have long argued over where on the planet dogs first emerged. It seems everyone was ri...

    The genome of an ancient dog sheds light on the demography and domestication of man’s best friend.aGinger / Getty Ima...

    June 3, 2016
  • Why mice freeze or flee in the face of fear

    Neuroscientists traced brain circuits that prompt mice to freeze in the presence of a threat, and...

    Mice will often freeze when they're scared – now neuroscientists have traced the brain circuitry responsible.PETR KOU...

    June 2, 2016
  • Vibrating hairs help bees ‘see’ electric fields

    A bumblebee's special sense – electroreception – is delivered via its fuzzy hairs. Amy Middleton ...

    A bumblebee showing the array of hairs on its body.GREGORY SUTTON, DOM CLARKE, ERICA MORLEY AND DANIEL ROBERTBumblebe...

    May 31, 2016
  • New silver snake species a ‘rare, exciting’ find

    Biologists looked for lizards but snared a snake species – the silver boa – instead. Amy Middleto...

    The silver boa, a new species of snake. It lives in the Bahamas.R. GRAHAM REYNOLDSA silvery new species of boa constr...

    May 30, 2016
  • Harbour porpoise catches 90% of fish it hunts

    The marine mammals turned out to be among the world's best hunters, and their strike rate surpris...

    Staggering results from a study into harbour porpoises reveal that the species hunts with a 90% strike rate – one of ...

    May 27, 2016
  • Painful pooping may stop panda sex

    A gut-wrenching tummy ache can throw cold water on pandas' love life. Amy Middleton reports.

    Captive pandas suffer gastrointestinal disorders. Now new research suggests they may put a freeze on baby-making time...

    May 23, 2016
  • Big spider eyes put more insects on the menu

    Biologists blindfolded net-casting spiders to see how they hunted without excellent eyesight. Amy...

    The net-casting spider's secondary eyes – the largest of any arachnid – likely evolved in part to help it capture wal...

    May 23, 2016
  • It’s best to see red if you’re a bird

    Scientists have discovered the gene that allows birds to turn yellow feathers into red ones and w...

    Birds such as this male Northern Cardinal can produce red colouration from yellow pigments in their food. LARRY KELLE...

    May 20, 2016
  • First long-horned beetle found bearing live young

    Four species are added to the long-horned beetle's 35,000-strong family. Amy Middleton reports.

    Borneostyrax cristatus, a new species of long-horned beetle.RADIM GABRIŠ / ZOOKEYSFour new species of long-horned bee...

    May 20, 2016
  • Identical twins live longer, thanks to close bond

    Their connection can encourage twins to lead healthier lives and provide support for each other –...

    Identical twin men are more likely to survive external or environmental factors until 70 years of age, according to n...

    May 19, 2016
  • New spiky-necked dinosaur discovered in Utah

    The second dino species pulled from the Wahweap Formation in the Grand Staircase-Escalante Nation...

    Parts of the brain case and skull of Machairoceratops cronusi.Lund et alA new dinosaur species with unique curved hea...

    May 19, 2016
  • How the giraffe got its long neck

    The iconic African animal hosts a multitude of genetic adaptations that makes it the unique speci...

    Sébastien Rezzonico / EyeEm / Getty ImagesThey're tall, leggy and can run as fast as a car. Now giraffes' genetic sec...

    May 18, 2016
  • New synthetic skin could make you look younger

    But the spread-on polymer film has a variety of uses beyond the cosmetic, its developers say. Amy...

    A polymer that smooths wrinkles from skin may be used to deliver drugs to help treat skin conditions such as eczema. ...

    May 10, 2016
  • Prehistoric hammerhead was first herbivorous marine reptile

    The croc-sized reptile wasn't a ferocious predator – it preferred a vegetarian menu, scientists c...

    A fossil of Atopodenatus unicus alongside a reconstruction. – Nick FraserA crocodile-sized, prehistoric, hammerhead r...

    May 9, 2016
  • Satellites can judge forest health thanks to underground fungi

    Scientists from the US develop a new way to study how forests, worldwide, respond to climate chan...

    A plant rootlet covered with mycorrhizal fungi. Fungi and the plant enjoy a symbiotic relationship, and the type of f...

    May 6, 2016
  • Newborns don’t imitate adults: study

    Babies are interested in the faces around them but are not born with the ability to copy them. Am...

    Newborn babies are capable of wrangling their little faces into a whole gamut of expressions. But they don't copy the...

    May 6, 2016
  • Crocodile eyes are perfect for ambush attacks

    Crocs lie in wait, motionless, for an unfortunate animal to drink from the river's edge, befo...

    New research shows crocodile eyes to be remarkably sophisticated. – Nicolas Nagloo The incredible predatory...

    May 5, 2016
  • Sweet nightshade ‘blood’ lures ant bodyguards

    A plant uses a unique plant defence system to recruit allies to its cause. Amy Middleton reports.

    The bittersweet nightshade, or Solanum dulcamara, has a surprise in store for its attackers. – BOB GIBBONS/SPL/Getty ...

    April 29, 2016
  • Brain map sheds light on how we process language

    Everyone's brains appear to fire up in similar regions when grappling with the meaning of wor...

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    April 29, 2016
  • Bed bugs prefer red and black home interiors

    Don't go throwing out your sheet sets just yet – bed bug colour preferences change with sex, ...

    A scanning electron microscope image of a bed bug, Cimex lectularius, on human skin. – Visuals Unlimited, Inc. / Dr....

    April 29, 2016
  • Fossil teeth from America’s first monkey

    Latest find in Panama is evidence of earliest movement of mammals between South and North America...

    The ancient monkey would've been similar to the capuchin, like this one from Costa Rica. – Storkk/Wikicommons ...

    April 22, 2016
  • Here’s why you feel groggy after sleeping in a new place

    In an unfamiliar place, half your brain 'keeps watch' while you sleep – but only for the ...

    Your first night sleeping in a new place – in a hotel room, for example – will often end up a bad night's sleep. ...

    April 22, 2016
  • These ancient giant bears evolved separately at the same time

    Short-faced bears, taller than a person when on all  fours, roamed North and South America millio...

    Arctodus – the short-faced bear which roamed North America thousands of years ago – grew large at the same time, but ...

    April 20, 2016
  • How your sex affects your body clock

    Study shows women could be more prone to injuries during extended shift-work than men, due to its...

    OSCAR BURRIEL/Getty Images Women may not bounce back from shift work as easily as men, a new study has foun...

    April 19, 2016
  • Swarms of tiny robots clean polluted water

    Water contaminated with heavy metals such as lead poses huge risks to public health and ecosystem...

    An artist's diagram of a lead-scrubbing bot. Lead clings to the graphene oxide layer, which has a hexagonal structure...

    April 18, 2016
  • Warming wears down coral’s defence system

    A vital safeguard against bleaching will be lost if waters continue to heat up, a new study shows...

    Bleached coral could become even more widespread if its natural defences are lost. – SCUBAZOO/Getty Images ...

    April 15, 2016
  • Brain chip lets quadriplegic man move hand again

    After a diving accident left him paralysed from the neck down, 24-year-old Ian Burkhart can now m...

    .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed...

    April 14, 2016
  • Dolphin super hearing at least 26 million years old

    Scans of a pre-historic toothed whale's inner ear showed it to be remarkably similar to its m...

    The origins of echolocation, present in marine mammals such as dolphins, evolved at least 26 million years ago, accor...

    April 13, 2016
  • First scans of brains tripping on acid show how it works

    Since being banned in the US in the 1960s, research into the psychedelic drug LSD ceased – until ...

    The first modern imaging study into the effects of the hallucinogenic drug acid on the brain could lead to its use tr...

    April 12, 2016
  • Bright, young Jupiter-like ‘orphan’ found floating nearby

    A cross between a planet and a brown dwarf has been spotted sailing through space – and it's ...

    This artist's conception illustrates a Jupiter-like planet alone in the dark of space, floating freely without a pare...

    April 11, 2016
  • Titanic dinosaurs split by ‘unzipping’ supercontinent

    Titanosaurs were some of the biggest animals ever to roam the planet. Now, it appears the long-ne...

    Titanosaurs, some of history’s largest creatures, may have split off into subspecies when their supercontinent broke ...

    April 11, 2016
  • Neanderthal Y chromosome may have caused fertility problems

    Burrowing into the Y chromosomes of modern humans and a 50,000-year-old Neanderthal specimen has ...

    Poor old Neanderthal: any girls sired with a Homo sapiens could survive, but boys could not, a new study suggests. – ...

    April 8, 2016
  • Ritual killings helped form complex societies

    Researchers have mapped and compared the practice of human sacrifice and the development of socia...

    Hawaiian sacrifice, from Jacques Arago's account of Freycinet's travels around the world from 1817 to 1820. – Wikimed...

    April 5, 2016
  • Martian moats and mounds carved by extreme wind

    A miniature model shows how wind erosion shaped the surface of the Red Planet. Amy Middleton repo...

    The mysterious mounds of rock that reside in craters on the surface of Mars may be the result of extreme winds, durin...

    April 4, 2016
  • The hobbit’s life story, rewritten

    New excavations place the diminutive 'hobbit' much earlier in hominin history. Amy Middle...

    The tiny human ancestor Homo floresiensis – better known as the "hobbit" – may have disappeared much earlier than fir...

    March 31, 2016
  • Saturn’s famous rings younger than the dinosaurs

    Computer simulations peg the birth of the gas giant's rings and moons to the Cretaceous perio...

    A false colour, simulated image of Saturn's rings. – NASA / JPL Saturn's iconic rings, along with some...

    March 30, 2016
  • Cyborg beetle takes its first (remote-controlled) steps

    The future is here – at least, the version of the future that contains robotic insects. Amy Middl...

    All wired up: beetles fitted with electrodes on parts of their legs can have their gait and speed altered. – Sato et ...

    March 30, 2016
  • Gut microbes affect brain damage after stroke

    Changing gut microbial colonies can have profound effects on brain inflammation in mice with indu...

    Populations of regulatory T cells, a type of white blood cell, is in part controlled by the microbes growing in your ...

    March 28, 2016
  • Minimalist cell whittled down to 473 genes

    A type of bacteria with nearly 1,000 genes can live and replicate with less than half – and the e...

    Unlike humans' 20,000 genes (or so), Mycoplasma bacteria usually have less than 1,000. Turns out they need even fewer...

    March 27, 2016
  • Thank hybrid yeast for your Easter chocolate feast

    Cacao and coffee beans taste different, depending on where they're grown – even if they'r...

    When you’re devouring the first of your chocolate eggs this weekend, consider how their beans' country of origin ...

    March 24, 2016
  • Plants will adapt to global warming, pump out less carbon

    A bit of good news in the face of climate change: two studies show the botanic sphere should accl...

    Daisy Gilardini / Getty Images While we sweat it out, plants will cope better with climate change than firs...

    March 23, 2016
  • Victorious ant colonies admit turncoat losers

    With jaws powerful enough to annoy elephants, the African acacia ant is an aggressive little inse...

    When ant colonies fight each other, the victorious recruit turncoats from their opponents, a new study has revealed.I...

    March 22, 2016
  • Brain zaps help stroke recovery

    Electrical stimulation, transmitted through the skull to specific parts of the brain, appears to ...

    BSIP / UIG Electrical currents to the brain can help patients recover motor skills following a stroke, new ...

    March 21, 2016
  • Hot or not? Attractiveness is boosted after a hunky photo

    Smartphone dating apps such as Tinder rely on users to rapidly swipe through photos and judge the...

    HyperionPixels / Getty Images These days, it’s common for dating websites and match-making apps to offer a ...

    March 18, 2016
  • Global warming levels masked by aerosols: study

    There was a silver lining to the sulfur pollution in our atmosphere late last century – it offset...

    High levels of aerosols, spewed from coal- and gas-powered power plants, cooled our atmosphere, masking up to a third...

    March 15, 2016
  • Bonobos focus on images of grooming, sex

    Reading emotions of those around you is an integral part of primate life. But where we and our ch...

    A picture of a bonobo yawning elicits a particularly strong reaction in other bonobos. – uzuri71 / getty images ...

    March 15, 2016
  • Phantom life in space – how to figure out if we’re being tricked

    Oxygen is a sign of life on Earth, but that may not be the case on other planets. Amy Middleton r...

    New research will help astronomers better identify and rule out 'false positives' in the ongoing search for life on e...

    March 10, 2016
  • How tools overcame the chore of chewing

    Early humans found a better way to eat that gave their bigger brains and bodies the energy they n...

    A computer-generated image of a Homo erectus skull. – Getty Images As early humans became bigger and braini...

    March 10, 2016
  • Turtles born out of mass croc extinction

    As their crocodile predators died off 145 million years ago, modern marine turtles came to the fo...

    Modern marine turtles, such as this green sea turtle, were able to evolve when many of the reptiles that hunted their...

    March 9, 2016
  • Always getting sick? Blame your big brain

    Having a large brain full of cognitive power comes with a catch – your immune system might be wea...

    Energy-guzzling brain tissue is expensive to run, and the fuel must come from somewhere. A study suggests the immune ...

    March 9, 2016
  • What shipwrecks tell us about 500-year-old hurricanes

    The so-called golden age of piracy, around 500 years ago, coincided with a period with fewer trop...

    amoklv/Getty Images The heyday of piracy in the Caribbean in the 17th century coincided with a time of fewe...

    March 8, 2016
  • Dragonfly crowned world’s top long-distance flyer

    At 7,000 kilometres, this insect blows away the record for endurance migration - and it's all...

    A small species of dragonfly has been crowned as the most prolific traveller of the insect world. Pantala flavescens,...

    March 6, 2016
  • World’s first robot-run farm to open in Japan

    Every job except initial planting will be automated, slashing labour costs in two. Amy Middleton ...

    The use of robotics will more than double lettuce production. – Spread The shiny future promised by The Jet...

    February 25, 2016
  • Designer seeds could reduce pesticides on crops

    A US startup hopes tapping into and tweaking a crop's microbiome will boost yield and make pe...

    A US startup has developed designer seeds which could see fewer pesticides used on mass crops, including wheat, barle...

    February 24, 2016
  • What wild apes and children have in common

    Young humans use tools instinctively and don't, as we previously thought, need to be taught h...

    A young chimpanzee uses a stick as a tool to feed on termites. – Martin Harvey/Getty Images Every parent at...

    February 24, 2016
  • Study links migraine and irritable bowel syndrome

    Discovering shared genes may lead to future treatment strategies.

    Letizia Le Fur/Getty Images As if suffering from migraines were not bad enough, if you do, you are also mor...

    February 23, 2016
  • Rewilding may be death sentence to other animals

    Unpredictable adverse consequences of restoration of ecosystems and species can outweigh any good...

    The re-introduction of the grey wolf to Yellowstone Park has been hailed as a success, but other rewilding projects h...

    February 14, 2016
  • Shape-shifting cockroach robots to help find disaster survivors

    Earlier this week we had a story about a robot inspired by a salamander. Now, designers have come...

    The CRAM robot next to its cockroach counterpart. – Tom Libby/Kaushik Jayaram/Pauline Jennings/PolyPEDAL Lab UC Berk...

    February 9, 2016
  • Flashing lights the new weapon against jetlag

    There could be light at the end of the tunnel in the fight against jetlag. Exposure to flashing l...

    Jan Stromme/Getty Images Jetlag, that feeling of disorientation and fatigue that occurs when person’s sleep...

    February 9, 2016
  • How to take racism out of biology

    Race has long been used to explain the relationship between our ancestry and our genes, but a new...

    A powerful paper published this month in the journal Science condemns the use of race as a classification in the gene...

    February 4, 2016
  • Brain-boosting drug stems cognitive ageing in rats

    Ampakines have turned back the clock in middle-aged rat brains, Amy Middleton writes.

    Middle-aged rats given the drug ampakine not only had more brain connections than those given a placebo, they had mor...

    February 2, 2016
  • Bed bug genome includes bacterial DNA

    The bloodsuckers are the bane of backpackers everywhere. But mapping the bed bug genome is the fi...

    The common bed bug, once considered rare in developed countries, has been proliferating on every continent but Antarc...

    February 2, 2016
  • Ancient Babylonians used geometry to track planets

    Tablets show sophisticated mathematical techniques previously thought to have been pioneered in E...

    Ancient Babylonian astronomers were the first to use geometry to calculate the movement of planets through space, a n...

    January 28, 2016
  • Book: The Amazons

    Modern science has proven that the ancient warrior women of the ancient steppes – or something ve...

    NON FICTIONThe Amazons: Lives and Legends of Warrior Women Across the Ancient WorldBy Adrienne mayorPrinceton Univers...

    May 18, 2015

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