Andrew Masterson

Andrew Masterson

Andrew Masterson is a former editor of Cosmos.

Andrew Masterson is editor of Cosmos.

  • Making decisions, one leg at a time

    Footage shows octopus tentacles making independent decisions. Andrew Masterson reports.

    The graph appearing over this footage of an octopus exploring a tank represents the different angular speed of each o...

    June 30, 2019
  • Dung beetles use sky and wind to find direction

    It takes a complex set of inputs to roll a ball of poo.

    African dung beetles use a much more sophisticated navigation system than previously assumed, new research shows. Th...

    June 27, 2019
  • Red dwarf stars ‘too young’ to host ET planets

    Hypothesis links chances of complex life to stellar mass.

    The development of life on any planet, including Earth, is a function of the age of the relationship between the plan...

    June 25, 2019
  • Blow-ins: wind responsible for UK insect invasion

    The arrival of a ladybird plague in England might not be because of human activity, researchers s...

    Human actions aren’t always the reason exotic species are introduced into ecosystems, researchers suggest. Sometimes ...

    June 25, 2019
  • Pretty boys have ski-slope noses

    Nose shape strongly informs the assumptions observers make.

    Men with “ski-slope” noses are regarded as more attractive and youthful than men with convex ones, according to a sur...

    June 24, 2019
  • Sea otter problems predate the fur trade

    The species was in trouble even before fashion became a factor.

    Sea otters (Enhydra lutris) were in a genetically perilous position long before the fur trade pushed the species towa...

    June 24, 2019
  • New transistor improves wearable tech

    Washable and bendy, it marks something of a watershed.

    A newly invented fibrous organic transistor coated in a crystalline nanostructure looks set to revolutionise the rapi...

    June 23, 2019
  • Miniature icon heralds inkless printing process

    New technique inspired by butterflies and Japanese art.

    Researchers have succeeded in creating a reproduction of what is arguably Japan’s most iconic art image that stands j...

    June 20, 2019
  • Marriage doesn’t cure reckless spending

    Spendthrift singles tend not to reform when they settle down.

    People who tend to splash their cash are unlikely to become more prudent after marriage, new research shows. Hisaki ...

    June 19, 2019
  • Meet the robot fish with battery fluid blood

    Soft robotics development combines drive and power in a single liquid system. Andrew Masterson re...

    Scientists have created a robot lionfish that can swim against the current and has battery fluid for blood.Such a des...

    June 19, 2019
  • Soap bubbles form natural snow-domes

    Temperature governs crystal formation and movement in freezing suds. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Under the right conditions, soap bubbles freeze in a way that converts them, temporarily, into tiny, beautiful snow-d...

    June 18, 2019
  • Bush tomato defies binary gender norms

    Gender is a spectrum, especially in the case of an Australian eggplant cousin. Andrew Masterson r...

    A gender-fluid Australian plant, a distant relative of the aubergine, has been formally identified, ending a 50-year ...

    June 18, 2019
  • Epoxy resin solves solar tech pollution problems

    Addition makes perovskite cells environmentally friendly.

    The addition of a specially designed polymer could solve one of the major problems associated with perovskite solar c...

    June 17, 2019
  • Virus controls wing growth in aphids

    Genetic hitchhiker determines when and if insects fly.

    The periodic development of wings among a normally wingless species of aphid is caused by a virus and its evolutionar...

    June 17, 2019
  • Bird deaths and climate link questioned

    Fresh analysis red flags earlier findings that suggested Arctic nestlings were being preyed upon ...

    Fresh analysis has called into question the conclusions of a 2018 study that linked climate change with increasing pr...

    June 17, 2019
  • Is celery a super food?

    Sadly it’s myth rather than reality.

    Can drinking celery juice boost your immune system, make you uber-healthy and perhaps even cure you of serious condit...

    June 16, 2019
  • Why people fear particle accelerators

    Widespread public unease about the Large Hadron Collider and similar facilities.

    Author Kristine Larsen does herself a bit of a disservice with the subtitle to her new book, Particle Panic!, which s...

    June 14, 2019
  • High times: evidence suggests cannabis smoking emerged around 500 BCE

    Chemical analysis of funerary goods indicates pot was grown in western China specifically for its...

    Organic material extracted from fragments of ancient wooden burners and stones excavated from a 2500-year-old western...

    June 12, 2019
  • The next step in antenna design

    Researchers say carbon nanotubes could soon rival copper. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Carbon nanotubes represent an appealing alternative to copper for the manufacture of antennas for wireless devices, r...

    June 12, 2019
  • Egg temperatures govern the way chicks walk

    Incubation settings have surprisingly large effects on motor control, research reveals. Andrew Ma...

    Small and short variations in the temperature of incubating eggs can have significant developmental effects on the re...

    June 11, 2019
  • Concern over planned satellite constellation

    Astronomers warn of impact on research.

    A group of senior astronomers has issued a statement of concern regarding new-generation communications satellites cu...

    June 11, 2019
  • Lubricating rocks ease tectonics

    Friction between the Earth’s great plates is reduced.

    A theory that even its proposers describe as “counter-intuitive” could hold the key to a better understanding of the ...

    June 6, 2019
  • Studies reveal ‘missing links’ in ancient Native American history

    Research in North America and Russia sheds light on ancestors and migration patterns. Andrew Mast...

    Two unrelated studies reveal unexpected details of the colonisation of the Earth’s northern polar region, including t...

    June 5, 2019
  • Acting success is a function of maths, not talent

    Machine learning analysis fails to give hope to struggling performers.

    Success in showbusiness, at least according to cynics and more than a few out-of-work actors, does not depend on tale...

    June 4, 2019
  • Research organisation slammed

    ‘Independent’ non-profit funded by food and beverage giants.

    An apparently independent non-profit research organisation is in fact funded by major food and beverage multinational...

    June 4, 2019
  • Double trouble: a binary asteroid zooms past

    Harmless, a proxy for a possible future threat.

    A double asteroid – rather in the manner of large ship followed by a lifeboat – sped past Earth in late May 2019, aff...

    June 4, 2019
  • Man’s chest catches fire in surgery

    Freak accident scared everyone, but left the patient uninjured.

    The chest of 60-year-old man burst into flames during surgery, two anaesthetists have reported to a conference. Addr...

    June 3, 2019
  • Chimps have a taste for crabs

    Researchers find freshwater crustaceans are a big part of the diet of forest-dwelling apes. Andre...

    Chimpanzees have a taste for aquatic food, researchers have discovered.A paper in the Journal of Human Evolution, wri...

    June 2, 2019
  • Warning sounded on herbal tea

    Case highlights potential dangers of traditional beverages.

    Even the most innocuous-sounding beverages can pack an unwanted and dangerous punch, a case study from Canada demonst...

    May 31, 2019
  • Ancient faeces reveals early settler parasite infection

    Whipworm eggs found in 8000-year-old human coprolites. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Researchers picking though 8000-year-old human faeces have identified the earliest evidence of intestinal parasite in...

    May 31, 2019
  • Diamonds are made from recycled seabed

    Discolouration in industrial diamonds reveal their high-pressure origin. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Experiments recreating the extreme pressures and temperatures found 200 kilometres underground have confirmed that di...

    May 30, 2019
  • The mathematical link between snowflakes and teeth

    Modelling shows that the formula describing crystal growth can also predict enamel distribution. ...

    A formula used by mathematicians and physicists to describe the formation of snowflakes is proving equally useful in ...

    May 29, 2019
  • Out they go, two-by-two

    Binary stars blasted from galaxies after supernovae.

    Astronomers have discovered that sometimes pairs of stars are expelled from their host galaxies, after which they dri...

    May 29, 2019
  • Compostable food packaging may contaminate compost

    US research flags presence of potentially hazardous substances leaching from takeaway containers....

    Compostable food containers might not be the environmental boon they appear to be, with a study finding that substanc...

    May 29, 2019
  • Loser behaviour and fighting ability unconnected

    Breeding beetles to be more ready to fight after a defeat didn’t improve their ability to do so. ...

    Fight avoidance behaviour evolved separately to actual fighting ability, at least in beetles, a study has found.When ...

    May 28, 2019
  • Ethiopian volcano bacteria are analogues for early Mars life, researchers say

    Surprising extremophiles thrive in desperately unfriendly environment. Andrew Masterson reports.

    The discovery of living bacteria embedded in salt deposited in super-saturated and acidic hot water inside an Ethiopi...

    May 28, 2019
  • Autism linked to ‘junk’ DNA mutations

    Research links non-coding DNA to disorder development.

    Mutations in so-called “junk” DNA have been tied to the development of autism (ASD) in children who do not have paren...

    May 27, 2019
  • Whales: gigantism and cancer suppression evolved concurrently

    Humpback genome adds to growing understanding of ‘Peto’s Paradox’. Andrew Masterson reports.

    As whales evolved to become gigantic, the genetic changes needed to accomplish the feat were accompanied by others th...

    May 27, 2019
  • Ticks and mites closer relatives than thought

    Genomic analysis finds two groups of parasites share a single lineage. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Mites, above, and ticks, below, show incredible diversity, masking their close evolutionary relationship.David Walter...

    May 27, 2019
  • Hyperactive comets and an Earth sea mystery

    New measurements may explain isotope ratio differences.

    A class of comets that behave in a way that contradicts the equations that best describe them could hold the key to t...

    May 26, 2019
  • Inside the essence of internal life

    Book explores links between mind and science fiction.

    Max Planck, the German Nobel Prize-winning theoretical physicist and father of quantum theory, was not a man given to...

    May 24, 2019
  • NASA calls citizen scientists to help with asteroid landing

    Mission controllers hope many eyes will make OSIRIS-Rex touchdown safer. Andrew Masterson reports.

    NASA is turning to citizen science to ensure the success of its OSIRIS-Rex mission, which centres on the asteroid Ben...

    May 23, 2019
  • TESS finds comets around ‘celebrity’ star

    NASA planet-spotting mission detects its first smaller bodies.

    Just one year after its launch, NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) has detected its first comets orb...

    May 23, 2019
  • The roots of robots’ bad reputation

    Robots have been treated poorly by story-tellers.

    If the general public has a fairly dystopian and muddled view of computer vision and the machine-learning neural netw...

    May 22, 2019
  • NASA calls for names to go to Mars

    One million people can have their name etched on a chip inside the Mars 2020 rover. Andrew Master...

    NASA is offering members of the public the opportunity to have their names inscribed in silicon and sent to Mars.The ...

    May 22, 2019
  • Sepsis treatments wrong, by definition

    The idea the condition is the same for everyone needs to go.

    Sepsis – a disproportionate immune response to infection that can result in multiple organ failures and death – is no...

    May 21, 2019
  • Being bilingual doesn’t improve cognitive ability

    Speaking two languages doesn't increase executive function.

    Some of the advantages of growing up bilingual have been overstated, a large study has revealed. People who learn a ...

    May 20, 2019
  • Look to the ocean floor for Mars life analogues, researchers say

    Forthcoming missions to Mars may miss crucial evidence without an igneous microfossil atlas. Andr...

    A major gap in palaeontological research on Earth could doom two upcoming Mars expeditions to failure, researchers fr...

    May 20, 2019
  • Parasitic fish may treat human brain disease

    Molecules produced by lampreys could be key to treatment.

    Chemicals derived from the immune system of a parasitic fish could hold the key to better treatments for human brain ...

    May 19, 2019
  • Ancient chewing gum provides DNA clues

    Masticated birch bark points to hunter-gatherer migrations.

    Human DNA extracted from lumps of 10,000-year-old chewing gum is helping to unravel early settlement patterns in Scan...

    May 16, 2019
  • Neanderthals and modern humans parted company earlier than thought

    Tooth study pushes back the last common ancestor by around 400,000 years. Andrew Masterson reports.

    The last common ancestor of Neanderthals and modern humans lived much earlier than previously thought, a new dental a...

    May 15, 2019
  • Chang’E-4 offers clues to the inside of the Moon

    Chinese mission gets deep below the surface.

    The moon’s mantle – the geological layer that lies between its surface crust and central core – may comprise the mine...

    May 15, 2019
  • Kilogram, amp, and kelvin set to change

    A shift from physical artefact to natural constant.

    From Monday, 20 May, the official definitions for several units – including the kilogram, the ampere and the kelvin –...

    May 15, 2019
  • New water cycle discovered on Mars

    Modelling solves mystery of continuing vapour loss.

    Water vapour in the Martian atmosphere continues to escape into space, prolonging the process by which, planetary sci...

    May 14, 2019
  • Single gene controls snail shell coiling

    Discovering basis of left and right-handedness.

    The coil direction of the shell of the freshwater snail Lymnaea stagnalis is determined by a single gene at the embry...

    May 14, 2019
  • Coral found growing at record depth

    Discovery raises hopes for reef recovery strategies. Andrew Masterson reports.

    The discovery of a type of coral growing at a world-record depth has raised hope for the recovery reefs damaged by wa...

    May 14, 2019
  • Millennials most likely to text and drive

    Younger parents often send texts from behind the wheel.

    Texting is a common practice across the adult generations, but it is among digital natives that the habit is likely t...

    May 13, 2019
  • Early universe much brighter than predicted

    Space telescope observations reveal clues to a critical period.

    Observations from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope have revealed that some galaxies within the early universe were much...

    May 12, 2019
  • Circus kids are happy kids

    Circus-training bolsters mental health outcomes.

    Circus training delivers multiple mental health benefits for children, and cost savings to the broader community, an ...

    May 10, 2019
  • The neglected route for throat gonorrhoea

    Australian study reveals risks for gay and bisexual men.

    The act of kissing has been revealed as a previously neglected route for the transmission of gonorrhoea among men who...

    May 9, 2019
  • Mayans self-mutilated to appease the gods

    Blades recovered from caves indicate ritual genital cutting was common.

    Photo-imaging using extremely high magnification is starting to illuminate a critical aspect of economic and religiou...

    May 9, 2019
  • Australopithecus species as human ancestor?

    Claims that a distant cousin of ‘Lucy’ was the true origin of the species dismissed.

    A very early hominin species has been ruled out as a direct ancestor of Homo sapiens. The ape-like Australopithecus ...

    May 8, 2019
  • Gravitational waves communication from ET?

    A change to interferometer parameters might reveal we are not alone.

    With only a small technological tweak, the European Space Agency’s planned Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA),...

    May 8, 2019
  • Astronomers confirm ancient observations

    Galaxy cluster nebula recorded back in 48 BCE.

    Scientists have repeated observations made almost 2070 years ago by Chinese astronomers, confirming one of the earlie...

    May 7, 2019
  • The psychological effect of loud tennis

    Grunting players lead opponents to over-estimate their strength.

    The opponents of tennis players who grunt when they strike the ball over-estimate the strength behind the stroke, res...

    May 7, 2019
  • Time and space, as never seen before

    Mosaic shows more than a quarter of a million galaxies.

    Astronomers have combined images from 16 years of observations made by Hubble Space Telescope, operated jointly by NA...

    May 6, 2019
  • The chick’s in the mail: postal marks used to trace salmonella sources

    Live chickens can be a deadly proposition. A new scheme aims to cut the risk. Andrew Masterson re...

    Beautiful, tasty, but potentially deadly: a backyard chicken.Eric Bean/Getty ImagesIn the US, salmonella infects 1.2 ...

    May 6, 2019
  • Multiple measurements close in on dark energy

    New findings about the shape of the universe.

    An extensive analysis of four different phenomena within the universe points the way to understanding the nature of d...

    May 5, 2019
  • Star hints at Milky Way’s cataclysmic past

    Big Dipper likely originated in a small galaxy, now merged.

    Researchers have identified a star in the Milky Way they believe originated from outside the galaxy. An eighteenth...

    May 5, 2019
  • Ancient millipede found, trapped in amber

    An exquisite, tiny fossil prompts a rethink on arthropod evolution. Andrew Masterson reports.

    The earliest known millipede fossil has been discovered preserved in amber in Myanmar.The arthropod, just 8.2 millime...

    May 2, 2019
  • Wolves care about their mates. Dogs, not so much

    Touchscreen test shows wolves are far more cooperative than their domesticated relatives. Andrew ...

    Wolves are much more likely than dogs to provide food to members of their group, an experiment involving touchscreens...

    May 1, 2019
  • ‘Amber’ beads revealed as prehistoric fakes

    Neolithic purchasers may have been ripped off.

    Pieces of amber jewellery made in the second and third millennia BCE have been found to be fakes – revealing that the...

    May 1, 2019
  • Hormone hope for autism management

    Two studies point to vasopressin as potential tool.

    Regulating a common hormone that influences kidney function has been shown to improve social functioning in adults an...

    May 1, 2019
  • Sex med as heart failure drug?

    A drug allied to Viagra reverses the effects of heart failure.

    A drug used to treat erectile dysfunction is emerging as an unlikely medication for people at risk of heart failure. ...

    May 1, 2019
  • New area for MH370 search?

    Mathematical analysis suggests currents push likely crash site further north.

    The missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, which disappeared from radar screens in 2014, may have crashed into the o...

    April 30, 2019
  • Retrofit air-con to tackle climate change, researchers say

    A simple tech fix could prompt radical environmental and economic overhaul. Andrew Masterson repo...

    Domestic and commercial air-conditioning units could be retrofitted using existing technology and turned into “person...

    April 30, 2019
  • NASA ponies up for next-gen solar sails

    Diffraction-based sails could be propelling satellites within five years. Andrew Masterson reports.

    NASA is pumping funding into the development of a radical approach to solar sail construction – a new way of exploiti...

    April 30, 2019
  • Measles spike prompts anti-vax warning

    Measles outbreaks reach record high.

    Between January 1 and April 26 this year, the US saw its highest number of new measles cases since the disease was de...

    April 30, 2019
  • Black hole shoots plasma every which way

    Astronomers record some ‘extraordinary’ behaviour.

    Astronomers have revealed the bizarre behaviour of a black hole known as V404 Cygni, located some 8000 light-years fr...

    April 29, 2019
  • Take that, Ryugu!

    Small hole on an asteroid; giant smack for humankind.

    Humanity has passed a small, but highly symbolic, milestone: the world just made its first ever crater off the planet...

    April 29, 2019
  • More dead than alive on Facebook

    Analysis models growth trends for the social media platform.

    By the close of the century Facebook will be a massive virtual city of the dead, researchers have calculated. An ana...

    April 29, 2019
  • The rarest event in the universe

    A dark-matter detector picks up radioactive decay that takes place over trillions of years.

    A dark-matter detector buried under 1500 metres of Italian mountain has recorded what is arguably the most uncommon p...

    April 28, 2019
  • Buckyballs found in space

    Enormous ‘celebrity’ molecule confirmed in interstellar medium.

    The upper limit for molecules swirling around in the diffuse bands of material between stars, known as the interstell...

    April 28, 2019
  • Universe expanding faster than predicted

    New measurements show a big difference between early and late universe behaviour.

    The universe is expanding faster than predicted, new data reveal, indicating that something is missing from the curre...

    April 28, 2019
  • Universe expanding faster than ever

    A big difference between early and late universe behaviour.

    The universe is expanding faster than predicted, new data reveal, indicating that something is missing from the curre...

    April 28, 2019
  • Galaxy containing first black hole pic revealed

    NASA orbiter captures black hole spewing particle jets.

    An image from NASA’s Spitzer Telescope has put the first-ever direct picture of a black hole, taken by the Event Hori...

    April 26, 2019
  • Egg-eating snakes live longer if no eggs to eat

    An unusual and blunt evolutionary trade-off.

    Female Formosa kukri snakes will defend their food even though doing so shortens their lives, researchers have discov...

    April 25, 2019
  • Neanderthals set fires briefly and gently

    Analysis of Palaeolithic hearths finds no evidence of cooking or permanence.

    Neanderthals used hearth-sites minimally and briefly, before moving on and not returning until much time had passed, ...

    April 24, 2019
  • Diabetes concerns over food preservative

    Trials in mice and humans prompt calls for further studies.

    A preservative widely used to prevent mould growth in foods has been shown to increase weight-gain and glucose produc...

    April 24, 2019
  • InSight detects first clear marsquake

    Instrument confirms Mars is seismically active.

    NASA investigators think that the Mars InSight Lander has recorded a seismic event, or “marsquake”. The likely qua...

    April 24, 2019
  • Childhood violence victims more likely to perpetrate

    African research adds to global evidence for violence cycle.

    More than half of young males and almost a third of young females in some countries in sub-Saharan Africa commit viol...

    April 24, 2019
  • Anthropogenic global warming’s 1865 kick-off.

    New modelling and old records combine to show early impact.

    Human-made climate change started to occur much earlier than previously thought, new research reveals. Current conse...

    April 23, 2019
  • That must have hurt coming out

    Fang in fossil faeces prompts question about human diet.

    As every researcher knows, a sample size of one is a dangerous thing. A single example might represent something very...

    April 22, 2019
  • The dawn of the zombie pigs

    Researchers restore partial brain function in pig brains hours after death.

    Neuroscientists have succeeded in restoring partial function to the brains of decapitated pigs, hours after they were...

    April 17, 2019
  • First molecular bond in the universe found

    The helium hydride has now been observed in a young nebula.

    What is thought to be the first molecular bond ever formed in the universe has been detected for the first time – in ...

    April 17, 2019
  • The internet of thoughts is coming

    A bot-enabled interface between human brains and cloud storage is likely within decades.

    Before the century is out, advances in nanotechnology, nanomedicine, AI, and computation will result in the developme...

    April 16, 2019
  • Cassini data sheds light on Titan’s lakes

    Liquid hydrocarbons on Saturn’s moon formed differently.

    The liquid lakes near the north pole of Titan, Saturn’s largest moon, look smaller than they are, data recorded in 20...

    April 16, 2019
  • Statins cleared for arthritis patients

    Clinical trial allays long-running safety fears.

    Statins are safe and effective for people with rheumatoid arthritis, a large clinical trial reveals. Patients with r...

    April 16, 2019
  • In primates, evolution is a ball game

    Looking handsome comes at a very personal cost.

    Evolution is fundamentally an exercise in trade-offs – speed versus bulk, running versus tree-climbing, that sort of ...

    April 14, 2019
  • Cremation in ancient Greece

    Research suggests historian Thucydides played loose with the facts.

    The story of the long conflict between Sparta and Athens in the fourth century BCE is considered one of the foundatio...

    April 14, 2019
  • Scientists warn on Antarctic ice shelf vulnerability

    Larsen C could be set to follow Larsen A and B and split apart. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Unusual wind patterns might be driving Antarctica’s fourth largest ice shelf towards destruction, researchers warn.In...

    April 11, 2019
  • Captured carbon could convert to chemical feedstock

    Australian research looks to use rather than store emitted carbon dioxide. Andrew Masterson reports.

    In the matter of carbon capture and storage – one of the three main strategies in play globally in the quest to limit...

    April 10, 2019
  • Harsh radiation no barrier to life

    Proximity to host stars doesn’t rule out life emerging.

    Hopes for finding life on four rocky exoplanets relatively close to Earth have been boosted by new modelling that sho...

    April 10, 2019
  • 16 trapped in a single superposition

    Prototype hints at new directions for AI development.

    Self-learning quantum-enhanced artificial intelligence is one step closer following the invention of a prototype quan...

    April 10, 2019
  • Cthulu lives! Or lived.

    Palaeontologists reveal a multi-tentacled creature of the deep.

    A creature with more than a passing resemblance to HP Lovecraft’s terrifying Chthulu once actually existed, palaeonto...

    April 9, 2019
  • Hunt on for iron volcanoes on metallic asteroids

    Two teams conclude some asteroids once spewed molten metal, as NASA prepares to investigate. Andr...

    An artist's impression of the metal asteroid, Psyche.SSL/ASU/P Rubin/NASA/JPL-CaltechSome asteroids in the solar syst...

    April 9, 2019
  • US youth suicide attempts double in nine years

    Emergency department numbers reveal a huge jump in suicide-related visits, especially by children...

    The number of children visiting US hospital emergency departments as a result of suicidal thoughts or actions doubled...

    April 8, 2019
  • Big increase in assaults against elderly Americans

    Men over 60 are “particularly vulnerable” to violence, researchers find. Andrew Masterson reports.

    In the US, assaults against men aged between 60 and 69 have skyrocketed, leading the Centres for Disease Control and ...

    April 8, 2019
  • In Japan, virginity is on the up and up

    More and more people are declining, or being excluded from, sex.

    The number of virgins in Japan is increasing faster than the population, research has revealed. A study published in...

    April 8, 2019
  • Flocking behaviour in particles

    Physicists see complex behaviour emerge from simple capacities.

    Microscopic artificial entities, known as Janus particles, when invested with a form of sight, exhibit spontaneous fl...

    April 7, 2019
  • Gorillas mourn friends and strangers alike

    Gorillas show similar responses to deaths in-group and out-group.

    Gorillas spend time sitting with dead species members, sometimes grooming them, regardless of whether the deceased wa...

    April 7, 2019
  • Dolphin sex isn’t just about babies

    Copulation is as much about bonding as babies.

    World-first examinations of the dolphin clitorises suggest that sex may be a pleasurable exercise for the marine mamm...

    April 7, 2019
  • Gun sales surge after some, but not all, mass shootings

    Background checks reveal gun sales drop after high fatality shootings, but the reasons are unclea...

    Long suggested anecdotally, researchers have now confirmed that mass shootings in the US can spur an increase in hand...

    April 5, 2019
  • Confirmed: a planet orbiting a white dwarf star

    Astronomers find convincing evidence of a small body spinning rapidly around a dense and dying st...

    For the first time, a small planet has been confirmed orbiting a white dwarf star.White dwarfs represent the end of t...

    April 4, 2019
  • The doughnut around a black hole

    Critical part of ‘unified model’ confirmed.

    The blue-to-green approximate oval in the centre of this image is a phenomenon long theorised but never before direct...

    April 4, 2019
  • Lake Titicaca: before the Inca, the Tiwanaku worshipped

    Famous religious site was in use much earlier than previously thought. Andrew Masterson reports.

    The Island of the Sun in Lake Titicaca, Bolivia, is one of the most famous sacred locations associated with the Inca ...

    April 4, 2019
  • Antibiotic reduces harmful effects of HIV

    Common med provides a cheap and effective treatment.

    A clinical trial involving HIV-positive children in sub-Saharan Africa has revealed that a common antibiotic signific...

    April 3, 2019
  • Barrier Reef baby coral numbers crash

    New research offers little hope for recovery of the biggest reef on the planet. Andrew Masterson ...

    The ability of the world’s largest coral system – Australia’s Great Barrier Reef – to recover from recent back-to-bac...

    April 3, 2019
  • The mathematics of hill walking

    Big data helps calculate how to climb up slopes.

    Life-and-death estimations of how fast people in danger can run up a slope are based only “a random Scottish dude fro...

    April 3, 2019
  • Dementia type correlates with criminal behaviour

    Study finds one type is associated with inappropriate acts.

    People with frontotemporal dementia have a significantly elevated risk of committing criminal or socially inappropria...

    April 3, 2019
  • Lizard produces eggs and live young

    Vertebrate observed spreading its reproductive options.

    Versatility, it is generally acknowledged, is a useful evolutionary trait, but an Australian lizard, the three-toed s...

    April 2, 2019
  • Galaxies without dark matter confirmed

    Visible matter and dark matter are not irrevocably tied together.

    Two new studies have confirmed a contentious claim made in 2018 that some galaxies are completely devoid of dark matt...

    March 31, 2019
  • Deformed skulls were badges of belonging

    Starting in the fourth century CE, cranial modification became a fashion that spread across Europ...

    As they stormed out of the Russian steppes into Roman territory in western Eurasia in the fourth century CE, the Huns...

    March 31, 2019
  • Invading crayfish sabotage themselves

    Feral crustaceans become meals for other species.

    Population declines among a crayfish species which has devastated lake ecosystems in the US since being deliberately ...

    March 31, 2019
  • Car exhaust exposure has lifelong mental health effects

    Multi-decade New Zealand study finds childhood blood lead levels predict serious psychological ou...

    Exposure to atmospheric lead during childhood results in lifelong mental health deficits, a 30-year study has found.R...

    March 31, 2019
  • US survey finds science knowledge differs by race and politics

    Despite evidence-free policies, conservative Republicans do well. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Americans on the ideological edges of the political spectrum tend to know more about science than those in the centre...

    March 28, 2019
  • Tortoiseshell history reveals current turtle and fish black markets

    A century and a half of records throw an illegal trade into sharp focus. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Discovering the historical routes and networks that determined the global export of tortoiseshell in the nineteenth a...

    March 27, 2019
  • Bio-engineering self-sustaining blood vessels

    Implanted artificial structures become colonised by patient cells.

    Researchers have bio-engineered blood vessels that when implanted into a patient are quickly colonised by native cell...

    March 27, 2019
  • Artificial astronomers spot new planets

    Applying algorithms to noisy Kepler data produces results. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Two new exoplanets have been discovered – but not by human eyes.In a paper published in The Astronomical Journal, res...

    March 27, 2019
  • Exoplanet observations reveal unexpected atmosphere

    Direct imaging of a distant planet refines size, temperature and composition, illustrating exciti...

    A new approach to imaging an exoplanet has delivered results of unprecedented clarity, including at least one major s...

    March 27, 2019
  • Teen mindset determines alcohol, tobacco risk

    Young people who believe they have little control over their lives are more likely to smoke and d...

    Teens who believe that life comprises a set of essentially random events over which they have no control are at great...

    March 27, 2019
  • Fluid dynamics clue to skin cancer appearance

    Physicists' model produces patterns similar to those found on melanomas. Andrew Masterson reports.

    The shapes and patterns of common skin cancers resemble the interaction between a two-dimensional fluid and an underl...

    March 26, 2019
  • The dead in Neolithic Catalonia took their dogs with them

    Archaeologists deduce that for hundreds of years, dogs were used as ritual sacrifices in burial r...

    Dogs seem to have been ritually important elements of human funeral practices in parts of Europe that persisted for h...

    March 26, 2019
  • Antipsychotic meds for meningitis treatment?

    Mental health drugs could combat the deadly infection.

    The serious and sometimes lethal effects of bacterial meningitis can be successfully treated using a commonly prescri...

    March 25, 2019
  • Meds for late-stage cancer patients pointless

    Drugs for health outcomes are needlessly prescribed.

    Drugs designed to provide long-term health protection are commonly prescribed to patients with advanced cancer and le...

    March 25, 2019
  • Monkey semen, monkey do

    Use of frozen macaque testis prompts hopes for paediatric cancer survivors.

    Scientists have taken frozen testicular tissue sourced from a prepubescent monkey, thawed it, and inserted it in a ca...

    March 24, 2019
  • The Viking warrior woman of Birko

    Debate over whether she was a warrior continues.

    The remains of a tenth century Viking warrior, long assumed to be male but recently found to be female, have become m...

    March 24, 2019
  • Do hopes and prayers work? Looks like that’s a no

    Three double-blind studies in 20 years find little evidence that praying improves outcomes for he...

    It happens with such regularity that, in the US at least, it has become a cliché. Every time there is a mass shooting...

    March 21, 2019
  • White male artists dominate US gallery collections

    Major art museum works do not reflect ethnic or gender diversity, researchers find. Andrew Master...

    The walls of art galleries in the US are hung, almost to the exclusion of all else, with the works of white men.That’...

    March 20, 2019
  • Alcohol does not help with arthritis

    A glass or two may ease pain is an artefact of ‘reverse causation’.

    Previous studies indicating that alcohol consumption may lessen the pain and inconvenience of rheumatoid arthritis (R...

    March 20, 2019
  • Exercising 10 minutes a week cuts death risk

    Even very short bursts of physical activity pay dividends.

    It sounds like a line from a shonky self-help promotion but researchers from China’s Shandong University have establi...

    March 19, 2019
  • Roots of European agriculture revealed

    A theory about migration and the birth of farming is disproved. Andrew Masterson reports.

    The first farmers in Europe were direct descendants of the region’s hunter-gatherers, geneticists have discovered, di...

    March 19, 2019
  • Novel coating kyboshes ISS bacteria

    Researchers report microbe numbers drop, but survivors are multi-drug-resistant. Andrew Masterson...

    A novel antimicrobial coating deployed in the International Space Station could be the solution to the presence of mo...

    March 19, 2019
  • Earth: a less volatile version of the sun

    A ‘universal process’ governing rocky planets across the universe.

    A detailed comparison of the chemical make-up of the Earth and the sun provides insight into how rocky planets form a...

    March 19, 2019
  • Half-century-old sperm still up to the job

    Researchers defrost sheep sperm and impregnate ewes.

    Sheep sperm frozen in liquid nitrogen for half a century has been used to successfully impregnate 34 ewes. Researche...

    March 18, 2019
  • Mariners’ tool certified as world’s oldest

    A relic of Vasco da Gama’s journeys enters the record books. Andrew Masterson reports.

    The astrolabe recovered from Vasco da Gama's fleet.David MearnsAn astrolabe recovered from a sunken Portuguese armada...

    March 18, 2019
  • Hydro power will not make Bitcoin green

    Analysis adds to evidence that the cryptocurrency carries enormous energy and environmental costs...

    Renewable energy will not mitigate the environmental cost of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, according to a senior ...

    March 14, 2019
  • To get into character, shut down parts of brain

    First ever study of method acting draws surprising conclusions.

    Being someone else might be less energy intensive than being yourself, new research indicates. In a paper in the jou...

    March 14, 2019
  • Liking death metal doesn’t mean you’re a bad person

    Research finds a liking for aggressive music doesn’t desensitise listeners to other violent media...

    Listening to the music of a band called Bloodbath – described as “a Swedish death metal supergroup” – is not, it must...

    March 14, 2019
  • Bronze Age skeleton evidence contaminated by agricultural run-off

    Isotope data showing ancient humans travelled long distances may be the result of farmers using l...

    Research indicating that some Bronze Age people travelled far and wide may be completely wrong and the result of cont...

    March 13, 2019
  • Sushi determines attitudes to insects

    Attitudes for using insects as protein sources are complex.

    Attitudes to sushi are good predictors of people’s willingness to chow down on insects, researchers have found. In m...

    March 13, 2019
  • Starry starry frog

    New species, and ancient lineage, of frog discovered in India.

    Meet Astrobatrachus kurichiyana, otherwise known as the starry dwarf frog, a newly discovered species that is very mu...

    March 13, 2019
  • Tiny insects use a form of Snapchat

    A unique communication device discovered on planthopper bugs.

    A small-sized but common group of insects known as planthoppers – comprising the order Fulgoromorpha – advertise thei...

    March 12, 2019
  • Major changes needed to meet Trump’s HIV pledge

    Eliminating HIV can't be done under current policy settings.

    The United States could eliminate HIV transmissions within its borders by 2030 – but only if proposed health budget c...

    March 12, 2019
  • Stem cells divide faster in space

    Chinese researchers discover cell performance accelerates in microgravity.

    Mouse stem cells on board an unmanned Chinese space craft divided and reproduced significantly faster than others gro...

    March 11, 2019
  • Searching for ET? Look to binary stars, researchers say

    Some twin-systems might be prime targets for alien life. Andrew Masterson reports.

    The suns are rising: habitable zones around some binary systems may be larger than those around individual ones.MARK ...

    March 11, 2019
  • The mysterious origins of beer

    Analysis reveals ale is product of a meeting of east and west.

    The strain of brewers’ yeast used to make beer, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, derives from versions used over thousands o...

    March 11, 2019
  • Unvaccinated boy in ICU for weeks with tetanus

    Parents’ mind was unchanged about routine, free treatment.

    You can’t, as many people have previously attested, argue with stupid. And if ever a case study proving the point wa...

    March 10, 2019
  • Ten years after: Kepler’s first planet confirmed

    Months after NASA’s orbiting telescope shut down, its work is verified. Andrew Masterson reports.

    A decade after it was first detected, astronomers have confirmed the existence of the first exoplanet ever spotted by...

    March 7, 2019
  • Uncovered: the sacrifice of 140 children

    The largest mass sacrifice of children ever discovered took place in Peru 550 years ago. The reas...

    The remains of the largest mass sacrifice of children ever discovered have been revealed. In a single event that took...

    March 6, 2019
  • Hare today, gone tomorrow. Early hominins loved a rabbit or two

    Research in France finds that rabbits and their relatives were on the menu more than two million ...

    Early hominins in Europe had quite a taste for rabbits and hares, new research reveals, challenging the standard view...

    March 6, 2019
  • Dog walking dangers for the old

    US figures show taking a pet for a stroll could have devastating consequences. Andrew Masterson r...

    Taking the dog out for a walk is maybe not such a good idea after all.Drazen_/Getty ImagesElderly people who own dogs...

    March 6, 2019
  • Some corals becoming resilient to rising temperatures

    Multi-reef research suggests a few species might be adapting to warmer waters. Andrew Masterson r...

    New research offers a “glimmer of hope” that at least some species of coral are acclimatising to rising ocean tempera...

    March 6, 2019
  • Can we nuke an incoming asteroid?

    Big space rocks are much tougher that previously thought.

    Asteroids are much harder to destroy than previously thought, new modelling shows. The research, published in the jo...

    March 5, 2019
  • Meteorite impact craters found

    Two studies identify massive structures form by single object collisions.

    Researchers have discovered two previously unknown massive craters on Earth, the most recent estimated to have been p...

    March 5, 2019
  • Raw food a risk for dogs and their owners

    Study adds to concerns about pathogenic hotspots.

    Feeding dogs primarily raw meat diets represents a potentially severe health threat for the people who share a house ...

    March 4, 2019
  • Still no link between measles vax and autism

    A study in children finds immunisation has no influence.

    A massive study tracking almost every child born in Denmark over a decade has found no evidence that the measles-mump...

    March 4, 2019
  • Language analysis reveals recent and unusual ‘moral polarisation’ in Anglophone world

    After many decades, use of moral signifiers in books underwent a sharp increase from 1980 onwards...

    Going with the Gipper. A conservative swing in 1980 is tied to an uptick in moral language in books.Fotosearch/Getty ...

    March 3, 2019
  • Study claiming prejudice leads to early death for gay people retracted

    A coding error rendered findings null, and efforts to fix things have ended. Andrew Masterson rep...

    Prejudice against sexual minorities is, prima facie, a terrible thing, but a highly cited journal paper claiming that...

    February 28, 2019
  • Cancer deceased irradiates crematorium

    Death following treatment resulted in contamination.

    Worries about the dangers of handling deceased cancer patients have been raised following a US case in which a cremat...

    February 26, 2019
  • For some bees, the dancing may as well stop

    Tthe renowned ‘waggle dance’ is no longer relevant for urban hives.

    For many colonies of honeybees, dancing has become a waste of time. That’s the rather sad news delivered by researche...

    February 25, 2019
  • Tiny T.rex ancestor throws light on predator evolution

    US discovery adds important piece to evolutionary puzzle. Andrew Masterson reports.

    As every school child knows, Tyrannosaurus rex was an enormous and ferocious apex predator. Right now, however, at le...

    February 21, 2019
  • Rediscovered: the biggest bee in the world

    Insect seen only twice in 170 years found in a termites’ nest.

    The largest bee species in the world, unseen since 1981 and feared extinct, has been found and photographed by a team...

    February 21, 2019
  • Cometh the medium, cometh the media star

    Major analysis finds link between communications tech and the types of people who become famous. ...

    Fame is critically tied to the type and density of media existing at any given point in time and space, research has ...

    February 21, 2019
  • Chinese monkeys suckle unrelated infancts

    An Old World species takes a family-based approach to care.

    Female Chinese golden snub-nosed monkeys happily and regularly suckle infants that are not biologically theirs, a fiv...

    February 20, 2019
  • Weight loss surgery has added benefits

    Study finds long-term improvements in sexual function.

    For about 50% of patients, reported improvements in sexual function following bariatric surgery persist long term, a ...

    February 20, 2019
  • Your new daily fix: the Martian weather forecast

    NASA makes the InSight lander's meteorological data freely available. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Daily weather details are a necessity for many people and an obsession for many more, and now the morning check of co...

    February 20, 2019
  • How Neolithic miners quarried the pillars of Stonehenge

    Evidence points to an ‘original’ Stonehenge 230 kilometres from the current one. Andrew Masterson...

    Some of the massive rocks of Stonehenge might have been first erected as a monument in west Wales, some 230 kilometre...

    February 19, 2019
  • Neanderthals ate fresh herbivores, not rotten meat

    Isotope analysis throws doubt on previous diet research. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Neanderthals were top level carnivores, even after the arrival of modern humans, chemical analysis indicates.The find...

    February 18, 2019
  • Estimating childbirth deaths in prehistory

    Modern United Nations data offers a way to assess the rates of maternal mortality in ancient comm...

    A female from Neolithic Vietnam (2100-1050BCE) and her unborn, full term infant in breech.Anna WillisThe role – and f...

    February 17, 2019
  • Tree parents determine seedling survival

    Coping with temperatures is a function of location and history.

    Flooded Gums have a molecular memory for extreme heatwaves, research shows. Credit: Digital Vision/Getty Images Sc...

    February 14, 2019
  • NASA announces new mission to probe the universe

    Project will hunt for post-Big Bang clues and look for water closer to home. Andrew Masterson rep...

    NASA has announced a new mission to probe the evolution of the universe and hunt for the presence of water and organi...

    February 14, 2019
  • Mars was volcanically active “extremely recently”

    Claims for a subterranean lake imply the presence of magma, geophysicists say. Andrew Masterson r...

    There has to have been significant volcanic activity on Mars within recent geologic time if reports of liquid water b...

    February 14, 2019
  • Mars orbiter sent down closer to the surface

    NASA repositions its atmosphere mission in readiness for new role. Andrew Masterson reports.

    NASA’s Martian atmosphere testing spacecraft, known as MAVEN, is dropping down to take a closer sniff – and getting r...

    February 13, 2019
  • Polio returns to Papua New Guinea

    Low vax rates blamed for a slew of new cases in recent months. Andrew Masterson reports.

    A mother and child in Port Morseby, Papua New Guinea. Infants are bearing the brunt of the current polio outbreak.Cly...

    February 12, 2019
  • Trump’s idiosyncratic boasts are actually properly presidential

    Analysis of two centuries of POTUS oratory finds current commander-in-chief fits right in. Andrew...

    Donald Trump’s habit of playing fast and loose with the English language in order to make self-aggrandising claims is...

    February 11, 2019
  • Genetics and training produce perfect pitch

    The rare quality appears linked with structures in the brain.

    The rare ability to identify musical tones without any external reference – a condition known as perfect or absolute ...

    February 11, 2019
  • Scientists crack mystery of ancient Chinese pottery found in shipwreck

    X-ray fluorescence reveals exact origin of porcelain recovered from the ocean floor. Andrew Maste...

    A qingbai ewer from Jingdezhen from the Field Museum's collection.Huan XiongResearchers have succeeded in pinpointing...

    February 10, 2019
  • NASA pushes forward with commercial partnerships for moon mission

    Two reports reveal negotiations between the agency and private companies, but doubts about viabil...

    NASA is in negotiation with a small number of corporations regarding the provision of scientific instruments designed...

    February 10, 2019
  • Old folks benefit from Pokémon Go

    The popular phone game increased exercise rates for over-55s. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Playing augmented reality smartphone games such as Pokémon Go delivers fitness benefits – at least in the short term ...

    February 7, 2019
  • Observed: a jet that extends for light years

    Astronomers record a massive outburst from a new star in a nearby galaxy. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Seen in red here, the jet emitted by a fledgling star in the Large Magellanic Cloud.ESO, A McLeod et al.Astronomers h...

    February 6, 2019
  • Science history: The man who invented the Periodic Table

    Dmitri Mendeleev triumphed over adversity to revolutionise chemistry. Andrew Masterson reports.

    In the early nineteenth century, a chemist called Amedeo Avagadro suggested that equal volumes of gases held at the s...

    February 6, 2019
  • Space agency ups risk of asteroid-Earth collision

    Assessment pushes new rock up the danger list, but possibility remains very remote. Andrew Master...

    A close-up of Bennu's North Pole region, captured by Osiris Rex in December, 2018.NASA/Goddard/University of ArizonaT...

    February 6, 2019
  • Bigger bubs and taller mums mean more C-sections

    Research finds improvement in generational health correlates with more surgical births. Andrew Ma...

    Fully one-third of the global increase in caesarean section rates over the past few decades can be attributed to impr...

    February 6, 2019
  • Water temperature found to drive fish evolution

    A South African fish is splitting into new species, propelled by heat.

    Evolutionary theory holds that one of the primary drivers of speciation – the divergence of a single species into two...

    February 6, 2019
  • The Milky Way is warped and twisted

    Ingenious research finally reveals the true shape of the galaxy. Andrew Masterson reports.

    The Milky Way is warped and twisted, a collaboration between Australian and Chinese astronomers has established.Ironi...

    February 5, 2019
  • Seaweed prospers with kelp from its friends

    Size is definitely an issue for critical kelp forest.

    Adult kelp seaweed engineers its environment to optimise conditions for juvenile species members, Australian research...

    February 5, 2019
  • The eyes don’t have it

    A person staring at you is likely looking at your mouth.

    The communicative power of eye contact might well be a myth, if a recent Australian experiment is indicative. Making...

    February 5, 2019
  • People with a well developed cortex find quinine less bitter, study finds

    Australian research holds promise for new approaches to eating disorders. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Reactions to quinine, the compound that gives tonic water its characteristic bitter taste, have been found to correla...

    February 4, 2019
  • Hole almost the size of Manhattan found under glacier

    NASA observations prompt increased concern over Antarctic ice-melt.

    The discovery of a cavity with an area equivalent to two-thirds of Manhattan beneath an Antarctic glacier has raised ...

    January 31, 2019
  • The return of the Celtic cowboys

    Isotope analysis challenges the assumption that Iron Age people were stay-at-home types. Andrew M...

    Two millennia ago, across the chalklands, moors and hills of southern England, cowboys rode the trail.Well, sort of, ...

    January 15, 2019
  • Blood pressure, vampire bats and drug traffickers

    Study on a bat with a scary image is interrupted by scary humans.

    In the real world, there are much bigger problems than being attacked by vampire bats. Credit: CSA Images/Getty Image...

    January 15, 2019
  • Call to correct Gulliver’s Travels food estimates

    Researcher finds mistakes on Lilliputian physiology.

    Calculations contained in Gulliver’s Travels, the satiric masterpiece written by Jonathan Swift in the early eighteen...

    January 15, 2019
  • Vaccinate public against science misinformation, researchers urge

    If the battle for hearts and minds over climate change is to be won, simply being right is not en...

    Setting up an information-based “inoculation” program may be an effective way of combating the deliberately misleadin...

    January 14, 2019
  • When conditions are right, bees turn selfish

    Species of bee turn reputation for cooperation on its head.

    A South African variant of the common honey bee (Apis mellifera) sometimes upends the defining cooperation and altrui...

    January 14, 2019
  • Drug deaths among US women surge

    Report describes an “evolving epidemic”. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Drug overdose deaths among middle-aged American women have skyrocketed by an alarming 260%, according to figures rele...

    January 13, 2019
  • Fruit flies use sex chemicals to hide eggs

    A waxy layer in the eggs shells prevents cannibal competition.

    Fruit flies – and quite possibly other insect species – coat their eggs in sex pheromones to disguise them from hatch...

    January 10, 2019
  • Fake news journal paper revealed as fake news

    Depressing conclusions about social media quality were based on incorrect data. Andrew Masterson ...

    A much-cited paper detailing the online spread of fake news has been retracted – because it turned out to be fake new...

    January 10, 2019
  • Blue specks reveal a Medieval woman’s life

    Tiny particles trapped in the teeth of a thousand-year-old skeleton throw new light on the role o...

    Tiny flecks of a rare and valuable pigment caught between the teeth of a Medieval female skeleton have provided tell-...

    January 9, 2019
  • No sign space station microbes are turning nasty

    Research seeks to quell concerns that life in space might prompt increases in bacterial virulence...

    There is no evidence that bacteria living onboard the International Space Station are mutating into forms dangerous t...

    January 9, 2019
  • No evidence to support a health claim for cocoa

    A review of previous studies reveals inconsistent outcomes.

    The evidence that chocolate and other cocoa-containing products reduce high blood pressure is not strong enough to wa...

    January 8, 2019
  • Coming soon: the chilli tomato

    Gene-editing could create a mouth-burning powerhouse.

    Geneticists have suggested editing the genome of the humble tomato to turn it into a factory producing the compounds ...

    January 8, 2019
  • Galaxy clusters much more common than thought

    Data mining exercise reveals a whole new class of astronomical structure. Andrew Masterson reports.

    A re-examination of data gathered a decade ago by astronomers using a 3.9-metre telescope located at the Siding Sprin...

    January 8, 2019
  • Robotic creepy-crawlies climb walls

    Two teams of researchers exploit electrostatic forces to send mini-bots up vertical surfaces. And...

    One of the Shanghai team's wall-climbing robots.Gu et al., Sci. Robot. 3, eaat2874 (2018)Two teams of researchers hav...

    December 19, 2018
  • DNA sugar can form in space, experiments show

    Lab work adds to evidence that extraterrestrial organic compounds may have seeded life on Earth. ...

    Laboratory experiments have shown that a sugar critical to the structure of DNA arises when ice formed on planets, as...

    December 18, 2018
  • Analysis reveals a book made of gold, mercury, cows and goats

    Multiple techniques provide rare insight into the work of Medieval scribes and illustrators. Andr...

    Silver and gold and all things nice: a detail from the Messale Rosselli.Biblioteca Nazionale Universitaria, Torino, I...

    December 18, 2018
  • Feathers evolved more than once

    Ancient flying vertebrates thought to be furry were actually feathered. Andrew Masterson reports.

    The theory that feathers evolved only once – in a group of dinosaurs known as therapods, from which birds descended –...

    December 17, 2018
  • A star is born

    Astronomers witness rare birth of a baby binary. Andrew Masterson reports.

    In this image, the red and blue sections represent dust and gas swirling around the young star MM 1a. The star's tiny...

    December 16, 2018
  • Good corporate behaviour boosts sales

    Study shows reputation influences consumer choices. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Maintaining the good name of a company isn’t just a matter of feel-good brand politics but actually has a quantifiabl...

    December 16, 2018
  • Merry Christmas! Pass the defibrillator!

    Research pings Christmas Eve as the worst day of the year for heart attacks. Andrew Masterson rep...

    ‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse … possibl...

    December 13, 2018
  • Animal attacks cost the US billions

    Emergency department stats reveal a public health concern – but the problem is not with bears and...

    Habitat shrinkage due to climate change will increase the number of Americans killed or injured by big animals such a...

    December 12, 2018
  • The most potent symbol of our time? The chicken

    Modern broilers are a wholly technology-dependent species.

    Chickens are the actual and symbolic product of humanity’s influence on the planet, scientists have established. The...

    December 12, 2018
  • On a rock two million kilometres away, water

    NASA’s voyage to asteroid Bennu produces early results. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Bennu, up close and personal.CREDIT: NASA/GODDARD/UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONAJust days after successfully reaching its targ...

    December 10, 2018
  • Near-Earth asteroid removed from risk list

    European Space Agency cancels 2026 collision risk – leaving just 794 possibilities. Andrew Master...

    An asteroid recently thought to be a candidate for smacking into Earth with potentially catastrophic consequences has...

    December 9, 2018
  • Big month for meteor-spotters

    December features two spectacular meteor showers – as long as the clouds hold off. Andrew Masters...

    December is a big month for night-time sky-gazers, with two annual meteor showers zipping across the sky within a sin...

    December 6, 2018
  • Breaking: New search finds ‘Oumuamua still isn’t an alien spaceship

    Second sweep for radio signals turns up bupkis. Andrew Masterson reports.

    A “quite sensitive” search for artificial radio signals emanating from 'Oumuamua, the object that sped through the so...

    December 5, 2018
  • Two billion kilometres later, OSIRIS-Rex reaches Bennu

    NASA’s mission completes half its two-way journey. Andrew Masterson reports.

    NASA’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft ...

    December 4, 2018
  • Revealed: the most influential movie of all time

    1939 classic tops list calculated by computer scientists. Andrew Masterson reports.

    The Wizard of Oz is the most influential movie of all time, at least according to research published in the journal A...

    December 3, 2018
  • How many photons in the universe? Go on, have a guess

    Calculations reveal enormous number, but with surprisingly dim effect. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Given that everything started from a singularity, it should not really be a surprise that the number of photons produ...

    November 29, 2018
  • Stone Age food was haute cuisine

    Analysis of cooking gunk from six millennia ago reveals a surprisingly sophisticated palate. Andr...

    The meal – or, more likely, the dish, one element of a more varied repast – was simple, but elegantly so. It comprise...

    November 28, 2018
  • Psychotic experiences boost suicide risk

    Short episodes are associated with suicidal behaviour.

    Psychotic experiences – hallucinations or periods of delusional beliefs – strongly correlate with later suicide attem...

    November 28, 2018
  • Cancer treatments linked to cognitive decline

    Study looks at DNA damage from radiation and chemotherapy.

    Cancer treatments can lead to declines in cognitive function a few years later, research suggests. A study published...

    November 27, 2018
  • Origin of drinking horns a hit and myth affair

    Genetics reveal that auroch bulls weren’t always pure-bred.

    Aurochs, the huge, horned ancestors of modern cows, roamed Europe, Asia and North Africa for millennia before being d...

    November 27, 2018
  • Oxygen-therapy researcher wins major prize

    Australian researcher recognised for work on low-cost, effective way to save children’s lives. An...

    An Australian paediatrician has been given a major award for his research into the use of targeted oxygen therapy to ...

    November 26, 2018
  • The mechanics of embryonic eyes

    Modelling shows how physics and biology combine to form ‘optic cups’. Andrew Masterson reports.

    A computer simulation showing the development of a three dimensional embryonic proto-eye.KYOTO UNIVERSITY/EIRAKU LABJ...

    November 25, 2018
  • The poor die younger than the rich

    Data reveals differences in life expectancy, especially among women.

    In England, the gap in life expectancy between poor and rich people is increasing – with women experiencing the worst...

    November 25, 2018
  • Researchers successfully fly ion-drive model aircraft

    Silent, solid-state, emission-free air travel comes one step closer. Andrew Masterson reports.

    A model ion-driven plane with a five-metre wingspan successfully completes a test flight.Steven BarrettAeronautics en...

    November 21, 2018
  • Young stars push back to keep the universe ‘vibrant’

    Australian researchers identify a cosmic counterforce to gravity. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Deep in the Large Magellanic Cloud lies the Tarantula Nebula. Deep within that lies R136, a cluster of young and dens...

    November 21, 2018
  • Crippled and gigantic, a tadpole-shaped galaxy

    An enormous discovery prompts a rethink on the maximum size of disrupted star systems. Andrew Mas...

    A huge but profoundly damaged galaxy has been identified by a team of researchers from Israel, the US and Russia.The ...

    November 20, 2018
  • Discovered: the world’s smallest dino prints

    Scientists uncover the first possible evidence for a raptor the size of a sparrow. Andrew Masters...

    Palaeontologists have discovered the world’s smallest dinosaur footprints, made 110 million years ago in what is now ...

    November 19, 2018
  • ‘Oumuamua: new findings rejig size

    Infrared results set upper limit on the solar system’s surprise visitor. Andrew Masterson reports.

    A NASA animation of Oumuamua, showing it 'outgassing' as it moves.NASA/JPL-CaltechScientists using NASA’s Spitzer Spa...

    November 14, 2018
  • Astronomers find massive ‘ghost galaxy’ near the Milky Way

    Gaia data reveals previously undiscovered entity as big as the Large Magellanic Cloud. Andrew Mas...

    Astronomers have discovered an immense “ghost galaxy” very close to the Milky Way.The low-density, extremely old gala...

    November 14, 2018
  • Brian Cox contemplates standing for parliament

    Scientists have a duty to speak out and tackle big issues, the physicist and presenter says. He s...

    Brian Cox, distinguished UK physicist and well-known television presenter, is seriously considering entering politics...

    November 11, 2018
  • Is this the oldest figurative painting in the world?

    Cave art in Borneo reveals animal depictions that predate Europe’s earliest artistic finds. Andre...

    Artwork discovered on the walls of a limestone cave in Borneo’s East Kalimantan province might just be the oldest fig...

    November 7, 2018
  • Antarctic ozone hole grows, but not by much

    Scientists say variation in size is testament to success in phasing out aerosols. Andrew Masterso...

    The 2018 hole in the ozone layer was three times larger than the continental United States, but it could have been wo...

    November 7, 2018
  • Deformities found in ancient human remains

    Analysis of Pleistocene people finds a wide range of problems.

    Analysis of remains from 66 ancient humans reveals that they suffered from an astonishing number of physical deformit...

    November 5, 2018
  • Data details dynamically driven double-degenerate double-detonation supernova theory

    Identification of hyper-fast stars suggests a reassessment of how astronomy’s “standard candles” ...

    The identification of three white dwarf stars zooming at hyper-fast velocities might provide evidence to support an a...

    November 4, 2018
  • Human papilloma virus: a gift from the Neanderthals

    HPV evolved from an acquired sub-strain, researchers find. Samantha Page reports.

    The virus that causes cervical cancer has been evolving in hominins for 500,000 years and split from its ancestors ar...

    November 1, 2018
  • Hubble’s Law no more

    An important law of cosmology gets a name change. Andrew Masterson reports.

    One of the most fundamental concepts in cosmology has been renamed, following a poll conducted among members of the I...

    November 1, 2018
  • Identifying the beasts in Caesar’s forest

    Classical texts provide a glimpse of a vanished fauna.

    In his book, Commentarii del Bello Gallico, the first parts of which saw publication in 49BCE, Julius Caesar makes mu...

    November 1, 2018
  • Parkinson’s linked to appendix removal

    Data suggests appendectomy lowers risk of Parkinson's.

    In a surprising finding, the risk of Parkinson’s disease has been tied to the presence or absence of a person’s appen...

    October 31, 2018
  • Martian organics arose on the planet, but not through biology

    Meteorite analysis suggests minerals, brine and carbon-dioxide combined to produce compounds. And...

    An electrochemical process resulting from the interaction of particular minerals, sulfides and brine explains the pre...

    October 31, 2018
  • NASA retires the Kepler Space Telescope

    The world’s first dedicated exoplanet-spotting craft has run out of fuel, and fallen silent. Andr...

    After just shy of a decade of active service, NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope has ceased operations.Announcing the end ...

    October 30, 2018
  • Halloween sees big spike in children hit by cars

    Four decades of US data show pedestrian risk for the young goes way up on October 31. Andrew Mast...

    For US children aged between four and eight the risk of being hit by a car on Halloween increases 10-fold, compared t...

    October 30, 2018
  • Disease-carrying flies seek out cannabis

    Sand flies around the world prefer marijuana to other plants.

    Sand flies, vectors of a parasitic disease called leishmaniasis that kills up to 30,000 people every year, have a str...

    October 29, 2018
  • Chocolate domesticated earlier than thought

    Study shows use in Ecuador 1500 years before Central America.

    Chocolate, long recognised as a critical cultural artefact in early Central American cultures, may in fact have been ...

    October 29, 2018
  • 2D diamonds set to drive radical changes in electronics

    Australian researchers solve stubborn problem with next-gen transistors. Andrew Masterson reports.

    A new type of ultra-thin transistor made from diamond could improve the efficiency of rocket engines in high-radiatio...

    October 28, 2018
  • Seed find pushes the start of Genoa back 700 years

    Evidence from a drill core rewrites the early history of one of Italy’s best-known cities. Andrew...

    The discovery of a single grain of wheat has pushed back the date of settlement for the Italian city of Genoa some 70...

    October 25, 2018
  • A flying briefcase captures a pink pinprick

    NASA reveals all systems go for Mars-bound CubeSats, releasing historic photograph. Andrew Master...

    Almost 13 million kilometres from its destination, a camera fixed on top of a spacecraft the size of a briefcase wink...

    October 23, 2018
  • Life is short for chocolate Labradors

    A surprising link between coat colour and lifespan.

    Chocolate-coloured Labradors might have a certain high street cachet, but they tend to die younger and get sicker tha...

    October 22, 2018
  • Flight is fine and dandelion

    It deploys a parachute more efficient than a manufactured one.

    Asked to make a list of the world’s most efficient flying organisms, most people would start with some particularly n...

    October 21, 2018
  • World’s earliest known vicious fish revealed

    Piranha-like fossil forces rethink of bony fish evolution. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Palaeontologists have uncovered the world’s oldest known flesh-eating fish – along with a few of its likely victims –...

    October 18, 2018
  • Claimed evidence for earliest Earth life is just rocks, researchers say

    Analysis of purported 3.7-billion-year-old fossils is incorrect, second group of scientists say. ...

    Structures claimed to be evidence of the earliest life on Earth may not be biological in origin after all, a re-exami...

    October 17, 2018
  • Rising sea levels threaten Mediterranean world heritage sites

    Modelling produces worrying results, but solutions can be found. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Three quarters of the UNESCO World Heritage sites around the coast of the Mediterranean are at significant risk of lo...

    October 16, 2018
  • Closing in on a giant ringed planet

    Century-old photographs aid in the hunt for a massive and elusive system observed just once in mo...

    The mystery of an exoplanet with a ring system more than 100 times larger than the one that girdles Saturn will not b...

    October 16, 2018
  • Romans buried a dead child with a brick in its mouth to prevent its return

    A fifth century cemetery produces an example of early “vampire-proofing”. Andrew Masterson reports.

    A gruesome discovery in an ancient children’s cemetery has thrown light on the belief held by mid-Empire Romans that ...

    October 15, 2018
  • Search for ET: look harder, NASA told

    Expert committee recommends making astrobiology a priority. Andrew Masterson reports.

    All future NASA missions should incorporate astrobiology from the get-go, and the organisation should expand the rang...

    October 14, 2018
  • Caught on camera: the moment a star dies

    Astronomers witness the birth of an “ultra-stripped” supernova for the first time. Andrew Masters...

    The violent death of a distant star, captured by observatories around the world, marks what is likely the first ever ...

    October 11, 2018
  • Mt Etna risk of ‘catastrophic collapse’

    Gravity, not magma, may destroy Europe’s best known volcano.

    Mt Etna, one of the world’s most active and iconic volcanoes, is at high risk of suddenly collapsing into the sea, po...

    October 10, 2018
  • Astronomers reveal 20 new Fast Radio Bursts

    A new radio telescope increases the number of mysterious high powered emissions from beyond the g...

    Astronomers are getting new insights into the nature of mysterious phenomena known as Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs), thank...

    October 10, 2018
  • Ancient history: deciphering the Roman red dust

    Greek and Roman writers record the use of a substance called miltos as a decoration, a medicine –...

    From ancient Greek and Roman source texts it is possible to conclude that in the classical world a mineral, a powder ...

    October 10, 2018
  • Stem cells reveal how hearts are made – and broken

    Australian researchers induce 40,000 skin cells to turn into heart cells and beat in perfect rhyt...

    Beating heart tissue, built from human pluripotent stem cells.Nathan Palpant/University of QueenslandAustralian scien...

    October 9, 2018
  • Voyager 2 set to follow its sister into the void

    Mission control says evidence indicates the 40-year-old probe is about to leave the solar system....

    NASA’s Voyager 2 probe, launched just over 40 years ago, looks set to become the second human-made object ever to lea...

    October 9, 2018
  • Statins have their place, review finds

    Potential to treat diseases not supported by evidence.

    There is no convincing evidence to support claims that statins can be used to manage non-cardiovascular health condit...

    October 8, 2018
  • Why huskies have blue eyes

    Doggy DNA testing business is expected to be brisk.

    Saliva-in-the-mail DNA tests have become extremely popular for a whole raft of reasons – from establishing paternity ...

    October 8, 2018
  • Benefits of gluten-free bonanza undecided

    The burgeoning gluten-free food market brings dangers.

    The plentiful availability of commercially prepared gluten-free food is a “double-edged sword” for the people it shou...

    October 7, 2018
  • Facility ups top X-ray pulse rate by orders of magnitude

    First results shed light on antibiotic resistance. Andrew Masterson reports.

    X-ray flashes generated every 0.000,000,220 seconds that vapourise tiny crystals grown from a molecule extracted from...

    October 7, 2018
  • Tap-dancing songbirds love an audience

    One species dances like no one’s watching.

    The courting rituals of at least one species of bird change in relation to who’s watching, research shows. Would y...

    October 3, 2018
  • The bright and invisible universe

    Optical imaging reveals glowing hydrogen as far as the eye can see. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Seen through the lens of the Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer (MUSE) spectrograph on the European Southern Observato...

    October 2, 2018
  • Search for ET switches to lasers

    Could photonics provide the breakthrough for alien hunters? Andrew Masterson reports.

    An intricate series of photographs of the Andromeda galaxy is set to be used as a test case to search for extra-terre...

    October 2, 2018
  • Invading plants boost blue carbon

    Carbon storage rockets when feral plants take hold.

    Exotic plants invading coastal areas can substantially boost the carbon storage capacity of such ecosystems, a meta-a...

    October 1, 2018
  • Search for ET so far just a drop in the ocean, scientists find

    Results to date provide no basis to conclude intelligent aliens don’t exist. Andrew Masterson rep...

    Concluding that the search for intelligent life in the universe, known as SETI, has failed is not supported by curren...

    September 27, 2018
  • Low-dose contraceptive protects against cancer

    Study finds reduced cancer rates even after contraceptive use.

    A Danish study involving almost two million women has found that low-dose oestrogen contraceptive pills are associate...

    September 26, 2018
  • As the dust clears on Mars, Opportunity appears

    After more than three months, NASA’s rover is seen again. Andrew Masterson reports.

    NASA imaging reveals the presence of the Opportunity rover, as the dust clears after a massive storm on Mars.NASA/JPL...

    September 26, 2018
  • Gastro outbreak linked to breeder antibiotic use

    Touching pet store dogs more dangerous than thought.

    An antibiotic resistant gastroenteritis outbreak in America has been linked to the sale of puppies in pet shops, the ...

    September 25, 2018
  • Cells revealed in scan of Egyptian mummy’s hand

    New imaging technique yields fresh information about ancient remains. Andrew Masterson reports.

    A novel approach to non-destructive investigation has produced an image of a 2500-year-old Egyptian mummy’s hand, rev...

    September 25, 2018
  • Fossil mice throw light on ancient climate change

    Two new species found in Australian caves reveal how rainforests slowly gave way to arid habitats...

    A palaeontologist and a caving guide have been honoured by having two newly discovered species of long-extinct mice n...

    September 24, 2018
  • Is this the oldest animal on Earth?

    Fossil find pushes back the emergence of animals by millions of years. Andrew Masterson reports.

    The earliest known animal to exist on Earth did so 558 million years ago – millions of years earlier than thought.A s...

    September 20, 2018
  • The microbial menagerie in the air

    Novel study reveals the huge variety of organic materials people encounter every day – and the ub...

    A novel experiment tracking the microbes to which humans are exposed as they live their lives has identified at least...

    September 20, 2018
  • MDMA triggers hug-fest in octopuses

    Ecstasy has much the same effect as it does on dance music fans.

    Octopuses given the powerful “party drug” MDMA get all cuddly with each other, new research shows. Using molluscs to...

    September 20, 2018
  • Orbiter reveals Martian dust devils and high radiation counts

    As a massive storm wanes, the planet looks different, and brings bad news for astronauts. Andrew ...

    Astronauts travelling to Mars would experience 60% of their recommended career exposure to radioactivity in a single ...

    September 20, 2018
  • Incentives make robots soar like eagles

    Researchers report a bot that learns how to glide, giving clues to how birds do it. Andrew Master...

    A type of punishment-and-reward approach is teaching robotic gliders how to fly like birds, a new report reveals.Glid...

    September 19, 2018
  • Air pollution link to Alzheimer’s mooted

    Study finds levels of dementia might be tied to pollutants.

    Chronic exposure to air pollution may be a risk factor in developing dementia, a UK population-based study has found....

    September 19, 2018
  • Why we must learn to love wasps

    Reputation risks endangering important but unloved insects.

    The world’s 75,000 species of wasp are in dire need of a major PR overhaul, according to a prominent entomologist. I...

    September 19, 2018
  • Linus Pauling: The man who won two Nobel Prizes

    Linus Pauling was a towering figure in chemistry, quantum mechanics, peace activism – and, um, vi...

    Technically speaking, Linus Carl Pauling failed high school, even though he was ferociously smart. By the age of 15 –...

    September 19, 2018
  • Call to conserve one-third of oceans, land to head off extinction crisis

    Major journal urges urgent upping of conservation targets. Andrew Masterson reports.

    At least 30% of world’s oceans and lands must be formally protected and left to non-human species if the planet is no...

    September 13, 2018
  • Tricky questions are a sign of sadism

    Some job interviewers aren’t clever, just nasty.

    Interviewers who quiz job applicants with “brain teaser” questions do so not to gauge mental agility, but because the...

    September 13, 2018
  • New fractal promises faster hospital imaging

    A fresh approach to sampling will make for better patient experience, researchers say. Andrew Mas...

    A new class of fractals discovered by an Australian researcher could make the unnerving process of undergoing a magne...

    September 13, 2018
  • Is this the world’s oldest drawing?

    South African discovery pushes the emergence of visual art back 30,000 years. Andrew Masterson re...

    A faint, red, cross-hatched design discovered in a cave in South Africa just might be the oldest known drawing in his...

    September 12, 2018
  • Spying on pretty flamingos

    What do captive birds do when the zoo is closed?

    What do zoo animals get up to when the gates are closed and the visitors and staff gone home? It’s an entrancing que...

    September 11, 2018
  • New imaging reveals hidden details of viruses

    Molecular-scale microscopy promises a boon for gene therapy researchers. Andrew Masterson reports.

    The use of viruses as delivery mechanisms capable of altering human genes and curing disease has taken a big step for...

    September 11, 2018
  • Bring back Pluto!

    The decision to declare Pluto not a planet was fundamentally flawed, argue a team of astrophysici...

    Pluto was unfairly robbed of its status as a planet and should be promptly rehabilitated, a team of astrophysicists s...

    September 11, 2018
  • You are what you meat

    Two studies find links between social status, psychological make-up, and food choices. Andrew Mas...

    Personality and social status are more influential than hunger or nutrition when it comes to eating meat, two studies...

    September 11, 2018
  • Switch to fish and veg to save water

    Water-usage analysis points to the need to reform diet.

    Switching from a meat-heavy diet to one full of vegetables and seafood will substantially reduce water consumption – ...

    September 10, 2018
  • Stand down. Binary star system is not about to explode

    A 2017 prediction of twin-star self-destruction turns out to be based on a 20 year-old mistake. A...

    A typographical error has been blamed for a spectacular 2017 prediction that the stars comprising a binary system 180...

    September 10, 2018
  • Starlings go tweet

    Twitter could be useful in monitoring animal behaviour.

    Forget Big Brother – it turns out Big Scientist is watching you, but it’s all in the name of ecological research. In...

    September 9, 2018
  • The mathematics of mass extinction

    Biodiversity catastrophes can be understood as emergent properties, researchers find. Andrew Mast...

    With the exception of the asteroid-induced Cretaceous–Paleogene event 66 million years ago, mass extinctions tend not...

    September 9, 2018
  • Milk and mucous is fake news

    The idea dairy makes colds worse has no evidential basis.

    The twelfth century Egyptian court physician Moses Maimonides has a lot to answer for. Before his death in 1204 he wr...

    September 9, 2018
  • Saturn’s hexagon may tower to the stratosphere

    New findings based on Cassini data paint a stunning picture of the planet. Andrew Masterson reports.

    An enormous hexagonal high altitude vortex above Saturn’s northern pole – captured by the international Cassini missi...

    September 9, 2018
  • Meet the bat bot

    New design for autonomous robot takes its inspiration from bat echo-location. Andrew Masterson re...

    Israeli researchers have designed a new type of robot with a navigation system that mimics the echo-location abilitie...

    September 6, 2018
  • As glaciers retreat, tsunamis may increase

    Alaskan case study uncovers how glacial melt causes landslides into deep water bodies. Andrew Mas...

    In 2015, ice melting at the leading edge of the Tyndall Glacier in Alaska triggered a landslide which sent 180 millio...

    September 6, 2018
  • Early industrial complex was built for sailors, not locals

    A large Roman water-mill collection in France didn’t supply its adjacent city, as assumed. Andrew...

    A Roman water-mill located in what is likely to be one of the earliest industrial complexes in human history was not,...

    September 5, 2018
  • Europeans have been eating cheese for a while

    Pottery analysis pushes back date of dairy processing.

    People in the Mediterranean region were making cheese at least 7200 years ago, new research shows. Analysis of fatty...

    September 5, 2018
  • For the elderly, ignoring food marketing is easy

    Relationship between portions and consumption breaks down.

    A marketing trick notorious for its ability to prompt children to eat more food than is healthy fails to work at the ...

    September 5, 2018
  • Elks on the horns of a dilemma

    Timing is key in mating and surviving wolf attacks,

    For male American elks, shedding their antlers each year is a process fraught with risk and opportunity – and achievi...

    September 4, 2018
  • DNA-writers promise precise molecular monitoring – and the rehabilitation of Lamarck

    MIT review suggests using modified DNA to create living biosensors and to direct high-speed evolu...

    Exploiting the information-storage capacity of DNA will soon revolutionise medicine and basic research, according to ...

    September 4, 2018
  • Causality disappears at the flick of a switch

    Researchers demonstrate superpositions using a device comprising a single atom. Andrew Masterson ...

    Scientists have succeeded in observing one of the strangest predictions of quantum theory – the breakdown of causalit...

    September 3, 2018
  • New findings confirm that Bronze Age Babylonians really loved beer

    Chemical analyses finds Mesopotamian brewing was widespread, and quaffing styles were more varied...

    The ancient Mesopotamians really didn’t mind a beer, new chemical analysis has shown.Many Bronze Age textual and pict...

    September 2, 2018
  • Prehistoric Sicily was an early source of amber

    Artefacts from Spain point to three-way trade with North Africa. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Baltic amber – fossilised tree sap from Norway – has been known as a valuable item traded in Europe since the second ...

    September 2, 2018
  • Modelling finds water-world exoplanets stay stable long enough for life to take hold

    Geophysicists find that Earth-like gas cycling is not a precondition for ET. Andrew Masterson rep...

    Hot on the heels of recent research suggesting “water worlds” may be abundant across the universe comes a new study t...

    September 2, 2018
  • The mathematics of malaria

    Modelling the success of new strains of the deadly disease produced surprising results. Andrew Ma...

    One of the big mysteries surrounding malaria is why drug-resistant strains of the mosquito-borne disease tend to emer...

    August 30, 2018
  • How to scout a cosmic monster

    A distant galaxy is making stars at a truly astronomical rate.

    A gigantic galaxy 12.4 billion light years from Earth is forming stars at 1000 times the rate of the Milky Way and is...

    August 30, 2018
  • “Proto-mammal” had 38 babies

    A fossilised mother and young reveals a crucial step in the evolution of mammals. Andrew Masterso...

    The discovery of a fossilised Jurassic era proto-mammal, complete with a clutch of newborn young, is helping evolutio...

    August 29, 2018
  • Global firearm statistics paint shocking picture

    Non-combat-related gun deaths constitute a major public health challenge, researchers say. Andrew...

    More than 37,000 people died as the result of firearm incidents in the US in 2016, most of them homicides, a worldwid...

    August 29, 2018
  • Tattoos found on ancient Egyptian mummies

    Skin art rewrites understanding of body decoration before the age of the pharaohs. Andrew Masters...

    Some of the oldest tattoos ever known have been identified on the shoulders of Egyptian mummies dating back more than...

    August 29, 2018
  • Revealed: The wasps that killed the flies, millions of years ago

    New imaging expands the fossil record for Paleogene parasites. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Parasitic insects are vanishingly rare in the fossil record, which means that the evolution of parasitism as a surviv...

    August 29, 2018
  • Cities drive natural selection

    Evolutionary biologists refute that cities are “anti-life”.

    The same evolutionary mechanisms identified 150 years ago by Charles Darwin are active within the world’s great citie...

    August 26, 2018
  • The lost harbour of Pisa revealed

    The key to Roman mercantile power turned into a lake more than 500 years ago. Now, researchers th...

    The “lost harbour” of the Italian city of Pisa has been located, researchers say.For more than 1000 years, across the...

    August 23, 2018
  • Regular daily alcohol intake best for heart

    Going dry for short periods boosts the risk of heart disease.

    Giving up the booze – even temporarily – results in an increased risk of developing coronary heart disease (CHD), a r...

    August 22, 2018
  • This is not an aurora

    Mysterious light is an entirely new celestial phenomenon. Andrew Masterson reports.

    A mysterious light in the sky has been found not to be an aurora, confounding the conclusions of many astronomers. Wh...

    August 21, 2018
  • The curious case of the buried whetstones

    Why did people at the fringe of the Roman empire put sharpening stones beneath their houses? Two ...

    In recent years, archaeologists excavating the faint remnants of wooden buildings built in the late first century CE ...

    August 20, 2018
  • Egyptian mummification pushed back 1500 years

    Italian museum provides evidence of earlier preservation.

    The ancient Egyptians were chemically embalming corpses some 1500 years earlier than previously thought, stunning new...

    August 15, 2018
  • New coral age estimate hints at recovery hope

    Coral and algae have been combining forces to build reefs.

    The symbiotic relationship between corals and micro-algae is much older and more robust than previously thought – a f...

    August 12, 2018
  • Some chickens really are peculiar

    Poultry shows more skull size variation than ancestors.

    It’s official. Crested chickens – those breeds which sport mop-tops and always look like they’ve been to a hairdresse...

    August 12, 2018
  • Worm’s glow-in-the-dark secrets revealed

    The Bermuda fireworm puts on a display twice a year.

    One of the most entrancing sights in the natural world is that of Bermuda fireworms feeling randy. The worms (Odonto...

    August 8, 2018
  • Geoengineering method found wanting

    A proposal to reflect away incoming solar radiation may result in food supply disasters. Andrew M...

    Proponents of geoengineering as a way to mitigate the effects of global warming have been dealt a blow, with a study ...

    August 8, 2018
  • Earth may soon become “inhospitable to current human societies”

    Major study identified thresholds and tipping points that could trigger environmental disaster, e...

    The world could be approaching a “planetary threshold” which, if passed, will turn it into a hothouse, with temperatu...

    August 6, 2018
  • Foxy researchers identify gene for tameness

    Experiment started more than 50 years ago starts to produce results.

    The world’s oldest, and perhaps only, colony of friendly foxes may have revealed the gene driving tameness – a discov...

    August 6, 2018
  • Getting to the point of ancient spears

    A museum piece provides the basis for a new examination of ancient metallurgy, providing new glim...

    In 1893, a man called László Pokorny, a collector of curios, walked into the Hungarian National Museum in Budapest an...

    August 5, 2018
  • Simple organisms not so simple, after all

    Living blobs without left-right symmetry revealed to be more diverse than thought. Andrew Masters...

    An organism long held to be the simplest on Earth has turned out to be rather more complex than thought.Placozoans ar...

    August 1, 2018
  • Journal’s claims over Shroud of Turin retracted

    Editors call research integrity into question.

    A peer-reviewed journal paper that claimed to show the Shroud of Turin was originally wrapped around a man who had su...

    July 22, 2018
  • Brightest early galaxy not so early after all

    Reassessment likely to prompt revision of the universe’s first billion years. Andrew Masterson re...

    A distant galaxy thought to have been the brightest ever found in the early universe has been revealed as a fraud, re...

    July 19, 2018
  • Neptune, as you’ve never seen it

    A beefed-up telescope promises much-improved images for astronomers. Andrew Masterson reports.

    A new optics system fitted to the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile’s Atacama Deser...

    July 19, 2018
  • Ditch religion to boost prosperity, study finds

    Statistics reveal that secularisation precedes economic growth. Andrew Masterson reports.

    A 1925 poster by Russian artist Dmitry Moor portraying religious belief as a driver of enslavement.GHI / Universal Hi...

    July 18, 2018
  • Autonomous and cooperating: the dawn of the drone swarm

    Real-world experiments find a solution to the problem of drones working together without supervis...

    Robotics researchers have succeeded in inducing self-organising flocking behaviour in drones.Although demonstrated ma...

    July 18, 2018
  • Ancient American farmers supplemented poor diet through fungus infection

    Eating only maize leads to disease, and why the Basketmaker II people didn’t fall ill has long be...

    A mystery concerning how some of North America’s first farmers survived on a diet that appears manifestly inadequate ...

    July 18, 2018
  • Sub-fertile men should seek help in booze

    Study finds moderate drinking is linked to better outcomes.

    Men having trouble conceiving could help their cause by hitting the bottle – but not too hard – Italian research reve...

    July 18, 2018
  • Humanoid robots set to take over hospital lab

    The revival of a century-old play provides entertaining focus on the ethics of building organs to...

    In a wonderful collision between science, science-fiction and art, actors and researchers from the BioFab3D laborator...

    July 18, 2018
  • Japan’s love affair with fish began very early

    Analyses show the use of ceramics was strongly linked to processing fish. Andrew Masterson reports.

    In Japan the rapid spread 11,000 years ago of a key new technology – pottery – was driven almost entirely by the need...

    July 17, 2018
  • Seaweed busts Antarctica isolation theory

    Long distances and seas are no barrier to exotic species.

    Clumps of kelp found in Antarctica floated more than 20,000 kilometres to reach their destination, researchers have r...

    July 16, 2018
  • Meet Australia’s newest snake

    Now there’s another species that could kill you.

    A newly discovered species of snake adds to Australia’s already impressive collection of native venomous creatures. ...

    July 16, 2018
  • Olfactory receptors are nothing to sniff at

    Proteins essential to smelling are found throughout the body – but their function remains mysteri...

    Proteins in the nose that bind to odorants, facilitating the sense of smell, are also found in many other parts of th...

    July 15, 2018
  • Kip Thorne and the email that foreshadowed his Nobel Prize

    After a lifetime hunt, the theoretical physicist was part of the team that made the first detecti...

    Although not a property exclusive to human beings, the ability to delay gratification is nevertheless a foundational ...

    July 12, 2018
  • Out of Africa, into China

    Tools discovery pushes back hominin migration, calling current theories into question. Andrew Mas...

    The timing of hominin dispersal out of Africa needs to be re-examined, according to a team of Chinese archaeologists ...

    July 11, 2018
  • Quantum dots show promise for Parkinson’s treatment

    Nanotech intervention disrupts characteristic rogue protein growth. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Nanotechnology may provide an effective treatment for Parkinson’s disease, a team of researchers suggests.The scienti...

    July 10, 2018
  • Why do zebras have stripes?

    Clever testing narrows the possible solutions,

    There are, according to a team of researchers from Eötvös Loránd University in Hungary, “as many as 18 theories for t...

    July 10, 2018
  • Sexual assault warnings increase victim blaming

    Telling women where to go and how to dress does nothing to protect them.

    Sexual assault prevention information that focusses on advising women how to behave and dress leads to an increase in...

    July 10, 2018
  • Target for menopause relief indentified

    Researchers find mechanism that governs temperature.

    Researchers have discovered a neurological target that may lead to the development of a medication to control a commo...

    July 10, 2018
  • The Stonehenge dead tell their stories

    Several different analyses reveal the lives of ancient skeletons buried near England’s most famou...

    Quite why the child left central Europe around 1500 BCE and travelled to the southern chalklands of England will be f...

    July 9, 2018
  • More than one way to make a giant dino

    Argentinian fossils reveal an alternative evolutionary route to large body size. Andrew Masterson...

    Newly described fossils challenge the conventional view regarding the biomechanics necessary for the evolution of wel...

    July 9, 2018
  • Genitalia study cancelled after media response

    A project is dropped after things turn bizarre.

    This is why we can’t have nice things. A sociologist at Missouri State University in the US has been forced to close ...

    July 9, 2018
  • A giant sausage once crashed into the Milky Way

    Satellite data finds evidence that a major collision determined the shape of the Milky Way. Andre...

    Around about 10 billion years ago the Milky Way collided with a small sausage-shaped galaxy in a titanic event that d...

    July 8, 2018
  • Prison experiment conclusions “untenable”

    One of the world’s most famous psychology experiments was poorly designed.

    One of the most famous psychology experiments of all time – the Stanford Prison Experiment – was deeply flawed and it...

    July 8, 2018
  • Einstein’s universal freefall confirmed using a neutron star

    The theory of general relativity passes yet another large-scale test. Andrew Masterson reports.

    The fundamental principle at the base of Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity – that all objects in freefall accel...

    July 5, 2018
  • Early hominid tot had ape-like feet

    Analysis challenges assumption that Australopithecus was bipedal from birth. Andrew Masterson rep...

    The long-standing theory that Australopithecus afarensis, one of humanity’s earliest hominid ancestors, was exclusive...

    July 5, 2018
  • Edward Teller: the father of the H-bomb

    Edward Teller’s love of mathematical and quantum abstractions helped make armageddon a practical ...

    The words on the telegram sent by Edward Teller in December 1952 appeared to herald life-affirming news: “It’s a boy....

    July 3, 2018
  • Tattoos not a turn-off in emergency doctors

    Most patients are not influenced by body art.

    To test whether patients in distress and fear were adversely affected by the appearance of the emergency room doctor ...

    July 2, 2018
  • Finding a fragile fridge magnet, 170,000 light years away

    Astronomers have measured the magnetic field of a recent supernova. Andrew Masterson reports.

    A magnetic field 50,000 times weaker than that of a fridge magnet has been detected across a distance of 1.6 million ...

    July 1, 2018
  • Meet Alien, the wasp

    Newly discovered species bears similarities to famous monster.

    It has been suggested that the fearsome double-jawed, acid-dripping creature that stars in the wildly successful Alie...

    June 27, 2018
  • Researchers solve fossil croc mystery

    Confusion over genetic and fossil data has now been sorted.

    Assumptions about the evolutionary descent of a type of crocodile found in India have been shown to be false after re...

    June 26, 2018
  • City bees do better than country bees

    Pollinators have more success in built-up areas.

    Wild bees do better in cities and suburbs than farmland, according to new research. The finding has implication for t...

    June 26, 2018
  • How many astronauts do you need to reach Proxima Centauri b?

    Modelling suggests humanity’s first crewed voyage to an exoplanet will require a keen appreciatio...

    One day, at least if science fiction novelists and dreamers are to be believed, humankind will set sail for planets o...

    June 26, 2018
  • Reprint of deleted pro-colonialism paper sparks free speech debate

    Does academic freedom trump outrage over repellent views? A political scientist’s essay seems set...

    The republication of a highly controversial journal paper that last year prompted death threats and mass resignations...

    June 26, 2018
  • The dope on the Donald: chronic opioid use associated with Trump support

    Study backs findings that poor public health and substance use coincided with Republican vote shi...

    A substantial proportion of votes for Donald Trump in the 2016 US presidential election came from areas with high rat...

    June 25, 2018
  • Vegetarian diet may imperil animals

    Assessments of animal welfare link with fear of non-meat diets.

    The increasing popularity of vegetarian and vegan diets may be putting the lives of animals at greater risk, research...

    June 24, 2018
  • Bigger clothes may lead to increase in obesity

    Moves to promote positive body images may increase obesity.

    The introduction of plus-size clothing ranges is leading to an increase in plus-size people, research from England su...

    June 24, 2018
  • Ancient brewing was not a Hittite or miss process

    Research finds 4000-year-old Anatolian beer was very likely delicious. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Beer-makers in the ancient Hittite empire – which centred on Anatolia in modern Turkey – carefully controlled their b...

    June 24, 2018
  • Horses know when something’s amiss

    Study suggests the animals are smarter than we think.

    Horses, it seems, may have a sense of the incongruous. Research led by cognitive scientist Kosuke Nakamura from the ...

    June 24, 2018
  • New gibbon species found in Chinese tomb

    Noblewoman’s tomb contained an ape unknown to science.

    A previously unknown, extinct species of gibbon has been found in the most unlikely of places – the 2300-year-old tom...

    June 21, 2018
  • New blood test set to help murder detectives

    Proof-of-concept shows the age of victim can be ascertained even if the body is missing. Andrew M...

    It’s a stalwart part of police procedural novels and television shows, not to mention real investigations. The cops g...

    June 20, 2018
  • Renaissance toilet investigation dung and dusted

    Latrines sealed under an ancient road provide clues to Danish diet and health. Andrew Masterson r...

    Two seventeenth century wine barrels full of human dung have provided valuable clues to the diet, and dietary health,...

    June 20, 2018
  • Mars mystery revealed as massive volcanic deposit

    Rock formation is the largest yet found in the solar system. Andrew Masterson reports.

    A mysterious Martian rock formation one-fifth the size of the continental United States is likely the largest explosi...

    June 20, 2018
  • An ancient fish with a nose for business

    Skull reconstruction reveals a very odd discovery. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Australian palaeontologists have reconstructed a pair of fragmented 400-million-year-old fossil skulls and made a rem...

    June 19, 2018
  • Stop looking for ET

    Modelling suggests we’re alone in the universe.

    Despite the small matter of lack of evidence, most astrophysicists and cosmologists today are persuaded that extra-te...

    June 19, 2018
  • Scottish tattoo gets noticed for all the wrong reasons

    In a unique case, a woman discovers that skin ink can result in a very, very long recovery. Andre...

    When the woman presented at the Glasgow rheumatology clinic a couple of years ago complaining of severe leg pain, the...

    June 18, 2018
  • Infant planets orbit very young star

    Independently, two teams find evidence of planet formation around the same star. Andrew Masterson...

    Astrophysicists from Australia’s Monash University have made a world-first discovery, identifying for the first time ...

    June 17, 2018
  • Could cyanobacteria terraform Mars?

    That blue-green algae has implications for astrobiology.

    The bacteria that 3.5 billion years ago were largely responsible for the creation of a breathable atmosphere on Earth...

    June 17, 2018
  • Together in death, early victims of plague

    Analysis identifies oldest known toxic version of plague.

    Bubonic plague, the lethal, virulent bacterium behind the Justinian Plague and the Black Death, emerged in humans abo...

    June 11, 2018
  • Almost half marine gene patents held by one company

    Study reveals huge inequalities, dangers in genetic ownership of ocean life. Andrew Masterson rep...

    Just under 13,000 genetic sequences derived from 862 marine species have been patented – 47% of them by a single comp...

    June 10, 2018
  • Sour tastes make people push the boundaries

    One of the five basic tastes induces risky actions.

    Experiencing a sour taste in the mouth is strongly linked to risk-taking behaviour, a new study shows. In a paper pu...

    June 7, 2018
  • How to build a space elevator

    A shift in thinking makes massive megastructure more manageable.

    The idea of a space elevator has long been a staple of science fiction, and the subject of very real feasibility stud...

    June 5, 2018
  • Agriculture arose from surplus, not hunger

    Modelling finds common cause for domestication.

    Modelling historical population densities around the globe between 21,000 and 4000 years ago explains the origins of ...

    June 5, 2018
  • Half-billion-year-old baby had big teeth

    The tiny offspring of a metre-long arthropod was an active predator. Andrew Masterson reports.

    During the Cambrian period, some 500 million years ago, the peak ocean predators were members of a group of invertebr...

    June 4, 2018
  • Rat poison detected in recreational drug

    Alert issued after lethal compound found.

    More than 150 people have been hospitalised and four have died in the US after ingesting synthetic cannabinoids laced...

    June 3, 2018
  • It’s official: the 1960s were the best

    Dutch data discovers the decade of Dylan and The Doors delivered. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Gen-Xers and Millennials weary of listening to older folk bang on about how the Sixties were the pinnacle of human ac...

    June 3, 2018
  • The stars next door

    New imaging reveals the majesty of the galaxy next door. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Say hello to the neighbours. The European Southern Observatory (ESO) has released a stunning new image of the Tarantu...

    June 3, 2018
  • Scientists call for urgent action on insecticides

    More than 200 researchers sign letter calling for ban.

    Continued applications of the most widely used insecticides in the world must be urgently restricted, say 233 scienti...

    May 31, 2018
  • Volcanic study finds coral changes in high CO₂

    Large-scale experiment off Papua New Guinea suggests reefs will look very different under global ...

    Scientists have been growing coral next to volcanic vents to test the effects of increased levels of marine carbon di...

    May 30, 2018
  • Life returned to asteroid crater “within years”

    Chicxulub ecosystem recovered remarkably quickly, astounding researchers. Andrew Masterson reports.

    “Life, uh, finds a way,” said the character of Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) in the 1993 movie Jurassic Park.It’s a lin...

    May 30, 2018
  • Kim Kardashian writes paper for drug design journal

    The social media star teams up with Bitcoin inventor to produce a truly memorable research report...

    Kim Kardashian has many accomplishments to her name, but perhaps this is the most important yet: she is now lead auth...

    May 29, 2018
  • Over our heads: model recalculates the innings and outings of rain-affected cricket

    Mathematicians provide a new method for making cricket fairer, if not more interesting. Andrew Ma...

    To people and cultures unfamiliar with it, the game of cricket can appear baffling, baroque and, well, boring.But tha...

    May 29, 2018
  • Most popular vitamins have no effect

    Meta-analysis finds tablets do neither good or harm.

    A review of the most commonly consumed vitamin and mineral supplements has found that most neither heighten nor lower...

    May 28, 2018
  • OMG ET, we’re coming to kill you

    Physicist solves Fermi’s Paradox – but you won’t like the answer. Andrew Masterson reports.

    The human race is doomed never to find extraterrestrial life, because we are about to wipe it all out in a manner tha...

    May 28, 2018
  • Magnetism: and then there were four

    Discovery opens the door to a new computer device design. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Ruthenium, the element that sits at number 44 on the periodic table, has been discovered to be magnetic at room tempe...

    May 28, 2018
  • Stranger things: young mongooses learn from unrelated adults

    Cultural inheritance edges out genetics for African mammal. Andrew Masterson reports.

    When it comes to mongooses, nurture is definitely more important than nature. A newly published study reveals that yo...

    May 27, 2018
  • Sales volume: music influences food choices

    Study shows loud and quiet soundtracks influence healthy meal picks. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Songs by Ed Sheeran, Van Morrison, Janet Jackson and German heavy metal band The Scorpions have been deployed to test...

    May 27, 2018
  • Aussie animals confound archaeologists

    Identifying species from bite-mark evidence turns out to be a thankless task. Andrew Masterson re...

    One of the often difficult jobs faced by archaeologists is working out what’s been chewing on the finds.Collections o...

    May 27, 2018
  • Mechanics of pesticide-Parkinson’s link revealed

    A genetic mutation massively increases risk for agrochemical exposure. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Even very low levels of exposure to some common agricultural chemicals can boost the risk of Parkinson’s disease, acc...

    May 27, 2018
  • Nanotech could be the saviour of Old Masters

    A two-pronged approach offers an alternative to current painting conservation methods. Andrew Mas...

    Nanotechnology may be the key to extending the life of paintings, research shows.Much of the world’s cultural heritag...

    May 27, 2018
  • How to get to Mars without going mad

    The psychological dangers of long-haul space flights.

    The technological challenges involved in sending a crewed mission to Mars are daunting, but new research highlights t...

    May 24, 2018
  • Each extra junk food advert means 350 extra calories

    UK review finds direct link between food intake and advertising exposure. Andrew Masterson reports.

    This is why junk food advertising during television shows aimed at young people is considered by many nutritionists t...

    May 24, 2018
  • New York could get by with fewer big yellow taxis

    More than one-third of big city taxi fleets are surplus to requirements, modelling shows. Andrew ...

    Uber be damned. One of the most iconic sights for visitors to New York City is the vast numbers of yellow taxis that ...

    May 23, 2018
  • The 10 best new species of the year

    US college releases its annual list of the bold, the beautiful, and the just plain weird. Andrew ...

    And the winners are …The SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, New York, US, every year rel...

    May 23, 2018
  • Using a cosmic flashlight to illuminate dark galaxies

    Astronomers report possible sightings of gas-filled galaxies that might explain star formation. A...

    Astronomers have used the intense ultraviolet light emitted by quasars to potentially identify six mysterious “dark g...

    May 23, 2018
  • Biodegradable plastic bags may be major pollutants

    Review finds evidence to justify “greener” shopping bags is absent. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Moves in many jurisdictions around the world to ban the use of single-use plastic bags are laudable, but if the repla...

    May 22, 2018
  • Thriller! Michael Jackson revealed as an inventor

    Neurosurgeons uncover the secret of the star’s seemingly impossible dance move. Andrew Masterson ...

    The late entertainer Michael Jackson is rightly credited for his substantial contributions to popular music, pop cult...

    May 22, 2018
  • Spider glue resolves sticky problem

    The way spiders function in humid conditions provides clues for better commercial adhesives. Andr...

    Molecular-level insight into how spiders make glue that works in humid conditions could provide clues for better perf...

    May 22, 2018
  • Quantum photosynthesis

    Experiments confirm super-positions occur in light-harvesting bacteria. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Biological systems exhibit the same quantum effects as non-biological ones, according to scientists who identified su...

    May 22, 2018
  • Giant cloned worms are invading France

    Carnivorous planarians as long as a child’s arm have been colonising France for 20 years, unseen ...

    For the past 20 years, towns in southwestern France have been invaded by giant cloned flatworms, and no one noticed.A...

    May 22, 2018
  • Religion and delusion determine fake news belief

    US study finds reduced modes of thinking underpin how people accept absurd explanations. Andrew M...

    One of the more mystifying aspects of Donald Trump’s presidency may have been explained, by a team of economists and ...

    May 21, 2018
  • Five species of giant salamander revealed. All going extinct

    Poaching and commercial breeding appear to be dooming the world’s largest amphibians. Andrew Mast...

    The largest amphibian in the world – the two-metre-long Chinese giant salamander (Andrias davidianus) – is not one sp...

    May 21, 2018
  • Robots are making tiny human organs

    AI combined with stem cells promises a faster approach to disease prevention. Andrew Masterson re...

    At first thought, it sounds like something straight from a science-fiction dystopian novel. Right now, while you read...

    May 20, 2018
  • Going to pot: how a single artefact reveals life in the Bronze Age

    Exploring the “micro-history” of a broken container yields surprising insight into life thousands...

    Perhaps it became a treasured family heirloom, or perhaps it was simply cheaper to repair than replace, but chemical ...

    May 20, 2018
  • Inside every proton, 10 neutron stars

    World-first measurement of quark force invites revolution in particle physics. Andrew Masterson r...

    The pressure inside a single proton is enormously greater than that found inside a neutron star, according to the fir...

    May 17, 2018
  • Findings challenge standard theory for continental iron content

    Rocks from deep in the Earth’s crust suggest new insight into tectonics and volcanoes. Andrew Mas...

    The iron content of rocks beneath the ocean is on average a bit more than those on, or beneath, the continents – and ...

    May 17, 2018
  • Unknown source ramps up ozone-destroying CFC production

    Modelling shows CFC decline has slowed – and no one knows why. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Alarming findings published in the journal Nature seem set to trigger a global hunt for a hidden production plant tha...

    May 16, 2018
  • Search for Martian life switches to English seaside

    Extremophile action in an acidic stream may be an analogue for extinct Martian microbes. Andrew M...

    Famous for its lush green valleys and quaint villages, the English county of Dorset – home once to the great novelist...

    May 16, 2018
  • Linked artificial cells ignites promise for synthetic biology

    Researchers succeed in joining cells using miniature tractor beams. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Researchers have succeeded in linking together artificial cells, paving the way for new types of chemical catalysts a...

    May 16, 2018
  • How to write a hit song

    Analysis shows that charting singles are systematically different to less successful offerings. A...

    If you want to write a hit song then make sure it is happy, hits a party vibe, is not likely to relax listeners, and ...

    May 15, 2018
  • Snails’ trace: scientists transfer memories between molluscs

    US research offers clues to the nature of the mysterious engram. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Scientists have been able to transfer a memory from one snail to another, providing a tantalising clue to the answer ...

    May 15, 2018
  • US researcher disciplined for using her own blood in research almost 100 times

    A cancer scientist claimed samples were from community members, but it turns out they were all he...

    A US cancer researcher pretended that she had extracted blood samples from nearly 100 people when in reality they wer...

    May 15, 2018
  • Manhattan Project: Australian physicist alerted Britain to US secrecy plan

    Document reveals that atomic bomb researcher bridled at American intentions for nuclear research,...

    An Australian-born scientist who was part of the Manhattan Project risked his liberty to tip off the British that the...

    May 14, 2018
  • Multiverse theory cops a blow after dark energy findings

    The question of dark energy in one universe does not require others to provide an answer. Andrew ...

    A hypothetical multiverse seems less likely after modelling by researchers in Australia and the UK threw one of its k...

    May 14, 2018
  • Lethal frog fungus may have originated in Korea

    Genetic analysis supports evidence that global trade spread the fungus that threatens amphibians ...

    A lethal and rapidly spreading fungus that is devastating amphibian populations across the globe may have originated ...

    May 10, 2018
  • Revealed: the weak charge of a proton

    New measurement limits search for as-yet-undiscovered fundamental particles. Andrew Masterson rep...

    For the first time, scientists have succeeded in measuring the strength of the weak nuclear force operating between a...

    May 9, 2018
  • Got a quantum problem? Throw gamers at it

    A worldwide 12-hour video game session provides strong evidence to support the central tenets of ...

    Human beings are pretty terrible at making up random number strands, but so are mechanical or computational random nu...

    May 9, 2018
  • The secret of solar sails

    Solar sails could let spacecraft take a free ride on the solar wind, writes Andrew Masterson.

    Star Wars tragics will of course be aware that solar sails are deployed on several spacecraft in George Lucas’s ficti...

    May 8, 2018
  • A dozen eggs a week no health risk, researchers say

    Year-long study finds no link between egg intake and diabetes risk. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Eating as many as a dozen eggs a week as part of a healthy diet carries no adverse risks for people with pre-diabetes...

    May 7, 2018
  • Huge rock mounds may have been made by a giant extinct bird

    More than 1000 of the mounds are not geologic in origin, a researcher suggests. Andrew Masterson ...

    The mystery behind hundreds of large gravel mounds in inland Australia may have been solved – with an otherwise unkno...

    May 7, 2018
  • Eating rattlesnake pills not recommended

    Reports of salmonella cases from alleged ‘natural’ cancer cure.

    Self-evidently, you might think, there are several reasons why it is not a good idea to take pills made from pulveris...

    May 6, 2018
  • Veganising kimchi doesn’t change its probiotic contents

    A popular fermented food is just as good with fish sauce swapped for miso. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Kimchi, the traditional Korean fermented cabbage dish with a growing reputation for probiotic goodness, has always be...

    May 3, 2018
  • Find pushes back hominin arrival in the Philippines seven hundred thousand years

    Archaeologists unearth tools and bones that rewrite the settlement history of the region. Andrew ...

    The discovery of stone tools near the skeleton of a long-extinct rhinoceros has pushed back evidence for hominin sett...

    May 3, 2018
  • French bulldogs not as robust as they look, study finds

    The breed is very popular but prone to several health problems. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Walk along any chic inner-suburban street and it soon becomes clear that French bulldogs are very much the new black ...

    May 3, 2018
  • Saunas linked to lower stroke risk

    15 year study suggests Finnish saunas might be good for good for you. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Taking a Finnish-style sauna several times a week may lower the risk of stroke, according to research in the journal ...

    May 2, 2018
  • Neanderthals produced symbolic art, research suggests

    Grooves on an ancient piece of flint might have been made intentionally to encode information. An...

    Grooves etched 35,000 years ago into a piece of flint provide strong evidence that Neanderthals practiced representat...

    May 2, 2018
  • Maths researchers find the rules that govern how cells work

    Beneath the complexity of protein communications lurk surprisingly simple principles. Andrew Mast...

    For the first time, the ability of proteins within a cell to work together as a complex and strong network has been d...

    May 2, 2018
  • “Sexy nurses” in gambling venues prompt academic outcry

    A major journal is in hot water after publishing a study by researchers accused of sexism and dis...

    A paper examining community responses to health services, published in a prestigious UK medical journal, has caused a...

    May 1, 2018
  • Damselflies dismiss distress

    Research shows the insect is superbly adapted to coping with change – unlike some other species. ...

    Damselflies in Sweden are evolving rapidly to adapt to changing climatic conditions, and, far from being knocked abou...

    May 1, 2018
  • Urban fish evolve to diverge from their country cousins

    Human activity can be a driver of evolutionary adaptation. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Urbanisation is driving rapid evolutionary responses in some wild species of fish, researchers have found.In a paper ...

    May 1, 2018
  • Magnetic apocalypse downgraded

    Modelling suggests that the Earth’s magnetic field won’t be flipping any time soon. Andrew Master...

    In 2018, UK tabloid newspaper The Sun ran a very disturbing story. “The Earth’s magnetic poles could be about to flip...

    April 30, 2018
  • Butterfly wing inspires nanotech glaucoma sensor

    Eye implant offers hope for tackling the second leading cause of blindness. Andrew Masterson repo...

    Nanostructures that give a species of butterfly almost perfectly transparent wings  have inspired the proof-of-concep...

    April 30, 2018
  • Excavations reveal 3000-year-old horse

    Discovery prompts rethink of the status of animals in the shadow of the Egyptian empire. Andrew M...

    A 3000-year-old skeleton reveals that horses were held to be noble and important animals in what is now Sudan.The vir...

    April 29, 2018
  • In your dreams: vitamin B6 boosts recall

    Taking a vitamin before bed may help you remember your dreams – but there are drawbacks. Andrew M...

    If you want to recall your dreams when you wake in the morning, take a vitamin B6 tablet before you go to bed.That’s ...

    April 29, 2018
  • Tracing back enzyme evolution

    Australian scientists have succeeded in recreating long-extinct proteins and linking them to thei...

    A model of the enzyme cyclohexadienyl dehydratase. It's ancestry has now been revealed.RCSB.orgScientists have succee...

    April 29, 2018
  • Upright walking substantially predates modern humans

    Research reveals that our ancestors used full bipedalism millions of years earlier than thought. ...

    Ancient hominins were walking in a decidedly “human-like” manner some three million years before Homo sapiens evolved...

    April 25, 2018
  • When it comes to making a dagger, human bones are best

    Analysis of tribal weapons finds strength and status are both important. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Daggers made from human femurs make better weapons and convey greater prestige than ones made from bird bones.That’s ...

    April 24, 2018
  • Period pain and alcohol linked

    Pre-menstrual syndrome could be triggered by drinking.

    The unpleasant symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) may be linked to alcohol consumption, according to a new analy...

    April 24, 2018
  • Destination: flay school

    A bizarre, fascinating and all-too-real exhibition of death awaits in suburban Paris.

    MUSEUM - Le Musée Fragonard d'Alfort, Maisons-Alfort, France.For several decades now German anatomist Gunther von Hag...

    April 24, 2018
  • Artificial pancreas offers improved treatment for diabetes

    Literature review finds AI systems are better than injections. Andrew Masterson reports.

    An artificial pancreas delivers better outcomes or people with type 1 diabetes than manual injections, according to a...

    April 22, 2018
  • Soon the largest creature on Earth will be a cow

    In today's world, big animals run the greatest risk of extinction.

    In a couple of hundred years the largest animal walking on land may well be a cow, new modelling predicts. A paper p...

    April 19, 2018
  • Sexually frustrated fruit flies turn to alcohol

    Scientists establish a link between neurological reward and compensatory drinking. Andrew Masters...

    Genetically engineered male fruit flies gain immense pleasure from ejaculating while hanging about in a red-light dis...

    April 19, 2018
  • Ants turn into suicide bombers

    High up in rainforests live insects that turn to self-sacrifice to protect their colony. Andrew M...

    Scientists have discovered a new species of ant that boasts a remarkable defence mechanism. When threatened, it explo...

    April 19, 2018
  • Invertebrates inspire next-gen warfare

    The American military is embracing the flexible potential of soft robotics. Andrew Masterson repo...

    The US Army’s next generation of battle robots might not take inspiration from humanoid prototypes such as Atlas, dev...

    April 18, 2018
  • Is it a plant? Is it a squid? No, it’s a dead fish

    After 70 years a mysterious fossil has at last been correctly identified. Andrew Masterson reports.

    The oldest squid in the fossil record has turned out to be a fish.A paper in the Journal of Palaeontology addresses t...

    April 18, 2018
  • Optimism in chickens isn’t just black and white. It’s grey, too

    Swedish research tests emotional resilience in the birds, with lessons for animal welfare. Andrew...

    The degree of optimism a chicken experiences in its day-to-day life depends on the complexity of its environment, new...

    April 18, 2018
  • Fossil pushes back whale evolution

    New Zealand find represents the oldest baleen whale ever discovered. Andrew Masterson reports.

    The world’s oldest known baleen whale has been identified from a fossil found in New Zealand.Baleen whales, which com...

    April 17, 2018
  • Cropping, population boost carbon sinks

    Sustained decline in wildfire activity leads to increase in greenhouse gas stored in the ground, ...

    Research into the effect of wildfires on global warming has delivered a “good news/bad news/good news” result.The fir...

    April 17, 2018
  • Taking the pulse of the ancient world

    Geologists find a region that pre-dates plate tectonics. Andrew Masterson reports.

    A region of extreme geological stability in a remote part of Australia has been found to contain rocks so ancient the...

    April 17, 2018
  • Atacama skeleton research prompts anger and ethics concerns

    The handling of strange 15-centimetre human remains was motivated more by publicity than science,...

    A recent paper identifying a much talked-about 15-centimetre skeleton as human has come under fire from other researc...

    April 17, 2018
  • Cleaning product toxins found in crops

    Researchers study how pepper plants absorb common antimicrobial found in personal care items. And...

    It’s all a matter of language, in the end. Take toiletries: what the manufacturers might term “personal care products...

    April 11, 2018
  • Man enters chilli-eating contest. Chilli wins

    Medical journal reveals the folly of doing battle with little red fruits. Andrew Masterson reports.

    As readers who have had the dubious pleasure of watching combative cooking-themed television shows such as Man v. Foo...

    April 9, 2018
  • Finger find adds weight to earlier out-of-Africa timing

    A bone unearthed in Saudi Arabia challenges theories of human migration. Andrew Masterson reports.

    A fossil finger bone has lent further evidence to the increasingly firm theory that Homo sapiens migrated out of Afri...

    April 9, 2018
  • Better food protection on the way

    DNA-infused patch signals the presence of pathogens, offering better safety for consumers. Andrew...

    The ubiquity of “best before” labelling on packaged foods may be coming to an end, with the development of a patch th...

    April 8, 2018
  • Back to square one on dark matter find

    Better imaging reveals earlier observation to be a product of less-than-perfect optics. Andrew Ma...

    It was an exciting discovery while it lasted, but fresh observations show that evidence for a valuable insight into t...

    April 8, 2018
  • Sydney teams with Silicon Valley to boost quantum computing R&D

    University-linked start-up gets the nod from IBM. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Australia looks set to become a significant global player in the emerging quantum computing market after a Sydney-bas...

    April 5, 2018
  • Shrimps inspire next-gen GPS

    Bio-inspired tech uses light patterns in water to locate objects in the oceans. Andrew Masterson ...

    Human vision is poorly equipped to pick out details beneath the surface of the ocean – mainly because our species des...

    April 5, 2018
  • Think that organic compost is clean? Think again

    Study finds significant microplastic contamination in fertilisers derived from biowaste. Andrew M...

    Commercially prepared organic composts may contain significant quantities of microplastic particles and represent unk...

    April 4, 2018
  • Virus-host relationships stretch back hundreds of millions of years

    Research finds that as fish moved onto land, they brought their viruses with them. Andrew Masters...

    The viruses that today infect vertebrates, from fish to humans, have been evolving with their hosts for hundreds of m...

    April 4, 2018
  • Hey, big nose! Neanderthal honkers were helpful, researchers find

    Neanderthals were well adapted to lives of extreme activity. Andrew Masterson reports.

    A 3D model of Neanderthal skull, showing its well adapted nasal region.Wroe, et al.Neanderthals had big noses and lon...

    April 4, 2018
  • Popular Pokémon promotes prangs

    A new burst of popularity for an augmented reality game could mean a boost in vehicle accidents. ...

    The tech company Niantic recently announced a major update to its phenomenally successful augmented reality game Poké...

    April 4, 2018
  • What makes up a galactic peanut?

    Astronomers seek to better understand the bulge at the heart of the Milky Way. Andrew Masterson r...

    The stars at the centre of the Milky Way are not uniformly old, an international team led by astronomers from the Eur...

    April 3, 2018
  • Neutron star found at supernova’s heart

    Astronomers name a compact body in the middle of a huge explosion. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Astronomers have identified an isolated neutron star inside a supernova remnant – the first time such an object has b...

    April 3, 2018
  • Melting ice gave Etna its cone, researcher says

    Offshore data contradicts established theory about Sicily’s famous volcano. Andrew Masterson repo...

    Sicily’s Mount Etna, one of the most famous volcanoes in the world, may have got its shape because of ultra-high sea ...

    April 3, 2018
  • The big Cosmos holiday reading guide!

    The Cosmos office is closed for an Easter break until Tuesday, April 3. In the meantime, please e...

    On Purposeby Michael RusePrinceton University Press (2017)I once attended a seminar on the philosophy of laughter, wh...

    March 29, 2018
  • The chink in the bacterial wall

    Harvard researchers find a gap in a protein that could lead to a powerful new drug. Andrew Master...

    If the strength of the whole is equal to a chain’s weakest link, or a wall’s most damaged brick, then it follows, by ...

    March 28, 2018
  • Slap on protection before getting a manicure, surgeons warn

    Inconsistent results prompt a precautionary warning about potential dangers associated with acryl...

    People should apply sunscreen to their hands before undergoing a manicure, a group of plastic surgeons from Ireland a...

    March 27, 2018
  • “Empty” Amazon was densely populated, researchers find

    Evidence of 81 Pre-Columbian settlements suggests current ideas about South American indigenous h...

    Researchers have discovered an 1800 kilometre stretch of Pre-Columbian settlements in the Amazon, potentially rewriti...

    March 27, 2018
  • Dino’s bite much worse than its bark

    Newly described species was small, but with a huge jaw. Andrew Masterson reports.

    A newly described species of dinosaur had a skull just 2.5 centimetres long but was equipped with jaws that gave it, ...

    March 27, 2018
  • Leg genes give spiders segmented heads

    Arachnids have genes that do double-duty top and bottom. Andrew Masterson reports.

    The segmented heads of spiders and scorpions arise from the actions of a gene that in other arthropod species is resp...

    March 27, 2018
  • Caught on camera: the cells eating your brain

    Imaging captures long-predicted synapse-pruning by immune cells. Andrew Masterson reports.

    For the first time, scientists have captured images of immune cells known as microglia eating brain cell synapses.Alt...

    March 26, 2018
  • At least half of evolutionary biologists and ecologists fudge results, survey finds

    Bio science faces a “replication crisis” as big as the one currently blighting psychology. Andrew...

    In 2015, the world of psychology research was rocked when more than 100 scientists collaborated in an attempt to repr...

    March 26, 2018
  • Accidental find reveals gender-bending pharaoh

    For a Welsh Egyptologist, a class exercise turned into the find of lifetime. Andrew Masterson rep...

    A chance find at a university in Wales has uncovered a previously unacknowledged image of one of the most beguiling c...

    March 26, 2018
  • Mediterranean megaflood confirmed

    The Med experienced a flood of Biblical proportions in pre-Biblical times. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Once upon a time there was a massive flood across the Mediterranean Sea, an in-pouring of water so huge that it excav...

    March 25, 2018
  • Gender plays a role in transplant success

    X and Y chromosomes may influence heart and kidney rejection. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Different hormones produced by men and women may influence the success of organ transplants, a new report finds.A pap...

    March 25, 2018
  • Astronomer finds star that never was

    Even the best scientists sometimes make dumb mistakes. Andrew Masterson reports.

    The Astronomer’s Telegram is an excellent rapid communication system set up in 1997 and used to disseminate time-crit...

    March 25, 2018
  • Kill gut bacteria to battle pancreatic cancer, researchers say

    Massive bloom in gut microbiome hampers anti-tumour immune reactions. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Using antibiotics to remove bacteria populations might significantly improve treatment outcomes for people with a typ...

    March 22, 2018
  • No human DNA found in Neanderthal genome

    Neanderthals and humans swapped genes, but none of the human ones appear to have been retained.

    Gene flow between Neanderthals and early modern humans may have been a one-way street, researchers have found. While...

    March 21, 2018
  • Resilience is in the genes for the American cockroach

    First full genome of common household pest reveals multiple strengths. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Scientists are one step closer to understanding the remarkable resilience of the American cockroach after successfull...

    March 20, 2018
  • The pursuit of hoppiness

    Is it possible to brew good beer without using hops? A US-led team certainly thinks so. Andrew Ma...

    In 1487, the German duchy of Munich adopted a law that insisted the only permissible ingredients for making beer were...

    March 20, 2018
  • Modelling the vortices in jet engines

    Supersonic jet physics is hellishly complicated, but Chinese researchers are making gains in unde...

    The physics of jet engines becomes significantly more complicated at supersonic speeds, presenting serious challenges...

    March 20, 2018
  • Posh pong for top termites

    Identification pheromone found in termites for the first time. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Who sees the queen in the empire of the blind? That’s a very pertinent question for entomologists who study termites ...

    March 19, 2018
  • Single drop sepsis diagnosis

    New test promises to reduce death rate from widespread infection complication. Andrew Masterson r...

    Sepsis is a frequent and sometimes fatal bodily own-goal: a massive over-reaction in which chemicals released into th...

    March 19, 2018
  • Volcanic eruption and the death of Iceland’s gods

    Research pinpoints a massive eruption and links it to profound changes in a newly settled land. A...

    In Iceland, in 939 CE, the sky suddenly went dark and the Earth began to glow a hideous orange.The locals – so recent...

    March 19, 2018
  • Dwarf planet still growing

    NASA data suggests things are far from settled beneath the surface of Ceres. Andrew Masterson rep...

    The presence of certain chemical compounds on the surface of the dwarf planet Ceres shows that it is still evolving, ...

    March 18, 2018
  • Rare venomous mammal reveals its genetic secrets

    Caribbean curiosity split from other mammals during the Cretaceous period. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Scientists compiling the genome of a rare venomous mammal have been assisted in their quest by the fact that it is ex...

    March 18, 2018
  • Woman dies after bee sting acupuncture

    Doctors question the safety of a popular form of alt-therapy. Andrew Masterson reports.

    A woman in Spain has achieved the sad distinction of becoming the first person known to have died as a consequence of...

    March 18, 2018
  • The sign of an invisible star

    Modelling suggests an unseen second star explains an unusual gas disc 800 light years away. Andre...

    Is this the birth of a planet, or the signature of an unknown twin? This image, captured by the Atacama Large Millime...

    March 18, 2018
  • Health authorities issue warning on monkeypox outbreak

    Pandemic fears arise as smallpox relative spreads. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Labelling it a “concern for global health security”, the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have sou...

    March 18, 2018
  • Shirley Temple, rattlesnakes and platypuses feature in antibiotic research

    Two teams find promising proteins from unlikely sources. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Rattlesnake venom and platypus milk are providing researchers with new germ-fighting molecules that open the door to ...

    March 15, 2018
  • Kepler observatory set to run out of fuel

    NASA’s deep space telescope may not see Christmas, scientists warn. Andrew Masterson reports.

    The planet-hunting space observatory Kepler will run out of fuel within months, ending almost a decade of service, NA...

    March 15, 2018
  • Australian fossil snake lived underground

    The “rainbow serpent” was adapted to burrowing and swimming, modelling shows. Andrew Masterson re...

    A six-metre-long, 300-millimetre-thick snake that lived in Australia some 23 million years ago dwelt at least partly ...

    March 14, 2018
  • Feathered dino flew, not glided

    High-tech imaging reveals clues to the origin of flight. Andrew Masterson reports.

    As pretty much every school child can attest, Archaeopteryx was a feathered dinosaur, a curious beast with wings, dat...

    March 13, 2018
  • Pro magnon culture shows promise

    US researchers achieve major milestone in quantum magnetic current generation. Andrew Masterson r...

    What could be described as a physics super-group has succeeded in setting the stage for the development of a quantum ...

    March 13, 2018
  • Homeopathy cancer paper withdrawn

    Investigation finds multiple problems.

    A journal paper claiming to show the success of a homeopathic treatment for cancer has been withdrawn by the publishe...

    March 13, 2018
  • Drug runners: mice speed up before meth hit

    Methamphetamine-addicted mice run hard for two hours in anticipation of a drug dose. Andrew Maste...

    Mice addicted to methamphetamine up their physical activity two hours before scheduled dose of the drug, new research...

    March 12, 2018
  • Violent collision could have made comet in just hours

    New modelling challenges accepted theories on how well-known comet formed. Andrew Masterson reports.

    The comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, or “Chury” for short, may have been formed from a violent collision between two ...

    March 12, 2018
  • Genes influence empathy

    Collaboration between researchers and gene-testing company opens window on the basis of caring ab...

    At a meeting in February with survivors of a Florida high school mass shooting, US president Donald Trump was photogr...

    March 12, 2018
  • Saffron may help tense kids

    Research suggests the cooking spice might do more than make food taste good. Andrew Masterson rep...

    It sounds at first blush like a bit of dubious homespun hippy wisdom, but a small university-conducted trial has foun...

    March 8, 2018
  • Beta bower birds bonk by beating bullies

    Iconic Australian birds show innovative ways of competing against alpha males. Andrew Masterson r...

    It is rarely advisable to anthropomorphise the behaviour of non-human animals, but in the case of socially dominant m...

    March 8, 2018
  • Phosphorous qubit milestone reported

    Australian researchers notch up third advance in quantum computing. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Australian scientists are claiming a milestone in quantum computing after successfully demonstrating that individual ...

    March 7, 2018
  • See, blind mice

    Nanotech raises hopes of restoring sight for the vision-impaired. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Hope for a cure for blindness may no longer be simply wishful thinking following a successful attempt by scientists t...

    March 6, 2018
  • African fires cool the planet

    In a surprise result, smoke from bushfires works to reduce solar radiation reaching the ground. A...

    In a counter-intuitive finding, data from the International Space Station (ISS) has revealed that annual massive fire...

    March 6, 2018
  • In poo, to you: turtle ants transfer critical microbe by faecal transplant

    Foraging ants rely on symbiont microbiome for food digestion. Andrew Masterson reports.

    In a behaviour that finds a broad comparison with human tradition, a genus known as turtle ants, or cephalotes, pass ...

    March 6, 2018
  • Quantum equation describes galaxy mechanics

    Modelling astrophysical discs reveals the emergence of Schrödinger’s equation, and the likelihood...

    The long-term physical evolution of astrophysical discs can be described by a fundamental equation used in quantum me...

    March 5, 2018
  • Stone tools improved over millennia

    Massive survey of stone flakes shows a gradual increase in the length of cutting edges. Andrew Ma...

    Stone flakes – the single most common type of tool made by prehistoric humans and other hominins – show longer, sharp...

    March 5, 2018
  • Ball lightning on a quantum scale

    Four decades after it was predicted, scientist create a skyrmion, and take one step towards effic...

    Seen for the first time: 3D skyrmions in an ultra-cold gas.TUOMAS OLLIKAINENConfirming a prediction made more than 40...

    March 5, 2018
  • Chicky-babe: tiny fossil carries clues to ancient bird development

    A five-centimetre baby bird presents a fresh picture of early avian life. Andrew Masterson reports.

    A fossil chick just five centimetres long is shedding light on the development of birds more than 65 million years ag...

    March 5, 2018
  • Individual atoms may turn carbon dioxide into an energy source

    Exciting proof-of-concept could redefine catalytic conversion on a big scale. Andrew Masterson re...

    A radical new catalyst design has been shown to efficiently convert carbon dioxide into carbon monoxide, potentially ...

    March 4, 2018
  • Bilbies have “evolved” to fear dingo poo

    Research suggests the faeces prompts a reflex response, even when the animals have never met. And...

    For the past several millennia, bilbies – a type of Australian marsupial – have shared their environments with dingoe...

    March 4, 2018
  • In science today: Remembering a man who used his noodle

    Momofuku Ando was one of the world’s most successful food technologists – yet few outside Japan r...

    Monday March 5 marks the one-hundred-and-eighth years since the birth of one of the most successful technologists of ...

    March 4, 2018
  • Life definitely isn’t fair, new research shows.

    For the first time, the relative influence of talent and luck has been modelled. And the results ...

    If you’re a highly talented or super-intelligent person, you may as well give up now, because you’re very unlikely to...

    March 1, 2018
  • Paradox no more: being fat doesn’t help with heart disease

    A US population study finds the “obesity paradox” isn’t real. Andrew Masterson reports.

    The so-called “obesity paradox” has long been cited as a truly perplexing phenomenon – and a damn good excuse for not...

    March 1, 2018
  • America is a safer place when 80,000 NRA members are taken off the street

    Study finds shooting injuries drop by one-fifth during the US peak gun lobby’s annual convention....

    Correlation, as everyone knows, cannot be regarded as evidence of causation. Therefore, it would be a brave person – ...

    February 28, 2018
  • New tardigrade found in Japanese car park

    Collection of the world’s favourite extremophile animals grows by one. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Poking about under a small rock picked up in a Japanese car park – not the most glamorous of activities – has paid a ...

    February 28, 2018
  • First light: the signature of the earliest stars detected

    A dozen years of searching pays off in a find that could profoundly alter our understanding of th...

    The traces of the first daybreak in the universe have been detected by a small radio-telescope in Western Australia.A...

    February 28, 2018
  • Dislike of body odour signals despotic desire

    Swedish study finds a link between disgust sensitivity and dictatorial preferences. Andrew Master...

    People who react strongly against body odour are more likely than others to prefer living in a dictatorship.That’s th...

    February 28, 2018
  • Giant viruses with huge tails found in Brazil

    Viruses visible to the naked eye raise all sorts of interesting questions. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Two newly discovered species of giant virus both have the largest assembly of protein-coding genes ever found in the ...

    February 27, 2018
  • Scientists posit microbes on Enceladus and Mars

    Separate studies suggest plausible scenarios for archaean and bacterial communities on the red pl...

    At least some of the methane detected by the Cassini space probe around Saturn’s moon Enceladus could have been produ...

    February 27, 2018
  • Fat cells swim and block wounds

    Fruit fly research uncovers unsuspected role for fat in healing process. Andrew Masterson reports.

    At least in fruit flies, fat cells have been found to exhibit several previously unknown and surprising behaviours ge...

    February 26, 2018
  • Neutron star that defies all the rules discovered

    As astronomers probe the origins of ultra-luminous X-rays, questions mount and models are challen...

    Ultra-bright neutron stars are somehow breaking what was thought to be a hard-and-fast law of physics, by collecting ...

    February 26, 2018
  • Assassin bugs are double trouble

    The tiny insects produce to distinct substances.

    Assassin bugs are little things but, boy, are they nasty. At least, they are if you happen to be an insect they consi...

    February 25, 2018
  • Big noses are a turn-on

    Big nose, big...?

    Proboscis monkeys are so named because of the enormous noses sported by the males of the species. New research, howev...

    February 25, 2018
  • Neanderthals similar to early modern humans

    Spanish evidence shows Neanderthals were painting and decorating at least 20,000 years before hum...

    Paintings found in Spanish caves have been found to be at least 68,000 years old, meaning they were made 20,000 years...

    February 22, 2018
  • Birds offer clues to dino running

    Sending chickens around a racetrack provides insight into how T. rex moved. Andrew Masterson repo...

    Do the bird: Queensland scientists studied how birds run in order to gain insights in dinosaur locomotion.Queensland ...

    February 21, 2018
  • Want healthy teeth? Drink red wine

    Surprising results show compounds in wine act against three major dental bugs. Andrew Masterson r...

    Compounds present in red wine reduce the ability of three species of bacteria responsible for creating plaque, gum le...

    February 21, 2018
  • Don’t open ET communications, researchers say

    It is impossible to know if alien transmissions are benign or malicious, so the best thing to do ...

    Should astronomers ever receive an encrypted message from an extraterrestrial source the only sensible way to respond...

    February 20, 2018
  • Age-related disease risk could be revealed through pee test

    Chinese research finds RNA damage recorded in urine might be a prime biomarker for “biological” a...

    Determining a person’s “biological”, as distinct from chronological, age, may be as simple as a urine test, Chinese r...

    February 20, 2018
  • What lies ahead for Elon Musk’s orbiting Tesla

    Modelling shows the car won’t crash back to Earth. Almost certainly. Andrew Masterson reports.

    It would be – at least from this distance in time – perhaps the most sublime slapstick event ever. Imagine: the year ...

    February 20, 2018
  • Research finds you’re more likely to die in a fictional hospital than a real one

    Popular medical dramas might be building unreal expectations about hospital care. Andrew Masterso...

    This may or may not come as a surprise, but it turns out that gleaning medical knowledge through watching fictional h...

    February 19, 2018
  • How high the moo

    DNA research finds the genes that influence cattle size. Andrew Masterson reports.

    DNA extracted from a 6500-year-old ox bone has helped an international team of scientists identify the genes that det...

    February 19, 2018
  • Imaging reveals Picasso’s secret

    The Spanish master wasn’t afraid to paint over other people’s work. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Pablo Picasso painted over another work done by an unknown Barcelona artist in order to create one of his most famous...

    February 18, 2018
  • Bonded photons represent a new form of matter

    Seemingly contrary to the laws of physics, photons have been made to group together as pairs and ...

    The invention of real life Star Wars-style light sabres just got a tiny little bit closer – but would-be Jedi shouldn...

    February 18, 2018
  • Doctors warn on rush to prescribe cannabis

    Major medical journal runs cautionary editorials from senior researchers. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Australia is “navigating uncharted waters with pharmaceutical grade cannabinoids” and doctors need to be cautious abo...

    February 18, 2018
  • Stem cancer vax offers strong promise

    Mouse models show a stem cell-derived vaccine works against several major cancers. Andrew Masters...

    A vaccine made from inactivated pluripotent stem cells has been shown to stimulate a strong immune system response ag...

    February 15, 2018
  • Drone, self-driving vehicle energy savings overstated, reports find

    Two studies find autonomous transport less efficient than predicted. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Autonomous vehicles and drones could reduce greenhouse gases and energy use in the transport sector, two reports show...

    February 15, 2018
  • Blood test makes for fast, safer concussion diagnosis

    US authorities approve test that shortens brain imaging queues. Andrew Masterson reports.

    A blood test designed to dramatically reduce the use of brain imaging for the diagnosis of concussion has been cleare...

    February 15, 2018
  • Baby rabbits aren’t fish, and a pope didn’t domesticate bunnies

    Analysis finds the split between wild and tame rabbits occurred thousands of years earlier than t...

    In the Christian religion, the period known as Lent lasts for 40 days, winding up just before Easter, and involves ma...

    February 14, 2018
  • Making robot roaches run into walls

    Lessons learned from cockroaches offers a fresh approach to high speed machines. Andrew Masterson...

    Scientists have invented cockroach-sized robots that can run head first into walls.And while that might seem at first...

    February 14, 2018
  • Cockroaches diversified much earlier than thought

    Genome analysis finds changes were well underway before supercontinent split. Andrew Masterson re...

    Around the globe there are nine recognised families of cockroaches – and new research has found that they last shared...

    February 12, 2018
  • Micro engine works on liquid power

    A new engine one micron in diameter relies on the tension between two liquids. Andrew Masterson r...

    Researchers have demonstrated that a sphere five times smaller than a red blood cell can operate as a tiny engine, ro...

    February 11, 2018
  • Juvenile genes reveal shark numbers

    Novel sampling method helps reveal the size of Great White population. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Genetic sampling of juveniles has produced the best population estimate yet for Great White Shark numbers off the coa...

    February 11, 2018
  • Can bananas kill you?

    Does the potassium in bananas mean they're a hazard?

    On the Internet there is a subset of websites called “mum blogs”, or more often “mommy blogs”, written by people conv...

    February 11, 2018
  • Mantis makes a spectacle of itself

    Studying praying mantis vision could lead to better, cheaper robots. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Stereoscopic vision in praying mantises works in a significantly different way to that found in mammals such as human...

    February 8, 2018
  • Get your skates on! Shark relatives deliver surprises

    Reports detail a skate that walks, and another that lays eggs near hydrothermal vents. Andrew Mas...

    Skates - a group of fish closely related to sharks and rays - have provided scientists with not one but two surprises...

    February 8, 2018
  • 40-year cosmic theory confirmed

    A stellar reaction long predicted but never seen has been demonstrated in the lab. Andrew Masters...

    An abundant new energy supply could be derived from controlling a quantum reaction that takes place in stars, accordi...

    February 8, 2018
  • Social birds are smarter birds

    Social complexity might be a driver for the evolution of intelligence. Andrew Masterson reports.

    The Australian magpie is helping biologists understand the evolution of intelligence, with a new study finding that b...

    February 7, 2018
  • Soon, skyscrapers could be made of wood

    US researchers find a simple way to make wood stronger than steel. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Wood has been employed as a building material for thousands of years, but in today’s world of office towers and massi...

    February 7, 2018
  • Carnivorous plant inspires nano-tech blood cleanser

    Chinese team reveals dramatic improvement in last-ditch bacterial battle. Andrew Masterson reports.

    A nanoscale invention inspired by the tiny hairs on a Venus Flytrap could revolutionise anti-bacterial treatments for...

    February 6, 2018
  • Despite polar progress, ozone layer continues to deteriorate

    Major study finds mid-latitudes are not repairing as models predict. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Pointing to the recovery of the ozone layer as humanity’s one great triumph of environmental remediation may have bee...

    February 6, 2018
  • LISA Pathfinder, the gravitational wave space mission, declared a success

    European Space Agency reports final results of proof-of-concept mission, ahead the most ambitious...

    The European Space Agency (ESA) reports that it has created the “quietest place in space” as part of its plan to esca...

    February 5, 2018
  • Neanderthals used fire to fashion tools

    Italian excavation provides earliest evidence yet for hominin pyrotechnology. Andrew Masterson re...

    Neanderthals living in the Tuscany region of Italy used fire in addition to stone to make tools, archaeologists have ...

    February 5, 2018
  • Ancient spiders, preserved in amber

    Two 100 million-year-old fossils provide insight into arachnid evolution, Andrew Masterson reports.

    Two arachnids 100 million years old have been found exquisitely preserved in amber in Myanmar, shedding light on the ...

    February 5, 2018
  • Viking mass grave yields a fishy tale

    The mystery of an ancient English burial mound has been solved, with diet the crucial clue. Andre...

    Say what you like about all the fighting and pillaging and invading and stuff, Vikings were really good when it came ...

    February 5, 2018
  • Antibiotics in pregnancy linked to childhood hospitalisations

    Analysis of 750,000 Danish pregnancies finds higher risk of infections in kids whose mothers were...

    Children born to mothers who were prescribed antibiotics during pregnancy have a 20% higher risk of subsequently bein...

    February 4, 2018
  • Hairy caterpillars cause horse abortions

    Australian research moves to reduce multimillion dollar insect burden on the racing industry. And...

    Now here’s something we’ll bet you never knew: in Australia about one-third of spontaneous abortions in thoroughbred ...

    February 2, 2018
  • 3D-printed gels coming to a soft robot near you

    A new printing process clears the way for smart hydrogels. Andrew Masterson reports.

    A new field of soft robotics looms following the successful creation of a manufacturing process that produces a three...

    February 1, 2018
  • Quantum hack brings computing closer

    Australian team demonstrate 400% efficiency gain in critical qubit process. Andrew Masterson repo...

    Qubits are delicate little things, which makes the business of building a robust quantum computing system very diffic...

    February 1, 2018
  • Cancer “vaccine” makes tumours vanish

    A DNA-antibody combination banishes cancer in mouse models, with human trials about to start. And...

    A combination of a tiny segment of DNA and a specific antibody injected into a solid tumour has been shown to remove ...

    February 1, 2018
  • Unknown hominins brought Middle Stone Age tech to India much earlier than expected

    Absence of fossil evidence means the makers of 385,000 year-old tools remain mysterious. Andrew M...

    The long-held view that a critical stone-knapping style known as Middle Palaeolithic technology was carried to Asia b...

    January 31, 2018
  • Alzheimer’s blood test developed

    Australian and Japanese collaboration concludes three-decade hunt for effective diagnostic method...

    A combined Australian-Japanese research project has produced a potentially revolutionary blood test for the detection...

    January 31, 2018
  • Sleep apnoea-Alzheimer’s link probed

    Australia study investigates whether apnoea treatment can stave off dementia. Andrew Masterson re...

    Over the past few years there have been a number of studies that have fingered sleep apnoea as a potential cause of d...

    January 31, 2018
  • Orca learns to mimic human speech

    Copying ability sheds light on killer whale “dialects”. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Researchers have taught a captive killer whale to blow raspberries and mimic the word “hello” with its head above wat...

    January 31, 2018
  • Friends and strangers mess with your head

    Separate teams probe the ways in which we decide who to be friends with, and who to avoid. Andrew...

    Friendships are driven by neural similarities, but the way we respond to strangers derives from a much less sophistic...

    January 30, 2018
  • Ancient societies deliberately cultivated weeds

    African archaeology shows invasive tendencies in a plant were encouraged by prehistoric hunter-ga...

    Plant domestication, the theory runs, comprises a long history during which humans select traits advantageous to farm...

    January 30, 2018
  • New African dino sheds light on Pangaea break-up

    Rare fossil find in Egypt offers clues to the end of the dinosaurs’ reign. Andrew Masterson reports.

    The discovery of a new fossil in Egypt overturns previous theories that by the end of their reign African dinosaurs w...

    January 29, 2018
  • Ancient crayon lets archaeologists draw conclusions

    Hunter-gatherer discovery shows importance of ochre to early British society. Andrew Masterson re...

    British archaeologists have uncovered a 10,000-year-old crayon that provides a tantalising glimpse into the lives of ...

    January 29, 2018
  • A new affinity for electrons and water

    US scientists find a key value used in molecular engineering is wrong. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Models predicting the behaviour of electrons interacting with water are wide of the mark, new research shows.The find...

    January 29, 2018
  • Leprosy beats antibiotics by playing Russian roulette

    DNA sequencing reveals new clues to killer disease’s strength and origin. Andrew Masterson reports.

    The bacterium responsible for leprosy evolves resistance to antibiotics by a crash-or-crash-through strategy involvin...

    January 28, 2018
  • This week’s blue moon will be copper

    Rare lunar event as eclipse and blue moon coincide for the first time in 150 years. Andrew Master...

    On the night of January 31, the world will experience a blue moon – except that it won’t. And it won’t for two reason...

    January 28, 2018
  • Out of Africa – much earlier

    Israel fossil “opens the door” to human migration into Europe 170,000 years earlier than previous...

    Human beings migrated out of Africa about 60,000 years earlier than thought, newly revealed fossil evidence suggests....

    January 25, 2018
  • Axolotl, worm genomes offer clues to regeneration

    The mechanisms that govern the abilities of some animals to regrow lost tissue represent a challe...

    Axolotls and planarian worms don’t share all that much in common, except a robust ability to regenerate lost tissue. ...

    January 24, 2018
  • Chinese scientists successfully clone monkeys

    Cute macaques may be the first in a potentially unlimited cohort of genetically identical primate...

    Chinese scientists have announced the successful creation of two cloned monkeys, representing a major advance in clon...

    January 24, 2018
  • Ancient human artefacts recovered from Norway’s ice

    Melting ice reveals the ebb and flow of reindeer hunting in the mountainous far north. Andrew Mas...

    Melting ice deposits in Norway have revealed over 2000 human artefacts, some dating as back as 4000 BCE, allowing arc...

    January 24, 2018
  • Seabirds excrete more than 690 million kg of poo every year

    Spanish research finds the birds make significant but overlooked contributions to the world’s nit...

    So, here’s a question for your next trivia quiz night: What is the weight of the nitrogen content of total global sea...

    January 23, 2018
  • Crystal-gazing to predict eruptions

    Could tiny crystals formed in the magma of active volcanoes hold the key to accurate forecasting?...

    Tiny crystals produced deep inside volcanoes could potentially provide valuable information leading to better eruptio...

    January 23, 2018
  • Obesity is “contagious”

    Living among obese people increases the risk of becoming obese. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Obesity runs in communities, and moving into a town with high rates of it increases your own risk of becoming overwei...

    January 23, 2018
  • Sci-fi tractor beams one step closer

    UK research exceeds what was thought of as a fundamental constraint of acoustic traps, bringing S...

    A key science fiction device - a tractor beam powerful enough to lift a human - is now a step closer to reality, foll...

    January 22, 2018
  • Birds yearn for the bright lights of cities

    US radar data reveals migratory flocks head for inner urban roosts, placing themselves in danger....

    For many species of migratory birds, it seems that the lure of bright lights and big cities might be too difficult to...

    January 22, 2018
  • Neutron star upper limit found

    German astrophysicists use LIGO data to reveal the maximum size a neutron star can grow. Andrew M...

    Data obtained from the breakthrough observation last year of two neutron stars colliding continues to drive new resea...

    January 21, 2018
  • A twist in the armoured tail tale

    US research uncovers why weaponised rear ends have proved evolutionarily unfashionable. Andrew Ma...

    In evolutionary terms, weaponised tails are a bit like a Mini fitted with rotor-blades: not entirely pointless, but r...

    January 21, 2018
  • Fungus-infused concrete offers prospect of self-healing buildings

    US research explores adding spores to building materials to fix cracks automatically. Andrew Mast...

    A hybrid building material comprising concrete and a species of fungus called Trichoderma reesei could one day result...

    January 21, 2018
  • Hot yoga waste of time and heat

    US study finds popular Bikram yoga delivers no special health benefits. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Among certain folk fond of tight-fitting activewear, the form of exercise known as Bikram yoga is extremely popular. ...

    January 19, 2018
  • What’s that smell? Hunter-gatherer societies have the answer

    Research in Malaysia overturns the notion that neurology is responsible for widespread difficulti...

    Although the argument shows little sign of dying down, recent research confirms that the Inuit people do indeed have ...

    January 18, 2018
  • Microwave ovens as costly as seven million cars

    UK study finds popular cooking devices carry enormous environmental drawbacks. Andrew Masterson r...

    The carbon dioxide emissions associated with microwave ovens in the European Union is equivalent to that of nearly se...

    January 18, 2018
  • Gene-edit deregulation proposal draws mixed response

    Australian GM supremo recommends excluding CRISPR from existing rules. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Australia’s gene technology regulator has proposed a bold shake-up of rules surrounding genetic engineering processes...

    January 18, 2018
  • Primates in movies no monkey business

    UK study hits out at continued use of apes and monkeys in Hollywood films. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Hollywood’s use of primates in movies trivialises our evolutionary cousins and blinds audiences to the need to protec...

    January 18, 2018
  • How many protein molecules in a single cell? Go on, guess

    Canadian research combines results and describes yeast by the numbers. Andrew Masterson reports.

    The question “How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?” has been a popular example of an absurd, unanswerable ...

    January 17, 2018
  • Friends with drawbacks: social marmots die early

    The idea that community living leads to long lives doesn’t always hold, researchers find. Andrew ...

    There are many studies showing that in humans a good social life correlates positively with longevity. Social interac...

    January 17, 2018
  • Carnivorous plant inspires ultra-slippery shipping solution

    Australian research potentially solves a costly underwater problem caused by the banning of a tox...

    A newly developed nano-scale coating inspired by the carnivorous pitcher plant could save the global aquaculture and ...

    January 17, 2018
  • Females fall for robot fiddlers

    Biologists use robotic crabs to test whether its real love or just a quick fiddle on the beach. A...

    Female fiddler crabs have a thing for males who fiddle fast – or possibly just fancy a fling with a crustacean robot,...

    January 17, 2018
  • Earthquakes don’t wait for time or tide

    US research contradicts early studies that found quake frequency is affected by season. Andrew Ma...

    Contrary to the baffling and counter-intuitive results of several earlier studies, earthquake frequency is not affect...

    January 16, 2018
  • Breast-feeding for six months halves maternal diabetes risk

    US longitudinal data finds long-term protection arises after just one pregnancy. Andrew Masterson...

    Breast-feeding for at least six months can reduce the subsequent risk of a woman developing type 2 diabetes by almost...

    January 16, 2018
  • René Thom: Dalí’s favourite mathematician

    A genius who influenced philosophy and the course of modern art.

    Not long ago academic engineer Allan McRobie visited a museum in Figueres, Spain, dedicated to Salvador Dalí, and ent...

    January 16, 2018
  • Eeewww! Man sneezes, rips his own throat open

    Fear of letting loose can result in severe injury, doctors warn. Andrew Masterson reports.

    We’ve all done it – tried really, really hard to suppress the explosive reflex that epitomises a sneeze. It’s a perfe...

    January 15, 2018
  • In conquered Mexico, almost a million died of salmonella in just five years

    DNA analysis finds a terrible epidemic was caused not by plague, but by the bacteria behind food ...

    It is well known that when Europeans arrived in the New World they brought with them appalling diseases to which the ...

    January 15, 2018
  • A semi-living stingray may one day fix your heart

    US research combines heart cells with gold to produce the latest bio-inspired soft robot. Andrew ...

    A 10-millimetre-long robot modelled on a stingray and constructed from live heart cells and gold might point to radic...

    January 15, 2018
  • Some species of bacteria produce methane

    US research uncovers previously unknown greenhouse gas pathway. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Nitrogen-fixing bacteria contain a previously unrecognised pathway for producing methane, researchers have discovered...

    January 15, 2018
  • Deep brain stimulation useful for Tourette syndrome

    Registry review finds good news, along with some serious drawbacks. Andrew Masterson reports.

    The use of deep brain stimulation (DBS) for the management of Tourette syndrome can relieve symptoms in some cases, b...

    January 15, 2018
  • Underwater eruption largest in living memory

    US-Australian team find surprises and complexity at Pacific ocean volcano site. Andrew Masterson ...

    The first close quarters investigation of what was possibly the largest underwater volcanic eruption in modern histor...

    January 14, 2018
  • Pregnant and forgetful? You’re not alone

    Australian research finds cognitive decline during pregnancy is more than just an urban myth. And...

    “Baby brain”, the sub-optimal state of memory and planning abilities often reported by women during pregnancy, is rea...

    January 14, 2018
  • The neurology of the uncanny valley

    Japanese research reveals how the brain reacts to humanlike robots. Andrew Masterson reports.

    The neurological reason most people feel uncomfortable and weird when interacting with a robot that looks almost, but...

    January 12, 2018
  • Soy can reverse breast cancer treatment, scientists warn

    US research finds oestrogen-like compounds in food and fungus can reverse the effects of a widely...

    Compounds found in food products such as soy can reverse the effects of a widely used breast cancer treatment, resear...

    January 12, 2018
  • Weird ET stone gets even weirder

    An Egyptian pebble of extraterrestrial origin is full of surprises, new research shows. Andrew Ma...

    A stone from space found in Egypt in 2013 continues to baffle scientists after a detailed analysis of its components ...

    January 11, 2018
  • Investigation raises multiple questions over ethics of TB trial involving 2800 babies

    Major medical journal slams Oxford University team for allegedly burying unfavourable animal test...

    A major investigation by the British Medical Journal has slammed Oxford University researchers for allegedly misrepre...

    January 10, 2018
  • Fresh or frozen embryos equally viable in IVF

    Australian-Vietnamese research finds no difference in pregnancy success. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Frozen embryos are just as viable as fresh ones in IVF treatment, joint Vietnamese-Australian research has shown.In a...

    January 10, 2018
  • Ancient Phoenician life was mixed and multicultural

    Mitochondrial DNA suggests classical civilisation was more interested in trading than fighting. A...

    The ancient Phoenician civilisation that spread around much of the Mediterranean basin during the first millennium BC...

    January 10, 2018
  • Mysterious space signal could be neutron star near black hole

    Dutch-led team suggests a new explanation to account for a transient astronomical phenomenon. And...

    The source of a mysterious repeating fast radio burst emanating from a dwarf galaxy three billion light years from Ea...

    January 10, 2018
  • Change of vegetation doomed the thylacine

    Study finds climate changes 14 million years ago sealed the fate of the Tasmanian tiger. Andrew M...

    A study from the Australian National University has deepened the findings of an earlier paper that found climate chan...

    January 10, 2018
  • General anaesthetic more than just a super sleeping pill

    Research brings medicine a step closer to understanding how anaesthetics really work. Andrew Mast...

    Every day around the world tens of thousands of people needing surgery are given general anaesthetics – yet no one fu...

    January 9, 2018
  • Bacteria find united they stand, divided they fall

    Research finds individual bacteria-virus interactions cannot predict population-level outcomes. A...

    In a counter-intuitive result, researchers have found that viruses that infect and kill individual bacterial cells ca...

    January 9, 2018
  • Carbon dioxide fuel plan vanishes into thin air

    Hydrocarbon research yanked after results found to be the product of faulty equipment. Andrew Mas...

    Oops, that was awkward. A research paper describing the extraction of fuel-friendly hydrocarbons from atmospheric car...

    January 9, 2018
  • Researchers revolutionise pipeline design, eliminating turbulence

    Simple tweaks could reduce pump-energy inputs by 95%. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Turbulent flow (top) compared to laminar flow (bottom).Jakob KühnenAround the world, energy equivalent to 10% of glob...

    January 8, 2018
  • Suspected alien probe turns out to be lump of rock

    An unusual asteroid thought by many to be evidence of ET has been identified as natural in origin...

    Nup, still not an alien craft. That’s the central finding of a review of a near-Earth asteroid first sighted in 1991 ...

    January 7, 2018
  • Drug smugglers selling opium laced with lead

    US health authorities report 3000 cases of high lead levels in opium users. Andrew Masterson repo...

    Afghan opium traders may be adding lead to their product in order to boost profits, a report suggests.New field notes...

    January 7, 2018
  • Super-strong cell-size origami robots are coming

    US physicists unveil game-changing biomorph nanobots. Andrew Masterson reports.

    A team of physicists from Cornell University in the US has developed electricity-conducting, environment-sensing, sha...

    January 7, 2018
  • Scientists engineer sound-reflecting bacteria

    Internal imaging might be revolutionised by living ultrasound signallers. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Scientists at the California Institute of Technology in the US have genetically engineered bacteria capable of sendin...

    January 7, 2018
  • Mummified child died of Hep B, not smallpox

    Genetic analysis overturns diagnosis for Medieval child held to be the earliest smallpox case in ...

    A mummified Medieval child thought to have died from smallpox in fact perished because of Hepatitis B virus, genetic ...

    January 4, 2018
  • Humming with high hopes

    Trying to hook up, one species of fish drones on and on. And on. Andrew Masterson reports.

    In a frankly heroic demonstration of unrequited love, the male Pacific midshipman fish (Porichthys notatus) tries to ...

    January 4, 2018
  • Midge swarms behave “like clusters of stars”

    Old school physics reveals unusual forces at work in tiny fly flocks. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Species of small flies collectively known as midges routinely experience stronger acceleration-related forces than th...

    January 4, 2018
  • Dark Age people lived much longer than you thought

    Dental remains indicate Anglo Saxon septuagenarians were very common. Andrew Masterson reports.

    The idea that people in the Dark Ages died around the age of 40 is not supported by the evidence, according to a stud...

    January 4, 2018
  • Seeing four dimensions in two

    A theoretical 4D quantum effect has been observed through clever use of 2D tech and “synthetic di...

    The four-dimensional expression of an important quantum phenomenon has been observed – by using a two-dimensional mod...

    January 3, 2018
  • Shark evolution mystery grows older and deeper

    A single specimen answers and creates questions in equal measure. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Humans and sharks last shared a common ancestor about 440 million years ago – earlier than previously thought, a new ...

    January 3, 2018
  • Sick and tired: identifying ill people at a glance

    Research finds untrained observers can spot illness just two hours after onset. Andrew Masterson ...

    Empathy be damned. Among people who do not work in the health services there seems to be a compulsion to avoid sick f...

    January 3, 2018
  • Metalens manages the whole spectrum

    US research moves next-gen consumer electronics one step closer. Andrew Masterson reports.

    The future of optics is flat. That’s the prediction of a range of scientists working on ways to create better and, cr...

    January 3, 2018
  • Meteor show peaks tonight, tomorrow

    The first big shower of 2018 is strictly a northern affair, reports Andrew Masterson.

    Readers in the southern hemisphere will likely miss the peak of the Quadrantid meteor shower because of the light ref...

    January 3, 2018
  • Blueberry vinegar latest hope in bleak Alzheimer’s landscape

    A major review concludes no available intervention can treat late life dementia – but new candida...

    Research published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry reports that blueberry vinegar – oddly enough – ...

    December 21, 2017
  • Meet a 500 million-year-old micro monster

    Findings from the Burgess Shale reveal a heavily armoured and predatory distant ancestor of the h...

    The Burgess Shale fossil beds in British Columbia continue to amaze, with palaeontologists revealing a reconstruction...

    December 21, 2017
  • Neutron star collision: what happened next

    Astronomers are slowly deciphering the aftermath of August’s big star crash. Andrew Masterson rep...

    The detection earlier this year of a collision between two superdense neutron stars 130 million light-years from Eart...

    December 20, 2017
  • Infinite paper no jest, say angry mathematicians

    Resignations and claims of witch hunts follow the publication of a controversial paper seeking to...

    The nominally peaceful world of mathematics is in turmoil following the eruption of a bunfight over a paper about inf...

    December 20, 2017
  • Next gen quantum sensors “one hundred million times more sensitive”

    Sydney researchers develop new protocols to revolutionise sensor accuracy. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Quantum sensors up to one hundred million times more sensitive than existing models are now possible, thanks to resea...

    December 19, 2017
  • Children and chimps pay to watch punishments

    German study finds children think justice has to be seen to be done. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Depending on how you look at it, in humans the sixth year of life is either when children develop a sense of justice ...

    December 19, 2017
  • ʻOumuamua has a heart of ice

    Spectroscopy reveals a thick organic layer coating the mysterious intruder from beyond the solar ...

    ʻOumuamua, the interstellar object that penetrated the solar system and was first noted in October 2017, is coated in...

    December 18, 2017
  • Bacteria see etchings, and die

    Electrochemical process offers new route to microbe-free medical implants. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Materials scientists have devised a process that causes bacteria to explode while leaving mammalian cells unaffected....

    December 17, 2017
  • Sore joints aren’t barometers, researchers find

    The belief that bad weather prompts aches and pains isn’t supported by the evidence. Andrew Maste...

    For generations, folk wisdom has maintained that certain people can detect the approach of rain because its imminent ...

    December 17, 2017
  • Fears grow as Australian native mouse remains unseen

    A rare mouse has not been found since 2003, raising extinction concerns. Andrew Masterson reports.

    A rare Australian native mouse could be in much more trouble than previously thought, with researchers reporting that...

    December 17, 2017
  • Prehistoric faeces reveals roundworm infection

    Hands-on analysis finally identifies intestinal parasites described by Hippocrates. Andrew Master...

    In the third and fourth centuries BCE, the Ancient Greek medical practitioner Hippocrates, together with his students...

    December 15, 2017
  • Non-magnetic dwarfs turn out to be magnetic

    NASA’s Kepler satellite provides detailed data to overturn conventional thinking on magnetism and...

    Until today, roughly 85% of white dwarfs – the compact, hyper-dense corpses of burnt-out stars – were thought to lack...

    December 14, 2017
  • Bushfire prevention: burning off doesn’t work

    Modelling reveals that the most common bushfire-prevention strategy has little or no effect. Andr...

    As wildfires continue to burn through California, and Australia – one of the most fire-prone countries in the world –...

    December 14, 2017
  • Coal’s mentally toxic echoes

    The hardships of Nineteenth Century coalminers are still having their effects today. Andrew Maste...

    Coal mining in the UK at the peak of the Industrial Revolution has bequeathed a bitter geographic legacy, a new study...

    December 14, 2017
  • Genetics, linguistics reveal Inca Empire resistance

    Cross-disciplinary study reveals the need for a rewrite of pre-Columbian history. Andrew Masterso...

    A combination of linguistic analysis and genetic sequencing has revealed a hitherto unknown element of South American...

    December 13, 2017
  • Human-sized penguins once stalked New Zealand

    Fossils indicate giant penguins evolved multiple times. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Some 60 million years ago, a penguin as tall as Kanye West walked the shores of New Zealand.In a paper published in t...

    December 12, 2017
  • Man flu is real

    A major journal runs a review showing man flu is supported by evolution, and mocking its sufferer...

    “Man flu” may be real, according to a study published in the British Medical Journal.The study, written by health sci...

    December 12, 2017
  • Anteater family grows by six species

    Fieldwork and museum studies find evidence to divide a single species into seven. Andrew Masterso...

    It’s time to rewrite a page of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Red List, the standard refere...

    December 11, 2017
  • Leg it! Cockroaches change gait for extra speed

    Just as a horse can go from a trot to a gallop, cockroaches can find an extra gear when survival ...

    As anyone who has ever encountered one when turning on the kitchen light will testify, cockroaches are quick little b...

    December 11, 2017
  • Hook find reveals women did the hard work

    12,000 years ago, fishing gear was part of funeral practice in Indonesia. Andrew Masterson reports.

    The discovery of five 12,000-year-old fish-hooks has exploded the assumption that during the Pleistocene era fishing ...

    December 11, 2017
  • Marine amphipods increase micro-plastic pollution

    Tiny shrimps destroy plastic bags, but not in a good way, research finds. Meanwhile, another micr...

    Ocean pollution by micro-plastics is an acknowledged and growing threat to marine ecosystems. Now, in a biting irony,...

    December 11, 2017
  • Gertrude Belle Elion’s journey from mayonnaise to medicine

    One of the 20th century’s greatest chemists once worked in the food industry. Luckily, her talent...

    Think of leukaemia and the subject of mayonnaise doesn’t immediately spring to mind. Yet had fate not intervened, one...

    December 6, 2017
  • Does fluoride lower your IQ?

    Some people believe fluoridation hinders neurodevelopment in children.

    Some controversial claims – that the world is flat, for instance, or that apricot kernels can cure cancer – are reall...

    December 5, 2017
  • Smackdown! Mini-moons punched straight through the planet’s core

    Modelling finds the contribution of “planetesimals” to Earth’s mass was much larger than thought....

    An artist’s impression of a large collision on the early Earth.SwRI / MarchiComparatively small moon-like objects sma...

    December 4, 2017
  • HOT designers reveal their creation

    Using light to manipulate nanoparticles looks set to become easier. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Making tweezers out of holograms and using them to manipulate living tissue sounds like something from a yet-to-be-ma...

    December 4, 2017
  • Semi-living inks may revolutionise 3D printing

    Swiss researchers succeed in incorporating bacteria into hydrogel, ushering in a new class of hyb...

    The distinction between living and non-living material is set to be significantly reset following the creation of ink...

    December 4, 2017
  • Being single boosts dementia risk

    People living alone are more likely to have lifestyle factors that up the danger of neurodegenera...

    Single people carry a 42% higher risk than married couples of developing dementia, a meta-analysis by US researchers ...

    December 4, 2017
  • It’s official: dogs are smarter than cats

    Counting brain cells reveals that cats are a bit dim.

    Bad news for cat lovers. Your pet is not haughty, enigmatic and given to philosophical pondering. Your pet is just du...

    December 3, 2017
  • Wrangling record qubit numbers

    Two teams more than double previous quantum simulator totals. Andrew Masterson reports.

    “Wiring” ions together using laser beams has allowed researchers to create a system comprising the one of the highest...

    December 3, 2017
  • How to build a better sausage

    Italian research interrogates the role of bacteria in making fermented meat. Andrew Masterson rep...

    It is a question that has perhaps occupied significant parts of humanity for thousands of years: how do you create a ...

    December 3, 2017
  • Feral frogs don’t compete with native birds

    Research in Hawaii finds relationships between introduced and native species are more complicated...

    When any given habitat is overrun by an introduced species, it is sound logic to predict that other species sharing t...

    December 3, 2017
  • Life evidence may be hidden on candidate planets

    Modelling suggests atmospheric flow on red dwarf planets might conceal oxygen traces. Andrew Mast...

    The hoary academic admonition that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence has received fresh application in t...

    December 1, 2017
  • Stone Age women were tough mothers

    New analysis reveals impressive arm strength in early field workers. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Recognising and removing a gender bias that has long been present in anthropology has resulted in a surprising insigh...

    November 30, 2017
  • In ancient India, a river didn’t run through it

    A cradle of Bronze Age civilisation thrived precisely because of the absence of a major water sou...

    The Bronze Age Indus Valley civilisation, which began around 5500 BCE and peaked 2000 years later, is recognised as o...

    November 29, 2017
  • When dealing with Number 2, pills are Number 1

    Canadian research finds less stressful way to treat bowel inflammation. Andrew Masterson reports.

    In news that might not seem all that surprising, Canadian researchers report that patients prefer ingesting faeces in...

    November 28, 2017
  • Topology yields miniaturisation breakthrough for quantum computing

    Exploiting an exotic state of matter has led to a major step forward in the race to revolutionise...

    The research that led to the 2016 Nobel Prize in Physics has found concrete expression and practical application, tha...

    November 28, 2017
  • Cholera kills humans, nurtures insects

    Pathogen-to-pathogen communication means cholera bacteria alter their behaviour depending on thei...

    Cholera is an extremely virulent bacterial disease that in severe cases can kill a human host within hours.Research l...

    November 28, 2017
  • A galaxy as you’ve never seen it

    New imaging hints at a violent past and a fatal future for the Small Magellanic cloud. Andrew Mas...

    It may be small but, boy, does it look hot.Astronomers at the Australian National University in Canberra have compile...

    November 28, 2017
  • Microbe threat to Mars

    Experiments suggest an ancient survival strategy on Earth could benefit bacterial hitch-hikers. A...

    The presence of water on Mars increases the possibility that human missions to the planet will inadvertently contamin...

    November 27, 2017
  • Mouse with a view

    A transparent implant will give cancer researchers unprecedented access to watching tumours devel...

    Take a look inside: a new implant allows researchers to observe the development of lung cancer in a living, breathing...

    November 27, 2017
  • Racism and wonky patterns are linked, research finds

    A dislike of imperfect geometry seemingly predicts antisocial views. Andrew Masterson reports.

    A tendency towards racism, homophobia and scorning people who don’t fit in might spring from the same source as a fla...

    November 27, 2017
  • Nuke blasts reveal true size of neutron stars

    Satellite data and new modelling find neutron stars are less than 25 kilometres wide. Andrew Mast...

    New modelling of the thermonuclear blasts happening on the surface of a neutron star means that astrophysicists have ...

    November 26, 2017
  • Shock wave clue to improving radiotherapy

    Modelling provides clues to what happens in nuclear medicine. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Beams of ions – positively charged particles – have been used in radiation treatments for cancer for almost 30 years....

    November 26, 2017
  • New species evolve in just two generations

    Darwin’s finches provide an unexpected insight into speciation, knocking accepted theories sidewa...

    The Big Bird finch, product of inbreeding and rapid evolution.PR GrantA new species can evolve in as few as two gener...

    November 26, 2017
  • Barnacles to save endangered turtles

    Chemical variants inside barnacles could greatly improve knowledge about their hosts.

    Charles Darwin, famously, had a scientific passion for barnacles, but there is nothing in his research to suggest he ...

    November 26, 2017
  • Keeping trains on the tracks

    Research aims to map the complex interactions between rails and rolling stock. Andrew Masterson r...

    An Australian-Indonesian joint research venture is uncovering an extra layer of complexity that influences the struct...

    November 23, 2017
  • Common species of jellyfish turns out to be two

    Genetic analysis reveals a new species, hidden in plain sight for almost two centuries. Andrew Ma...

    The sea nettle jellyfish – a very familiar sight to beachgoers and swimmers along the east coast of the United States...

    November 23, 2017
  • Cassini sees Titan glow just before destruction

    Useful right until the last minute, NASA’s Saturn probe sent data about the planet’s moon just be...

    In its dying hours, as it plunged towards fiery oblivion on Saturn, NASA’s Cassini probe captured the dawn of spring ...

    November 21, 2017
  • Stolen bone alleged in controversial hominin claim

    Paleontologists claim that evidence of early human ancestors in Germany is flawed. Academics and ...

    Findings about the arrival of human ancestors in Europe are under a cloud following allegations of theft and dubious ...

    November 21, 2017
  • Peanut antibodies in breast milk may protect kids from allergy

    A mouse study finds that antibodies can be transferred to offspring by nursing mothers. Andrew Ma...

    Breast milk can protect babies against food allergies – but only if the mother has consumed the catalyst foods first....

    November 21, 2017
  • Oxygen jump link to species spread

    A rise to near-modern oxygen levels 450 million years ago coincided with a big biodiversity boost...

    Rapidly rising oxygen levels more than 400 million years ago seems to have been a key driver in promoting a rapid exp...

    November 20, 2017
  • Global warming hiatus never happened

    Scientists suggest the apparent slowdown in rising temperatures was caused by figures, not facts....

    The much-discussed global warming hiatus of 1998 to 2012 was an artefact of missing data rather than a genuine climat...

    November 20, 2017
  • Bean-counters with Geiger-counters

    Mass evacuations after nuclear power plant failures are expensive and don’t really save lives, sa...

    Evacuating large numbers of people in the wake of a nuclear disaster is not a justifiable response, according to a st...

    November 20, 2017
  • Want happy cows? Avoid bright paint and puddles

    Research finds surprisingly simple ways to improve animal welfare on cattle farms. Andrew Masters...

    A study into cattle welfare has demonstrated a series of changes to handling procedures that reduce stress in the ani...

    November 19, 2017
  • Millions of children miss out on vaccinations

    Global vax rates are improving, but serious concerns remain. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Just over 90% of the world’s infants – 123 million of them – received at least one vaccination in 2016, according to ...

    November 19, 2017
  • Video: Tiny engines inspired by wine

    Chinese researchers look into glasses darkly and find the key to powering microbots. Andrew Maste...

    American Chemical SocietySmears of wine running down the side of a glass have inspired scientists to produce tiny che...

    November 18, 2017
  • Pulsars out for positron count, leaving dark matter in the frame

    New modelling discounts a leading theory on antimatter particles hitting Earth. Andrew Masterson ...

    A larger-than-predicted number of antimatter particles smashing into the Earth may be the result of the annihilation ...

    November 16, 2017
  • Not without my microbe

    A leaf-eating beetle lives in partnership with an enzyme-producing bacterium. Andrew Masterson re...

    An entomological puzzle that began more than 80 years old has now been solved, the information gained from the smalle...

    November 16, 2017
  • The wealth of Neolithic nations

    Archaeologists have attempted to separate the haves from the have-nots in ancient societies. Andr...

    Thus, apparently, has it ever been: along comes a radical change to the way a society operates, its proponents promis...

    November 16, 2017
  • The mystery microbes making rock in a Chilean lake

    Analysis of an extremophile habitat reveals a surprising absence, and throws up many questions. A...

    Unknown microbes with unknown metabolisms may be living in one of the world’s harshest environments – an area in Chil...

    November 16, 2017
  • Clash of the titans

    Astronomers report one of the most extreme and violent galaxy clashes ever. Andrew Masterson repo...

    Two of the largest, brightest and rarest galaxies ever detected are on a collision course, heading for a violent merg...

    November 15, 2017
  • Ancient Egyptians preferred metallic inks

    Synchrotron imaging finds unexpected ingredients in 2000-year-old papyri. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Ask any high-street printer and you’ll be told that using metallic ink is both tricky and expensive. Mind you, the pr...

    November 15, 2017
  • Extremely ancient lifeform discovered in Tasmania

    Rare freshwater stromatolites have been found in a UN-protected wilderness zone. Andrew Masterson...

    A previously unknown type of stromatolite – rare and ancient biological structures that first evolved around 3.7 bill...

    November 14, 2017
  • Need a better microscope? Add mirrors

    US microscope designers find an elegant way to overcome the problems of lens-making. Andrew Maste...

    From pre-classical times onwards, it could be argued, lens-makers have been the unsung heroes of science.As early as ...

    November 14, 2017
  • Exploring the krilling fields

    A cruise on an icebreaker reveals new facts about how tiny crustaceans survive the winter. Andrew...

    The larvae of the Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba) are skinny things, having very low fat reserves. Given that the...

    November 14, 2017
  • Ginger clue in diabetes treatment

    Researchers reveal a previously unknown way bodies generate heat by triggering fat-burning surges...

    Eating ginger may turn out to be a useful self-administered treatment for diabetes and obesity, new research indicate...

    November 14, 2017
  • Continent break-up fuelled climate change

    The destruction of Pangaea triggered warming carbon dioxide levels.

    Greenhouse climate conditions that enveloped the Earth for long periods in the deep past – millions of years before h...

    November 13, 2017
  • Butterfly mimics flipped a single gene

    Swallowtails show an amazing variety of shapes and patterns – but the ability to do so arose just...

    The swallowtail butterfly family, Papilionidae, contains over 550 species. The females of them are known to have feat...

    November 13, 2017
  • 1000-year-old ocean water trapped in “shadow zone”

    The shape of the North Pacific ocean basic creates a vast pool of suspended stagnant sea, modelli...

    Deep in the middle of the deepest oceans of the world lies a shadow zone, where ancient sea water hangs, trapped in v...

    November 13, 2017
  • In a flap: pigeons use wings to sound the alarm

    150 years after Darwin wrote about non-verbal noise in birds, researchers crack its purpose. Andr...

    Australian readers – and enthusiastic bird-watchers who have visited Australia – may well be familiar with the creste...

    November 12, 2017
  • Bleach clue in origin of life hunt

    New modelling adds weight to hydrothermal vents as the cradle of life on Earth. Andrew Masterson ...

    A hydrothermal vent: could bleach be the critical element in the story of life?Universal History Archive/UIG via Gett...

    November 12, 2017
  • 27 ways to lose your life in the heat

    A US study finds heatwaves induce death by more than two dozen gruesome mechanisms. Andrew Master...

    There are at least 27 ways you can die in a heatwave. None of them are pleasant and all of them will become more comm...

    November 10, 2017
  • Blasting bosons baffle boffins

    Researchers discover a new and dramatic quantum behaviour. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Just like fireworks: jets of particles fly from a Bose-Einstein condensate, revealing an entirely new quantum behavio...

    November 9, 2017
  • Revealing the twilight cone

    Some species of deep-sea fish have eyes perfectly adapted to dim light, research shows. Andrew Ma...

    Deep sea pearlsides (Maurolicus muelleri) have unique adaptations to their low-lit environments.Wen-Sung Chung / Quee...

    November 9, 2017
  • If aliens are out there, they’re staying awfully quiet

    The first tranche of a major search for ET concludes intelligent life doesn’t exist anywhere in 1...

    The first comprehensive search for radio signals produced by extraterrestrial civilisations has drawn a blank. As far...

    November 9, 2017
  • Dogs are colour blind

    Italian research adapts human eye tests to show dogs can’t tell red from green. Andrew Masterson ...

    Here’s a tip for the novice pet owner: don’t buy your pooch a red ball and then throw it in a green field. Chances ar...

    November 8, 2017
  • Beat perception more primitive than thought

    New research shows gerbils react differently to varying musical rhythms. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Anaesthetised gerbils can still get down to a block-rocking beat, but would be left cold by Bob Marley’s reggae.That’...

    November 8, 2017
  • Microbe economics is ruthless and exploitative

    Bacterial colonies produce winners, losers, and paradoxes. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Microbes develop their own economies, according to new research – and their outcomes can be just as dismal as human o...

    November 8, 2017
  • Mini mammals found at English beach

    The earliest known placental species renews debate over the emergence of mammals. Andrew Masterso...

    The long and tortuous evolutionary journey of mammals that led to the emergence of Homo sapiens and other great apes ...

    November 8, 2017
  • Quantum tunnelling in water confirmed

    Australian research creates opportunities in renewable energy and medical analysis. Andrew Master...

    A quantum theory first proposed nearly 90 years ago has at last been confirmed, potentially galvanising new approache...

    November 8, 2017
  • “Mythical beast” spotted in distant universe

    One of the first galaxies to form has been imaged in detail for the first time. Andrew Masterson ...

    The second oldest galaxy ever detected has been spotted by a telescope built on top of an extinct volcano in Mexico.T...

    November 7, 2017
  • Lights, cameras, robots

    Robots won’t be truly autonomous until they can cope in every day environments, where unexpected ...

    Your autonomous car is hurtling down a country road when a tractor pulls out of a farm gate in front of you. Are you ...

    November 7, 2017
  • Bio-terror is a public health issue

    Princeton University’s Laura Kahn spends her days analysing the risks of animal diseases jumping ...

    At first blush, the dangers looming due to climate change are typified by very large phenomena: bushfires, floods, hu...

    November 7, 2017
  • Carbon nanofibres linked to mesothelioma

    Mouse study finds fibres act like asbestos in the lungs. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Carbon nanotubes have been implicated in the onset of mesothelioma in mice, researchers say.In a study published in t...

    November 6, 2017
  • Researchers work out how to break the bookmakers

    Data analysis reveals a foolproof betting system – until the bookies find out. Andrew Masterson r...

    Australia’s richest horse race, the Melbourne Cup, held on Tuesday November 7, turns the country into a nation of gam...

    November 6, 2017
  • Extremely unlikely weather still happens

    An economic analysis of climate change warns that much of the cost is tied up in rare events – an...

    Disregarding exceptionally unlikely events when formulating climate policy is extremely unwise, according to an analy...

    November 6, 2017
  • NASA yanks astronaut paper, citing security

    A 2017 paper investigating sight damage linked to space flight has been taken down because of con...

    A recent paper investigating the cause of sight damage in astronauts has been ordered pulled by NASA, citing security...

    November 6, 2017
  • Setback for flu vax research

    A prime target reveals more variability than thought. Andrew Masterson reports.

    The quest for a universal influenza vaccine has taken a hit with the discovery that the prime target is more mutable ...

    November 6, 2017
  • Coming soon: robots with jellyfish skin

    A prototype electronic skin glows when in danger. Andrew Masterson reports.

    An electronic skin that takes a lesson from jellyfish and glows when in danger of being damaged is being developed by...

    November 5, 2017
  • Chimps happy to take turns playing video games

    Cooperation on screen-based challenges requires no training, say zoologists. Andrew Masterson rep...

    Unlike many human children, chimpanzees are happy to take turns when it comes to playing computer games.This became e...

    November 5, 2017
  • Revealed: a monster planet orbits a tiny star

    A new discovery challenges received wisdom about planet size. Andrew Masterson reports.

    A planet the size of Jupiter has been found orbiting a star half the size of the sun, confounding one of the tenets o...

    November 2, 2017
  • Bees can be left or right handed

    Tests show that some honeybees tend naturally to favour one side or the other. Andrew Masterson r...

    Bees can be left- or right-handed, researchers at the University of Queensland in Australia have discovered.In a pape...

    November 2, 2017
  • Humans get a new cousin

    Bone and gene analyses identify a third species of orangutan. Andrew Masterson reports.

    And then there were eight. A team of researchers has identified a previously unrecognised species of orangutan, addin...

    November 2, 2017
  • Bats learn pidgin

    Young bats adopt community dialects, new research shows. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Young bats pick up the dialect of their colony rather than simply mimicking the sounds made by their mothers, researc...

    November 2, 2017
  • Combined genetic disorder risk equal to Down syndrome, research finds

    Screening for certain rare genetic conditions should be widespread and routine, according to a pi...

    The number of pregnancies affected by cystic fibrosis, fragile-X syndrome and spinal muscular atrophy, when grouped t...

    November 2, 2017
  • Cosmic rays lead to pyramid discovery

    Particle physicists find a void in the heart of Egypt’s famous structure. Andrew Masterson reports.

    It sounds like something from a New Age magazine, but it happens to be true: scientists have harnessed the power of c...

    November 2, 2017
  • Marine sponges gave us silicosis

    Italian study finds sponges and humans react to dust the same way – but with very different resul...

    Silicosis – a type of lung disease caused by the inhalation of crystalline dust – may be an ancient legacy bequeathed...

    November 1, 2017
  • Lemurs are what they eat

    Poor quality fruit drives Madagascan diets.

    Lemurs eat a lot of leaves because fruit on Madagascar isn’t nutritious enough to sustain them, according to new rese...

    November 1, 2017
  • Invisible ink uses metal-organic frameworks

    Chinese researchers reveal a new kind of ink, invisible until it touches salt. Andrew Masterson r...

    Spies take note: from now on stow a little packet of salt upon your person. The fate of the free world may depend on ...

    October 31, 2017
  • Into the woods: Horses survived mass extinction by adapting to forests

    Modelling and gene analysis explains the surprising persistence of Europe’s wild horses. Andrew M...

    Wild horses survived the mass extinction event that knocked out most of Eurasia’s megafauna – including the mammoth –...

    October 31, 2017
  • Brain damage mechanism discovered

    The mystery of why oxygen deprivation is so devastating appears to have been solved. Andrew Maste...

    Researchers in the Netherlands have discovered why oxygen deprivation to the brain during a stroke has such catastrop...

    October 31, 2017
  • Hallowe’en: Dying to save the planet

    Researchers call for dead folk to pull their weight and help protect rare animals. Andrew Masters...

    Could dead people help save endangered species? That’s the appropriately ghoulish question asked in the journal Conse...

    October 31, 2017
  • Jupiter’s light show just got weird

    A newly discovered southern aurora behaves quite differently to its northern counterpart. Andrew ...

    After years of fruitless searching, astronomers have discovered a southern aurora on Jupiter – and it’s weird.On Eart...

    October 30, 2017
  • Biblical miracle turns out to be solar eclipse, study finds

    Revisiting the original text helped researchers find long searched for astronomical event, Andrew...

    Correcting a possible mistranslation in the Old Testament has perhaps revealed the earliest ever recorded solar eclip...

    October 30, 2017
  • NASA launch today aims to measure what lies between

    Part one of a two-stage experiment to learn about the Intergalactic Medium is set for go. Andrew ...

    A NASA sub-orbital rocket launch and 15-minute test flight scheduled for today could help cosmologists better underst...

    October 29, 2017
  • Never play double bass to an oyster

    Research reveals the world’s favourite shellfish is sensitive to low frequencies. Andrew Masterso...

    If you care about the welfare of oysters, never take one to an AC/DC concert. That’s the strong implication of resear...

    October 29, 2017
  • “Trump is a self-inflicted wound”

    Is the democratic system the real problem that needs to be tackled if we want our species to surv...

    Discussing the fact that climate-science-denying politicians are not exactly rare these days, Richard Dawkins notes t...

    October 29, 2017
  • Lawrence Krauss eyes the clock

    Cosmologist and physicist Lawrence Krauss ponders the last minutes before midnight. He shares his...

    Cosmologist Lawrence Krauss: pessimistic, but not gloomy.Brian de Rivera Simon/WireImageA few days from now, theoreti...

    October 26, 2017
  • Roman glass theory wrong for centuries

    Collaboration reveals famous ancient vase was not made the way the catalogues say, reports Andrew...

    Roman art historians are unanimous in the opinion that a cameo glass known as the Portland Vase, thought to date from...

    October 26, 2017
  • Revealed: a savage galaxy hunting for prey

    In the Fornax cluster lurks a gigantic predator. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Astronomers now have clearer details on an entity nicknamed a “galactic serial killer”, thanks to new images obtained...

    October 25, 2017
  • Neanderthals got by with a little help from their friends

    Skeletal analysis indicates our distant cousins had a pronounced caring streak. Andrew Masterson ...

    No one knows by what name the Neanderthal man now dubbed Shanidar 1 was known to his peers, but the chances are – unl...

    October 25, 2017
  • Fossil trees lacked trunk rings

    A 374-million year old tree reveals there is more than one way to evolve a trunk. Andrew Masterso...

    The earliest large trees to evolve – around 390 million years ago – had internal structures that looked very differen...

    October 24, 2017
  • Statins linked to diabetes risk

    Researchers identify a “modest” association between cholesterol-lowering meds and diabetes among ...

    Statins save many lives, but a new study also links them to diabetes risk.Peter Dazely/Getty ImagesTaking statins sig...

    October 23, 2017
  • The shrinking of the shrew

    A common mammal shrinks its skull and brain every winter before growing it back again, reports An...

    A common species of mammal found across the northern hemisphere shrinks its skull by an extraordinary 20% in winter.W...

    October 23, 2017
  • Take a walk on Mars

    NASA and Google virtual reality collaboration lets you follow in Curiosity’s wheel tracks. Andrew...

    The overwhelming majority of us will never set foot on Mars, but now, for the price of a virtual reality headset, we ...

    October 23, 2017
  • “No added sugar” can still mean lots of sugar

    Even without adding extra, refined foods can still breach WHO sugar guidelines, Andrew Masterson ...

    Food products labelled as having no added sugar can still be high in calories – and indeed can still contain sugar le...

    October 23, 2017
  • Recognising Australia’s leading female scientists

    This year’s annual L’Oréal fellowships honour researchers working in medicine, public health and ...

    Three medical researchers and a quantum physicist have won this year’s L’Oréal Australia fellowships for women in sci...

    October 23, 2017
  • Electric atmosphere on Martian moon may doom exploration hopes

    Solar winds could severely damage astronaut equipment, a NASA study finds. Andrew Masterson reports.

    The Martian moon Phobos has been considered a potentially useful base for astronauts, because its weak gravity makes ...

    October 22, 2017
  • E-cigs may cause unique health problems

    A small US study finds e-smokers might risk different types of lung and vascular disease. Andrew ...

    The contention that e-cigarettes represent a safe form of nicotine consumption has taken a blow with a study finding ...

    October 22, 2017
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome symptoms confirmed

    Electronic monitoring helps researchers better understand a difficult condition. Andrew Masterson...

    Sleep problems reported by young people with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) have been confirmed by electronic monitor...

    October 22, 2017
  • Millions of deaths linked to pollution

    Two-year study reveals shocking toll of air and water damage. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Air pollution was linked to 6.5 million deaths worldwide in 2015, with water pollution contributing to almost two mil...

    October 20, 2017
  • What will extraterrestrial life look like?

    Will we ever discover extraterrestrial life, and, if so, what form will it take? Six experts give...

    1: Brian Cox: purple slimeCox suggests that life in the universe is likely abundant. Intelligent life, however, is an...

    October 20, 2017
  • How to see the Orionid meteor shower

    Not doing anything this weekend? May we suggest standing outside before dawn? Andrew Masterson ha...

    The Orionid meteors are debris from Halley’s comet. Every October they become visible for several nights when the Ear...

    October 19, 2017
  • Sabre-toothed cats survived 200,000 years longer than thought

    When people arrived in Europe, big cats with bigger teeth were possibly waiting for them. Andrew ...

    Sabre-toothed cats were still prowling through Europe 200,000 years later than previously thought, new analysis has f...

    October 19, 2017
  • Gender study withdrawn after boys and girls mixed up

    Researchers discover that coding error explains unusual results. Andrew Masterson reports.

    A study that found young boys were better than girls at coping with emotional challenges has been retracted after the...

    October 18, 2017
  • Mining takes toll on Amazon

    Study finds effects of mining on tree loss are much greater than previously thought. Andrew Maste...

    In Brazil, about 90% of Amazon deforestation caused by mining operations happens outside the boundaries of mining lea...

    October 18, 2017
  • Live fast and die young: prey animals stay put as predators increase

    New modelling finds assumptions about predator-prey relationships are wrong. Andrew Masterson rep...

    A new mathematical model finds that the reasoning used in studies of predator-prey relationships is flawed – and ofte...

    October 18, 2017
  • Child-bearing women make riskier blood donors

    More research needed after study ties prior pregnancy in donors to worse outcomes in recipients. ...

    Blood donated by women who have been pregnant carries an increased risk of death for the recipient, a new study shows...

    October 17, 2017
  • Volcanoes spurred the fall of ancient Egypt

    Climate and flood records allow researchers to recreate the environmental fate of Cleopatra’s fam...

    Way back, around 221 BCE, some of the locals in Egypt noticed that the great kingdom was starting to go to the dogs. ...

    October 17, 2017
  • People should organise independent tests for medical marijuana, says UK doctor

    Ben Goldacre sees no reason why cannabis trials need be conducted only by scientists. He spoke to...

    Randomised clinical trials led and organised by patients might be an excellent way to test claims made for medical ma...

    October 17, 2017
  • Buddy, can you spare a bat tooth?

    Fruit bat conservation needs special care on an island where the animals are used as money. Andre...

    It’s a cliché with which we are all familiar: having a bit of money is a good thing, but accumulating too much may we...

    October 16, 2017
  • Young star provides a glimpse of how planets are made

    Two recent studies offer insight into the mystery of planet formation. Andrew Masterson reports.

    High powered telescopes aimed at a distant young hot star called V1247 Orionis have yielded some intriguing clues to ...

    October 16, 2017
  • Shellfish pump out greenhouse gases

    Baltic Sea study implicates invertebrates as big emitters. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Clams and marine worms have been found to make potent contributions to greenhouse gas emissions, prompting concerns a...

    October 16, 2017
  • Queen ants bury their dead rivals

    Austrian research finds new queens will dismember and inter dead sister queens to prevent infecti...

    Sisters are chewing it for themselves. In situations where a colony is formed by a pair of ant queens and one of them...

    October 16, 2017
  • Gene therapy for blindness heading for approval

    The US FDA eyes green-lighting its first gene replacement treatment. Andrew Masterson reports.

    The US Food and Drug Administration looks set to approve a gene therapy for the treatment of a rare form of blindness...

    October 15, 2017
  • Mediterranean tidal wave risk overstated

    A geographic analysis finds bad storms often misreported as tsunamis. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Although around the world tsunamis killed more than 430,000 people in the first half of the current decade, the risk ...

    October 15, 2017
  • The science of bushranging

    New Australian series pits scientists against folklore, reports Andrew Masterson.

    Where America had its wild west mavericks, Australia had its bushrangers: rambunctious outlaws long ago romanticised,...

    October 15, 2017
  • Species may be saved by microwaving sperm

    Dehydration might offer a better alternative to freezing when it comes to tissue storage. Andrew ...

    Putting your cat in the microwave is universally agreed to be a very bad idea – but putting its sperm in there instea...

    October 15, 2017
  • No contact between Easter Island and South America, study finds

    Genetic analysis of Easter Island skeletons rules out early mixing with Amerindians. Andrew Maste...

    The people of Easter Island did not fraternise with South Americans before the arrival of Europeans in 1722, a new pa...

    October 12, 2017
  • Dolphins suffer in extreme weather

    Study finds decrease in numbers in coastal dolphins battling El Niño and heavy rain. Andrew Maste...

    Severe weather events can disrupt coastal dolphin populations – and even potentially lead to the death of some of the...

    October 11, 2017
  • Biotech solution to heart surgery for kids

    A prototype valve grows with the patient, so doesn’t need replacing. Andrew Masterson reports.

    The Chinese Finger Trap – a tubular braided novelty beloved by kids and pranksters around the world – provided the in...

    October 10, 2017
  • Australia’s extinct giant chickens had relatives in Europe

    Giant flightless fowl evolved independently in both hemispheres, research finds. Andrew Masterson...

    Chickens the size of a horse roamed Australia as recently as 50,000 years ago.Well, not exactly, but research into th...

    October 10, 2017
  • Confirmed: cosmic rays blast from supernovae

    An exploded star first seen by 500 years ago helps astrophysicists to solve a cosmic conundrum. A...

    Ending an astronomical mystery, scientists have confirmed that cosmic rays – high energy subatomic particles – are pr...

    October 10, 2017
  • World’s reptiles mapped for the first time

    A comprehensive survey of snakes and lizards completes the long-awaited “atlas of life”. Andrew M...

    The first definitive map showing the distribution and density of every reptile species in the world has completed the...

    October 9, 2017
  • Volcanologists lose their lives in pursuit of knowledge

    Death records show scientists and tourists at risk of death in eruptions. Andrew Masterson reports.

    A village destroyed by pyroclastic density currents in the 2010 eruption of Merapi, Indonesia. Over 350 people lost t...

    October 9, 2017
  • Genetic link to durian’s stink

    Loved and loathed in equal measure, the durian’s genes reveal why the fruit smells so pungent. An...

    The smell of durian is so strong that it is banned on many forms of public transport and in most major hotel chains.B...

    October 9, 2017
  • Alien tech or dust? A strange star gets stranger

    Two new papers add to the reputation of Tabby’s star as being the oddest thing in the sky. Andrew...

    Tabby’s star, generally regarded as the weirdest star in the universe, just got even weirder. Or perhaps it didn’t. P...

    October 8, 2017
  • Multiple barriers to ending Madagascar’s plague outbreak

    Almost unknown elsewhere, plague is currently infecting hundreds in the impoverished island natio...

    In Madagascar more than 30 people have died from the plague in the past few weeks. Several hundred more are infected ...

    October 8, 2017
  • The cosmological constant may not be constant, after all

    Measurements suggest dark energy may fluctuate, throwing current models of the universe into doub...

    The cosmological constant – an essential part of the complex equations that account for an expanding universe – may n...

    October 5, 2017
  • Stick insect survived extinction by hiding out

    DNA analysis proves a recently discovered insect to be identical to a vanished island population....

    In June 1918, a ship called SS Makambo ran aground on Lord Howe Island, 600 kilometres east of the Australian mainlan...

    October 5, 2017
  • Red skies over Kyoto

    Eighteenth century painting provides clues to rare aurora storms. Andrew Masterson reports.

    In the 18th century, night time in the streets of Kyoto would have been a dark and shadowy affair, with light coming ...

    October 5, 2017
  • Galileo’s female Japanese peer

    A new study reveals the extraordinary achievements of a little-known astronomer. Andrew Masterson...

    Hisako Koyama in 1951.Knipp, D., Liu, H., & Hayakawa, H., Space Weather (2017) A female Japanese amateur astrono...

    October 4, 2017
  • Cutting meat in pregnancy ups risk offspring will smoke

    A US study finds correlation between low-meat diets in pregnant women and addiction outcomes in c...

    The children of mothers who eat less meat while pregnant may be more likely to develop an addiction in later life.Bro...

    October 4, 2017
  • Life grew from tepid water, study finds

    It’s not very majestic, but life on earth probably began in a warm little pond, reports Andrew Ma...

    Fans of the classic rock music mockumentary Spinal Tap (1984) may recall a moment when the eponymous band’s hapless b...

    October 4, 2017
  • Microbes may not make it to Mars

    Novel experiment finds some microbes are better adapted to space travel than others. Andrew Maste...

    The inability of certain microbe species to survive long journeys in space may cause health problems for astronauts t...

    October 4, 2017
  • Fresh Fukushima radiation detected

    Scientists find caesium-137 stored in groundwater almost 100 kilometres from the Japanese nuclear...

    Scientists in Japan have found a new source of radiation derived from the 2011 Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear disaster, l...

    October 3, 2017
  • Synthetic protein hints at flu treatment

    Reintroducing a protein lost through evolution holds promise for reducing the effects of viral in...

    A synthesised protein shows promise for reducing the symptoms, and perhaps lethality, of influenza, research from the...

    October 3, 2017
  • Circadian rhythm research wins Medicine Nobel

    US trio win the top prize for work on fruit fly genes.

    “The moral of the story is, as in real estate, location, location, location.”So wrote US geneticist Michael Rosbash t...

    October 2, 2017
  • Methane made lakes on Mars, study claims

    Geophysicists find a mechanism to explain big lakes in a dry climate on the Red Planet. Andrew Ma...

    The mystery of ancient lakes on Mars may have been solved, according to a study published in the journal Nature Geosc...

    October 2, 2017
  • Stem cell kidneys prompt treatment hope

    Petri dish organoids offer tantalising clues about the progress of hereditary kidney disease. And...

    Miniature kidneys grown from stem cells in a Petri dish are helping scientists move towards a treatment for a disease...

    October 2, 2017
  • Freon find deals blow to ET search

    A compound thought to be an indicator of biological life turns out to be far more common than pre...

    In a blow to the search for extraterrestrial life, astronomers have been forced to discard a chemical compound previo...

    October 2, 2017
  • More flowers doesn’t mean healthier bees

    Climate change is leading to longer flowering seasons, but bees aren’t reaping the benefits. Andr...

    In a counter-intuitive finding, researchers have discovered that longer flowering seasons due to climate change is ha...

    October 2, 2017
  • Meet the guy who gave us herpes

    A distant relation was responsible for humans being susceptible to the genital herpes virus.

    It’s all the big bloke’s fault. When the ancient hominin lineage split from the last common ancestor it shared with ...

    October 2, 2017
  • We’re not living in a computer simulation!

    The sci-fi trope might now be put to rest.

    Just in case it’s been weighing on your mind, you can relax now. A team of theoretical physicists from Oxford Univers...

    October 1, 2017
  • The mathematics of disaster

    MIT researchers are hunting for signals common to extreme events, making prediction more accurate...

    Extreme events, such as tsunamis or network crashes, are by their very nature rare. But because they occur in a wide ...

    September 28, 2017
  • Robots use origami to change shape

    Research and video demonstrate a major step forward in the quest to induce metamorphosis in robot...

    Tiny autonomous cubes that use origami to change shape could be the key to a new wave of multifunctional robotics, ac...

    September 28, 2017
  • Neurologist reverses claims on coffee for Parkinson’s

    A study suggesting caffeine improves symptoms of Parkinson’s disease has been contradicted by fol...

    A follow-up study into the effect of caffeine on people with Parkinson’s disease has prompted a Canadian researcher t...

    September 27, 2017
  • How do you keep a space probe clean?

    As NASA’s OSIRIS-REx heads off to collect asteroid particles, ensuring they remain pure looms as ...

    Last Friday, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx probe zipped past Earth, just 17,000 kilometres up, on its way to collect what might v...

    September 27, 2017
  • Giant coconut-eating tree-dwelling rat discovered

    A long search eventually confirms a new species of arboreal rat, but it’s already at risk of exti...

    A new species of giant rat that lives up trees and can crack open coconuts with its teeth has been discovered living ...

    September 27, 2017
  • Australia gets new eyes in the sky

    Australia’s main research organisation has negotiated access to Britain’s newest satellite. Andre...

    Australia’s principal science agency, the CSIRO, has secured access to a new UK-built satellite touted as one of the ...

    September 26, 2017
  • Quarter of cancer patients use marijuana

    The legal status of cannabis strong influences the decision to use it to manage symptoms, a US st...

    One quarter of cancer patients in a US state where medical marijuana is legal used the drug during the past year, a s...

    September 25, 2017
  • Did meteorites create the Earth’s tectonic plates?

    Modelling suggests that plate tectonics and the Earth’s magnetic field were the result of massive...

    Meteorite impacts might have kick-started the Earth’s tectonic plates and boosted the planet’s magnetic field, accord...

    September 25, 2017
  • Australia sprints into the space race

    Multiple announcements reveal Australia’s plans to invest heavily in its own space industry, writ...

    In a rare show of Federal, state, academic and business cooperation, Australia this week declared its intention to bu...

    September 25, 2017
  • The fluid dynamics of paint

    Watch how fluid physics produces complex abstract art.

    To mark its upcoming annual conference, the Fluid Dynamics Division of the American Physical Society has released a s...

    September 24, 2017
  • Why poisonous frogs don’t croak

    A change to just one amino acid prevents South America’s toxic amphibians killing themselves, wri...

    As every school kid will tell you, South America boasts some fearsomely poisonous little frogs.These amphibians, such...

    September 24, 2017
  • Vegetarian dinosaurs ate flesh

    At least one plant-eating dino wasn’t all that strict about diet.

    Have you ever met a person who claims to be vegetarian but then happily chows down on seafood? It turns out that this...

    September 22, 2017
  • Neanderthal kids grew up differently

    The skeleton of a Neanderthal child shows that the brains of our extinct cousins grew more slowly...

    Skeleton of the Neanderthal boy recovered from the El Sidrón cave in Asturias, Spain.Paleoanthropology Group MNCN-CSI...

    September 21, 2017
  • What’s your favourite science book?

    Here at Cosmos we’re keen to find out which science or tech themed book, if push comes to shove, ...

    What’s your favourite science book?Cosmos MagazineThere are some books that make a profound impact on the reader – so...

    September 21, 2017
  • Even jellyfish need sleep

    Dozy jellyfish show the ancient evolutionary origins of sleep, writes Andrew Masterson.

    The suite of genes that induce and regulate sleep has not yet been fully uncovered, but researchers at the California...

    September 21, 2017
  • Tougher, shinier mirrors boost telescope power

    A durable silver coating for mirrors may provide an easy upgrade for optical telescopes around th...

    The world’s big astronomical telescopes could soon all get a performance upgrade without the need for installing bigg...

    September 20, 2017
  • How polio can fight cancer

    A modified form of poliovirus attacks cancer cells and also recruits the body’s immune system to ...

    A molecular model of a poliovirus capsid.Karsten Schneider / Science Photo LibraryA protein common on some types of c...

    September 20, 2017
  • Carbon calculations say sixth mass extinction looms

    An analysis of past mass extinctions calculates that rising carbon dioxide levels make another on...

    The numbers don’t lie: the world is heading for a sixth mass extinction event, and the point of no return lies just 8...

    September 20, 2017
  • The size of a duck’s penis depends on the company it keeps

    Growing up in an all-male environment makes some duck species grow larger penises and others dela...

    The sight of ducks swimming on the placid surface of a picturesque lake is likely to prompt reflections on the harmon...

    September 20, 2017
  • The bizarre chemistry Cassini found on Titan

    The chemical mysteries the Cassini probe discovered on Saturn’s moon Titan will keep scientists b...

    {%recommended 868%} The space probe Cassini has gone, but although it is now no more than several trillion widely sep...

    September 20, 2017
  • Nanotech skin patch turns white fat into energy-burning brown fat

    A fat-browning drug delivered through the skin may offer a new approach to tackling obesity. Andr...

    “Body sculpting” is a currently fashionable term that embraces a multitude of generally expensive vanity sins: diet p...

    September 19, 2017
  • Virus testing better than Pap test for cervical cancer screening

    Five-yearly checks for human papilloma virus may replace the current biennial Pap smear regime fo...

    Human papilloma virus (HPV) tests are much more efficient at detecting potential cervical cancers than traditional Pa...

    September 19, 2017
  • Concussion sets brain connections in a spin

    New research shows long-lasting neurological effects from even a single concussion, writes Andrew...

    Even a single concussion can cause long lasting disruption to networks within the brain, new research shows.In a smal...

    September 19, 2017
  • Artificial muscle does the heavy lifting for soft robots

    This flexible artificial muscle can lift more than a thousand times its own weight, writes Andrew...

    Skeleton with an artificial bicep.Aslan Miriyev / Columbia EngineeringEngineers at Columbia University in New York, U...

    September 19, 2017
  • Photonic chips turn lightning into thunder

    Converting data from light to sound can give optical computers the time to think, writes Andrew M...

    How do you slow down lightning? Turn it into thunder.Researchers at Australia’s Centre for Ultrahigh bandwidth Device...

    September 18, 2017
  • Rocks, not bacteria, triggered Earth’s oxidation

    Changes in the planet’s crust paved the way for an oxygen atmosphere and the evolution of complex...

    The Great Oxidation Event – the period 2.4 billion years ago when the Earth’s atmosphere suddenly became rich in oxyg...

    September 18, 2017
  • Dodgy diesel emissions kill 5000 a year in Europe

    The test-dodging tricks of some diesel car manufacturers result in extra pollution that is respon...

    About 5000 people across Europe die prematurely every year because of discrepancies between certification tests and r...

    September 17, 2017
  • PNG kept genetic diversity after agriculture, unlike Europe

    While the development of farming has often been linked to greater genetic homogeneity, in Papua N...

    When agriculture emerged in Europe more than 10,000 years ago, communities began to intermingle more and genetic dive...

    September 14, 2017
  • Scientists grow fluorescent and magnetic cotton

    Bioengineered fibres with unnatural properties like fluorescence and magnetism could be a boon to...

    Growing cotton in commercial quantities, as everyone knows, requires hefty amounts of water, sunlight and labour.In t...

    September 14, 2017
  • Shock news: electric eels leap to deliver maximum zaps

    A dedicated scientist exposed himself to repeated Taser-like shocks from electric eels to study t...

    Electric eels have evolved to deliver stronger and stronger shocks, as well as refining methods to increase their pai...

    September 14, 2017
  • Improving the imperfect science of earthquake prediction

    A new model for predicting earthquake aftershocks shows promising results. Andrew Masterson reports.

    Earthquake prediction is a notoriously risky – yet simultaneously vital – pursuit. Models for estimating when, where ...

    September 13, 2017
  • A hot Jupiter with titanium skies

    A heavy metal atmosphere keeps WASP-19b scorchingly hot, writes Andrew Masterson.

    Even if it were possible to reach the planet known as WASP-19b – which it isn’t, being 800 light years away – it woul...

    September 13, 2017
  • Common cat-borne parasite implicated in epilepsy, cancers and brain diseases

    The Toxoplasma gondii parasite may be connected to a wide variety of human diseases, according to...

    Except for a couple of specific circumstances – notably pregnancy – the world’s most common parasite in humans, Toxop...

    September 13, 2017
  • Poison fruit: toxic apricot kernels are no cure for cancer

    Self-medicating with apricot kernels can lead to dangerously high levels of cyanide in the blood,...

    There is no solid evidence for apricot kernels as a cancer treatment, but there is a clear risk of cyanide poisoning....

    September 11, 2017
  • Resilient bees brighten coffee’s climate-change outlook

    There may be hope for coffee in a warming world after all, according to a new study that takes in...

    Predictions of dramatic decreases in coffee supply thanks to climate change may be overblown, and salvation may come ...

    September 11, 2017
  • Gold nanoparticles turn mirrors into windows at the touch of a switch

    By using electrical current to change the spacing of a layer of floating nanoparticles, researche...

    Sheets of glass that can flip between being windows and mirrors at the tap of an app are a step nearer following rese...

    September 11, 2017
  • Super-Earths a juicy target for new space telescope

    Scientists have identified three ‘super-Earths’ that bridge a gap in our knowledge of exoplanets,...

    The discovery of three “super-Earth” planets orbiting a dwarf star roughly 97 light years away provides a juicy targe...

    September 11, 2017
  • 3D-printed rocket engine succeeds in first test fire