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.

    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

    Development combines drive and power in liquid system.

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

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

    Crystal formation and movement in freezing suds.

    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 for the eggplant cousin.

    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

    Public unease about the Large Hadron Collider.

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

    June 14, 2019
  • Cannabis smoking emerged around 500 BCE

    Pot was grown in western China specifically for its potency.

    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

    Carbon nanotubes could soon rival copper.

    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 large effects on motor control.

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

    June 11, 2019
  • SpaceX: Concern over 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
  • ‘Missing links’ in ancient Native American history

    Research sheds light on ancestors and migration patterns.

    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

    Machine 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

    Freshwater crustaceans are a big part of the diet of apes.

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

    June 2, 2019
  • Warning sounded on herbal tea

    Case highlights potential dangers of traditional beverages.

    Even the most innocuous-sounding beverages- such as herbal tea- can pack an unwanted and dangerous punch, a case stud...

    May 31, 2019
  • Ancient faeces reveals early settler infection

    Whipworm eggs found in 8000-year-old human coprolites.

    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: snowflakes and teeth

    Formula for crystal growth can 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 isn’t connected to ability

    Breeding beetles to be more ready to fight after a defeat.

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

    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
  • Cancer suppression and size evolved together

    Genome adds to understanding of ‘Peto’s Paradox’.

    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

    Analysis finds two groups of parasites share a single lineage.

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

    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

    Tooth study pushes back last common ancestor.

    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
  • Mars: New water cycle discovered

    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.

    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 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?

    Claim distant cousin of ‘Lucy’ was true origin of species dismissed.

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

    May 8, 2019
  • Gravitational wave 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
  • Postal marks used to trace salmonella sources

    Live chickens can be a deadly. A new scheme aims to cut risk.

    In the US, salmonella infects 1.2 million people every year, killing on average 450 of them. An estimated 11% of cas...

    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.

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

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

    Wolves are far more cooperative than their domesticated relatives.

    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?

    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

    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
  • Radioactive decay: the rarest event in the universe

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

    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 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 picture revealed

    NASA orbiter captures black hole spewing particle jets.

    An image from NASA’s Spitzer Telescope has put the first-ever direct black hole picture, taken by the Event Horizon T...

    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 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 to perpetrators

    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 consen...

    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 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

    Bot-enabled interface between brains and cloud storage is likely.

    Before the century is out, advances in nano-technology, nano-medicine, AI, and computation will result in the develop...

    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

    Historian Thucydides may have 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
  • Cthulhu 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 Cthulhu 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
  • Youth suicide attempts double in nine years

    Emergency department reveal increase in suicide-related visits.

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

    April 8, 2019
  • Increase in assaults against elder Americans

    Men over 60 are “particularly vulnerable” to violence.

    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, virgins are on the rise

    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

    They 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 mass shootings

    Gun sales drop after high fatality shootings.

    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
  • Before the Inca, the Tiwanaku worshipped

    Religious site was in use much earlier than previously thought.

    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

    Cranial modification became a trend across Europe.

    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 impact on mental health

    Childhood blood lead levels predict psychological outcomes.

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

    March 31, 2019
  • Science knowledge differs by race & politics

    Despite evidence-free policies, conservative Republicans do well.

    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 black markets

    Over a century of records throw an illegal trade into sharp focus.

    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

    Teens who believe they have little control are more at risk.

    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

    Model creates patterns similar to those on melanomas.

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

    March 26, 2019
  • The sacrifice of dogs in Neolithic Catalonia

    Dogs used as ritual sacrifices in burial rites.

    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?

    Little evidence that praying improves outcomes for patients.

    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 galleries

    Major art museum works do not reflect ethnic or gender diversity.

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

    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.

    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.

    An astrolabe recovered from a sunken Portuguese armada ship has been verified – twice – as the oldest of its type eve...

    March 18, 2019
  • Strength-training mice lose liver fat, improve blood glucose

    Short-term strength training shows health gains even without weight loss.

    Even a short period of strength training could improve the long-term health of obese people, if results achieved in m...

    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

    Liking for aggressive music doesn’t desensitise listeners.

    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

    Isotope data showing ancient humans travelled long distances.

    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

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

    [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="1500"] The suns are rising: habitable zones around some binary systems may be...

    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 was...

    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

    Largest mass sacrifice of children ever, 550 years ago.

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

    March 6, 2019
  • Early hominins loved a rabbit or two

    Rabbits were on the menu more than two million years ago.

    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

    Taking a pet for a stroll could have devastating consequences.

    Taking the dog out for a walk is maybe not such a good idea after all. Credit: Drazen_/Getty Images Elderly people...

    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 jou...

    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
  • ‘Moral polarisation’ in Anglophone world

    Use of moral signifiers increased from 1980 onwards.

    Going with the Gipper. A conservative swing in 1980 is tied to an uptick in moral language in books. Credit: Fotose...

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

    Coding error rendered findings null, & efforts to fix have ended.

    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

    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
  • T.rex ancestor sheds light on predator evolution

    US discovery adds important piece to evolutionary puzzle.

    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

    Link between communications tech & famous people.

    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 miners quarried the pillars of Stonehenge

    Evidence points to ‘original’ Stonehenge near the current one.

    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

    Isotope analysis throws doubt on previous diet research.

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

    February 18, 2019
  • Estimating childbirth deaths in prehistory

    Maternal mortality in ancient communities.

    The role – and fate – of women in prehistory is set for renewed focus and better understanding following the developm...

    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.

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

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

    Analysis of POTUS oratory finds Trump fits right in.

    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
  • Chinese pottery found in shipwreck

    Exact origin of recovered porcelain revealed.

    Researchers have succeeded in pinpointing the exact origins of 700-year-old Chinese pottery items recovered from a sh...

    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

    Popular phone game increased exercise rates for over-55s.

    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
  • The man who invented the Periodic Table

    Triumphed over adversity to revolutionise chemistry.

    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.

    [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="882"] A close-up of Bennu's North Pole region, captured by Osiris Rex in Dece...

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

    Improved generational health correlates with surgical births.

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

    February 6, 2019
  • Temperature found to drive fish evolution

    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

    Assumption that Iron Age people were stay-at-home types.

    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”.

    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

    Conclusions about social media quality based on incorrect data.

    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

    New light shed on the role of women in the Middle Ages.

    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.

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

    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
  • Book made of gold, mercury, cows and goats

    Rare insight into the work of Medieval scribes and illustrators.

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

    December 18, 2018
  • Feathers evolved more than once

    Ancient flying vertebrates were actually feathered.

    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.

    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!

    Christmas Eve – the worst day of the year for heart attacks.

    ‘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.

    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?

    Calculations reveal enormous number, but with dim effect.

    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 reveals a sophisticated palate from six millennia ago.

    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

    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

    First possible evidence for a raptor the size of a sparrow.

    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.

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

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

    Cave art shows animal depictions that predate earliest finds.

    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

    Pedestrian risk for the young goes way up on October 31.

    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 change electronics

    Stubborn problem with next-gen transistors, solved.

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

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

    Evidence from a drill core rewrites the early history.

    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 uses 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.

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

    October 18, 2018
  • Evidence for earliest Earth life is just rocks

    Analysis of purported 3.7-billion-year-old fossils is incorrect.

    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
  • Dead child buried with brick in mouth

    An example of early “vampire-proofing”.

    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
  • Deciphering the Roman red dust

    Greek and Roman writers record the use of a substance.

    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 sheds light on ancient climate change

    Species 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 pushes back emergence of animals by millions of years.

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

    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
  • The man who won two Nobel Prizes

    A towering figure in chemistry, quantum mechanics, activism.

    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

    Fresh approach to sampling make for better patient experience.

    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?

    Emergence of visual art pushed back 30,000 years.

    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 perceived as emergent properties.

    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

    Roman water-mill collection didn’t supply its adjacent city.

    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

    Superpositions using a device comprising a single atom.

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

    September 3, 2018
  • Bronze Age Babylonians 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 pi...

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

    Spanish artefacts point to three-way trade with North Africa.

    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 new strains of disease produced surprising results.

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

    August 30, 2018
  • COSMOS-AzTEC-1: 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

    Fossil reveals a crucial step in the evolution of mammals.

    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

    Gun deaths constitute a major public health challenge.

    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

    Body decoration before the age of the pharaohs.

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

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

    New imaging expands the fossil record for Paleogene parasites.

    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

    Roman mercantile power turned into a lake over 500 years ago.

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

    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 people of the Roman empire put stones beneath their houses.

    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 glimpse into Bronze Age life.

    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 farmers supplemented poor diet

    Eating only maize leads to disease.

    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

    Use of ceramics was strongly linked to processing fish.

    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 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 his Nobel Prize

    Par of team that made the first detection of a gravitational wave.

    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

    Discovery pushes back hominin migration.

    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 & how to dress doesn’t 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

    The lives of ancient skeletons buried near the Stonehenge.

    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

    Alternative evolutionary route to large body size.

    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

    The theory of general relativity passes another large-scale test.

    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

    Australopithecus was bipedal from birth?

    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

    Teller helped make armageddon a practical possibility.

    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 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

    Does academic freedom trump outrage over repellent views?

    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.

    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

    4000-year-old Anatolian beer was very likely delicious.

    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.

    It’s a stalwart part of police procedural novels and television shows, not to mention real investigations. The cops ...

    June 20, 2018
  • Renaissance toilet investigation

    Latrines beneath ancient road give clues to Danish health.

    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.

    Australian palaeontologists have reconstructed a pair of fragmented 400-million-year-old fossil skulls and made a rem...

    June 19, 2018
  • Stop looking for extra-terrestrial life

    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 long recovery.

    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

    Huge inequalities, dangers in genetic ownership of ocean life.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    “Life, uh, finds a way,” said the character of Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) in the 1993 movie Jurassic Park. It’s a l...

    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
  • The innings and outings of rain-affected cricket

    Mathematicians provide method for making cricket fairer.

    To people and cultures unfamiliar with it, the game of cricket can appear baffling, baroque and, well, boring. But t...

    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.

    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.

    Ruthenium, the element that sits at number 44 on the periodic table, has been discovered to be magnetic at room tempe...

    May 28, 2018
  • Young mongooses learn from unrelated adults

    Cultural inheritance edges out genetics for African mammal.

    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 soundtracks influences meal choices.

    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- a thankless task.

    One of the often difficult jobs faced by archaeologists is working out what’s been chewing on the finds. Collections...

    May 27, 2018
  • Mechanics of pesticide-Parkinson’s link revealed

    Genetic mutation increases risk for agrochemical exposure.

    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 junk food advert means 350 extra calories

    Review finds link between food intake and advertising exposure.

    This is why junk food advertising during television shows aimed at young people is considered by many nutritionists t...

    May 24, 2018
  • NY could get by with fewer big yellow taxis

    More than one-third of big city taxi fleets are surplus.

    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 best new species.

    And the winners are … The SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, New York, US, every year r...

    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.

    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

    How spiders function provides clues for commercial adhesives.

    Molecular-level insight into how spiders make glue that works in humid conditions could provide clues for better perf...

    May 22, 2018
  • Quantum sheds light on photosynthesis

    Super-positions occur in light-harvesting bacteria.

    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

    They’ve been colonising for 20 years, unseen by authorities.

    For the past 20 years, towns in southwestern France have been invaded by giant cloned flatworms, and no one noticed. ...

    May 22, 2018
  • The belief of fake news

    Religion and delusion linked to the belief of absurd claims.

    One of the more mystifying aspects of Donald Trump’s presidency may have been explained, by a team of economists and ...

    May 21, 2018
  • Species of salamander found, all going extinct

    Poaching and commercial breeding impacting amphibians.

    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
  • A single artefact reveals life in the Bronze Age

    Surprising insight into life thousands of years ago.

    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

    Measurement of quark force invites revolution.

    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.

    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
  • Memories transferred between molluscs

    Research offers clues to the nature of the mysterious engram.

    Scientists have been able to transfer a memory from one snail to another, providing a tantalising clue to the answer ...

    May 15, 2018
  • Researcher disciplined for using own blood

    Scientist claimed samples were from community members.

    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
  • Theory cops a blow after dark energy findings

    A hypothetical multiverse in question.

    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

    Analysis supports evidence that global trade spread fungus.

    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

    Search for as-yet-undiscovered fundamental particles.

    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

    The central tenets of quantum mechanics.

    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

    Study finds no link between eggs and diabetes risk.

    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
  • Probiotic contents don’t change in vegan kimchi

    Popular fermented food is just as good with fish sauce.

    Kimchi, the traditional Korean fermented cabbage dish with a growing reputation for probiotic goodness, has always be...

    May 3, 2018
  • Hominin arrival in Philippines pushed back

    Tools and bones rewrite the settlement history of the region.

    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

    The breed is popular but prone to several health problems.

    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

    Study suggests saunas might be good for good for you.

    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

    Grooves on ancient piece of flint encodes information.

    Grooves etched 35,000 years ago into a piece of flint provide strong evidence that Neanderthals practiced representat...

    May 2, 2018
  • Rules that govern how cells work

    Beneath the complexity of protein communications.

    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” prompt academic outcry

    Major journal accused of sexism & discrimination.

    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 adapted to coping with change.

    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 part from country cousins

    Human activity can be a driver of evolutionary adaptation.

    Urbanisation is driving rapid evolutionary responses in some wild species of fish, researchers have found. In a pape...

    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

    Status of animals in the shadow of the Egyptian empire.

    A 3000-year-old skeleton reveals that horses were held to be noble and important animals in what is now Sudan. The v...

    April 29, 2018
  • In your dreams: vitamin B6 boosts recall

    A vitamin before bed may help you remember your dreams.

    If you want to recall your dreams when you wake in the morning, take a vitamin B6 tablet before you go to bed. That’...

    April 29, 2018
  • Tracing back enzyme evolution

    Scientists have succeeded in recreating long-extinct proteins.

    A model of the enzyme cyclohexadienyl dehydratase. It's ancestry has now been revealed. Credit: RCSB.org Scientists ...

    April 29, 2018
  • Upright walking predates humans

    Ancestors used full bipedalism 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 making a dagger, human bones are best

    Tribal weapons show importance of both strength and status.

    Daggers made from human femurs make better weapons and convey greater prestige than ones made from bird bones. That’...

    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.

    MUSEUM - Le Musée Fragonard d'Alfort, Maisons-Alfort, France. For several decades now German anatomist Gunther von H...

    April 24, 2018
  • Artificial pancreas may improve treatment

    Review finds AI systems are better than injections.

    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 reward and drinking.

    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

    Insects turn to self-sacrifice to protect their colony.

    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

    Mysterious fossil has at last been correctly identified.

    The oldest squid in the fossil record has turned out to be a fish. A paper in the Journal of Palaeontology addresses...

    April 18, 2018
  • Optimism in chickens isn’t just black and white

    Swedish research tests emotional resilience in the birds.

    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 oldest baleen whale ever discovered.

    The world’s oldest known baleen whale has been identified from a fossil found in New Zealand. Baleen whales, which c...

    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
  • Skeleton research prompts ethics concerns

    Handling of strange remains was motivated by publicity.

    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

    Peppers absorb antimicrobial found in personal care items.

    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

    Journal reveals the folly of doing battle with little red fruits.

    As readers who have had the dubious pleasure of watching combative cooking-themed television shows such as Man v. Foo...

    April 9, 2018
  • Finger adds weight to earlier migration

    Finger bone discovery challenges theories of migration in Africa.

    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.

    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
  • Boost quantum computing R&D

    University-linked start-up gets the nod from IBM.

    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 to locate objects.

    Human vision is poorly equipped to pick out details beneath the surface of the ocean – mainly because our species des...

    April 5, 2018
  • Think organic compost is clean? Think again

    Study finds microplastic contamination in fertilisers.

    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

    That as fish moved onto land, they brought their viruses with them.

    The viruses that today infect vertebrates, from fish to humans, have been evolving with their hosts for hundreds of m...

    April 4, 2018
  • Neanderthal honkers were helpful

    Neanderthals were well adapted to lives of extreme activity.

    A 3D model of Neanderthal skull, showing its well adapted nasal region. Credit: Wroe, et al. Neanderthals had big no...

    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

    Researchers find a gap in a protein that could lead to a powerful new drug.

    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

    Inconsistent results prompt a precautionary warning.

    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

    Ideas about South American indigenous history are wrong.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    For the first time, scientists have captured images of immune cells known as microglia eating brain cell synapses. A...

    March 26, 2018
  • Half of evolutionary biologists fudge results

    Study finds bio science faces a “replication crisis”.

    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

    A class exercise turned into the find of lifetime.

    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 rejection.

    Different hormones produced by men and women may influence the success of organ transplants, a new report finds. A p...

    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

    Massive bloom in gut microbiome hampers anti-tumour immune reactions.

    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

    They swapped genes, but none of the human ones retained.

    Gene flow between both the Neanderthal and the early modern human may have been a one-way street, researchers have fo...

    March 21, 2018
  • Resilience is in the genes for cockroach

    First full genome of common pest reveals multiple strengths.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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 genetic secrets

    Caribbean curiosity split from others during Cretaceous period.

    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.

    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
  • Monkeypox outbreak warning issued

    Pandemic fears arise as smallpox relative spreads.

    Labelling it a “concern for global health security”, the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have sou...

    March 18, 2018
  • Rattlesnakes and platypuses feature in research

    Two teams find promising proteins from unlikely sources.

    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

    “Rainbow serpent” adapted to burrowing and swimming.

    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.

    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

    Major milestone in quantum magnetic current generation.

    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

    Addicted mice run hard in anticipation of drug dose.

    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.

    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

    Cooking spice might do more than make food taste good.

    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 birds show innovative ways of competing against males.

    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 sight for the vision-impaired.

    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
  • Ants transfer microbe by faecal transplant

    Foraging ants rely on symbiont microbiome for food digestion.

    In a behaviour that finds a broad comparison with human tradition, a genus known as turtle ants, or cephalotes, pass ...

    March 6, 2018
  • Equation describes galaxy mechanics

    Astrophysical discs behave like subatomic particles.

    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

    A gradual increase in the length of cutting edges.

    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

    One step towards efficient nuclear fusion.

    Seen for the first time: 3D skyrmions in an ultra-cold gas. Credit: TUOMAS OLLIKAINEN Confirming a prediction made m...

    March 5, 2018
  • Fossil clues to ancient bird development

    Baby bird presents fresh picture of early avian life.

    A fossil chick just five centimetres long is shedding light on the development of birds more than 65 million years ag...

    March 5, 2018
  • Carbon dioxide into an energy source

    Proof-of-concept could redefine catalytic conversion on big scale.

    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

    Faeces prompts a reflex response, even when they haven’t met.

    For the past several millennia, bilbies – a type of Australian marsupial – have shared their environments with dingoe...

    March 4, 2018
  • Remembering a man who used his noodle

    One of the world’s most successful food technologists.

    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.

    Relative influence of talent and luck has been modelled.

    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
  • Being fat doesn’t help with heart disease

    A US population study finds the “obesity paradox” isn’t real.

    The so-called “obesity paradox” has long been cited as a truly perplexing phenomenon – and a damn good excuse for not...

    March 1, 2018
  • Safer when NRA are taken off the street

    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 extremophile animals grows by one.

    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

    Study links disgust sensitivity to dictatorial preferences.

    People who react strongly against body odour are more likely than others to prefer living in a dictatorship. That’s ...

    February 28, 2018
  • Giant viruses with huge tails found in Brazil

    Viruses visible to the naked eye raise interesting questions.

    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.

    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

    Neanderthals were painting and decorating before humans.

    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

    Chickens provide insight into how T. rex moved.

    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

    Compounds in wine act against three major dental bugs.

    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
  • A new way to reveal age-related disease risk

    Chinese research finds biomarker in urine.

    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
  • You’re more likely to die in a fictional hospital

    Popular dramas may be building unreal expectations.

    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.

    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 present a new form of matter

    Photons have been made to group together as pairs and triplets.

    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

    Medical journal runs cautionary editorials from researchers.

    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

    In mice, stem cell-derived vaccine works against major cancers.

    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
  • A safer and faster concussion diagnosis

    US authorities approve test that shortens brain imaging queues.

    A blood test designed to dramatically reduce the use of brain imaging for the diagnosis of concussion has been cleare...

    February 15, 2018
  • A pope didn’t domesticate bunnies

    Split between wild and tame occurred years earlier.

    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 earlier than thought

    Changes were underway before supercontinent split.

    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 relies on the tension between two liquids.

    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

    Sampling helps reveal the size of Great White population.

    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 cheaper robots.

    Stereoscopic vision in praying mantises works in a significantly different way to that found in mammals such as human...

    February 8, 2018
  • Shark relatives deliver surprises

    A skate that walks, and another that lays eggs near vents.

    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 has been demonstrated in the lab.

    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 may be driver for evolution of intelligence.

    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

    A simple way to make wood stronger than steel.

    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

    Earliest evidence yet for hominin pyrotechnology.

    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 fossils provide insight into arachnid evolution.

    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 is solved.

    Say what you like about all the fighting and pillaging and invading and stuff, Vikings were really good when it came ...

    February 5, 2018
  • Hospitalisations linked to antibiotics

    Higher risk of infections in kids whose mothers took antibiotics.

    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

    Research moves to reduce insect burden on the racing industry.

    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.

    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 Middle Stone Age tech

    The makers of 385,000 year-old tools remain mysterious.

    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

    Researchers conclude 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

    Study investigates whether apnoea treatment can stave off dementia.

    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”.

    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 we decide who to be friends with.

    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 grew weeds

    Invasive plants encouraged by prehistoric hunters.

    Plant domestication, the theory runs, comprises a long history during which humans select traits advantageous to farm...

    January 30, 2018
  • African dino sheds light on Pangaea break-up

    Rare fossil find offers clues to the end of the dinosaurs’ reign.

    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

    Discovery shows importance of ochre to early British society.

    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

    Scientists find a key value used in molecular engineering is wrong.

    Models predicting the behaviour of electrons interacting with water are wide of the mark, new research shows. The fi...

    January 29, 2018
  • Leprosy beats antibiotics by playing Russian roulette

    DNA sequencing reveals new clues to killer disease’s strength and origin.

    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 suggests human migration 170,000 years earlier.

    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.

    Axolotls and planarian worms don’t share all that much in common, except a robust ability to regenerate lost tissue. ...

    January 24, 2018
  • Scientists successfully clone monkeys

    Macaques may be the first of genetically identical primates.

    Chinese scientists have announced the successful creation of two cloned monkeys, representing a major advance in clon...

    January 24, 2018
  • Artefacts recovered from Norway’s ice

    Melting ice reveals reindeer hunting in the far north.

    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 690 million kg of poo yearly

    Birds make significant but overlooked contributions.

    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 obesity.

    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

    Bringing Star Trek trope just a bit nearer.

    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

    Data reveals migratory flocks head for inner urban roosts.

    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

    Weaponised rear ends proved evolutionarily unfashionable.

    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

    Popular Bikram yoga delivers no special health benefits.

    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?

    Responsible for widespread difficulties in describing odours.

    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

    Recommends excluding CRISPR from existing rules.

    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

    Continued use of apes and monkeys in Hollywood films.

    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.

    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 community living leads to long lives doesn’t always hold.

    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.

    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 halves maternal diabetes risk

    Data finds long-term protection arises after just one pregnancy.

    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

    Influence on 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.

    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
  • Almost a million died of salmonella in just five years

    A terrible epidemic was caused not by plague, but by the bacteria behind food poisoning.

    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

    Previously unknown greenhouse gas pathway.

    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.

    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

    Research finds cognitive decline during pregnancy isn’t a myth.

    “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

    Oestrogen-like compounds in food and fungus can reverse the effects.

    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
  • Questions over ethics of TB trial involving 2800 babies

    Allegedly burying unfavourable animal test results ahead of a human clinical trial.

    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.

    Frozen embryos are just as viable as fresh ones in IVF treatment, joint Vietnamese-Australian research has shown. In...

    January 10, 2018
  • Ancient Phoenician life was mixed and multicultural

    DNA suggests classical civilisation was more interested in trading than fighting.

    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

    Climate changes 14 million years ago sealed the fate of the Tasmanian tiger.

    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.

    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

    Individual bacteria-virus interactions cannot predict population-level outcomes.

    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

    Research found to be the product of faulty equipment.

    Oops, that was awkward. A research paper describing the extraction of fuel-friendly hydrocarbons from atmospheric car...

    January 9, 2018
  • Pipeline design revolutionised

    Simple tweaks could reduce pump-energy inputs by 95%.

    Turbulent flow (top) compared to laminar flow (bottom). Credit: Jakob Kühnen Around the world, energy equivalent to ...

    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.

    Afghan opium traders may be adding lead to their product in order to boost profits, a report suggests. New field not...

    January 7, 2018
  • Super-strong origami robots are coming

    US physicists unveil game-changing biomorph nanobots.

    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.

    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

    Diagnosis for Medieval child held to be the earliest smallpox case in Europe, overturned.

    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.

    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 in tiny fly flocks.

    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.

    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

    Through clever use of 2D tech and “synthetic dimensions”.

    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

    Specimen answers and creates questions in equal measure.

    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.

    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

    Next-gen consumer electronics moves a step closer.

    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

    No available intervention can treat late life dementia – but candidates keep appearing.

    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

    Predatory distant ancestor of the horseshoe crab.

    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

    Controversial paper seeking to redefine infinite numbers.

    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

    New protocols to revolutionise sensor accuracy.

    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.

    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.

    Materials scientists have devised a process that causes bacteria to explode while leaving mammalian cells unaffected....

    December 17, 2017
  • Sore joints aren’t barometers

    The belief that bad weather prompts pains isn’t supported by evidence.

    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.

    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

    Intestinal parasites described by Hippocrates identified.

    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.

    A combination of linguistic analysis and genetic sequencing has revealed a hitherto unknown element of South American...

    December 13, 2017
  • Giant penguins once stalked New Zealand

    Fossils indicate giant penguins evolved multiple times.

    Some 60 million years ago, a penguin as tall as Kanye West walked the shores of New Zealand. In a paper published in...

    December 12, 2017
  • Man flu is real

    Man flu is supported by evolution, and mocking its sufferers is unjust.

    “Man flu” may be real, according to a study published in the British Medical Journal. The study, written by health s...

    December 12, 2017
  • Anteater family grows by six species

    Fieldwork and museum studies find evidence to divide a species into seven.

    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

    Cockroaches can find an extra gear when survival demands.

    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

    Fishing gear was part of funeral practice in Indonesia.

    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.

    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

    One of the greatest chemists worked in the food industry.

    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 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

    Living alone increases likelihood of neurodegenerative disease.

    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 lovers of cats. Your pet is not haughty, enigmatic and given to philosophical pondering. Your pet is jus...

    December 3, 2017
  • Wrangling record qubit numbers

    Teams more than double previous quantum simulator totals.

    “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.

    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

    Relationships between introduced and native species are 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

    Analysis reveals impressive arm strength in early field workers.

    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