Natalie Parletta

Natalie Parletta

Natalie Parletta is a freelance science writer based in Adelaide and an adjunct senior research fellow with the University of South Australia.

Natalie Parletta is a freelance science writer based in Adelaide and an adjunct senior research fellow with the University of South Australia.

  • How do conservation efforts stack up?

    Not bad, if they go viral or have a lot of support – but they could do better.

    Conservation initiatives are cropping up all over the planet to address escalating environmental threats and crumblin...

    November 11, 2021
  • Human colonisation could have helped Fijian bees flourish

    Anthropogenic impacts on ecology not all bad.

    Homalictus fijiensis, female of the species. Credit: James Dorey Australian researchers have used DNA analysis to ...

    June 29, 2021
  • Can games tell if you are impulsive?

    A new computer game can assess people’s level of disinhibition.

    Using a series of Wild West style computer games, Australian researchers report in the journal Nature Human Behaviour...

    May 28, 2021
  • On electric fish and dramatic pauses

    Scientists reveal why pausing between words creates more impactful communication.

    To communicate a message powerfully, well-timed pauses can be as important as the words, if not more so. In this, hum...

    May 27, 2021
  • Exciting Australian discovery: the first complete dwarf emu egg

    This small bird’s big egg sheds light on the extinct birds’ evolution.

    Tucked away in a sand dune on King Island, off the southern coast of Australia, researchers have discovered the first...

    May 26, 2021
  • Wallaby study shows a simple approach to saving endangered species

    Conservation tactic brings wallabies back from the brink of extinction.

    Using a novel conservation strategy, Australian researchers have shown how an endangered wallaby species could be sav...

    May 25, 2021
  • Pollen patties could help save pollinators

    Microencapsulated enzyme shown to prevent the lethal impact of pesticides.

    Scientists may have found a way to protect bees from pesticides and help mitigate the alarming declines of these vita...

    May 21, 2021
  • Learning from temperature-sensitive bird species

    Studying their response to climate change could help other birds.

    Ethiopia’s White-tailed Swallow and Bush-crow bird species are unique vulnerability to rising temperatures around the...

    May 20, 2021
  • Junk food linked to gut inflammation

    Study shows how a diet high in fat and sugar impairs immune cell function.

    The impact of diet on health is really a no-brainer – even leading to calls for GPs to prescribe fruit and vegetables...

    May 19, 2021
  • Disappearing ancient Indonesian rock art

    Cave weathering is accelerating in pace with climate change, study finds.

    Some of the world’s earliest known cave art in Indonesia is “weathering at an alarming rate”, according to a study pu...

    May 14, 2021
  • Prescribed burning in numbat habitat under fire

    Scientists warn strategic fires are killing native wildlife, including endangered numbats.

    Western Australian scientists petitioned their Premier this week for a full, independent scientific enquiry into the ...

    May 13, 2021
  • Glyphosate dangerous to beetles as well as plants

    The herbicide could harm bacteria that insects rely on.

    The commonly used herbicide glyphosate might not be just bad news for bees. New research has found it could have broa...

    May 11, 2021
  • Pretty flowers get more attention

    But less attractive plants deserve to be studied too, scientists say.

    Scientists aren’t immune to the lure of beauty, it seems, tending to shun plants that are rare and have ecological si...

    May 11, 2021
  • How seals adapted to move through water

    Collaboration of zoologists and engineers solves seal “evolutionary riddle”.

    Have you ever wondered how seals learned to perform their skilled underwater acrobatics? Zoologist David Hocking, ...

    May 7, 2021
  • Sleep duration linked to heart disease risk

    Both too little or too much sleep could be a health hazard, research suggests.

    It’s well established that sleep is vital to health and wellbeing, and that sleep deprivation has a host of adverse o...

    May 5, 2021
  • Kiwis don’t like noisy visitors

    Loud sounds can generate abnormal behaviour in iconic birds in captivity.

    The noises people make when visiting kiwis in captivity – such as talking or mobile phones ringing – can upset the ch...

    May 5, 2021
  • With heart failure, good nutrition could mean survival

    Personalised dietary advice reduces risk of death for hospitalised patients.

    A Swiss study has shown that personalised nutrition support for people hospitalised with chronic heart failure reduce...

    May 4, 2021
  • Horses and donkeys engineer water for desert ecosystems

    Surprise discovery suggests feral animals aren’t all bad.

    Well-digging horses and donkeys could provide a valuable service for plants and animals in arid ecosystems, according...

    April 30, 2021
  • The health benefits of nature in cities

    How much does an urban tree save the health system? Report outlines nature-based solutions for ci...

    As humans sprawl over the planet and create urban heat islands and habitat degradation, our need for nature – especia...

    April 29, 2021
  • Extinct “horned” crocodile’s ancestry revealed

    DNA analysis suggests it was a true crocodile.

    Ancient DNA analysis has solved a key mystery in the family tree of crocodiles, researchers say, historically an incr...

    April 28, 2021
  • Rewilding isn’t just about the animals

    It’s vital to consider the landscape, or “geodiversity”, scientists say.

    As this year kicks off the “Decade on Ecosystem Restoration” to try and repair some of the damage caused by humans, s...

    April 26, 2021
  • Fossils of extinct “giant cloud rats” found in the Philippines

    Surprise discovery suggests the region was more diverse than previously thought.

    Piecing together fossil remains of jaws and teeth in the Philippines, archaeologists have unearthed evidence of three...

    April 23, 2021
  • Artificial intelligence could sway your dating and voting preferences

    Scientists show how online algorithms can manipulate people’s decisions.

    AI algorithms on our computers and smartphones have quickly become a pervasive part of everyday life, with relatively...

    April 22, 2021
  • Humpback whale behaviours at migratory pitstops

    Observations confirm the importance of conserving the animals’ resting areas.

    What do migrating humpback whales get up to at resting points on their long journey? Australian researchers have shon...

    April 22, 2021
  • Gender equality in astronomy could take 60 years to achieve

    Serious reforms needed to bring more women into space research, modelling shows.

    Without affirmative action, it could take another 60 years or more before women make up a third of Australia’s astron...

    April 20, 2021
  • Conserve ecosystems, not individual species

    Fossils reveal that ecosystems persist for millions of years while mammals come and go.

    For millions of years, mammal species have waxed and waned. Yet their broader ecological roles have helped ecosystems...

    April 18, 2021
  • How women enhance their sexual pleasure

    Science ventures into the bedroom in the name of female health.

    Pairing, shallowing, rocking or angling. These are techniques women use to increase their sexual pleasure during vagi...

    April 15, 2021
  • Advancing sustainable agriculture with legumes

    Broad study shows benefits of rotating standard crops with beans and lentils.

    Legumes are a win-win for food security and the environment – two major problems facing the planet. Packed with prote...

    April 14, 2021
  • Good (spider) vibrations

    Scientists create music from arachnid webs.

    The fascinating properties of spider webs could now be explored in an entirely new dimension: through music. The e...

    April 12, 2021
  • How spinifex grasses got their ring shapes

    Scientists studying spinifex unearth the good and bad of soil microbes.

    Scientists say they may have solved a longstanding mystery of how Australia’s iconic spinifex got its distinctive rin...

    April 11, 2021
  • Gorilla chest beating sounds different based on size

    The chest beating could attract females and ward off rivals.

    The sight of a mountain gorilla rapidly beating its chest is a captivating feature of its communication repertoire, b...

    April 9, 2021
  • How will mammals respond to climate change?

    It’s complex – scientists call for more comprehensive studies.

    As the ramifications of climate change become increasingly more apparent, our understanding of its complex impacts on...

    April 7, 2021
  • Early humans in the Kalahari were innovative

    Inland Africa reveals ancient evidence of Homo sapiens innovation.

    New archaeological evidence from Africa’s interior challenges notions that the emergence of Homo sapiens relied on ad...

    April 1, 2021
  • How to avoid a shark attack

    The right deterrent could save hundreds of lives – and sharks.

    Good news for ocean enthusiasts – if beachgoers wear personal electronic deterrents that can reduce the probability o...

    March 31, 2021
  • How animals grow teeth, claws, and other pointy parts

    Scientists reveal a new, simple law of nature.

    Have you ever wondered how pointed shapes are made in nature, like animal teeth and horns? Australian scientists have...

    March 30, 2021
  • Dingoes are not “wild dogs”

    DNA analysis finds little interbreeding with domestic canines.

    A new study has found that most Australian dingoes have pure dingo ancestry, certifying their importance as native ap...

    March 25, 2021
  • Children learn bias against social groups quickly

    Even overhearing negative comments evokes discrimination, study finds.

    Children as young as seven years old can become biased against social groups after overhearing derogatory comments ab...

    March 24, 2021
  • Where to find butterflies in the desert

    Genetic analysis reveals surprising biodiversity hotspots.

    The desert could be a hotspot for species of butterflies, according to a study published in the journal iScience. The...

    March 24, 2021
  • Health benefits from natural sounds

    Our sounds harm ecological communication, but do their sounds help us?

    Adding to the myriad benefits bestowed by nature, scientists report that natural sounds alone – such as waterfalls an...

    March 23, 2021
  • Marine animals swim in circles

    Fish, penguins, turtles, and mammals do, and it doesn’t make sense.

    Japanese scientists have stumbled on a mysterious phenomenon: sharks, turtles, penguins and various marine mammals al...

    March 19, 2021
  • Blueprint for a sustainable ocean

    A global plan creates the perfect trifecta, serving fisheries, ecosystems and the climate.

    A team of scientists from across the US, Canada, Europe and Australia has devised a plan for a sustainable ocean, as ...

    March 18, 2021
  • Songbirds without a song

    Regent honeyeaters lose ability to sing their tune as populations decline.

    What’s a songbird without its song? Sadly, we are finding out. Australian regent honeyeaters are failing to learn ...

    March 17, 2021
  • Plastic fantastic fashion

    Recycled polyethylene: a new-look fabric that’s not a planet killer.

    How cool would it be to transform plastic bag waste into clothing, tackling two unsustainability issues in one? Until...

    March 16, 2021
  • How much do you value privacy?

    Australians, have your say about our security and surveillance regime.

    Who has access to the plethora of information collected from surveillance devices, such as CCTV cameras and facial re...

    March 12, 2021
  • Deceptive smells

    Mammal predators can be tricked into leaving vulnerable NZ birds alone.

    It’s not only humans who can be fooled with misinformation to change their choices. Animals can be tricked too, it se...

    March 11, 2021
  • Rich feelings: better or worse?

    Study suggests the wealthy have greater self-regard, but aren’t more compassionate.

    It’s the age-old question: we all want money, but does it make us happy? Invariably, the answer is nuanced but some c...

    March 10, 2021
  • Cats love it but mozzies don’t

    Scientists reveal why catnip is a potent insect repellent.

    At the risk of becoming the Pied Piper of cats, you could use the garden herb catnip as a non-toxic insect repellent ...

    March 5, 2021
  • Dazzle to survive

    Scientists reveal the evolutionary history of fairy wrasses.

    Diversification of the stunningly colourful fairy wrasses was propelled by sea-level changes during the last ice age,...

    March 4, 2021
  • Origin of the world’s largest lizard

    More evidence that Komodo dragons came from Australia.

    Unravelling the origins of the Earth’s largest living lizard, the Komodo dragon, scientists have found that its ances...

    March 3, 2021
  • Co-evolution of humans and pathogens

    Analysis of ancient skeletons suggests we adapt to pandemics.

    Humans have lived through pandemics for centuries, and according to a reconstruction of ancient infectious diseases, ...

    March 2, 2021
  • Wily lyrebirds

    The males mimic noisy flocks to boost mating success.

    Males are prone to try anything to get lucky, and lyrebirds seem to have it clinched, according to study published in...

    February 26, 2021
  • Why don’t whales get cancer?

    Cetaceans may have more rapidly evolving genes.

    Whales, dolphins and porpoises are the world’s largest and longest-living mammals – and they can resist cancer.  W...

    February 25, 2021
  • How toxic is foam insulation?

    Scientists call for rigorous analysis of under-tested chemicals used to make buildings “green”.

    Since industrialisation, chemicals have been rolled out without sufficient testing, resulting in dire consequences fo...

    February 24, 2021
  • Home gardens vital for pollinators

    They provide a rich and diverse nectar source, study finds.

    Urban areas are a surprisingly rich food reservoir for pollinating insects such as bees and wasps, according to a UK ...

    February 23, 2021
  • Interactive dreaming

    Scientists communicate with people while they’re asleep.

    Scientists say they’ve achieved an “outlandish” phenomenon, showing that it’s possible to have two-way dialogue with ...

    February 19, 2021
  • How to sniff cancer

    There could be an app for that.

    It’s here: artificial dog intelligence. Exploiting canines’ extraordinary sense of smell, scientists have started tra...

    February 18, 2021
  • What killed the megafauna?

    Research suggests extreme climates, not humans, wiped them out.

    Human activities and population growth have wrought much destruction to life on Earth. But when it comes to megafauna...

    February 17, 2021
  • Life below zero

    The Antarctic delivers surprising insights into life and survival.

    Life continues to amaze. Hundreds of metres below Antarctic ice, in complete darkness and temperatures below zero, sc...

    February 15, 2021
  • Herding cats

    The right food and a little fun could stop your cute kitty hunting wildlife.

    Finally, some good news for cat lovers – scientists have discovered how owners can significantly reduce their felines...

    February 12, 2021
  • Down with global CFCs

    Discovery brings new hope for recovery of the Earth’s ozone layer.

    After a hiccup in global efforts to reduce ozone-damaging emissions, scientists have found that levels of the major o...

    February 11, 2021
  • Breast cancer focus

    Research groups find increased prevalence and suggest earlier screening.

    Breast cancer has hit the spotlight. While a global study finds it has now overtaken lung cancer as the world’s most ...

    February 11, 2021
  • Tropical or temperate?

    Study highlights competing impacts of warm waters and acidification.

    Warming waters and ocean acidification could have opposing effects on the movements of tropical fish, according to a ...

    February 9, 2021
  • Noisy silence

    Study suggests NZ pest-control regime has little impact on birds.

    New Zealand’s use of toxic aerial baits to rid the islands of invasive mammal predators has attracted claims that for...

    February 5, 2021
  • Mud shroud

    Scientists find unknown ancient preservation technique on old mummy.

    Advanced scientific techniques have revealed a rare painted shell, or carapace, of mud within the wrappings of an Egy...

    February 4, 2021
  • The stressful impact of alcohol

    How alcohol makes it harder for some people to stop at one or two.

    Enjoying a couple of drinks or three can be a great way to unwind, oil the conversation and unleash the inner merryma...

    February 3, 2021
  • Range roiled

    Animals displaced by humans in unexpected ways, study finds.

    The destructive impact of human activities on other animal species’ survival and biodiversity across the globe is inc...

    February 2, 2021
  • Aiming for a gender-equal world

    Global report highlights inequalities and provides roadmap for action.

    Exacerbating the long-standing gender divide, girls and women worldwide have been hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemi...

    January 29, 2021
  • Thumbs up (and over)

    Manual dexterity emerged two million years ago, study suggests.

    Dexterous thumbs – considered a hallmark of being human – were present two million years ago, according to a study pu...

    January 29, 2021
  • Fat as an elephant?

    Scientists take a closer look at captive pachyderm obesity levels.

    Obesity isn’t just a human scourge – it can also impact animal health. And looking at elephants, you could be excused...

    January 28, 2021
  • Musicians networked brains

    Study finds neural benefits of early music training.

    Musicians have more brain connections than non-musicians, according to new research published in the Journal of Neuro...

    January 27, 2021
  • Climate change could make sexier fish

    But it’s not all good news in our future oceans.

    Of all the impacts climate change could have on marine life, scientists have discovered that some fish adapt by devel...

    January 25, 2021
  • Glowing prehistoric beetle

    Fossilised amber sheds more light on insect evolution.

    Glowing insects like fireflies, fire beetles and worms are a romantic, magical sight – but the fossil record of their...

    January 22, 2021
  • Egghead concussion

    Yolk study sheds light on traumatic brain injuries.

    Scientists say they have identified for the first time what type of impact most likely causes concussion – a serious ...

    January 20, 2021
  • Anthropocene: Lessons from the past

    Could Indigenous wisdom help us create a “good Anthropocene”?

    The Anthropocene marks relentless and increasingly grave environmental degradation as the Earth faces tipping points ...

    January 19, 2021
  • Diamonds put the heat on cells

    Tiny gems help scientists shed light on thermal conductivity.

    Using tiny diamonds, or nanodiamonds, scientists have worked out how to measure heat transfer inside living cells – s...

    January 18, 2021
  • The wonders of seagrasses

    They help fight marine plastic pollution, study finds.

    Marine ecosystems are incredible. Although they’ve been besieged by plastic – among many other human-generated challe...

    January 15, 2021
  • Is this a new Silent Spring?

    Decline of insects is a catastrophic loss we can ill afford.

    Entomologists have united to take stock of growing warnings about an “insect apocalypse” in a special feature publish...

    January 14, 2021
  • Smart new snakey moves

    Lasso-like reptilian locomotion is a killer for tropical island wildlife.

    Brown tree snakes (Boiga irregularis) appear to have evolved a whole new way of moving that could help explain how th...

    January 13, 2021
  • What fuelled Australia’s “Black Summer” fires?

    Scientists highlight links to climate change, call for more research.

    Climate and bushfire experts have weighed in on links between human-generated climate change and last summer’s unprec...

    January 8, 2021
  • Talking about death and dying

    A new online course breathes life into a taboo topic.

    To encourage open conversation about the inevitable end of life, palliative care experts across Australia devised an ...

    January 7, 2021
  • Cats versus quolls

    Why feral felines are a greater threat to native wildlife.

    Sorry, cat lovers. More research has turned the spotlight on how our furry feline companions wreak havoc on wildlife....

    January 6, 2021
  • Do facial expressions transcend culture?

    Study supports similarities in how we show emotion.

    Humans are emotional beings, with feelings that show in our behaviours and facial expressions. But whether these mean...

    December 18, 2020
  • Would you hallucinate for science?

    Researchers could induce illusions on demand.

    Studying hallucinations is tricky business, and it can be distressing for people with conditions such as schizophreni...

    December 17, 2020
  • Building memory in the early years

    Brain and behaviour influence each other, study suggests.

    Memory is one of our most fundamental and important cognitive skills, but how it forms is not entirely clear. Now ...

    December 16, 2020
  • Humans have dogs, damselfish have shrimp

    We may not be only species to domesticate others.

    Researchers have discovered that a species of coral fish uses shrimp to help fertilise its algae farms, which, they s...

    December 15, 2020
  • Tropical birds evolved slowly

    Are biodiversity hotspots ‘coldspots’ for new species?

    Scientists have uncovered a surprising paradox in species evolution: birds in tropical hotspots evolved much more slo...

    December 11, 2020
  • We’ve made more than the Earth has grown

    Anthropogenic mass now exceeds living biomass, study finds.

    Among its other dubious distinctions, the year 2020 marks the approximate tipping point between anthropogenic mass an...

    December 10, 2020
  • Shining a light on ecosystem services

    Study highlights benefits, declines and ways forward.

    Humans rely on nature’s rich bounty for a vast array of services, from pollination, water, food, soil and air quality...

    December 9, 2020
  • Making sense of our words

    How brains respond to the factual and the possible.

    Information presented as fact evokes a stronger response in our brains than when it contains words that convey uncert...

    December 8, 2020
  • I heard a scream, what did it mean?

    Possibly not the obvious, study suggests. It’s about context.

    If someone screams, most people will run to their rescue, fearing the worst. But they may be surprised to learn that ...

    December 3, 2020
  • Using forests to fight global warming

    Analysis offers direction for policy and resource priorities.

    The cost of leveraging nature’s precious trees to help buffer the planet from global warming could amount to nearly U...

    December 2, 2020
  • Honeybees have unique personalities, like us

    Being an individual is good for the whole.

    Individuals shape a community and its collective patterns of behaviour – and not just in humans, it turns out. Sci...

    December 1, 2020
  • Talk back to babies to help them learn

    It’s the quality of chat that counts, not the quantity.

    It’s a no-brainer that babies learn language from their caregivers, but how we respond to them rather than simply how...

    November 27, 2020
  • There’s more than one way to grow a beak

    Madagascar fossil adds new twist to bird evolution.

    A new fossil discovered on the ever-surprising island of Madagascar suggests ancient Mesozoic bird beaks and faces we...

    November 26, 2020
  • Ants with armour

    Biominerals provide a unique level of protection.

    Scientists have discovered another clue to the evolutionary success of leaf-cutter ants: they have biomineral armour,...

    November 25, 2020
  • Social connection is something we crave

    The brain has similar responses to isolation and fasting.

    Just one day of forced social isolation evokes a similar neural response as food deprivation, US scientists have foun...

    November 24, 2020
  • A glimmer of hope on vertebrate biodiversity

    You have to look at the numbers differently, researchers say.

    It’s been estimated that half to two-thirds of the world’s vertebrate populations, from birds and marine animals to e...

    November 20, 2020
  • Music without a sound

    Just knowing a genre can evoke emotions.

    There’s more to our appreciation of music than its sound, according to an Australian study published in the journal P...

    November 19, 2020
  • Living life in the fast lane

    Migratory animals reproduce earlier and die younger.

    Lots of animals love to travel with the seasons while others prefer to stay at home. But there’s a trade-off, accordi...

    November 18, 2020
  • How well can you identify faces?

    New test looking for ‘super-recognisers’.

    Some people have an extraordinary ability to remember faces. They can, for instance, easily recognise or recall unfam...

    November 17, 2020
  • Songs, sounds and the life of birds

    They remember their tunes but are disrupted by our noise.

    Birds’ affinity for sound has its upsides and downsides, it seems. On the one hand, scientists have found that zeb...

    November 14, 2020
  • Relentless invasion of the cane toad continues

    It’s evolved to become faster and more efficient.

    When people say they love all creatures great and small, they’re surely not thinking of the warty, poisonous cane toa...

    November 12, 2020
  • How adults learn a new language

    Both sides of the brain help out, it seems.

    Learning languages is a breeze for young children, but once that window of opportunity closes, for adults it becomes ...

    November 11, 2020
  • Were there rainforests in Australia’s deserts?

    Prehistoric fossil evidence suggests the answer is ‘yes’.

    Australia’s dry, red centre used to be green, according to fossil evidence of plants that thrive in rainforests. An i...

    November 10, 2020
  • Conserving animal habitat ranges

    Scientists calculate extinction vulnerability scenarios.

    Human land use and climate change have deprived mammals, birds and amphibians of an average 18% of their natural habi...

    November 7, 2020
  • How crown-of-thorns starfish get around

    Homing behaviours linked to coral abundance.

    Marine time-lapse photography has given scientists more clues to the movements and habits of crown-of-thorns starfish...

    November 5, 2020
  • Dating app use linked to social anxiety

    But whether this is a problem is unclear, research suggests.

    People who experience social anxiety and depression are more likely to use dating apps – but there’s a twist. Male...

    November 4, 2020
  • How droughts affect forests

    Scientists explore the ecosystem regrowth.

    High on the list of the threats forests face due to climate change is tree mortality following droughts, which are be...

    November 3, 2020
  • We talk about empathy, but do we value it?

    Research suggests it depends on the people and the issue.

    Showing empathy towards someone – putting yourself in their shoes – is an admirable and important human virtue, espec...

    October 30, 2020
  • Multi-screening may mess with your memory

    Study looks at why some of us don’t remember things.

    Why do some people have better memories than others? This question has taken on new significance with the explosion o...

    October 29, 2020
  • How leaf cutter ants domesticated crops

    Could human farmers learn from them?

    Over tens of millions of years, fungus-farming ants have learned how to cultivate their crops to ensure a stable food...

    October 28, 2020
  • Global trade linked to resource insecurity

    Study highlights need for sustainable supply chains.

    The global economy and international trade are aggravating water, land and energy insecurity and this is taking a dis...

    October 27, 2020
  • Can cat genes explain their nine lives?

    Maybe not, but they can help unravel genomic mutations.

    Move over human genomic medicine – scientists are now getting closer to gene therapy for felines, thanks to an Abyssi...

    October 24, 2020
  • Are women more moral than men?

    They’re certainly fairer and more caring, study suggests.

    Women score consistently more highly than men on moral dimensions of caring, fairness and purity, according to a comp...

    October 22, 2020
  • Technology helps make better chess players

    But they still tend to peak in their mid-30s.

    Professional chess players have improved their game over the past century – particularly more recently with the adven...

    October 21, 2020
  • It shouldn’t be just about happy endings

    Human bias can skew our memory and our choices.

    A human bias towards happy endings can skew our memory of an experience and the likelihood of choosing it again. T...

    October 20, 2020
  • Restore ecosystems to prevent extinctions

    Targeting priority areas also could mitigate CO2 emissions.

    Restoring just under a third of Earth’s ecosystems to their natural state could protect more than two-thirds of land-...

    October 16, 2020
  • Sahara actually has quite a few trees

    Satellite imaging and deep learning provide clearer picture.

    A surprising new study has revealed that there are more than 1.8 billion trees and shrubs in the Sahara and Sahel reg...

    October 15, 2020
  • Humans are disrupting predator diets

    Eating our food could upset communities and ecosystems.

    Predators living near people are getting up to half their food or even more from human sources, US researchers have d...

    October 14, 2020
  • Focus on people to put a value on nature

    Providing context will aid conservation, scientists say.

    Our reliance on nature’s dwindling resources has become ever more palpable as human activities cause ecosystems and b...

    October 13, 2020
  • Maybe we’re hardwired for calorific foods

    They were vital for our ancestors but are not so good for us.

    High-calorie foods were vital for providing energy to our hunter-gatherer ancestors, potentially even fuelling modern...

    October 9, 2020
  • Power games may make animals smarter

    New theory adds missing piece to puzzle of brain evolution.

    Animals display some awe-inspiring feats of intelligence, from making tools and counting to eavesdropping, making dec...

    October 8, 2020
  • Dogs: Inside their brains

    Study unravels what happens when they look at faces.

    What are dogs thinking when they gaze into our eyes? No more than when they’re looking at the back of our heads, acco...

    October 7, 2020
  • The ecological impact of fences

    Scientists highlight a neglected but serious issue.

    Humans have swamped the planet with fences, but there is a gaping hole in knowledge about their ecological impact – a...

    October 3, 2020
  • Showing what we think about robots

    Scientists can make predictions based on brain activity.

    When you look at a robot, do you tend to think of it as having human attributes or as a mechanical algorithm? Scie...

    October 1, 2020
  • Reptiles threatened by online trade

    Scientists call for greater international regulation.

    Nearly 4000 species of reptile – a third of those known – are being traded online with very little international regu...

    September 30, 2020
  • More surprises about Palaeolithic humans

    Our ancestors traversed Europe earlier than thought.

    New clues continue to unravel the compelling Palaeolithic mystery of modern human movements and the Neanderthal trans...

    September 29, 2020
  • The importance of urban trees

    Scientists say make cities a focus of conservation efforts.

    When thinking of tree conservation, sprawling forests generally come to mind. But cities, although covering only 2% o...

    September 26, 2020
  • Are playful dogs easier to train?

    Research suggests working breeds could be the most fun.

    Playfulness is serious business. Scientists have gone to great lengths to solve the mystery of why animals play, with...

    September 24, 2020
  • Why boys should be friends with girls

    Baboon study suggests it increases chance of a long life.

    Close friendships can increase the odds of living a long life – not just in humans but also in animals including hors...

    September 23, 2020
  • Funnel-webs don’t mean to hurt us

    Impact of venom an ‘unfortunate evolutionary coincidence’.

    Australia’s funnel-web spiders are deadly to humans – particularly the males from the species Atrax robustus that cal...

    September 22, 2020
  • Surprising insights into sleep’s purpose

    Study raises questions about its role in early childhood.

    Humans (and other animals) need sleep as much as they need water and oxygen, and considering we spend about a third o...

    September 19, 2020
  • Vikings weren’t who we thought

    New DNA analysis could rewrite the history books.

    The popular modern image of blond-haired Scandinavian Vikings has been upended by extensive ancient DNA analysis, pub...

    September 17, 2020
  • Time does fly when we’re having fun

    Scientists identify neurons that skew our perception.

    If time seems to go more slowly when you’re boiling the kettle or waiting for a bus, it might not just be your imagin...

    September 17, 2020
  • Variable habitat linked to diverse chimp skills

    Environmental flux drives innovation, study suggests.

    Chimpanzees living in habitats with greater environmental variability are more likely to have a wide-ranging set of b...

    September 16, 2020
  • Making cities more liveable

    Scientists develop an eco-friendly urban framework.

    Imagine living in a city where you can ride or walk to essential services, where the air is cleaner and travel costs ...

    September 12, 2020
  • Why mozzies prefer some people to others

    Science is working on an irritating issue.

    If you’re one of those unlucky people who get mauled by mosquitoes, it might be somewhat reassuring to know that scie...

    September 9, 2020
  • Fast-growing trees die younger

    Analysis suggests this could affect carbon storage predictions.

    Higher temperatures and increased atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels resulting from climate change are thought t...

    September 9, 2020
  • A novel approach to making leather

    Consider stepping out in mushroom shoes.

    If you love leather boots, handbags and wallets but feel iffy about their animal or synthetic sources, fungi may be t...

    September 8, 2020
  • Sleep ‘cleans’ the brain

    But daytime napping might not work as well.

    Sleep has critical roles in health and regeneration, and one of those is clearing the brain of metabolic waste, accor...

    September 4, 2020
  • Reptiles heading for extinction

    Australian scientists identify 20 species at highest risk.

    Scientists have identified 20 species of Australian snakes and lizards they predict are at highest risk of extinction...

    September 3, 2020
  • Intimidation may not be the best tactic

    Nice people also win positions of power, study finds.

    Being aggressive, selfish and manipulative doesn’t bring more power at work than being nice, generous and trustworthy...

    September 2, 2020
  • How brain flexibility emerges in infants

    Imaging provides new insights into mental capacity.

    Scientists say they’ve discovered that cognitive flexibility, a critical higher order brain function, starts developi...

    September 1, 2020
  • More insights into the complexity of coral

    Studies look closely at impacts of acidification and diversity.

    Scientists are moving closer to understanding the complexity of coral reefs and their response to different environme...

    August 29, 2020
  • Learning from the past could save biodiversity

    Scientists gain insights from ancient warming events.

    Palaeo-archives are giving scientists new insights into how warming climates affected different species and biodivers...

    August 28, 2020
  • On life and dreams

    We process our waking hours while sleeping, study suggests.

    Dreams can offer rich insights into the human psyche and have long been used to help people understand and deal with ...

    August 27, 2020
  • Herbivores, poop and the nutrient cycle

    Droppings affect plant growth in different ways.

    Ecosystems are intricate webs shaped and sustained by all their living elements – and you can’t underestimate the rol...

    August 26, 2020
  • People may really be prosocial

    Brain study suggests we try to avoid harm to others.

    European researchers have found that people are better at learning and decision-making when trying to avoid harm to o...

    August 25, 2020
  • More healthy reasons to eat Brussels sprouts

    And cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower while you’re at it.

    The once maligned Brussels sprouts have been making a bit of a comeback in recent years with fancy recipes to tempt e...

    August 22, 2020
  • Coral reefs are trying to recover

    Report reveals some hope for the Great Barrier Reef.

    Coral cover has shown small signs of recovery on two thirds of reefs surveyed along the Great Barrier Reef – but it’s...

    August 21, 2020
  • Sometimes we need to learn from others

    Scientists reveal when, and what happens in the brain.

    When you’re trying to decide what to order from a familiar menu, you’ll most likely draw from your own experience. ...

    August 20, 2020
  • Bird skulls evolved surprisingly slowly

    Things tapered off after the extinction of the dinosaurs.

    It’s quite remarkable that emus, pelicans, hummingbirds, hawks and woodpeckers are all part of the same class of anim...

    August 19, 2020
  • Practice may help you to really multitask

    Scientists say they’ve found a missing part of the puzzle.

    Many people like to think they can multitask, but they probably can’t – at least not effectively. As Cosmos has repor...

    August 18, 2020
  • Do all animals socially isolate to avoid disease?

    It depends on the circumstances and the cost-benefit analysis.

    A review exploring how different animals, from bats and lobsters to frogs, gorillas and bees, deal with the planet’s ...

    August 15, 2020
  • The sweeping impact of social inequities

    Scientists explore consequences for biodiversity and evolution.

    Systemic inequalities such as racism and classism not only erode social justice but have broader impacts on cities’ n...

    August 14, 2020
  • Tropical soils linked to carbon emissions

    They’re more sensitive to warming than we thought.

    Scientists continue to unravel the feedback loops caused by global warming, a major one being the soil’s release of c...

    August 13, 2020
  • Creating harmony in complex networks

    Violinists offer strategies for modelling synchrony.

    Scientists working with musicians have revealed new strategies to deal with frustration and achieve synchrony in comp...

    August 12, 2020
  • Clues to cultivation in the Torres Strait

    Study sheds new light on old horticultural practices.

    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people had a history of skilfully resourcing food and managing the land long be...

    August 11, 2020
  • Experience of loneliness may change with age

    Tackling it is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach.

    Humans are social creatures, and even before the isolation enforced on us by the COVID-19 pandemic researchers were s...

    August 8, 2020
  • Herbivores at highest risk of extinction

    We assumed it was predators, but analysis suggests otherwise.

    A comprehensive analysis covering thousands of species of land and water animals has revealed that herbivores, not pr...

    August 7, 2020
  • Habitat destruction could fuel disease risk

    Animals that remain often can infect humans, study finds.

    Scientists have been sounding progressively louder alarms about the repercussions of human expansion across the plane...

    August 6, 2020
  • Evocations of abstract art

    Blending art theory and cognitive science.

    Art has been an integral part of human existence since time immemorial, prompting scientists to try to understand its...

    August 5, 2020
  • Pandas doing well, but predators at risk

    Single-species conservation not enough, study finds.

    The panda is one of the world's conservation success stories, and dedicated efforts to protect it also have benefited...

    August 4, 2020
  • These fish are full of surprises

    Scientists discover immune adaptations thought impossible.

    Deep-sea anglerfishes are not only incredibly ugly, with bizarre ways of reproducing and luring prey; they have now s...

    August 1, 2020
  • The increasing cost of coastal flooding

    Scientists predict it could be up to 20% of global GDP.

    Infrastructure damage from coastal flooding will cost the world US$14.2 trillion over the next eight decades and affe...

    July 31, 2020
  • Hedonism can be a good thing

    Enjoying life’s pleasures linked to wellbeing.

    Have you found yourself feeling guilty for indulging in short-term pleasures like eating chocolate or taking a lazy a...

    July 30, 2020
  • Tests for Alzheimer’s disease show promise

    Blood biomarkers could make detection cheaper and easier.

    In converging studies, four teams of scientists say they are getting closer to developing blood tests that could dete...

    July 29, 2020
  • How bias affects views of hate crimes

    Casual sympathisers may suggest motives unclear.

    People who commit hate crimes against minorities often assert they are protecting others, believing they have support...

    July 28, 2020
  • Humans have more time so have sharper skills

    Longer childhoods and larger brains help finetune things.

    Humans develop manual dexterity skills after a cumulative sequence of steps that also take place in other primates, a...

    July 25, 2020
  • Genetic consequences of the slave trade

    Researchers piece together origins of African Americans.

    Until less than two centuries ago, millions of people were forcibly removed from Africa by European colonisers and ta...

    July 24, 2020
  • A difficult time to be a reef shark

    Studies identify threats and opportunities.

    Reef sharks are having a challenging time as they confront threats from fishing, denser human populations and climate...

    July 23, 2020
  • Among fish, dominance reduces influence

    Study suggests it’s the passive that really lead.

    If fish are any guide, subordinate males may actually have more influence on groups than their domineering and aggres...

    July 22, 2020
  • Birds adapting to climate change

    Study finds that timing breeds resilience.

    Changing weather patterns are playing havoc with nature’s ecosystems. We’re seeing such things as plants flowering in...

    July 21, 2020
  • Dietary guidelines under fire

    Call for reform to meet health and environmental goals.

    While governments have agreed to global health and environmental targets, most dietary guidelines are lagging behind,...

    July 17, 2020
  • Invasive species threaten biodiversity

    Experts highlight economic and environmental impact.

    Leading international experts have estimated that even moderate increases in the spread of invasive plant and animal ...

    July 16, 2020
  • An ancient story of change and adaptation

    Study fills gaps in history of Aboriginal Australians.

    Archaeologists are continuing to unravel the complex history of Australia’s Aboriginal people, the world’s oldest civ...

    July 15, 2020
  • A plan for a unified species classification

    Scientists propose 10 principles to streamline taxonomy.

    As the Earth faces a growing environmental crisis, scientists are calling for agreement on a single, streamlined list...

    July 10, 2020
  • Some animals learn to make new sounds

    It could have evolved from faking it.

    If you happen to be walking through Australian bush, you might hear a loud, deep rumbling sound that conjures images ...

    July 9, 2020
  • The evolution of flowering plants

    ‘Time tree’ shows delayed diversification of families.

    Around 140 million years ago, flowering plants first burst into life on Earth, heralding the birth of what have becom...

    July 8, 2020
  • COVID-19 affects some more than others

    Global report explores responses and impacts.

    The COVID-19 pandemic has swept the globe, but people’s experiences and the economic, social and political ramificati...

    July 6, 2020
  • This is an amphibian with a difference

    Researchers find evidence of snake-like venom glands.

    Researchers have discovered snake-like venom glands in an amphibian for the first time – along the teeth of the littl...

    July 4, 2020
  • Does she look grumpy to you?

    Language sways how we perceive expressions.

    There are umpteen ways that communication can distort people’s perception and hence the way they respond to someone, ...

    July 3, 2020
  • The Australian story, told beneath the sea

    Archaeological sites could fill vast historical gaps.

    Submerged archaeological sites discovered off Australia’s northwest coast offer a new window into the migrations, liv...

    July 2, 2020
  • Migrating birds adapt to changing seasons

    Population declines likely due to human land use.

    Birds that fly long distances across continents in spring are more flexible in adapting their migrations to a changin...

    July 1, 2020
  • Linguistic feature not unique to humans

    Monkeys can do it too, study finds.

    Evidence is piling up to suggest humans are not as different from animals as many like to think. New research adds...

    June 30, 2020
  • More proof of animal smarts

    Studies show they innovate and learn from others.

    For behaviours once presumed to be mere instinct, it’s become increasingly clear that animals, from bears, whales and...

    June 26, 2020
  • Meet a giant ancestor of wombats

    Prehistoric fossils tell more about marsupial evolution.

    Fossils from a giant marsupial that roamed central Australia during the late Oligocene, 25 million years ago, reveal ...

    June 26, 2020
  • Hard to imagine: someone’s mind can be blind

    Trouble visualising also affects memories and dreams.

    When most people imagine walking on a beach at sunset, their mind will likely conjure up a picture such as this. For ...

    June 25, 2020
  • The man who can’t see numbers

    His brain can, but to him it’s like spaghetti.

    Thanks to the late Oliver Sacks, we’ve heard astonishing tales of the brain’s idiosyncratic digressions when things g...

    June 24, 2020
  • Ancient ice tells story of carbon storage

    Southern Ocean findings could improve modelling.

    Scientists better understand the history of carbon dioxide storage in the Southern Ocean after analysing sea ice from...

    June 23, 2020
  • Did landscapes make land animals smart?

    Navigating survival could have created bigger brains.

    When it comes to superpowers, humans have dreamed up everything from super strength and X-ray vision to body morphing...

    June 20, 2020
  • Why some people find it easier to lose weight

    Study highlights our uniquely individual responses.

    Ever wondered why some people can eat to their heart’s content while others agonise over every calorie and still stru...

    June 19, 2020
  • How to be a fish out of water

    Blennies reveal trials and tribulations of adaptation.

    Animals have evolved some incredible adaptations to survive, especially those that moved from water to land – but the...

    June 18, 2020
  • Birds change their tunes after wildfires

    Dialects reflect ecosystem processes, study shows.

    Wildfires can change the tunes of birds in nearby forests, according to a new study published in The Auk: Ornithologi...

    June 16, 2020
  • How African ancestors moved and mingled

    DNA reveals population dynamics of foragers, herders and farmers.

    Revelations about Africa’s past just got more colourful as ancient DNA analysis shows historical population interacti...

    June 16, 2020
  • Sea otters saved again

    Ecosystem restoration offers lucrative financial gains.

    The recovery of sea otter (Enyhdra lutris) populations near Canada’s Vancouver Island is a conservation success story...

    June 15, 2020
  • How animals hibernate

    Rodent studies reveal the neurons involved.

    Two studies published in the journal Nature have independently zoned in on the brain circuitry that triggers a hibern...

    June 12, 2020
  • Step aside bees, the ants are pollinating

    Clever Australian plants have adapted to survive.

    When you think pollination you typically don’t think ants, and with good reason. Ant pollinators are thought to be ex...

    June 11, 2020
  • Who are the real pests?

    Studies turn spotlight on human action and expansion.

    Since Charles Darwin sailed around South America less than 200 years ago – a blip in the Earth’s history – the human ...

    June 10, 2020
  • How to socially connect safely

    Scientists model three post-lockdown strategies.

    Connecting with others is at the heart of being human and has been linked to greater physical and mental health, long...

    June 8, 2020
  • Our clothes are wreaking havoc on the oceans

    And it’s not just the synthetic fibres.

    The fashion industry has come under increasing fire for its impact on the planet, from production to clothes racks an...

    June 6, 2020
  • People really are giving by nature

    Even with competing incentives, study finds.

    At times, the state of the world could understandably drive one to despair. But we can take solace in the age-old ...

    June 5, 2020
  • For the evolution of smarts, parents matter

    Songbird research shows cognitive and survival benefits.

    Humans are not the only species that enjoy prolonged childhoods: elephants, whales, dolphins and some bats and birds ...

    June 3, 2020
  • The role of plants in a warmer, drier world

    Water cycling calculations show old models were off.

    Scientists have highlighted an important missing piece in climate models by unravelling the role of plants in the Ear...

    June 2, 2020
  • Narrowing down the time of death

    New model could vastly improve forensic predictions.

    Estimating someone’s time of death can be a complicated and vague affair, with important ramifications – especially i...

    May 30, 2020
  • How invasive species wreak climatic havoc

    They turnover more carbon by making new friends.

    When non-native plants invade an ecosystem, their interactions with new insects and microorganisms accelerate carbon ...

    May 29, 2020
  • Genes linked to evolution of languages

    A musical background helps too, research suggests.

    If you say “ma” in Mandarin, you could be saying mother, hemp, horse or scold, depending purely on your pitch. Thi...

    May 29, 2020
  • Using maths to improve ocean rescue

    New algorithm promises to find missing people faster.

    When someone gets lost at sea, every minute counts, as the probability of finding people alive plunges after six hour...

    May 27, 2020
  • Marine migrations and ecosystem disruption

    Warming waters penetrate the ocean’s depths.

    Our warming planet is dislocating all manner of species as they travel poleward in search of cooler temperatures, and...

    May 26, 2020
  • What shapes genetic diversity in mammals?

    Global map points to evolution and climate.

    On the heels of the International Day for Biological Diversity, scientists have compiled the first comprehensive map ...

    May 25, 2020
  • Tropical forests quite resilient to warming

    But carbon storage could plummet.

    In an ambitious, long-term study of more than half a million trees, a virtual army of scientists has found that tropi...

    May 22, 2020
  • The complex choices of animals

    3D technology meets behavioural research.

    How do animals make decisions, such as where to live? This is an important choice with implications for key life matt...

    May 20, 2020
  • How a pandemic created a cleaner planet

    Scientists quantify fall in emissions – but more is needed.

    Since the coronavirus lockdown we’ve seen reports of clear waters in Venice, dramatically reduced air pollution in Ch...

    May 20, 2020
  • Megafauna fossils found in tropical Australia

    Rich site suggests climatic change drove extinction.

    More than 40,000 years ago, Australia’s tropical northeast was home to species of giant birds, reptiles and marsupial...

    May 19, 2020
  • COVID-19 update: Africa, Italy and inequality.

    Scientists explore the unfolding ramifications.

    As the world continues to respond to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, four papers just released in leading journals as...

    May 18, 2020
  • Fossil footprints sheds clues on past behaviour

    Insights from largest assemblage of human tracks in Africa.

    Thousands of years ago, a group of people trekked across African soil, and their footprints remain to shine a torch o...

    May 15, 2020
  • Boosting coral heat resistance

    Assisted algal adaptation may help fight bleaching.

    Australian scientists may have found a way to help corals become more tolerant to warmer waters by fast-tracking heat...

    May 14, 2020
  • Soil pathogens rise as temperatures do

    Study highlights growing threat to food security.

    Pathogenic plant fungi are likely to multiply and spread as rising temperatures warm soils, thereby accelerating clim...

    May 13, 2020
  • Early fossil evidence of humans in Europe

    Artefacts suggest cultural interaction with Neanderthals.

    Newly unearthed fossil remains offer the earliest clear evidence of Homo sapiens in Europe and suggest they had great...

    May 12, 2020
  • Good odds for baby number two using IVF

    Analysis provides insights for second-time hopeful parents.

    Many couples who have used in vitro fertilisation (IVF) to conceive a baby will likely need it again if they want ano...

    May 8, 2020
  • Higher rainfall could amplify global warming

    Microbes release more CO2 from soil when it’s wet.

    Global warming causes multiple feedback loops – including parts of the tropics, it seems. The drainage basin of th...

    May 8, 2020
  • For coral reefs, more is less

    Increases in big fish could lead to ecosystem collapse.

    The story of coral reef bleaching ramifications continues to unfold with an international study revealing the long-te...

    May 7, 2020
  • Get a good night’s rest before tests

    Monitoring confirms our brains replay memories while we sleep.

    Students have long been told they should get a good night’s sleep before exams rather than cramming up to the last mi...

    May 6, 2020
  • Global warming affects tropical cyclone patterns

    Study confirms shifting geographical trends.

    Global warming is shifting patterns in the distribution of tropical cyclones rather than their frequency, according t...

    May 5, 2020
  • Smarter irrigation could feed millions more

    Modelling shows people and ecosystems will benefit.

    US researchers have calculated that accessing untapped freshwater around the world would allow farmers to feed 620 to...

    May 4, 2020
  • Microplastic hotspots on the seafloor

    Study shows how ocean currents transport them.

    The ocean currents that transport nutrients and oxygen to organisms on the deep-sea floor also carry microplastics th...

    May 1, 2020
  • ‘Crazy beast’ discovered in Madagascar

    Mammal lived with dinosaurs on Gondwanaland.

    When in isolation, animals evolve bizarre features and behaviours.  Adding to the weird and wonderful fauna on the...

    April 30, 2020
  • Tree rings tell of water and climate change

    Scientists compile a global water-use efficiency database.

    By unlocking the secrets of tree rings, scientists have created a global database of trees’ water-use efficiency, whi...

    April 29, 2020
  • Coupling big data and conservation

    Scientists highlight opportunities to generate sustainable solutions.

    The “big data revolution” offers an unprecedented opportunity to better chart environmental degradation and inform gl...

    April 28, 2020
  • ‘Insect apocalypse’ not so clear-cut

    Mega-study shows declines are highly variable.

    Love them or hate them, recent reports of an “insect apocalypse” sounded alarm bells around the world as conservation...

    April 27, 2020
  • Punishing selfishness starts young

    It’s influenced by social norms, study suggests.

    Why do humans (mostly) cooperate? Following social norms to punish others for selfish behaviour plays a part, accordi...

    April 24, 2020
  • Small habitats matter for biodiversity

    Study informs global conservation efforts.

    With the planet’s biodiversity crisis putting up to half a million species at risk of extinction, conservationists ar...

    April 22, 2020
  • Ten ‘catastrophic’ threats to our survival

    Commission for the Human Future calls for change.

    The current pandemic may have shifted our focus, but we cannot ignore ten “catastrophic and existential” threats to h...

    April 22, 2020
  • Seeing the adult in the infant

    Toddler temperament can predict personality, study finds.

    Ever wished you could peek into a crystal ball and see your baby’s future? A three-decade-long study that followed 14...

    April 21, 2020
  • Good news for coral reef conservation

    Study points way to effective marine reserve management.

    Amidst all the bad news about coral reef bleaching, an international team has shed light on what conservation measure...

    April 20, 2020
  • Putting drought in the spotlight

    Drying planet is a growing problem to be taken seriously.

    Of all the natural disasters, droughts strike right at the heart of life itself – no human, animal or plant can survi...

    April 17, 2020
  • Genetic vulnerability and mental illness

    Gene combinations could increase lifelong risk.

    People with genetic vulnerability for adult depression are more likely to have emotional and social problems in child...

    April 16, 2020
  • Missing climate targets could cost trillions

    But global cooperation would be profitable for all, report suggests.

    If nations don’t meet their current goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the global economy could lose around...

    April 15, 2020
  • Old trees do the heavy carbon lifting

    Rainforest study points way for regeneration and management.

    When it comes to storing carbon, an increasingly vital function of rainforests for the health and survival of the pla...

    April 13, 2020
  • Wildlife exploitation = infectious disease risk

    Study links human activities to virus spillover from animals.

    Zoonotic diseases – those transmitted from animals to humans – are quickly becoming one of the world’s biggest public...

    April 9, 2020
  • How some flowers recover from injury

    It’s a newly discovered adaptation to enhance survival.

    Some flowers have a remarkable capacity to pick themselves up – literally – after an accident, according to a study p...

    April 9, 2020
  • For birds, innovation is survival

    Study shows novel behaviours lower extinction risk.

    If you’ve ever ventured beyond admiring the assorted dazzling plumages of birds or simply enjoying their symphony of ...

    April 7, 2020
  • The emotional lives of mice

    Machine learning detects distinct feelings from facial expressions.

    Cartoonists have captivated generations by humanising mice, from the enigmatic Mickey Mouse and charming Stuart Littl...

    April 6, 2020
  • Gondwana in amber

    Fossil trove sheds light on ancient antipodean ecology.

    An international team of palaeontologists has discovered an assortment of intact amber fossils in the Southern Hemisp...

    April 3, 2020
  • How we can restore marine life by 2050

    Scientists map out strategies to save the oceans.

    An international team of scientists has painstakingly mapped out positive actions that could return the planet’s mari...

    April 2, 2020
  • What causes equatorial marine biodiversity?

    It’s not higher predation as popularly thought.

    The puzzle of what factors create rich biodiversity towards the equator has captivated ecologists as far back as Darw...

    April 1, 2020
  • I count, therefore I am

    For all animals, it seems, maths is survival.

    From birds and bees to frogs, wolves and ants, it’s an enduring source of wonder that animals can count. This is not ...

    March 31, 2020
  • Neanderthals ate brain food from the sea

    And they relied on it as much as early humans.

    Neanderthals were quite the foodies, it seems, as their diets included not only hunted animals and plant foods, but a...

    March 30, 2020
  • Warming waters are altering marine life

    Scientists warn of broader ecosystem impacts.

    As the world’s oceans have warmed by one degree Celsius since pre-industrial times, there has been a pervasive shift ...

    March 27, 2020
  • Some birds with small brains aren’t that silly

    They simply breed more to survive chaotic cities.

    It’s not just big brains that can give birds a survival advantage in harsh urban environments. Some small-brained bir...

    March 26, 2020
  • From lions to orcas, females outlive males

    That’s even though males don’t age faster.

    Whether you’re a female human, orca, lion or elephant seal, you have a fairly good chance of outliving many of your m...

    March 25, 2020
  • Electric cars are better for the environment

    Study confirms they produce fewer emissions.

    A global analysis has verified that electric cars and heat pumps generate less greenhouse gas over their life cycle t...

    March 24, 2020
  • Wildlife conservation is getting better

    According to AI probe of scientific studies.

    Whether it’s plastic pollution, climate change or endangered species conservation, there’s a growing tsunami of scien...

    March 23, 2020
  • Fancy some worms with your sushi?

    Parasites in raw fish have risen dramatically, study finds.

    The presence of parasitic worms in raw or undercooked seafood, popular in dishes such as sushi, sashimi, poke and car...

    March 20, 2020
  • ‘Wonderchicken’ fossil from dinosaur age

    Find sheds light on the origin of modern birds.

    Palaeontologists have found the oldest fossil of a modern bird, originating from before the last mass extinction that...

    March 19, 2020
  • Prehistoric structure of mammoth bones

    Discovery offers more clues to survival in the Ice Age.

    Archaeologists have gingerly unearthed buried remains of mammoth bones used to make a circular structure in the Russi...

    March 18, 2020
  • Even a small nuclear war could hit food supply

    Study sounds warning about unstable nations.

    As the nuclear arms race unfolds with renewed vigour, researchers have shown that even a limited, regional nuclear ba...

    March 17, 2020
  • The simple protein that started all life

    And could help NASA find life on other planets.

    Scientists believe they have discovered a simple protein that started all life 3.5 to 2.5 billion years ago, publishi...

    March 17, 2020
  • Your backyard could reduce global warming

    Gardens cool urban temperatures by six degrees, study finds.

    Australian researchers found during an extreme heatwave that backyard gardens lowered land surface temperatures by fi...

    March 16, 2020
  • Earth’s tilt angle trigger for ending ice ages

    Analysis of global glaciations confirms its significance.

    International research covering the past million years of global glaciations shows that small changes in the tilt of ...

    March 13, 2020
  • Mongoose sheds insight on spread of disease

    The research has implications for human behaviour.

    By watching banded mongoose populations across a range of different environments in Botswana, Africa, researchers hav...

    March 13, 2020
  • Scientists crack 58-year-old quantum mystery

    Fluke find could revolutionise nuclear magnetic resonance.

    Curiosity-driven research can yield exciting discoveries. The latest is an accidental breakthrough by Australian engi...

    March 12, 2020
  • Coffee and chocolate increase malaria risk

    Commodities contribute to deforestation and mosquitoes.

    As we’re savouring a steaming cup of coffee with a mouth-watering chocolate, we might want to spare a thought for the...

    March 11, 2020
  • The bigger they are, the harder they fall

    Study finds large ecosystems collapse more quickly.

    Vast, rich ecosystems that have existed for millennia could collapse in less than a human lifetime, according to a st...

    March 11, 2020
  • Astronauts grow lettuce in space

    The plants are fresh, nutritious and safe to eat.

    Astronauts may no longer have to miss out on eating freshly picked, gourmet salad. Researchers have successfully grow...

    March 8, 2020
  • Individuality – beyond nature or nurture

    Fruit fly study links it to random variation in brain wiring.

    Whether to walk the straight and narrow or meander through life is one of countless traits attributed to a combinatio...

    March 5, 2020
  • Thirdhand smoke in non-smoking movie theatre

    The toxic chemicals were transported by moviegoers.

    While remarkable progress has been made in several countries to prevent people inhaling toxic secondhand fumes from c...

    March 5, 2020
  • A decade of dithering on climate action

    Four times the effort now to comply with the Paris agreement.

    An analysis of climate change targets agreed to in Paris versus emission reductions actually achieved reveals that na...

    March 4, 2020
  • Air pollution pandemic warning

    A leading cause of global deaths is right under all our noses.

    While governments are on the verge of declaring a coronavirus pandemic – an outbreak that is hogging daily media atte...

    March 3, 2020
  • Ancient Mongolians sustained with millet

    And had more complex economies than first thought.

    Ancient Mongolian kingdoms may have been more sophisticated than history has credited them for, according to a study ...

    March 3, 2020
  • Half the world’s sandy beaches could be lost

    Human intervention and lower emissions could help save them.

    Half the world’s sandy beaches could be lost by the end of the century due to changing weather patterns and rising se...

    March 2, 2020
  • Glowing frogs and salamanders

    Biofluorescence is more prevalent than previously thought.

    Sharks do it, fish do it, even scorpions and spiders do it. Now, researchers have revealed more of nature’s secret li...

    March 2, 2020
  • The co-evolution of plants and humans

    Botanical historian puts new twist on plant domestication.

    We think we’re so clever, but perhaps we underestimate plants and our co-evolution. Edible flora have long evolved...

    February 27, 2020
  • Not one, but two species of red panda

    Genetic study resolves their identity crisis.

    Geneticists have confirmed that the bushy-tailed red panda – resembling a cross between a cat and a racoon more than ...

    February 27, 2020
  • Solar storms linked to stranded whales

    Magnetic disruptions make them ‘blind’.

    Analysis of grey whale stranding incidents has supported speculations that the migratory mammals rely on a magnetic s...

    February 24, 2020
  • Intensifying marine conservation efforts

    Scientists quantify how much and where.

    At least a quarter of the Earth’s oceans need urgent conservation measures to preserve marine biodiversity, according...

    February 23, 2020
  • Bees are smarter than we thought

    Performing complex transfers of information between senses.

    Bees have a lot going on in their teeny brains; with less than a million neurons compared to the 86 billion that huma...

    February 20, 2020
  • Whisker-printing to identify individual lions

    New technique better maps their numbers and density.

    Indian researchers have developed a method to more accurately map numbers and density of wild lions in their country’...

    February 19, 2020
  • Birds migrated through the last ice age

    Surprise finding could help predict future adaptations.

    Birds have been migrating much longer than previously thought; in fact, research published in the journal Nature Comm...

    February 18, 2020
  • Extreme weather can disrupt energy supply

    We need more storage and grid improvements.

    Future climate variation could produce a gap of up to 34% between renewable energy potential and demand without conce...

    February 17, 2020
  • Revealed: the mystery of stinging water

    It’s the mucus of upside-down jellyfish.

    People who have experienced stingy, itchy skin from warm coastal waters might be familiar with some of the theories a...

    February 13, 2020
  • Smart birds remember new tricks

    And this impressive skill could boost their survival.

    Not only can you teach a wild bird new tricks, but they can remember it nearly two years later, according to research...

    February 12, 2020
  • Breaking the rules is good for survival

    Some plants thrive by defying ecology.

    Invasive species have been likened to bullies, leaving an ecological path of destruction in their wake. Now research...

    February 11, 2020
  • Tropical forests struggle to recover from El Niño

    The lingering impacts on carbon storage and biodiversity.

    The extreme weather patterns of the 2015-16 El Niño, among the worst since the 1950s, had crippling ripple effects ar...

    February 10, 2020
  • Ants don’t need anger management

    They’ve got their aggression under control.

    At a time when humans are expressing increased outrage, we might have something to learn from ants. Researchers have...

    February 5, 2020
  • Biodiversity hotspots most vulnerable

    Refuges enabled organisms to survive past climatic cataclysms.

    Polar and tropical regions that foster the planet’s richest biodiversity are the most vulnerable to future impacts of...

    February 4, 2020
  • Protecting the deep blue

    Scientists identify strategies to conserve ocean ecosystems.

    More than 100 scientists have highlighted key targets for conserving and managing the deep sea, including habitat-sus...

    February 3, 2020
  • More bad news about microplastics

    Their watery trail of havoc plumbs the depths.

    Dutch and Chinese researchers have independently unearthed more bad news about nano- and microplastics, focusing on t...

    February 2, 2020
  • Gut bacteria could shape your persona

    Sociable types have more of the right type.

    A new study from Oxford University, published in the journal Human Microbiome, has linked gut bacteria strains and di...

    January 30, 2020
  • Ancient skulls from Mexico surprisingly diverse

    Study challenges assumptions about settlement of the Americas.

    Analysis of four ancient skulls retrieved from the submerged caves of Quintana Roo, Mexico, suggests that early human...

    January 30, 2020
  • School smarts more than reading and maths

    Academic and cognitive skill training goes both ways.

    It’s well established that cognitive abilities such as reasoning, memory and focussed attention help children do well...

    January 28, 2020
  • Buffering vineyards against climate change

    Researchers model the impact of sticking to the tried and true.

    As the planet continues to warm, many vineyards will become less viable – but diversifying crops could help mitigate ...

    January 27, 2020
  • Sign language grew from five lineages

    Scientists merge linguistics with evolutionary biology.

    Delving into centuries-old manuscripts depicting dozens of sign language alphabets, scientists have identified five p...

    January 23, 2020
  • River deltas are changing shape

    Modelling reveals impact of human activities.

    Deforestation and damming have altered the shape of river deltas across the globe, contributing to a net 54 square ki...

    January 22, 2020
  • Australian Astronomer wins US science award

    Lisa Kewley transformed our understanding of the universe.

    Quietly tucked away in Canberra, Australia, is one of the world’s most influential astronomers right now. Lisa Kewle...

    January 22, 2020
  • Earth’s oldest known impact structure

    Geological dating at the 70-kilometre wide Yarrabubba crater.

    Evidence that the 70-kilometre wide Yarrabubba crater in outback Western Australia may be the Earth’s oldest known me...

    January 21, 2020
  • Modern culture isn’t evolving that quickly

    Study suggests it’s basically on pace with biological evolution.

    We’re surrounded by an avalanche of new arts, technologies and scientific discoveries, so it’s easy for us humans to ...

    January 20, 2020
  • Is canine responsiveness to people innate?

    Wolf pups and stray dogs pick up human cues with no training.

    Two studies have independently found that canine responsiveness in wolf pups and stray dogs can correctly interpret h...

    January 19, 2020
  • Crabs compromise to avoid competition

    Hermit crab species co-exist by living in different shaped shells.

    Rather than compete for shelter, two closely related hermit crab species appear to have adapted to differently shaped...

    January 16, 2020
  • Global roadmap to insect recovery

    International researchers urge a suite of conservation measures.

    Dozens of researchers from around the globe have united to create a comprehensive roadmap for insect conservation and...

    January 15, 2020
  • Vast avian database links form to function

    Bird bodies provide clues to their role in ecosystems.

    A decade-long effort building on bird specimens collected over the past two centuries has culminated in a database of...

    January 14, 2020
  • How do ancient trees grow so old?

    Study reveals they can defy senescence.

    Some large trees have steadfastly endured for hundreds, even thousands of years, surviving through generations of hum...

    January 13, 2020
  • New songbird found on Indonesian islands

    Discovery amplifies the archipelago’s rich biodiversity.

    Tucked away in three of the most geographically isolated Indonesian islands of Wallacea, known for their unique and r...

    January 12, 2020
  • Unveiling the evolution of tomatoes

    It’s more complex than previously thought.

    From wild, blueberry-like fruit to the large domesticated tomatoes that people enjoy today, the evolution of one of t...

    January 8, 2020
  • Birds, bats and bacteria

    Study questions microbial co-evolution across species.

    Collecting poo samples from nearly 900 different species of invertebrates might seem daunting – and messy – for some,...

    January 7, 2020
  • Chimps share tools when tasks gets tough

    Study sheds light on evolution of technology.

    Wild chimpanzees are more likely to share termite gathering tools with novices when the task involves greater complex...

    January 6, 2020
  • Culture vultures may live longer

    Study highlights health benefits of engaging with the arts.

    Those who think enjoying a good dose of culture is arty-farty could be missing out, with a new study linking arts app...

    December 19, 2019
  • Early battle with a rising sea that failed

    Mediterranean seawall couldn’t protect village.

    By Natalie ParlettaAround 7000 years ago, Neolithic villagers built an extensive seawall to protect themselves agains...

    December 18, 2019
  • Moves like a marsupial, climbs like a primate

    The koala is built for life in the trees.

    Australia’s cuddly koala seems to have evolved tree clambering abilities that rival those of the apes and monkeys tha...

    December 17, 2019
  • Bird migratory patterns change with the climate

    But scientists question whether it’s enough.

    A study tracking hundreds of bird species across the US over more than two decades has found they are altering their ...

    December 16, 2019
  • Why are whales so big, but not bigger?

    Researchers identify biological drivers and ecological limits.

    Whales are huge mammals weighing from 20 to 200 tonnes. The blue whale, the largest animal ever known to have existed...

    December 15, 2019
  • There’s hope for narcissistic teens

    They’ll probably grow out of it, like the rest of us.

    It’s common for people “of a certain age” to bemoan the self-centredness of today’s teenagers, but they do tend to gr...

    December 11, 2019
  • Clues to the evolution of modern penguins

    An old bird with proportions close to current-day relatives.

    Penguin fossils from around 62 million years ago in the Palaeocene suggest the ones we know today may have evolved ea...

    December 10, 2019
  • Less ploughing leads to higher crop yields

    Satellite data confirms importance of leaving soil alone.

    Scientists have used modern technology to show that an ancient approach to agriculture may be the best. Satellite ima...

    December 9, 2019
  • Timber travelled in Roman times

    Old boards reveal the importance of trade to the empire.

    Some of the oak planks found in a Roman portico and later analysed to determine their origin. Credit: Bernabei at al....

    December 8, 2019
  • Canines recognise words, regardless of the speaker

    It’s not just a human skill, new research suggests.

    Dogs seem to have the ability – until now thought to be uniquely human – to spontaneously recognise words even when t...

    December 4, 2019
  • Socialites not primary behavioural influencers

    Research suggests it’s more likely close-knit cliques.

    If you want to influence people’s behaviour, simply growing your social networks isn’t going to cut it, according to ...

    December 3, 2019
  • On the savannah, mixed company is good

    Interspecies mingling brings strategic survival benefits.

    It’s not uncommon for different species of wild animals on the African plains to hang out together, and now scientist...

    November 28, 2019
  • Amazon fires could increase glacier melting

    Study highlights the impact of black carbon and dust.

    By Natalie ParlettaSmoke plumes from burning rainforests in the Amazon basin could increase melting of tropical Andea...

    November 28, 2019
  • World map rates sustainable food systems

    Comprehensive tool provides a benchmark for moving forward.

    Scientists have created a new global map of sustainable food systems that rates each country on a sweeping series of ...

    November 26, 2019
  • Scientists record a blue whale’s heartbeat

    Vast range could explain why it’s big, but not bigger.

    Scientists have recorded the heart rate of a blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) in the wild and found considerable ex...

    November 25, 2019
  • Dung beetle’s horns not so novel after all

    Research finds they stem from the same genes as wings.

    A revelation that the dung beetle’s thoracic horns grew from wing genes challenges biology textbook definitions of no...

    November 24, 2019
  • Bacteria keeping up the fight against dengue

    New Wolbachia strain nearly halved cases in Malaysia.

    The Wolbachia trials were conducted in high-density areas in Malaysia.Ary Hoffmann, University of MelbourneBy Natalie...

    November 21, 2019
  • Many African plant species face extinction threat

    Analysis speeds up risk assessment – and could aid conservation.

    By Natalie ParlettaAbout a third of all tropical African plant species are potentially or likely threatened by extinc...

    November 20, 2019
  • Insight into malaria immune response

    Discovery could also improve other treatments.

    Australian researchers have found new insights into how the immune system responds to malaria infection, which they s...

    November 19, 2019
  • Were animal ancestors bisexual?

    We might have been working on some incorrect assumptions.

    The paradox of same-sex relations in animals and humans has long confounded evolutionary scientists because it produc...

    November 18, 2019
  • Birds leave genetic clues in drinking water

    Environmental DNA proves a powerful conservation tool.

    Australian researchers have worked out how to trace an endangered bird species by analysing water samples from its dr...

    November 14, 2019
  • More depressing news about anti-depressants

    Research highlights impact on fish behaviour.

    Australian researchers have found further evidence of the likely impact of fluoxetine, the active ingredient in anti-...

    November 13, 2019
  • National parks save trillions in mental health

    Such a tangible benefit could boost conservation efforts.

    The sanity offered by the tranquil beauty of national parks has been conservatively valued at around US$6 trillion gl...

    November 13, 2019
  • Nemo’s cousins have a way of finding him

    Some clownfish make good use of their UV vision.

    Clownfish, made famous by the movie Finding Nemo, may have their own secret way of finding friends and anenomes. The...

    November 11, 2019
  • Playing in the right dirt can have a calming effect

    Research finds biodiverse soil makes mice less anxious.

    Microbes could be a link between healthy ecosystems and healthy people, according to a paper published in the journal...

    November 7, 2019
  • To maximise learning, find the sweet spot

    The importance of challenging people and machines.

    Learning occurs most quickly when the difficulty of the training is adjusted to keep the learner’s accuracy at around...

    November 6, 2019
  • These birds form complex societies

    And that’s despite not having particularly large brains.

    The gregarious, small-brained vulturine guineafowl (Acryllium vulturinum) forms complex, multi-level societies, accor...

    November 4, 2019
  • Tracing poached ivory to the source

    Online tool matches genetic sequences to a database.

    By Natalie ParlettaA new software tool will speed up the tracking of locations where African elephant tusks have been...

    November 3, 2019
  • Vampire bats are friendly, like us

    Social bonds formed in captivity continue in the wild.

    Vampire bats (Desmodus rotundus) form enduring relationships much like humans and other social primates, according to...

    October 31, 2019
  • Tracing poached ivory to the source

    Online tool matches genetic sequences to a database.

    Loxodonta LocaliserBy Natalie ParlettaA new software tool will speed up the tracking of locations where African eleph...

    October 31, 2019
  • The science behind Jackson Pollock’s art

    Research finds he was a master of fluid dynamics.

    Whatever you think of Jackson Pollock’s abstract art, it seems there’s a bit of science to it. In fact, a Google Scho...

    October 30, 2019
  • New analysis triples risk from rising sea levels

    Regular flooding could become reality for millions of people.

    In three decades from now more than 300 million people’s homes could face annual coastal flooding and new high tide l...

    October 29, 2019
  • What’s good for people is good for the planet

    Mega analysis reveals how small dietary changes can benefit health and the environment.

    A mega sweep of pooled studies has confirmed that the health and environmental impacts of different foods are inextri...

    October 28, 2019
  • Early Celts believed wine should be for all

    Analysis of ceramic vessels sheds light on social customs.

    Residues from ceramics found at an archaeological site in Germany suggest that Early Celts from all social classes dr...

    October 27, 2019
  • Birds wing it in many ways

    Their movement, not shape, determines flight behaviour.

    Some of the wings from Vancouver’s Beaty Biodiversity Museum used in the study: (top to bottom) gyrfalcon (Falco rust...

    October 24, 2019
  • A few revelations about moths and butterflies

    Busting theories about their age – and why moths grew ears.

    A comprehensive evolutionary tree of Lepidoptera, the order that includes butterflies and moths, reveals that this as...

    October 22, 2019
  • It was the asteroid, not volcanoes

    New insights into the last mass extinction.

    Researchers have resolved long-standing uncertainty about what caused the last mass extinction around 66 million year...

    October 21, 2019
  • Saving pumas with genomics

    Advanced techniques to identify inbreeding could inform conservation efforts. Natalie Parletta re...

    Genomes from mountain lions, or pumas, have spawned insights into how to encourage genetic diversification within the...

    October 20, 2019
  • Evolution clues to insect invader destruction

    It could prevent costly damage and protect ecosystems.

    Researchers have found a way to predict how non-native herbivorous insects could become seriously invasive, a conundr...

    October 17, 2019
  • Holy galloping ants

    The Saharan silver ant clocks up record speeds over hot sands.

    The diurnal silver ant, Cataglyphis bombycina, has made impressive adaptations to the extreme temperatures of midday ...

    October 16, 2019
  • Insights from historical human-clam coexistence

    Traditional custodians for clues to sustainable practices.

    Coastal ecosystems are not only threatened by habitat loss and climate change; a breakdown of traditional aquaculture...

    October 15, 2019
  • Being pregnant and stressed not a good mix

    Study underscores importance of social support.

    A new study has unravelled the differential impacts of physical and psychological stressors during pregnancy on pre-t...

    October 14, 2019
  • Nature giveth, humans taketh away

    To our detriment, and global modelling shows just how.

    Nature has been supporting life on Earth for millennia. But human exploitation of her generous resources is wearing t...

    October 10, 2019
  • Would you like some chemicals with that?

    You might have no choice if you eat out.

    If anyone needs another good reason for choosing home-cooked food over restaurants or take-out, here it is: a study h...

    October 10, 2019
  • Canine pals could be key to longevity

    Studies confirm that dog owners live longer, healthier lives.

    As most dog owners will attest, four-legged canine companions generate boundless love and joy through their playful a...

    October 8, 2019
  • Bird’s eye view of forests can predict demise

    This new method could spark timely efforts to save the trees.

    Researchers have found a way to predict death of forests by detecting “hidden” signals of resilience using satellite ...

    October 8, 2019
  • Brooding bees lose sleep for their young

    The findings raise questions about the purpose of sleep.

    It’s not only human mums who give up precious sleep to care for their newborns. Nursing bees also sacrifice sleep to ...

    October 3, 2019
  • Groundwater extraction a “ticking time bomb”

    Current practices are having an escalating impact on aquatic ecosystems.

    A glimpse into the sustainability of global groundwater extraction for rivers, streams and lakes in the next few deca...

    October 2, 2019
  • If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again

    Failure can lead to greater career success.

    Throughout time, people have recognised the value of failure – and of getting back up again, like Henry Ford who repo...

    October 1, 2019
  • There’s more joy in books than tablets

    Conflict while reading digital books could impact development.

    Although it’s recommended that parents engage with young children when using digital media, research has found that w...

    September 30, 2019
  • Bees are nearly lost before they’re found

    New Fijian species are at risk of extinction

    Australian researchers have named nine new species of bees from the genus Homalictus Cockerell in the Fijian archipel...

    September 24, 2019
  • Corals need a lot of help from their friends

    Research reveals how reefs depend on microscopic life forms.

    New research has supplied unique insights at a genetic level into how corals collaborate with their microscopic partn...

    September 23, 2019
  • Your cat could just be playing hard to get

    They bond more with humans than we thought.

    Cats might seem aloof, but new research shows they become just as attached to their humans as dogs and even children....

    September 23, 2019
  • Megafauna more mega than we thought

    Insight on an ancient Australian marsupial giant.

    Australia’s unique megafauna continues to surprise, with new research adding insights into the peculiar bodies and li...

    September 16, 2019
  • Girls are just as good at STEM, study finds

    The proof lies in longer test duration.

    An analysis of global data should shatter gender stereotypes that suggest females have an inferior grasp of STEM (sci...

    September 3, 2019
  • Beware white owls when it’s a full moon

    Light-reflecting plumage tricks their prey.

    The plumage of white barn owls (Tyto alba) appears to be a unique evolutionary quirk that helps them catch common vol...

    September 2, 2019
  • Bacteria v mozzies. Bacteria holds their own

    Study finds long-term viability in blocking spread of infection.

    Bacteria found to block the transmission of mosquito-borne infections show long-term viability as a biocontrol agent,...

    August 26, 2019
  • Manta rays like hanging out with their mates

    Social connections could help conservation efforts.

    A five-year study in Indonesian waters has confirmed that wild-roaming reef manta rays (Manta alfredi) form selective...

    August 22, 2019
  • Could air pollution contribute to psychiatric illness?

    Research suggests it does, but the findings are controversial. Natalie Parletta reports.

    Poor air quality has been associated with higher rates of bipolar disorder and major depression in observational rese...

    August 20, 2019
  • Women may not multitask better after all

    It seems that neither gender is very good at it.

    Challenging a popular stereotype, new research suggests that men and women perform equally well (in fact, equally bad...

    August 14, 2019
  • Songbirds show flexibility learning tunes

    It could shed insights into human speech development.

    Young songbirds can learn tunes from another species, according to new research, and the underlying neural processes ...

    August 12, 2019
  • Hemp is set to become the next big thing.

    Hemp might just prove to be a sustainable alternative.

    Since nations like the U.S. and Australia have lifted their bans on growing hemp, a revolution is brewing. Innovator...

    August 1, 2019
  • Infants expect leaders to correct injustices

    They learn early about social hierarchies and power dynamics.

    It’s well-known that humans have evolved to rely on leaders to settle grievances in their social group. A new study s...

    July 30, 2019
  • To manage groundwater, first understand it

    Tthe dangers of over-exploiting an important resource.

    It may be out of sight, but it should not be out of mind. Water hidden beneath the earth’s surface comprises 98% of ...

    July 28, 2019
  • Peer pressure driving sustainable diets

    Modelling suggests it would be more effective than facts.

    People find it notoriously difficult to change eating habits to improve their own health, let alone the planet’s. No...

    July 25, 2019
  • Using nature to improve mental health

    Multi-level review supports links between nature and wellbeing.

    Evidence that nature can improve mental health and wellbeing has been germinating slowly but surely. To give it root...

    July 24, 2019
  • Plant-based diets could prevent type 2 diabetes

    New study quantifies the protective effect.

    Eating a diet high in plant foods with little or no red meat has been linked to lower risk of type 2 diabetes in the ...

    July 22, 2019
  • Diabetes increases risk of heart failure

    Data from 10 countries reveal women are most at risk.

    Diabetes, an epidemic that is sweeping the world, has been linked to increased risk of heart failure in a global stud...

    July 19, 2019
  • Shifting stereotypes favour women

    Study looks back at 72 years of public opinion.

    An analysis of social attitudes in the US has found that women are now perceived to be as competent as men, if not mo...

    July 18, 2019
  • Is the Blue Economy sustainable?

    Australian researchers are exploring ways to create sustainable maritime industries, while also k...

    “Blue Economy” has become a popular buzz word over the past decade. Drawing from the notion of a “Green Economy”, it ...

    July 14, 2019
  • Global farming trends ‘a threat to food security’

    Study finds too great a dependence on pollinators.

    Industrial agriculture’s growing dependence on single, pollinator-dependent crops is jeopardising global food securit...

    July 11, 2019
  • Pointing originates from touch

    Study sheds new light on how babies start to communicate.

    Researchers have discovered that the uniquely human act of pointing, which appears in the first nine to 14 months of ...

    July 10, 2019
  • Arctic ice reveals 1500 years of progress

    Lead concentrations tell a story of human environment.

    Lead concentrations trapped in Arctic ice cores parallel periods of growth and technological progress across centurie...

    July 8, 2019
  • Male elephants stick together around humans

    Behavioural adaption is creating a new social order.

    The evolving tendency of endangered Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) to gather in all-male groups may be a behaviour...

    July 4, 2019
  • Social isolation makes spiders aggressive

    Research shows they’re a lot happier staying in groups.

    When spiders leave their family networks as they mature, it’s not because of their antisocial tendencies as previousl...

    July 2, 2019
  • Social conditions may influence sperm quality

    In mice at least, a bit of blokey competition can help.

    Males who grow up in an environment where they must compete for mates are more likely to breed boys than girls, accor...

    June 27, 2019
  • Body weight link with Lou Gehrig’s disease

    Motor neurons are remarkably vulnerable to energy depletion.

    Carrying excess weight is linked to a plethora of chronic health conditions, but amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS),...

    June 26, 2019
  • Captive-bred migratory butterflies don’t migrate

    Conservation plan for Monarchs appears to be backfiring.

    Monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) reared commercially in North America fail to head south on the annual migratio...

    June 24, 2019
  • For food production, diversity brings strength

    Research suggests when it comes to growing crops, more is more.

    Higher crop diversity could have a substantial impact on stabilising national food harvests and mitigating sharp decl...

    June 19, 2019
  • Elephant poaching spikes in Botswana, endangering the species

    Researchers warn illegal killing of animals could prompt population crash. Natalie Parletta reports.

    A new study has found that poaching of African elephants (Loxodonta africana) for ivory has escalated in northern Bot...

    June 13, 2019
  • Warnings over ultra-processed food

    Cakes and sugary drinks boost heart disease risk study finds.

    Ultra-processed foods have been associated with higher incidence of heart disease and mortality in two large European...

    May 29, 2019
  • A French delicacy being eaten to death

    Eating ortolans is pushing the species to extinction.

    Illegal and unregulated hunting of a tiny migratory songbird, the ortolan bunting (Emberiza hortulana), a coveted Fre...

    May 22, 2019
  • Penguin poo is the gift that keeps on giving

    Study finds wind-blown faecal matter boosts inland ecosystems.

    Nitrogen-rich droppings from penguins and seals along the Antarctic Peninsula fuel biodiversity hotspots that stretch...

    May 9, 2019
  • Contraceptives and knee injury link found

    Fewer contraceptive-takers require post-injury surgery.

    Oral contraceptives appear to reduce the severity of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries in female athletes, a ...

    May 5, 2019
  • Restaurant staff don’t understand allergy risk

    Floor and kitchen staff poorly trained for allergy risks.

    Restaurant staff know surprisingly little about food allergies, and attitudes to customer health risks are often poor...

    April 24, 2019
  • Kids make judgements based on faces

    Character assessment according to appearance begins early in life.

    Children as young as five make stereotypical inferences about people’s behaviour and modify their own behaviour towar...

    April 22, 2019
  • Bilbies are more than Easter icons

    Bilby burrows are not just homes for our favourite Easter icon.

    If you’re walking quietly through Australian bush this Easter you might get lucky – no chocolate eggs are likely to b...

    April 18, 2019
  • Little-known bush foods set to change the world

    A quiet slow-food revolution is underway.

    A food revolution is building in West Africa. Hundreds of women in land-locked Mali are harvesting the diverse potent...

    April 16, 2019
  • Vitamin D doesn’t better cancer outcomes

    Role of vitamin in treatments have been heavily debated.

    High doses of vitamin D do not improve survival rates for patients with gastrointestinal cancer, according to a new c...

    April 14, 2019
  • Gene-edited plants aid food security

    Support for modified food unlikely to gain approval.

    With renewed attention to implementation and regulation, new plant breeding technologies such as gene editing could m...

    March 28, 2019
  • Speech evolved as diet changed

    Research confirms a long-derided linguistic theory.

    A surprising new study has revealed that diverse sounds produced by human speech not only evolved after Neolithic tim...

    March 17, 2019
  • How to grow a better blueberry

    Using grasses instead of fertiliser solves a nutrient problem.

    Growing grasses amongst blueberry (Vaccinium spp) bushes boosts the berries’ antioxidant content by correcting iron d...

    March 13, 2019
  • The man who swims with sharks

    He’s researching some of the most terrifying creatures in the ocean.

    Early February 2019, Charlie Huveneers, marine ecologist from Australia’s Flinders University, was preparing to embar...

    March 3, 2019
  • Garlic, onion, linked to decreased cancer risk

    It adds to evidence alliums can deliver positive health outcomes.

    Eating lots of onions, garlic and leeks has been linked to reduced risk of bowel cancer in a Chinese study of more th...

    February 25, 2019
  • Revealed: the carrot of youth

    A natural source of an anti-ageing compound.

    A Japanese relative of the carrot might hold the key to longevity, scientists have discovered.  The flowering ashita...

    February 21, 2019
  • Why grapes spark when you microwave them

    When you make a grape flash, does it give a little whine?

    For more than two decades, millions of science-curious viewers have been captivated by online videos showing grapes s...

    February 19, 2019
  • Plant respiration over-estimated by 25%

    Data has implications for ecosystem management.

    Eddy Covariance sounds like a rockabilly singer. But it turns out this is the name given to measuring patterns of eco...

    February 11, 2019
  • Did an early taste for fat fuel brain development?

    A novel source of nutrients needed to drive human evolution.

    Four million years ago, our hominin ancestors’ appetite for fat could be what delivered the energy needed to develop ...

    February 10, 2019
  • Revealed: what caused Indonesia’s devastating tsunami

    Uncommon seismic events combined to produce a rare and devastating result. Natalie Parletta reports.

    The catastrophic tsunami that killed more than 2000 people in Palu, Indonesia, in September 2018 occurred as a culmin...

    February 4, 2019
  • Planes can intensify rain and snow

    Finnish research confirms a meteorological quirk. Natalie Parletta reports.

    Airborne planes can increase precipitation from clouds by around 10-fold, and under certain conditions can increase r...

    February 3, 2019
  • Newborns can isolate words from speech

    Research suggests it may be an innate ability.

    Babies are born with the ability to pick out distinct words from continuous speech, according to a study published in...

    January 30, 2019
  • Excess insulin is toxic to placental cells

    Unexpected finding also offers opportunity to intervene.

    While investigating possible causes of unexplained pregnancy loss, US researchers have discovered that insulin is tox...

    January 29, 2019
  • Poor sleep magnifies the brain’s response to pain

    Just one night is all it takes.

    Exploring the well-known link between sleep and pain, a new study has found for the first time that sleep impacts on ...

    January 28, 2019
  • Exercise does help prevent depression

    And not exercising can make things worse.

    An international study of the genetics of 300,000 people has confirmed that physical activity can help prevent depres...

    January 24, 2019
  • Spying around corners just got easier

    It’s simply a matter of making a wall act like a mirror. Natalie Parletta reports.

    Objects that are out of sight could now be captured with an ordinary digital camera, according to new research publis...

    January 23, 2019
  • UV light may help birds navigate forests

    Amplifying contrast makes leaves stand out more clearly.

    It’s not only beauty that varies with the eye of the beholder. Unlike humans, birds can detect ultraviolet (UV) light...

    January 22, 2019
  • Is anything private in the digital age?

    Even your contact list and your musical choices reveal personal information. Natalie Parletta rep...

    Most of us think we have control over our online privacy with the security settings of social platforms – and some le...

    January 21, 2019
  • Feeding the planet: a call for radical action

    New report links our eating choices to the future of the environment.

    A report released in The Lancet heralds the launch of a concerted effort to generate urgently needed solutions for fe...

    January 17, 2019
  • Most potatoes suffer depression

    Modern propagation techniques are reducing crop fitness.

    A large proportion of the world's potato crops are suffering from severe depression, according to researchers. That’...

    January 14, 2019
  • Rice is a major source of arsenic exposure

    Findings add to growing concerns about health risks.

    Researchers have verified that rice – grown and cooked in water – is a key food source of inorganic arsenic Long-ter...

    December 5, 2018
  • Barbecued meat: how to reduce cancer risk

    Population analysis suggests much more research needed.

    Barbecue-cooked meat represents a significant cancer risk, according to Danish researchers.   Their findings, publis...

    December 4, 2018
  • The physics of fried rice

    Making the most popular dish in the world is complicated.

    Highly skilled: wok-frying rice is much more complicated than it appears. Credit: Ko, et al Mechanical engineers h...

    November 19, 2018
  • Major study finds smaller role for genes in ageing

    Social factors more influential than genetics, analysis finds.

    A surprising new study combined family trees from over 400 million people and discovered that genes play a considerab...

    November 6, 2018
  • Researchers listen to their guts

    Invention promises new clues for the diagnosis of IBS.

    Inspired by acoustic sensing technology devised to pick up the munching sounds of termites, Australian scientists hav...

    September 23, 2018
  • Disappearing turtles could spell disaster

    Turtles are being driven to extinction, with consequences.

    These slow, gentle creatures have inhabited the Earth and its oceans for more than two million years. They’ve outlive...

    September 17, 2018
  • Because it’s Friday: a pigeon in a mask

    Technology reveals how homing pigeons navigate. Natalie Parletta reports.

    If you’d looked to the skies in Oxford, UK, during the summer of 2016 you could have been forgiven for thinking you h...

    September 6, 2018
  • The Serengeti is the product of farming

    Prehistoric herders tended animals on the African plains.

    Thousands of years of livestock dung have stimulated fertile and ecologically diverse wildlife hotspots in Africa, ac...

    August 29, 2018
  • Solving the mystery of lost foals

    Outbreaks of spontaneous abortions in horses are devastating.

    Hairy caterpillars, bird-borne bacteria, and flying foxes share something in common – they all pose serious threats t...

    August 28, 2018
  • When it comes to collective effort, laziness pays off

    Physics of ant colonies yields clues for robot swarms and road traffic control.

    Humans have much to learn from ants, it seems. Researchers have now discovered from their behaviour how a busy work f...

    August 16, 2018
  • Weeds in poor city areas have nutritional value

    Researchers find a surprising wealth of free stuff.

    Despite the odds, nature does her best to nurture us. Researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, have r...

    August 12, 2018
  • Dateless and dreaming

    People on online romance sites try to punch above their weight.

    People searching for love using a popular online dating website tend to target potential mates who are more desirable...

    August 8, 2018
  • The Earth is breathing heavily – and that’s a problem

    Meta-analysis throws doubt on the ability of soil to act as a carbon sink. Natalie Parletta reports.

    The ripple effects of rising global temperatures on Earth’s ecosystems extend to accelerated release of carbon from t...

    August 2, 2018
  • Can crab shells and trees replace plastics?

    A biodegradable alternative to plastic food packaging.

    An eco-friendly material made from crab shells and trees could replace plastic food packaging, according to US resear...

    July 25, 2018
  • Possible link between cured meat and mania

    Foods such as salami linked to people hospitalised with bipolar.

    Researchers looking for a connection between foodborne viruses and psychiatric disorders instead found a surprising l...

    July 19, 2018

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