Nick Carne

Nick Carne

Nick Carne is the editor of Cosmos Online and editorial manager for The Royal Institution of Australia.

  • This time last year: Science helps ensure The Scream continues

    Paint choice found to be a preservation problem.

    Originally published 18th May 2020. Some heavy-duty science has been employed to try to better understand and pres...

    May 17, 2021
  • The not so simple life of barchans

    Research uncovers their dynamics and interactions.

    Sand dunes aren’t just simple piles of sand, as we’ve noted before in Cosmos. Earlier this year we reported on res...

    December 18, 2020
  • Secret of Australia’s volcanoes revealed

    They bubbled rather than exploded, research shows.

    Australia used to be quite a hotbed of volcanic activity. The east coast is littered with the remnants of hundreds of...

    December 17, 2020
  • NatureWrap: New to the tree of life

    Plus two clever birds and tips on hibernating.

    Pictured above is Hippocampus nalu, Africa's first and only-known pygmy seahorse and one of 213 newly described plant...

    December 12, 2020
  • Tasmanian devils may survive cancer threat

    New research suggests it is becoming endemic.

    There’s more possible good news for Australia’s troubled Tasmanian Devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) – and the implication...

    December 11, 2020
  • Two interesting new uses for poop

    Honeybees and pandas can be clever with compounds.

    Scientists have discovered two, er, interesting things animals do with poop – in both cases, not their own. Honeyb...

    December 10, 2020
  • Hayabusa2 capsule and cargo are back

    Outback light show, then scientists leap into action.

    A little bit of outer space is temporarily in South Australia. A team from the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency ...

    December 6, 2020
  • NatureWrap: These guys mess with killer whales

    Plus insect wings, sorghum tales and very old fish.

    Long-finned pilot whales (Globicephala melas) off southern Australia mimic the calls of killer whales – their natural...

    December 5, 2020
  • Diving with Clio is quite an adventure

    New AUV works hard and travels far and wide.

    Engineers in the US have built an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) that appears to up the ante in terms of underwa...

    December 2, 2020
  • NatureWrap: Dolphins are clever breathers

    Plus helpful rats, jaguar threats and acoustic wings.

    Dolphins actively slow their hearts before diving and can even adjust their heart rate to suit how long they plan to ...

    November 28, 2020
  • Why gyms need to not smell like gyms

    It could provide motivation in more ways than one.

    Scientists have put forward a couple of new reasons why gyms need to smell a bit different.  The first is a study ...

    November 27, 2020
  • COVID news and trends @ 27 November

    A digest of science and reporting highlights.

    The numbers Global As at 19:03 CET on Wednesday 25 November, cases confirmed worldwide by national authorities ...

    November 27, 2020
  • A successful AI cameo in the lab

    Algorithm finds new material with minimum of fuss.

    Scientists have identified a new compound with potential uses in photonic devices and biologically inspired computers...

    November 25, 2020
  • When bacteria behave like liquid crystals

    Two studies watch closely as they move and build.

    Two studies just released cast new light on the cunning ways of bacteria. Both involve collaboration – and prompt com...

    November 24, 2020
  • Popcorn’s not the real problem here

    Study reveals how badly they eat in the movies.

    What you eat at the movies may be less of an issue than what you watch others eat. A new study reveals that nearly...

    November 24, 2020
  • NatureWrap: Blue whales return to South Georgia

    Plus plants that hide, toxic fur and tough love.

    Critically endangered Antarctic blue whales are returning to the sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia five decades a...

    November 21, 2020
  • Making saliva is quite a complex business

    Study tracks down where all the proteins come from.

    There’s more to saliva than meets the eye – and mouth. Researchers in the US and Norway have taken a close look at wh...

    November 18, 2020
  • Space isn’t the place to run out of fuel

    A clever new gauge may help keep track of things.

    Keeping an eye on your fuel levels in space can be tricky – and that can be costly. Let a satellite's tank run dry...

    November 14, 2020
  • COVID news and trends @ 13 November

    A digest of science and reporting highlights.

    The numbers Election week and its globally reported aftermath in the US was accompanied by a series of record days...

    November 13, 2020
  • Future hurricanes may cause havoc inland

    Study shows they are weakening more slowly.

    North Atlantic hurricanes are weakening more slowly than they used to when they hit land, according to a new study in...

    November 12, 2020
  • NatureWrap: Gentoos may be four not one

    Some ants eat acid and some primates mature differently.

    Gentoo penguins (Pygoscelis papua) should be reclassified as four species, according to British scientists who analys...

    November 7, 2020
  • Men hunt and women gather. But not always

    Female hunters likely common in early Americas.

    Scientists may have to rethink the prevailing view that prehistoric hunting was exclusively the domain of men. The...

    November 6, 2020
  • Ecological data reveal a changing Arctic

    Scientists track animal behaviour over three decades.

    Three decades of data on animal migration and movements in the Arctic confirms that they are shifting their behaviour...

    November 6, 2020
  • GoT juggernaut wasn’t all fantasy

    Success revealed by data science and network theory.

    Game of Thrones is considered the most successful fantasy series of all time, and that’s in part because the characte...

    November 3, 2020
  • NatureWrap: Remora on a whale of a ride

    Tales of transport, food and friendship.

    Remora are famous for hitching a ride on the bodies of sharks and whales, using the suction in their front dorsal fin...

    October 31, 2020
  • If it looks dangerous, send in the drones

    New technology improves ability to forecast eruptions

    Flying drones into volcanoes is becoming quite a thing. Earlier this year, Cosmos reported how German and Russian ...

    October 31, 2020
  • COVID news and trends @ 30 October

    A digest of science, research and reporting highlights.

    The numbers At a media briefing on 26 October, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters: “La...

    October 30, 2020
  • What drones can tell us about penguins

    Algorithm works out the logistics and saves a lot of time.

    How do you keep a close and regular eye on 300,000 nesting pairs of Adélie penguins spread over two square kilometres...

    October 29, 2020
  • New school of thought on how fish swim

    Robots reveal the value of vortex phase matching.

    Do fish save energy by swimming in schools? New technology suggests the answer to this old question is yes. German...

    October 27, 2020
  • Have wings will glide – at best

    Two small dinosaurs struggled in the air, analysis suggests.

    Just having wings doesn’t mean you can fly. Yi qi and Ambopteryx longibrachium, it seems, were barely able to glide. ...

    October 24, 2020
  • COVID news and trends @ 23 October

    A digest of science, research and reporting highlights.

    The numbers World COVID-19 hotspots are anchored in the Americas and western Europe, with more than 1000 cases per...

    October 23, 2020
  • Wind? That’s barely a breeze

    Lily shows how to handle gusty conditions.

    Birds can fly easily in winds that would challenge engineered air vehicles of a similar size, and now Lily the Britis...

    October 22, 2020
  • The gene that tells us it’s time to pee

    Research finds PIEZO2 has an important ‘sixth sense’.

    US researchers say they have discovered that a gene with a “sixth sense” may be responsible for the powerful urge to ...

    October 21, 2020
  • Exploring the strength of ants and silk

    Two hi-tech studies get right inside their subjects.

    Scientists have discovered two new examples of how strength is a virtue in the world of insects and arachnids. One...

    October 21, 2020
  • Honey goes with the flow

    Clever coatings reverse the rules of viscosity.

    Water flows more quickly than honey – except, perhaps, when it doesn’t. Physicists in Finland were surprised to fi...

    October 17, 2020
  • A new attempt to get water from the air

    Solar system works even in dry regions, researchers say.

    US and Korean researchers say they are a step closer to developing a practical way to extract drinkable water directl...

    October 15, 2020
  • More fuel in the fight against mosquitoes

    New studies improve insights and insecticide.

    The quest to conquer mosquitoes continues apace and from various angles. In two new studies, scientists report tha...

    October 14, 2020
  • Scientists argue origins of a famous feather

    New study suggests the old theory is right after all.

    It’s not yet a war of words, but an interesting debate is brewing over the origins of the first fossil feather ever f...

    October 1, 2020
  • Is this a face you can rely on?

    Portrait analysis suggests rise in trustworthiness.

    Europeans have become more trustworthy over the past 500 years, and this is probably linked to an increase in living ...

    September 24, 2020
  • Arctic ‘transitioning’ to a new climate

    Extremes are becoming routine, study suggests.

    The Arctic has started to transition from predominantly frozen to an entirely different climate, according to a new r...

    September 15, 2020
  • A new old ape and fish that could walk

    The things you can discover with CT scanning.

    Scientists say they have found an important ancient ape and more fish they suspect could probably walk. Two differ...

    September 10, 2020
  • Natural pest control is saving billions

    Researchers assess the impact in Asia and the Pacific.

    Biological control, where natural enemies keep insect pests at bay, is saving farmers in Asia and the Pacific billion...

    September 4, 2020
  • NatureWatch: Animals putting on a show

    Startle displays, protective parents and good leaders.

    Startling discovery about the praying mantis The praying mantis is not unique in using the “startle display” as a ...

    September 4, 2020
  • It took time to really know this dinosaur

    Scelidosaurus’s anatomy described, 160 years on.

    The first complete dinosaur skeleton ever found has been studied in detail more than 160 years after it was first dis...

    August 29, 2020
  • NatureWatch: New ideas on strength, speed, size

    Spiders, fish, sharks and Australia’s iconic ‘tiger’.

    Not all in nature is at it seems or, at least, as we might have thought. Four new studies have interesting findings o...

    August 20, 2020
  • Uncovering the ocean’s ‘invisible’ plastic

    Researchers make a depressing tour of the Atlantic.

    There is at least 10 times more plastic in the Atlantic Ocean than previously thought, researchers say, and that’s on...

    August 19, 2020
  • Big carbon gains from restoring forests

    Sabah study shows degraded doesn’t mean lost.

    We’re learning more and more about what’s happening in the world’s tropical forests, and the news usually isn’t good....

    August 15, 2020
  • DNA if you want to make scientific sense

    Researchers say the acronym craze is just OTT.

    DNA – the short form of deoxyribonucleic acid – was the most widely used acronym in scientific literature in the past...

    August 15, 2020
  • A three-in-one flame with potential

    Researchers learn more about the intriguing blue whirl.

    Four years ago, a team of aerospace and fire protection engineers from the University of Maryland, US, described a un...

    August 14, 2020
  • Assessing the impact of physical distancing

    Two different approaches suggest that it works.

    Physical distancing and related safety precautions around COVID-19 make both health and business sense, according to ...

    August 13, 2020
  • Hair v razor. Why hair wins

    It’s soft but persistent, so just keeps chipping away.

    Any non-bearded male will tell you that (a) shaving is monotonous and (b) razors don’t last. No matter how much they ...

    August 7, 2020
  • Genomic secrets of a rare reptile

    Researchers find tuatara’s place on the tree of life.

    Scientists have sequenced the genome of the tuatara – a rare reptile found only in New Zealand whose ancestors roamed...

    August 6, 2020
  • Diverse alpine flora has some serious history

    DNA tests and fossils suggest it’s the oldest on Earth.

    You could be looking at some of the oldest temperate alpine flora anywhere on the planet. A new study suggests the...

    July 31, 2020
  • We’re happy with our gang

    Gorilla relationships are limited in large groups.

    Mountain gorillas – like humans – sometimes find crowds exhausting, it seems. A new study shows that when living i...

    July 30, 2020
  • Two stories of two deadly diseases

    The ‘miracle’ of Warsaw and the plague of smallpox.

    New studies shine new light on two infamous epidemics – one with possible lessons for our current global crisis. A...

    July 24, 2020
  • During lockdown we were light on the Earth

    Scientists record the seismic noise of social distancing.

    The lack of activity during the COVID-19 lockdown between March and May caused human-linked vibrations in the Earth t...

    July 24, 2020
  • Voracious starfish can wait for a proper meal

    Eating habits of baby predator revealed.

    Australian research interest in the crown-of-thorns starfish can be explained by that old adage “know thy enemy”. ...

    July 22, 2020
  • Can water be two types of liquid?

    Researchers offer evidence to support decades-old theory.

    Cold water behaves strangely. For starters, it expands rather than contracting as it cools (which is why ice floats),...

    July 20, 2020
  • How much of Antarctica is really wilderness?

    New study maps extend and pattern of human activity.

    While as much as 99.6% of Antarctica is technically wilderness, pristine areas free from human interference cover les...

    July 17, 2020
  • A camera system with bugs – but that’s OK

    Energy efficiency makes wireless vision possible.

    Yes, that is a beetle wearing a camera backpack. Not because it needs to: just because it can. Or, more accurately...

    July 16, 2020
  • The COVID-19 impact in hard numbers

    Analysis quantifies economic pain and environmental gain.

    A new study has attempted to quantify the socio-economic and environmental impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. It sug...

    July 10, 2020
  • Robot loose in the chem lab

    Modern researcher makes its own decisions and discoveries.

    This will either inspire or terrify you, depending on your view of such things. British researchers have built an ...

    July 9, 2020
  • Climate trouble in the tropics

    It may become too hot for plants to germinate.

    Tropical plants close to the equator are most at risk from climate change because it will likely become too hot for m...

    July 3, 2020
  • Saharan dust active at home and abroad

    Study reveals pollution’s impact on child health.

    Dust storms heading west across the Atlantic from the Sahara are nothing new, but the latest has been particularly la...

    June 30, 2020
  • Plastic in plants and mercury down deep

    More bad news about our impact on the environment.

    Studies highlighting our trashing of the environment are depressingly common, and four new papers only serve to highl...

    June 25, 2020
  • Brain stimulation needs to be precise

    Researchers identify areas linked to impulsive behaviour.

    Australian researchers have identified areas of the brain they believe are linked to negative side effects from deep ...

    June 24, 2020
  • Did Roman Republic’s fall begin in Alaska?

    International study links big cold to a distant volcano.

    The fall of the Roman Republic may have been caused in part by a massive volcanic eruption across the globe in Alaska...

    June 24, 2020
  • Super-strong surgical tape does come off

    Researchers tweak their impressive adhesive.

    Last year, as we reported in Cosmos, US engineers unveiled a double-sided adhesive that could quickly and firmly stic...

    June 24, 2020
  • Bubbles for plants and drones for mosquitoes

    Two novel ways of delivering the goods.

    The answer to most things these days is an app or a drone, so it’s rare when one of these falls short of the mark, le...

    June 19, 2020
  • Aerobic antelopes and synchronised fish

    More insights into how things are wired.

    These stories have nothing in common other than that they are fascinating examples of the way animals have evolved to...

    June 19, 2020
  • Soft-shelled eggs from dinosaurs and Antarctica

    They’re big, and they may change our thinking.

    It’s a big day for big egg stories – as in both the eggs and the stories are big. In separate papers in the journa...

    June 18, 2020
  • A mystery of great art and dead bodies

    French cave provides clues to early social practices.

    Grotte de Cussac in Dordogne is an archaeological site that keeps on giving. Known for cave art so impressive that...

    June 17, 2020
  • Analysing Earth above and below ground

    Studies explore mountains and movement near mantle.

    Scientists continue to explore how our planet formed and how it works, with often surprising results. In recent se...

    June 15, 2020
  • Do we think enough about sand?

    Two studies dig into its abundance and potential.

    Sand is far from ignored in our discussion of climate change and its impact, but it perhaps needs to be a little more...

    June 12, 2020
  • Mangroves threatened by sea level rise

    Studying history provides a future warning.

    Mangrove ecosystems may cease to function if greenhouse gas emissions aren't reduced, according to a new study publis...

    June 5, 2020
  • Maya monuments and maize in the Americas

    Archaeologists make two important discoveries.

    Modern technology has helped archaeologists add two more pieces to the puzzle of the history of the Americas. 3D i...

    June 4, 2020
  • Shoes that stick and clothes that reveal

    That may sound bad, but it actually isn’t.

    What we wear isn’t just about comfort and style when scientists get involved. Function rules fashion. Two recent i...

    June 2, 2020
  • Asteroid created huge hydrothermal system

    Researchers examine cores from more than a kilometre down.

    Mexico’s 66-million-year-old Chicxulub crater continues to reveal its secrets. Just three days ago researchers sug...

    May 30, 2020
  • Cosmic bursts find all that missing matter

    Mysterious explosions help solve a longstanding mystery.

    Astronomers have used fast radio bursts to finally detect all of the missing “normal” matter in the vast space betwee...

    May 28, 2020
  • Chemistry, concrete and ceramic cement

    Two new ideas about materials old and new.

    Whatever you’re building, strength tends to be a prerequisite, so anything that makes things stronger and more reliab...

    May 28, 2020
  • The asteroid in a new angle

    Chicxulub simulations reveal trajectory of impact.

    The asteroid that most believe wiped out the dinosaurs struck at the deadliest possible angle, according to new analy...

    May 27, 2020
  • A ‘cosmic ring of fire’ of 11 billion years ago

    Astronomers say rare galaxy will shake up a few theories.

    Astronomers have observed a rare galaxy type as it existed 11 billion years ago, and this, they say, is likely to sha...

    May 26, 2020
  • Early disc galaxy puts theories in a spin

    It’s huge and distant, so how did it form?

    Astronomers have found a massive rotating disc galaxy that formed just 1.5 billion years after the Big Bang, when the...

    May 20, 2020
  • An Aussie elaphrosaur younger than the rest

    Tiny fossil proves a significant find.

    Australian palaeontologists have chanced upon an unusual toothless dinosaur that roamed the continent around 110 mill...

    May 20, 2020
  • Destructive starfish is delicious to some

    Research reveals potential for fish to save the reef.

    Crown-of-thorns starfish, the scourge of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, may have more natural predators than we thou...

    May 19, 2020
  • Marine life struggling to breathe free

    Study highlights another impact of global warming.

    Studies off the west coast of North America add to a growing body of evidence that the ability to breathe will shift ...

    May 18, 2020
  • Malaria parasite has an inbuilt clock

    Understanding its rhythm could help defeat it.

    The parasite that causes malaria has its own internal clock, according to two new US studies published in the journal...

    May 15, 2020
  • Constant ‘quakes below Mauna Kea

    But don’t worry, researchers say, it’s just cooling magma

    For a long-dormant volcano, Hawaii’s Mauna Kea is pretty active. According to a new study, more than a million dee...

    May 15, 2020
  • Cassowaries shine in an interesting way

    Study suggests its due to feather shape.

    The cassowary achieves its luxuriously glossy plumage through modifications to feather shape similar to the hair stru...

    May 14, 2020
  • Mosquitoes are really on the radar

    New approach may help curb malaria.

    The quest to curb the spread of malaria rightly knows no bounds, and now we’re even turning to radar technology – wit...

    May 14, 2020
  • To climb, maybe robots need toes

    Researchers watch a gecko in action.

    At right is a close-up of the toepads of a Tokay gecko (Gekko gecko), and it has links to a few branches of science. ...

    May 13, 2020
  • Climate change in northern climes

    Studies assess peatlands and monitor methane.

    Two new studies could help scientists better monitor – and hopefully manage – climate change in the Earth’s northerly...

    May 12, 2020
  • Ancestry link to cancer molecular makeup

    But effects not shared across cancer types, study suggests.

    Is there a connection between ancestry and the molecular makeup of cancers? That’s a question that has hovered ove...

    May 12, 2020
  • The heat we fear may already be here

    Study tracks pattern of wet-bulb extremes.

    Heat and humidity beyond what the human body can tolerate is emerging ahead of projections, a new study suggests.  ...

    May 11, 2020
  • Taking a look at RNA’s structure

    Breakthrough may reveal more virus lifecycles.

    This image, created by Australia’s Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI), shows how the key genetic molecule RNA, in...

    May 8, 2020
  • Feathers, digits and the Sonic hedgehog

    Biologists suggest they are all linked.

    Bird feathers and human digits share a remarkably similar developmental history, according to a new study. Grafts ...

    May 7, 2020
  • How plants help make their kids stronger

    Research suggests we can intervene without GM.

    Inactivating a single gene can induce a form of "stress memory" in plants that is then inherited by some progeny, mak...

    May 6, 2020
  • Snow loss fuelling harmful algal blooms

    Unwanted green can be seen from space.

    Continued loss of snow over the Himalayan-Tibetan Plateau region is fuelling the rapid expansion of destructive algal...

    May 6, 2020
  • Yet more potential in viruses from poo

    Danish researchers find links to two diseases.

    Faecal transplants have been a thing for a while.  It’s eight years since Cosmos first reported on their possible ...

    May 6, 2020
  • Fossil captures plant in transition

    A new old species from an important time

    Scientists have discovered an ancient plant species they say provides another piece in the evolutionary jigsaw. Da...

    May 5, 2020
  • Getting a drink in the Atacama Desert

    Cyanobacteria extract water from rocks.

    It’s not quite life on Mars, but it may be a pointer. Gypsum rocks in Chile’s Atacama Desert. Credit: Jocelyne Dir...

    May 5, 2020
  • How much can a koala bear to drink?

    Possibly a lot more than we thought.

    This is a video of a koala licking rainwater from a tree. Not the most exciting viewing, perhaps, even for hardcore k...

    May 5, 2020
  • Cells like to move in crowds, it seems

    Mathematical models contradict assumptions.

    Cells don’t move and interact with each other in the way scientists have always believed, according to Australian res...

    May 4, 2020
  • Hangover? Consider a prickly pear daiquiri

    Exploring the science of natural remedies.

    Over the years, various natural remedies have been recommended as hangover cures, usually with little if any science ...

    May 4, 2020
  • Satellites map melting ice sheets

    A new view of Greenland and Antarctica.

    Ice sheet losses from Greenland and Antarctica have outpaced snow accumulation and contributed around 14 millimetres ...

    May 1, 2020
  • Sun is ‘less active’ than similar stars

    Solar census compares 369 candidates.

    The Sun is less magnetically active and shows less variability in its brightness than similar stars in the galaxy, sc...

    May 1, 2020
  • Earth ‘wobbled’ before two major earthquakes

    It’s not clear, though, whether this will happen again.

    The earth “wobbled” before two of the largest earthquakes in recent history, according to a new study, but it’s not c...

    April 30, 2020
  • New research to make better batteries

    We want them doing more, for longer.

    The quest for a better battery is engaging a lot of scientific minds, but it’s not often three advances are reported ...

    April 30, 2020
  • Hurricane coming? Get bigger toepads

    Study suggests lizards evolve to hang on.

    Lizard groups that frequently experience hurricanes evolve larger toepads than those that don’t, according to a new s...

    April 29, 2020
  • Learning from the spread of measles

    Models reveal the very complex dynamics.

    Researchers in the US and the UK have modelled the dynamics of measles to try to better understand how epidemics spre...

    April 29, 2020
  • Plants grow brightly with mushrooms

    Scientists say DNA creates sustainable light.

    It’s feasible to create plants that produce sustainable luminescence that we can see, scientists suggest. Cred...

    April 28, 2020
  • Bacteria with robust memories

    Researchers draw parallels to sophisticated neurons.

    Bacteria may not be the simple organisms we take them for. US biologists have found that bacterial cells stimulated w...

    April 28, 2020
  • Just how runny can a liquid get?

    It seems there’s an equation for that.

    You’ve probably never wondered how runny a liquid can get, which is no bad thing because it’s not an easy question to...

    April 27, 2020
  • How birds evolved big brains

    They once compared well with dinosaurs.

    Birds and non-avian dinosaurs had similar relative brain sizes prior to the mass extinction at the end of the Cretace...

    April 24, 2020
  • We keep finding marine plastic

    Researchers detect it from the air and in the ice.

    There’s mixed news in our fight against plastics that cause chaos in marine environments. We’re finding new ways to f...

    April 24, 2020
  • Kīlauea got wet, then went off

    Scientists suggest rainfall activated a volcanic eruption.

    The dramatic eruption of Hawaii’s Kīlauea Volcano in 2018 was likely activated by extreme rainfall, according to new ...

    April 22, 2020
  • A craton’s clues to Earth’s moving plates

    Studies in Australia push the date back to 3.2 billion years.

    New research suggests plate tectonics may have been well under way on Earth more than 3.2 billion years ago, adding a...

    April 22, 2020
  • Planet that never was is still interesting

    Astronomers believe it was caused by a cosmic collision.

    A planet thought missing in action probably never existed at all, according to new studies. What the Hubble telesc...

    April 22, 2020
  • When lizards change cologne

    Chemical signals shift when they shift.

    Lizards develop new chemical signals for communicating when moved to a new environment, research suggests.  And th...

    April 22, 2020
  • 2I/Borisov is not your average comet

    Two new views on our interstellar visitor.

    The interstellar comet 2I/Borisov contains an abundant amount of carbon monoxide and is likely to have formed in a co...

    April 21, 2020
  • Robot, fly like a ladybug

    Fast wings inspire some soft and compliant origami.

    If you’re worried about machines following you, you may want to ignore the video above. Scientists in South Korea ...

    April 20, 2020
  • Worms programmed to die early

    It appears to be all for the sake of the colony.

    Here’s one for the evolutionary theorists. British researchers say they have found worms that are genetically predisp...

    April 20, 2020
  • Star dance around a black hole

    ESO telescope, and a lot of hard work, prove Einstein right.

    After nearly three decades of work, scientists have revealed that a star orbiting the supermassive black hole at the ...

    April 17, 2020
  • The potential of ‘hot qubits’

    Addressing a constraint to quantum computing.

    Can we create warmer, cheaper and more robust quantum computing just using conventional silicon chip foundries? Ye...

    April 16, 2020
  • The social lives of flamingos

    It’s a complex world of groups and besties.

    You could probably base a reality TV series on the lives of flamingos, such is the complexity of their social lives. ...

    April 16, 2020
  • Cancer gene could help repair hearts

    Researchers find possible path to cell regeneration.

    The quest to find a curative treatment for heart disease may have taken an unexpected turn. Adult mouse heart afte...

    April 15, 2020
  • Is this ‘Oumuamua’s back story?

    Astronomers suggest it’s all about tides and close encounters.

    Astronomers may have a handle on where the first known interstellar object to visit our solar system came from and ho...

    April 15, 2020
  • It’s the nose that makes sense of scents

    Cells help the brain distinguish between competing odours.

    Perfume makers have long known that certain smells can mask or enhance others. Now US researchers say they have uncov...

    April 13, 2020
  • It’s OK bro, I’ve got your back

    This little bird helps large rhinos stay safe.

    If you want a good example of the value of local indigenous knowledge, read on. In the Swahili language, Africa’s ...

    April 10, 2020
  • A most successful egg hunt

    Researchers explore the complex story of an ancient luxury good.

    This isn’t quite an Easter story, but it does date back centuries and it is about eggs. Scientists say they are cl...

    April 10, 2020
  • More signs of pressure on our environment

    New threats to biodiversity and the role of mature trees.

    This dynamic map shows a high emissions scenario for greenhouse gases. Brighter colours indicate a higher proportion ...

    April 9, 2020
  • The potential of pollen paper

    Researchers create a material that responds to humidity.

    Scientists in Singapore have created a paper-like material derived from pollen that bends and curls in response to ch...

    April 9, 2020
  • Polynesian settlers came earlier than thought

    Drought motivated often dangerous voyages.

    Settlers first arrived in East Polynesia around 200 years earlier than previously thought, according to new research....

    April 8, 2020
  • Bomb tests help reveal whale shark’s age

    Scientists measure radioactive signature in vertebrae rings.

    Scientists say they now know how old whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) can get, thanks in no small part to the radioacti...

    April 7, 2020
  • New ‘law’ could inform glacier-flow models

    Equation designed to measure movement over soft ground.

    Want to know how glaciers flow over soft ground? There may be an equation for that. Glaciologists in the US have d...

    April 6, 2020
  • Now that’s an all-weather structure

    From sun to storm surge, with just a tilt.

    US engineers are taking a novel approach to storm surge readiness, attempting to incorporate both aesthetics and adap...

    April 6, 2020
  • Homo erectus keeps getting older

    Researchers make an important find in fossil-rich South Africa.

    It continues to be a big week for archaeological revelations. Yesterday Cosmos reported on three new papers that p...

    April 3, 2020
  • Bacteria found in solid rock

    A decade of work creates the potential for more to come.

    Japanese researchers say they have found single-celled creatures living in tiny cracks inside volcanic rocks taken fr...

    April 3, 2020
  • Human evolution: More clues to the story of our past

    Three studies take a detailed look at important discoveries.

    It’s been a landmark day for learning about our ancestry and human evolution, with the publication of not one but thr...

    April 2, 2020
  • Bacteria + nanowires = organic building blocks

    Chemists creating a hybrid system for Earth or Mars.

    US chemists have reported a “milestone” in their quest to combine bacteria and nanowires in a hybrid system that uses...

    April 1, 2020
  • Why some frogs have crazy heads

    Similar skulls evolved millions of years apart.

    Most frogs look pretty benign, with round and friendly faces, but don’t be fooled. Below the surface, some sport faux...

    March 27, 2020
  • Social distancing can work in Australia

    It’s a matter of everyone getting involved.

    Social distancing can help curb COVID-19 in Australia in three months, modelling carried out at the University of Syd...

    March 26, 2020
  • New clues to New Guinea’s past

    Artefacts suggest Neolithic era ushered in social change.

    Artefacts uncovered in the highlands of what is now Papua New Guinea (PNG) reveal a shift in human behaviour between ...

    March 26, 2020
  • Keeping an eye on methane

    NASA creates a 3D portrait of its sources and movements.

    NASA is tracking methane to get a better handle on how and where it moves, and how it behaves when it gets there. ...

    March 25, 2020
  • Something new from something old and blue

    Nanosheets created from ancient pigment.

    Earlier this year, US researchers unveiled a new class of “cool blues”. Now a German team has used one of the olde...

    March 24, 2020
  • Entanglement and a quantum internet

    Researchers say they have found the ‘missing link’ for success.

    US physicists say they have found “the missing link” for a practical quantum internet and, as such, taken a big step ...

    March 24, 2020
  • Learning difficulties linked to brain connectivity

    New research suggests it’s about ‘hubs’, not specific brain regions.

    Different learning difficulties do not, as previously thought, correspond to specific regions of the brain, new Briti...

    March 1, 2020
  • Two schizophrenia types discovered

    Brain scans reveal differences in grey matter volume.

    An international research team has discovered there are two distinct neuroanatomical subtypes of schizophrenia. Afte...

    February 27, 2020
  • A tale of two arches

    Scientists learn more about why our feet bend like they do.

    Think of your foot as a slice of pizza. Not all the time: just while we consider how and why it does was it does. ...

    February 26, 2020
  • Lava flows tell story of biodiversity loss

    Researchers uncover human impact on the forests of Réunion.

    There’s quite a story to be told on the slopes of one of the world’s most active volcanoes, if you’re game to look. ...

    February 26, 2020
  • I’ll have what she’s having

    Seagulls specifically want your food, study suggests.

    Seagulls favour food that has been handled by humans, new research shows. When herring gulls in British seaside town...

    February 26, 2020
  • Algorithm keeps robots on task

    To avoid collisions, they focus on their immediate vicinity.

    US researchers say they have developed the first decentralised algorithm that can stop robots colliding when they are...

    February 25, 2020
  • Humans survived volcanic super-eruption

    Stone tools reveal continuous settlement in northern India.

    Humans survived one of the largest known volcanic events – the Mount Toba super-eruption in Sumatra, Indonesia, 74,00...

    February 25, 2020
  • Seaweed from a billion years ago

    Researchers suggest it is related to modern land plants.

    US and Chinese palaeontologists have discovered what they believe are the oldest green seaweeds ever found. The micr...

    February 24, 2020
  • Look under the road to stay on the road

    Ground-penetrating radar used to overcome the elements.

    How do you drive if you can’t see the road? If you’re a driverless car, the answer may be to look under it. US resea...

    February 24, 2020
  • The unique world of the Himalayan wolf

    It’s well adapted to its environment but still at risk.

    The Himalayan wolf has been little understood, despite being a top carnivore in the Asian high-altitudes. Both scien...

    February 23, 2020
  • Don’t fear the craquelure

    Cracks can make wood paintings less vulnerable.

    Cracks in the paint of a great work of art may not be quite the problem they seem. In fact, if it’s a painting on woo...

    February 23, 2020
  • Ancient methane stores may not be a threat

    It’s what we’re creating today we should be worried about.

    Ancient methane in thawing permafrost or beneath Arctic ice may not pose a major climate threat, according to a new s...

    February 20, 2020
  • Hot, dry and not a fish in sight – now at least

    Aquatic remains by the hundred found in Saharan rock shelter.

    If you still have doubts that the Sahara was once a lot wetter, a new study by Belgian and Italian researchers should...

    February 20, 2020
  • Snakes in the lab, but all is well

    Engineers develop a robot that can climb like a kingsnake.

    Ophiophobes might suggest we have enough real snakes in the world without creating artificial ones. A robot snake ...

    February 19, 2020
  • Reducing noise below the sound of silence

    Researchers manipulate quantum light with telling effect.

    Researchers from Australia, Singapore and China have developed a technology that manipulates quantum states of light ...

    February 19, 2020
  • Human disturbance affects Amazon plants

    Study points to changes in dispersal and seed traits.

    Detailed research in the Brazilian Amazon has shown that human disturbance has a significant impact on plants, reduci...

    February 18, 2020
  • Generating electricity ‘out of thin air’

    Researchers unveil a new device powered by a microbe.

    Scientists in the US have developed a device they say uses a natural protein to create electricity from moisture in t...

    February 17, 2020
  • New interest in old helmet design

    Protection from shock waves is increasingly important.

    The helmet may be old, but the vision you are looking at is relatively new. Credit: Joost Op 't Eynde, Duke Univer...

    February 17, 2020
  • Getting to grips with fragile topology

    Research explains the strange electron flow in future materials.

    A class of materials known as topological insulators has excited those searching for the materials of the future for ...

    February 16, 2020
  • Lessons to learn from the Last Interglacial

    It didn’t take much for Antarctic ice to melt and seas to rise.

    Rising ocean temperatures drove the melting of Antarctic ice sheets and caused extreme sea level rise more than 100,0...

    February 12, 2020
  • Containing the contrails

    Small altitude changes could cut the climate impact of aircraft.

    As the airline industry battles to reduce the environmental impact of going about its business, the fluffy white stre...

    February 12, 2020
  • Artificial atoms create stable qubits

    An important step in quest for silicon quantum computer.

    Quantum engineers in Australia have created artificial atoms in silicon chips which, they say, offer improved stabili...

    February 11, 2020
  • Glacier shows evidence of Industrial Revolution

    Study reveals human impact long before people arrived.

    Humans had an impact on the Himalayas long before a person ever set foot on them, research suggests. A new study, pu...

    February 10, 2020
  • The nitty gritty of Moon soil

    Scientists develop a new way to study lunar chemistry.

    US scientists have started making a very detailed analysis of Moon rocks and soil – atom by atom. They say that no...

    February 9, 2020
  • A herringbone look for the growing plant cell

    Research suggests layering is important.

    A herringbone pattern in plant cell walls is critical to cell growth, US researchers believe. It’s formed – as the p...

    February 9, 2020
  • Flashy above the water, but low key below it

    Beaked whales evolve a clever way to avoid predators.

    A Cuvier’s beaked whale breaching is an impressive sight, but it’s what this guy and his mates were doing below the w...

    February 6, 2020
  • Studying wasp nests to put an age on art

    Australian rock paintings are younger than suspected.

    Scientists believe well-known pre-historic rock paintings in Western Australia are younger than previously thought af...

    February 6, 2020
  • Tiny bridges help particles stick together

    For the strength and stability of an aggregate, size matters.

    The structure and stability of soil changes as it gets wet, dry and wet again – something architects and engineers kn...

    February 5, 2020
  • Thanks, but I’ll wait for the shrimp

    Cuttlefish eat less for lunch when dinner looks better.

    When it comes to planning the day’s meals, cuttlefish appear to have remarkably sharp cognitive abilities. British r...

    February 5, 2020
  • The oldest bamboo fossil isn’t

    It’s old, and it’s a fossil, but it was a conifer.

    A fossilised leafy branch from the early Eocene (54 to 48 million years ago) found in Patagonia and described in 1941...

    February 4, 2020
  • Gamers might want to work out

    Study suggests exercise can help them not exercise better.

    Video game aficionados might need to get more exercise – and not for the obvious reasons. Canadian research suggests...

    February 3, 2020
  • Here’s what’s below unstable glaciers

    Robot gathers information at the grounding line.

    Scientists have taken a close-up look at the foundations of one of the most unstable glaciers in Antarctica. Using...

    February 2, 2020
  • Rachmaninoff rocked, says computer model

    Novelty/influence comparison says he was the most innovative.

    Rachmaninoff was the most innovative composer from the Baroque, Classical and Romantic eras of music (1700 to 1900) i...

    January 30, 2020
  • Fancy a world where jellyfish get speedy?

    New prosthetic could turn them into assets, researchers say.

    US engineers have developed a tiny prosthetic they say motivates jellyfish to swim with greater speed and efficiency ...

    January 29, 2020
  • How and why butterflies keep their wings cool

    They’re delicate, often beautiful, and also complex.

    Butterflies regulate their wing temperatures through structural and behavioural adaptations, new research shows. And ...

    January 28, 2020
  • Genetic diversity loss not just our fault

    Differences in African lions likely caused by ecological factors.

    We should be wary of assuming that genetic diversity loss in wildlife is always caused by humans, suggests a new stud...

    January 28, 2020
  • A mega library of nanoparticles

    Creating it took no more than the basic principles of chemistry.

    US researchers say they have developed a way to produce 65,000+ types of complex nanoparticles, each containing up to...

    January 27, 2020
  • Can your phone sweat to keep cool?

    A new strategy for transient thermal management.

    Chinese engineers are investigating whether our phones can regulate their temperature by sweating – sort of. Writing...

    January 23, 2020
  • Bees need to think about what they drink

    Sometimes it’s better to tone down the sweetness.

    Bees drink to vomit. They take nectar from flowers then regurgitate it in their nests for use by others. It’s a simp...

    January 23, 2020
  • Triangles that can more than hold their own

    Kirigami inspires a batch of strong structures with potential.

    Kirigami will become more famous than origami if scientists keep up the current pace. Late last year Cosmos describe...

    January 22, 2020
  • A better espresso, the scientific way

    A multidisciplinary team says its coffee quality adds up.

    You know coffee is serious business when mathematicians, physicists and materials scientists start working together o...

    January 22, 2020
  • Planting trees can have its downside

    Research reveals impact on river flow as forests age.

    Reforestation is an important part of tackling climate change, but it seems we need to think carefully about where we...

    January 21, 2020
  • Medical devices you ingest and forget

    All you need is a special gel and an LED light.

    Medical devices can be inserted into the human gastrointestinal tract to treat, diagnose or monitor a range of disord...

    January 20, 2020
  • The power of mum

    Why some female chimps choose to stay at home.

    Female chimpanzees with high-ranking mothers are more likely to be homebodies, according to analysis of data from the...

    January 20, 2020
  • Giant squid, pretty big genome

    But its genes look a lot like those of other animals.

    The giant squid – the subject of many a dramatic tale – is actually as mysterious as it is big.  In this original ...

    January 19, 2020
  • Strange things lurking near Sagittarius A*

    Discoveries expand the G objects class from two to six.

    Astronomers have discovered four more “bizarre” objects at the centre of the Milky Way not far from the supermassive ...

    January 16, 2020
  • How to create living concrete

    Bacteria potential in a new world of construction.

    US researchers have created what they call a living concrete by combining sand and bacteria. It’s early days, but th...

    January 15, 2020
  • Tracking animals without seeing them

    Trials further test the potential of eDNA for conservation.

    This night-vision camera trap picture of mountain lions drinking from a stream at the Jasper Ridge Biological Preserv...

    January 15, 2020
  • Ocean warming an increasing problem

    Hottest ever year ended the hottest ever decade.

    Last year was the warmest in recorded human history for the world’s oceans, bringing to an end the warmest decade, ac...

    January 14, 2020
  • Liquid metal takes on bacteria

    A new approach to beating antibiotic resistance.

    Australian researchers are using liquid metals to develop a “bacteria-destroying” technology they hope will be the an...

    January 14, 2020
  • Meteorite contained oldest material on Earth

    Scientists unveil stardust from billions of years ago.

    Scientists say a meteorite that landed in Australia half a century ago contained the oldest solid material ever found...

    January 13, 2020
  • Antarctic alert for invading mussels

    Invertebrates, plants and algae on list of top threats.

    Mussels may look rather mild-mannered, but they are prominent in a new list of non-native species most likely to inva...

    January 13, 2020
  • Deep learning to aid prostate diagnosis

    AI finding a new niche in pathology.

    The inexorable march of AI into more and more areas of medicine appears to have a new focus on pathology services. E...

    January 12, 2020
  • Tea drinkers may well live longer

    Chinese research suggests it’s a habit worth having.

    Tea is good for you, according to new research from – perhaps not surprisingly – China. Habitual consumption – defin...

    January 9, 2020
  • Stars on the outskirts of the Milky Way

    They may have formed from Magellanic Cloud material.

    Astronomers have found a flock of young stars where they didn’t expect to: on the outskirts of the Milky Way among th...

    January 8, 2020
  • Does ocean acidification affect coral reef fish?

    Scientists repeat studies, but get different results.

    The direct impact of ocean acidification on coral reef fish may not be as bad as predicted and feared, new research s...

    January 8, 2020
  • The largest gaseous structure ever observed

    Astronomers rework the data and find something impressive.

    US astronomers have discovered a wave-shaped gaseous structure they say is the largest ever seen in our galaxy. Made...

    January 7, 2020
  • Algorithm helps detect brain cancer

    Researchers believe model could provide reliable information.

    Medical researchers have developed an algorithm they say performs as well as human pathologists in classifying surgic...

    January 6, 2020
  • Body image a serial problem

    Even in remote villages, TV makes people prefer thinner women.

    New research adds weight to the claim that watching television makes people prefer thinner female bodies. Research...

    December 19, 2019
  • Support the environment. Don’t mow your lawn

    Biodiversity suffers when things are too perfect.

    Mowing urban lawns less often or less severely increases biodiversity, saves money and reduces pests, according to re...

    December 19, 2019
  • Medical history that’s skin deep

    Special dye could allow us to carry our own vaccination details.

    US researchers are developing a specialised dye that could allow a person’s vaccination record to be injected into th...

    December 18, 2019
  • The things animals do

    Chimps drum, meerkats dance and dogs can count.

    It’s been quite a day for revelations about the animal world. Four papers in peer-reviewed journals have provided new...

    December 18, 2019
  • Fold me a machine

    The continuing quest for technology inspired by kirigami

    For some time, engineers and mathematicians have been intrigued by the ancient Japanese art of kirigami (similar to t...

    December 16, 2019
  • ‘Fingerprinting’ cells to speed up analysis

    New method could improve diagnosis, researchers say.

    By Nick CarneAustralian researchers have developed a new way of analysing data from individual human cells by combini...

    December 12, 2019
  • Swiss watch on damaging emissions

    New material improves carbon-capture from wet flue gases.

    Swiss chemical engineers may have taken an important step in finding the best way to strip damaging carbon dioxide (C...

    December 11, 2019
  • Something in the way it moves

    Studying a centipede sheds light on adaptive locomotion.

    Some amphibious animals are able to move seamlessly from walking to swimming, and now scientists think they’ve found ...

    December 11, 2019
  • How Enceladus got its stripes

    New research suggests it’s all about the physics of fissures.

    This false colour image from the Cassini mission shows the “tiger stripe” fissures on Saturn's moon Enceladus in blue...

    December 9, 2019
  • Bio-inspired gel is tough when it counts

    It hardens when heated and softens when cooled.

    Japanese researchers have developed a gel that goes hard when exposed to heat then softens again when cooled. That’s...

    December 8, 2019
  • Tropical species more sensitive to deforestation

    Geography must guide conservation planning, study suggests.

    By Nick CarneTropical animal species are six times more sensitive to forests being broken up for logging or farming t...

    December 5, 2019
  • Citizen scientists ‘deserve more credit’

    Call to recognise indigenous knowledge too.

    Academic journals should allow citizen scientists and indigenous knowledge to be formally recognised on papers, resea...

    December 4, 2019
  • When big mammals are lost, so are termites

    Ecologists monitor the impact on rainforest ecosystems.

    By Nick CarneThe impact of losing Africa’s big animals goes beyond the obvious.US researchers have discovered that in...

    December 3, 2019
  • Parrotfish thrive in adversity

    They grow in size and number in coral degraded areas.

    The reef-dwelling parrotfish doesn’t just thrive in adversity, it helps turn things around. Marine scientists have d...

    December 2, 2019
  • When bananas really are green

    Turning organic plantation waste into packaging.

    By Nick CarneAustralian researchers have discovered a way to turn banana plantation waste into packaging material tha...

    December 2, 2019
  • Ultracold chemistry captures an elusive act

    Researchers see what happens during a chemical reaction.

    US researchers say they have generated the coldest chemical reaction ever by forcing two ultracold molecules to meet ...

    December 1, 2019
  • Freeze. I’ve got a chemical

    Study points to serotonin as the reason we stop when startled..

    Flies using the FlyWalker. Top: normal walking at around 25 mm/s. Bottom: fly with its VNC serotonin neurons stimulat...

    November 27, 2019
  • How much do you need to knead?

    Looking at the science of good breadmaking.

    You know breadmaking is a serious business when scientists get involved. Physicists from Germany’s Technical Univers...

    November 26, 2019
  • Tiny brain, but great vision

    Scientists discover how mantis shrimp make sense of the world.

    The mantis shrimp, a marine crustacean of the order Stomatopoda, is one of the top predators in coral reefs and other...

    November 26, 2019
  • Five small parrots fly into a tunnel…

    …and appear to have changed our thinking on how they did it.

    Humans can’t fly, but we’re determined to work out how others do. Last month a Canadian team suggested that the way b...

    November 25, 2019
  • Dance that’s really (fluid) dynamic

    Unique collaboration merges physics and choreography.

    Being told you dance like a scientist may not be an insult. At the University of Michigan in the US, fluid mechanics...

    November 25, 2019
  • An in-depth look at the Devil Worm

    Genome sequencing hints at how it survives.

    How do you survive living a kilometre-and-a-half underground? The “Devil Worm” may be about to reveal its secrets. U...

    November 21, 2019
  • Hydrophobic concrete cleans thyself

    Scientists say their new version does just that.

    Chinese scientists have developed what they call a self-cleaning concrete. It is genuinely hydrophobic, they say, so ...

    November 21, 2019
  • When snakes had legs

    Fossil analysis adds more pieces to the evolutionary puzzle.

    Snakes had legs for quite a while, but it was quite a while ago, according to analysis of a rare fossil find. Palaeo...

    November 20, 2019
  • Did drought fell the great Assyrian Empire?

    Precipitation records suggest it became too weak to resist.

    Two centuries of dominance by the Neo-Assyrian Empire might have been undone by a 60-year megadrought, US researchers...

    November 19, 2019
  • Honeybees can surf to safety

    On water their wings work like hydrofoils.

    When a honeybee falls onto water it can essentially surf to safety, research engineers in the US have discovered. Wh...

    November 18, 2019
  • Engineers less flush with success

    Super slippery toilet conserves water and cuts odour, they say.

    By Nick CarneImagine if your poop didn’t stick. That’s stick.Engineers from Penn State University in the US have deve...

    November 18, 2019
  • These guys are better off together

    Study suggests crows are healthier in a crowd.

    Animals tend to be healthier in smaller groups, where there’s less risk of disease and aggro, but that doesn’t appear...

    November 17, 2019
  • Building a picture of bamboo’s strengths

    Looking at thermal properties and structural potential.

    A team of architects and engineers has mapped the way heat flows across the cell walls of bamboo, providing a clearer...

    November 14, 2019
  • Hops: Something else to grow hydroponically

    Hops prosper indoors under artificial light.

    Plant scientist Bill Bauerle has discovered that hops don't need to go dormant in order to flower. That may sound of...

    November 14, 2019
  • Why the Nile goes where it goes

    And why it’s been there a long time.

    The Nile river is exactly where it is because of movement in the Earth’s deep mantle, according to new geological and...

    November 11, 2019
  • That’s unsinkable behaviour

    Lasers, spiders, ants and air combine in interesting ways.

    US scientists have created a metallic structure they say is so water repellent it refuses to sink – even if damaged. ...

    November 10, 2019
  • Can we beat mosquitos at their own game?

    Understanding aerodynamics and acoustics a double win.

    Which is the more annoying sound, a mosquito at night or a drone – well, any time? The complex streamlines gener...

    November 10, 2019
  • How can you smell that?

    Typical olfactory bulbs might not be necessary, case study suggests.

    By Nick Carne Can humans smell the world around them even if they don’t have olfactory bulbs? That’s not a question...

    November 6, 2019
  • Pot plants look nice, but what are they achieving?

    Pot plants don’t improve indoor air quality, researchers say.

    The idea that pot plants are as environmentally valuable as they are aesthetically pleasing is vastly overstated, acc...

    November 6, 2019
  • Scientists declare a climate emergency

    Two new reports highlight the severity of our problem.

    Two new reports, released just hours apart, paint a damning picture of our inability – in some cases unwillingness – ...

    November 5, 2019
  • Moving home because the fossils say so

    The mountain pygmy-possum are leaving the mountains.

    Chasing the heat to avoid the impact of climate change may seem counter-intuitive, but it could help save Australia’s...

    November 4, 2019
  • Havana Syndrome just an old cold lingering?

    Symptoms were real but probably not sinister, scientists argue.

    The so-called Havana Syndrome was caused by emotional trauma and fear rather than something new and sinister, accordi...

    November 3, 2019
  • Was Havana Syndrome a lingering cold?

    Symptoms were real but probably not sinister, scientists argue.

    The so-called Havana Syndrome was caused by emotional trauma and fear rather than something new and sinister, accordi...

    November 3, 2019
  • OK nurse, tape him up

    Spider-inspired adhesive could replace surgical sutures.

    Spiders may be scary to some, but you can’t deny they’re clever and at times inspirational. Already this year Cosmos...

    October 31, 2019
  • An opponent on the rise can mess with your head

    It’s easy to be intimidated by ‘status momentum’.

    Coaches and commentators often talk about the importance of momentum in sport, and science has had its say. A 1985 p...

    October 29, 2019
  • Blaming the driver in a ‘driverless’ car

    Study suggests we cut machines some slack sometimes.

    Many people worry about the concept of a “driverless car”, but a more immediate concern may be our fear about the fal...

    October 28, 2019
  • I know you’re counting, not just talking

    Babies get the idea of numbers before they can say them.

    Babies can’t say the words “one”, “two” and “three”, but they probably know that they refer to quantities, US researc...

    October 27, 2019
  • Ice ice baby? Perhaps not

    Martian images suggest explanation for ridges on landslides.

    Analysis of detailed three-dimensional images of an extensive landslide on Mars has led an international research tea...

    October 24, 2019
  • The really big book of plants

    Effort traces 1100 species and a billion years of evolution.

    After nine years of work, an international consortium of scientists has released gene sequences for more than 1100 pl...

    October 23, 2019
  • Turning sunlight into syngas

    A new benchmark in the field of solar fuels.

    This “artificial leaf” uses water, sunlight and carbon dioxide rather than fossil fuels to produce the widely used ga...

    October 21, 2019
  • Microbe battles contaminants

    A bacterium shows promise against persistent pollutant.

    A relatively common soil bacterium may be the secret weapon against one of our nastier classes of pollutants. In pre...

    September 22, 2019
  • Musical pitch differs across cultures

    What we know helps determine what we hear, study show.

    The Tsimane people live in a remote area of the Bolivian rainforest, making them of great interest to researchers fro...

    September 19, 2019
  • Elephant seals rely on supermums

    Few females can carry the reproductive burden.

    Motherhood is a tough gig for elephant seals, with just a few females doing most of the work. A new study documentin...

    September 18, 2019
  • Using exhaled breath as a diagnostic tool

    Electronic nose assesses impact of cancer treatment.

    Exhaled breath could become an important diagnostic tool that guides future treatment of cancers and other diseases, ...

    September 18, 2019
  • That old question about the age of Saturn’s rings

    New study suggests dust may be hiding their age.

    A new study is likely to rekindle the debate about the age of Saturn’s rings. Writing in the journal Nature Astronom...

    September 17, 2019
  • Mother of pearl inspires mother of all armours

    Researchers develop a plastic that’s much tougher than steel.

    US researchers have mimicked the outer coating of pearls to create a plastic they say is 14 times stronger and eight ...

    September 17, 2019
  • The route to carbon-neutral fuels

    Raised the bar in attempts to convert carbon dioxide.

    Researchers have discovered what they call “a practical starting point” for converting carbon dioxide (CO2) into sust...

    September 16, 2019
  • A neutron star almost too massive to exist

    Astronomers make good use of the Shapiro Delay.

    Astronomers say a rapidly rotating millisecond pulsar called J0740+6620 is the most massive neutron star ever measure...

    September 16, 2019
  • Very black is the new black

    Engineers get dark with carbon nanotubes.

    Engineers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US, say they have created a material that is 10 times black...

    September 15, 2019
  • When danger looms, osteocalcin may kick in

    Skeleton important in preparing for a fight or flight response.

    Physical things happen in the face of danger. Our heart rate and breathing speed up and we feel something coursing th...

    September 12, 2019
  • Developing chameleon ‘smart skins’

    The way they change colour is even smarter than we thought.

    The ability to rapidly change colour the way chameleons do – not to mention neon tetra fish and some butterflies – is...

    September 11, 2019
  • The oldest genetic data ever found

    Tooth enamel delivers, where DNA can’t.

    Scientists from Denmark and the UK say they have extracted genetic information from a 1.7-million-year-old rhino toot...

    September 11, 2019
  • The final chapter for GW170817 captured

    International team painstakingly constructs the afterglow.

    The detection of what we now know as GW170817 in October 2017 was an historic moment for at least two reasons.It was ...

    September 10, 2019
  • ‘Supercooling’ keeps livers longer

    Breakthrough could provide a bigger transplant window.

    Scientists say they have tripled the amount of time human livers can be safely kept in storage, giving greater flexib...

    September 9, 2019
  • Supercooling’ keeps livers longer

    Breakthrough could provide a bigger transplant window.

    Scientists say they have tripled the amount of time human livers can be safely kept in storage, giving greater flexib...

    September 9, 2019
  • The hunt for a 12-billion-year-old signal

    Astronomers nudging closer thanks to data from Australia.

    Astronomers believe they are closing in on a signal that has been travelling across the Universe for 12 billion years...

    September 9, 2019
  • Hula-va way to lower blood pressure

    Traditional dancing produces results for native Hawaiians.

    Traditional hula dancing could be the secret weapon in the fight against the high blood pressure that bedevils many n...

    September 8, 2019
  • Lava plus nitrate equals growth

    Scientists explain an unexpected algae super bloom.

    As Hawaii's Kilauea volcano erupted in July 2018, scientists from the University of Hawaii and the University of Sout...

    September 5, 2019
  • Finding a chimp in the crowd

    AI system helps recognise primate faces in the wild.

    British scientists have developed new artificial intelligence software that can recognise and track the faces of indi...

    September 4, 2019
  • Happy here in ED? Please push the smiley face

    Emoji buttons give real-time response from patients.

    Simple button terminals featuring "emoji" reflecting a range of emotions were remarkably effective in monitoring the ...

    September 4, 2019
  • It’s red, even if we can’t say it

    Human perception of colour doesn’t rely entirely on language.

    The unusual side effect of a stroke has given French neurologists a rare opportunity to study the interaction between...

    September 3, 2019
  • Cancer now the biggest killer in richer countries

    Twin studies reveal ‘a new epidemiologic transition’.

    Cancer is now the leading cause of death in high-income countries (HIC), but heart disease is still the biggest risk ...

    September 3, 2019
  • Novel maths: Artificial intelligence ‘to next level’

    Topology forces neural networks to see things differently.

    Italian mathematicians say they have shown that artificial intelligence systems can learn to recognise complex images...

    September 2, 2019
  • Sleeping too much can boost heart attack risk

    Just being healthy doesn’t change things, new study shows.

    It is widely recognised that insufficient sleep increases heart attack risk, even if the reasons aren’t fully clear. ...

    September 2, 2019
  • A formula for simulating softness

    Perception is influenced by geometric properties.

    US researchers say they have developed a formula for accurately simulating softness, opening the way to create more r...

    September 1, 2019
  • Early human arrival in North America

    New finds in Idaho push things back to 16,500 years ago.

    Archaeological discoveries in western Idaho indicate that humans were in that part of the US nearly 16,500 years ago ...

    August 29, 2019
  • Giant planet slingshots around its star

    It’s big, it’s the first of its kind, and it follows a bizarre path.

    Astronomers have discovered a planet three times the mass of Jupiter that travels on a long, egg-shaped path around i...

    August 28, 2019
  • Climate change implicated by a flood of data

    Multinational study reveals different flooding trends across Europe.

    Flooding is becoming increasingly severe in northwestern Europe, including the UK, but decreasing in severity in sout...

    August 28, 2019
  • Tattoo needles leave more than just ink

    Metal particles can get into the lymph nodes, study finds.

    Even clean needles may cause problems for people with tattoos, new research suggests. It shows that particles that w...

    August 27, 2019
  • A tough diet, but it has a place

    Alternate-day fasting is effective and safe.

    One of the “most extreme” of diet interventions appears to be both safe and effective, Austrian researchers say. Thei...

    August 27, 2019
  • Heading for the jungle? Pack a little graphene

    It’s a two-pronged defence against mosquitoes.

    Graphene lining doesn’t sound like a fashion statement, but it could prove its value when mosquitoes are about. A US...

    August 27, 2019
  • How memories form and fade

    They may last longer if more neurons work together.

    Why are some memories stable over decades, while others fade within minutes? New US research with mice suggests last...

    August 26, 2019
  • Fires and climate change may alter Alaska’s forests

    Modelling suggests deciduous species will prosper at the expense of evergreens.

    Climate change and more wildfires – the latter linked to the former – could eventually alter the composition of Alask...

    August 26, 2019
  • Crows shouldn’t have fries with that

    Human food boosts their cholesterol, research shows.

    Scavenging for scraps is a smart survival tactic for city birds, but there may be a downside. Though that’s not clear...

    August 26, 2019
  • Chocolate and cannabis make a hash of things

    Matrix effect makes it hard to assess product potency.

    Where cannabis products are legal it can be difficult to ensure they are legal, US chemists have found. In a paper p...

    August 25, 2019
  • Birds dress to impress – and avoid

    For a select few, two feather changes a year is the norm.

    Some birds moult twice a year, changing colours as well as actual feathers when they do – and now scientists think th...

    August 25, 2019
  • Weld done. A new way with ceramics

    Clever use of lasers means no furnace required.

    US engineers have developed a new welding technology for ceramics that could open up a range of new applications for ...

    August 22, 2019
  • Using DNA as a memory tape

    Scientists turn living cells into computers and recording devices.

    US scientists have developed a new technology they say can turn living cells into computers and recording devices, wi...

    August 22, 2019
  • Scorpion toxin targets the ‘wasabi receptor’

    And that may help solve mystery of chronic pain.

    There’s more ammunition for those who say Australia is the home of creepy crawlies that can do you harm. A systemati...

    August 22, 2019
  • Important algae not always where we expect it to be

    Movements influence ocean carbon cycle, study shows.

    A globally important ocean algae is mysteriously scarce in one of the most productive regions of the Atlantic Ocean, ...

    August 21, 2019
  • Packaged foods: where healthy is relative

    They’re causing a nutritional double burden, survey suggests.

    British packaged food and drinks topped the healthy list in a recent survey using an Australian rating system. The US...

    August 21, 2019
  • Aggressive spiders ride out cyclones

    We need to know how extreme events affect animal behaviour.

    Aggressive spider colonies survive tropical cyclones better than docile ones, a new study shows. On first reading th...

    August 19, 2019
  • Heart trial doesn’t miss a beat

    Computer simulations help treat rhythm disorder.

    Biomedical engineers in the US have created personalised digital replicas of the upper chambers of the heart and used...

    August 19, 2019
  • Add protein for faster photosynthesis

    Researchers find a way to relieve a bottleneck.

    Australian and British scientists say they have found a way to speed up photosynthesis in some plants, potentially bo...

    August 18, 2019
  • To frack or not to frack

    New study suggests conventional ways are tougher on groundwater. Nick Carne reports.

    Fracking continues to be a divisive issue, and even good science can’t always help in painting a clear picture of its...

    August 18, 2019
  • Fish flashing below

    Bioluminescent bacteria allows them to swim at night.

    Above is the aptly named flashlight fish (Anomalops katoptron), and below is how it goes about its nocturnal business...

    August 15, 2019
  • How many genes in the human microbiome?

    Spoiler alert: it’s a lot, according to an early study.

    There are likely more genes in the body than there are stars in the universe.KATERYNA KON/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY, via ...

    August 15, 2019
  • AI validates evolution mathematical model

    Researchers test a very different ButterflyNet.

    Researchers from the UK and Japan have used modern artificial intelligence to validate what is considered evolutionar...

    August 14, 2019
  • Fracking blamed for all that methane

    Chemical fingerprint reveals a tell-tale change in carbon composition.

    Cows, wetlands and other biological sources are not the major cause of an alarming increase in atmospheric methane le...

    August 14, 2019
  • Now that’s a penguin

    Prehistoric giant had a close Antarctic relative.

    They keep finding big stuff in New Zealand (a relatively small country). Barely a week after unveiling the world’s b...

    August 14, 2019
  • Media give climate contrarians visibility

    They get the headlines when balance isn’t sought.

    Both social media and old-school media values are contributing to the high visibility and emergence of perceived auth...

    August 13, 2019
  • Lost volcanoes among oil and gas

    Unexpected Jurassic discovery under central Australia.

    Researchers have uncovered around 100 previously undescribed ancient volcanoes buried deep beneath central Australia....

    August 13, 2019
  • Alzheimer’s kills neurons that keep us awake

    Research explains why daytime napping is a warning sign.

    US scientists have discovered why excessive napping is recognised as an early warning sign for Alzheimer’s. A new st...

    August 12, 2019
  • Arctic sea-ice loss not the reason for cold winters

    Research suggests a ‘minimal influence’ at best.

    The dramatic loss of Arctic sea ice through climate change is not to blame for severe cold winter weather across Asia...

    August 12, 2019
  • New record for an obscured quasar?

    If yes, it’s by quite a long way.

    Astronomers have discovered evidence for the farthest “cloaked” black hole found to date. At only about 7% of the cu...

    August 11, 2019
  • Not burning a win-win for Indian farmers

    Study highlights economic benefits of alternative approach.

    Embracing alternative farming practices would allow some Indian farmers to make more money while also cutting their g...

    August 11, 2019
  • Old meets new to measure sea ice volume

    Researchers add to their records using historic ships’ logs.

    Modern satellite technology lets scientists keep an eye on dwindling sea ice coverage in the Arctic Ocean, but that o...

    August 11, 2019
  • Marine heatwaves a bigger threat to coral than previously thought

    Mortality events a distinct biological phenomenon, researchers say.

    Severe marine heatwaves don’t just trigger bleaching events on coral reefs, they lead to heat-induced mortality of co...

    August 8, 2019
  • Young Hass has a mixed background

    New study sheds light on the avocado’s family history.

    The Hass avocado, the world’s most popular, is a 61:39 mix of Mexican and Guatemalan varieties, researchers say. The...

    August 7, 2019
  • Can you stare down a seagull?

    Taking the initiative may save your lunch.

    Staring at seagulls makes them less likely to steal your food, a new study – and these videos – suggest. When resear...

    August 7, 2019
  • Looking back on exploding white dwarfs

    Astronomers find they don’t need to reach a critical mass first.

    In the early universe white dwarfs often exploded at lower masses than they do today, US astronomers have found.  ...

    August 6, 2019
  • Scientists create the world’s thinnest gold

    Introducing the skinny but efficient ‘nanoseaweed’.

    British scientists have unveiled what they say is the thinnest unsupported gold ever created. At just 0.47 nanometre...

    August 6, 2019
  • AI could detect potential heart issues

    US trial shows potential to find what the eye can’t see.

    A brief, non-invasive test using artificial intelligence has been found to identify patients with abnormal heart rhyt...

    August 5, 2019
  • Getting a clearer view around the corner

    Research takes a new approach to non-line-of-site imaging.

    Researchers from the US and Spain say they have drawn on the lessons of classical optics to show that it is possible ...

    August 5, 2019
  • Anaemic star carries mark of ancient ancestor

    Astronomers find the most iron-poor star in the galaxy.

    A newly discovered ancient star with record-low iron levels carries evidence of a class of even older stars long hypo...

    August 4, 2019
  • Turtle embryos can influence their own sex

    There’s value in being able to move around in the egg.

    The sex of young turtles can be determined in part by the temperature of the egg they emerge from, new research shows...

    August 1, 2019
  • Breaking down microplastics

    Engineers try new approach to combat a ubiquitous pollutant.

    Australian and Chinese engineers have developed carbon nanosprings that show promise in breaking down microplastics p...

    July 31, 2019
  • Could ‘tickle’ therapy help slow ageing?

    Study investigates potential of vagus nerve stimulation.

    “Tickling” the ear with a small electrical current appears to rebalance the autonomic nervous system in older people,...

    July 30, 2019
  • African smoke is ‘fertilising the Amazon’

    It may even have an impact in the Southern Ocean, new study finds.

    Smoke from widespread biomass burning in Africa – mostly the result of land clearing, brush fires and industrial comb...

    July 30, 2019
  • Scientists capture molecular rotation

    Quantum movie presents 651 images in trillionths of a second.

    German scientists produced this “molecular movie” by using precisely tuned pulses of laser light to film the ultrafas...

    July 29, 2019
  • TESS discovers three new planets of interest

    And that’s ideal for habitability searches, astronomers say.

    TESS – aka NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite – has discovered three new exoplanets that are among the smal...

    July 29, 2019
  • Sleep more to ride faster

    Study the first to test the impact on endurance athletes.

    Cycling races are often won by just a few seconds, so anything that legally can boost performance by minutes is worth...

    July 28, 2019
  • Astronomers see the Sun’s future in a dying star

    T UMi’s convulsion a rare dynamic event.

    Astronomers have witnessed a rare dynamic event - a dying star - they say reinforces predictions about the Sun’s ulti...

    July 27, 2019
  • Seeing the Sun’s future in a dying star

    T UMi’s convulsion a rare dynamic event.

    Astronomers have witnessed a rare dynamic event they say reinforces predictions about the Sun’s ultimate demise. The...

    July 26, 2019
  • A tree stump that refuses to die

    Its neighbours are chipping in to keep it alive.

    This stump of a kauri tree (Agathis australis) should be dead, and the fact that it isn’t is more than just a novelty...

    July 26, 2019
  • ‘Conspiracies’ dominate YouTube videos

    Important scientific terms have been hijacked, study suggests.

    YouTube is not the place to go for informed opinion on climate modification, a German study has confirmed. Most of t...

    July 25, 2019
  • White dwarfs really on the move

    Dead stars whip around each other in a matter of minutes.

    Two white dwarfs have been spotted whipping around each other every seven minutes, making it the second-fastest orbit...

    July 25, 2019
  • Missing gas found in distant galaxy

    MeerKAT telescope reveals two tell-tale tails.

    Astronomers say the discovery of vast amounts of hydrogen gas in a galaxy 60 million light-years from Earth resolves ...

    July 24, 2019
  • Animal adaptations ‘not keeping pace with climate change’

    International study highlights impact on phenology. Nick Carne reports.

    The great tit (Parus major) is known to cope relatively well with climate change.Bernard CasteleinThe world’s climate...

    July 23, 2019
  • So, why a cone-shaped meteorite?

    It’s just the physics of flight, mathematicians suggest.

    Why is it that meteoroids in outer space are randomly shaped, but a good proportion of those that reach the Earth as ...

    July 23, 2019
  • Stealing genes to become better parasites

    Researchers reveal functional horizontal gene transfer.

    Dodder is a known parasite of wild, agricultural and horticultural plants, and can feed on multiple plants at one tim...

    July 22, 2019
  • Understanding the Moho may help predict volcanic eruptions

    Study reveals that magma can be stored for centuries.

    The molten rock that feeds volcanoes can be stored in the Earth's crust for as long as a thousand years, a new study ...

    July 21, 2019
  • You can believe Buzz and the rocks. It did happen

    Scientist says you just can’t make Moon rocks in a lab. Nick Carne reports.

    A video of Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin punching a heckler who demanded he swear on the Bible that he truly walked...

    July 19, 2019
  • Why don’t we hallucinate more often?

    In mice, at least, it seems pretty easy to do, researchers discover.

    It’s a question they might have asked for different reasons in the ’60s, but neuroscientists from Stanford University...

    July 18, 2019
  • Birds on Twitter

    Social media users track species movement.

    Social media has helped researchers discover 55 animal species they say have been forced to more to or around the UK ...

    July 18, 2019
  • ‘Ploonets’ may explain astronomical mysteries

    Researchers suggest key role for exiled moons.

    Moons ejected from orbits around gas giant exoplanets could explain several astronomical mysteries, an international ...

    July 18, 2019
  • Chaos theory in the atmosphere

    Researchers map the paths particles take.

    Hungarian researchers say they have used chaos theory to produce maps for predicting the paths of particles emitted i...

    July 16, 2019
  • Tracking immune cells with a ‘barcode’

    Hope for new technique to personalise cancer treatments.

    Australian researchers have developed a technique for spotting rare immune cells that are reactive against cancer cel...

    July 16, 2019
  • It’s not just temperature damaging coral reefs

    US study points the finger at nitrogen – and people. Nick Carne reports.

    Nitrogen loading is as much to blame as increasing temperatures for coral bleaching in the Looe Key Reef in the lower...

    July 15, 2019
  • Pre-term babies less likely to form relations

    It’s important to encourage social interaction, researchers say.

    Premature babies are less likely to form romantic relationships, have sexual relations or experience parenthood as ad...

    July 14, 2019
  • ‘Moon-forming’ disk found in distant system

    Astronomers say it helps confirm theories of planet formation.

    US astronomers have reported the first-ever observations of a circumplanetary disk, the belt of dust and gas that, it...

    July 12, 2019
  • Insects experience chronic pain

    Genetic research reveals more about the fruit fly – and maybe us.

    Australian scientists have shown that insects experience what we describe as chronic pain. It was revealed more than...

    July 12, 2019
  • It’s better seeing green

    British study links it to less intense and frequent cravings.

    Just being able to see green spaces from your home may reduce cravings for alcohol, cigarettes and harmful foods, Bri...

    July 12, 2019
  • Gene determines how far down roots go

    New finding could help plants adapt to a changing climate.

    Biologists have discovered a gene they believe determines how deep roots go in the soil, and this, they hope, will he...

    July 11, 2019
  • Brain waves reveal when boredom kicks in

    The changes come later than researchers expected.

    The brains of people who are prone to boredom react differently to those of people who aren’t, but not until the bore...

    July 9, 2019
  • Tamu Massif no longer biggest volcano

    Magnetic anomalies reveal its true nature.

    Tamu Massif was declared the largest single volcano in the world when it was located in the Pacific Ocean about 1600 ...

    July 9, 2019
  • Modifying tobacco to create enzymes

    Success in the field could lead to a big future.

    US researchers have genetically engineered tobacco plants that can produce medical and industrial proteins in the fie...

    July 9, 2019
  • Blue carbon can be reactivated, research shows

    Disruption and oxygen a deadly combination. Nick Carne reports.

    Blue carbon sampling near Melbourne, Australia.Donna Squire / Deakin UniversityAustralian and US researchers have dis...

    July 8, 2019
  • Robot harvests lettuce, and that’s impressive

    Machine learning may boost automation of agriculture.

    A British robot has harvested a lettuce. That might, at first glance, not appear terribly exciting, but it could repr...

    July 8, 2019
  • Nerve surgery to restore paralysed hands

    Australian trial highlights the potential of a new approach.

    Australian surgeons have restored arm and hand movement to patients with tetraplegia – paralysis of both upper and lo...

    July 5, 2019
  • Auto aircraft landing system passes test

    Ironing out GPS glitches negates the need for ground support.

    German researchers have demonstrated an automatic landing system for aircraft that they say works without the need fo...

    July 4, 2019
  • What are the odds of beating cancer?

    Trying to better predict outcomes using ‘in-game probability’.

    Medical researchers in the US are developing an algorithm they hope can generate more accurate prognoses for cancer p...

    July 4, 2019
  • An algorithm makes discoveries

    They could even help us cut through the paperwork.

    Are computers smart enough to make scientific discoveries? Research by the US Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkele...

    July 3, 2019
  • Stillbirth a greater risk past 37 weeks

    Findings should inform decisions but not cause alarm.

    The risk of stillbirth increases with every week that a pregnancy continues past term (37 weeks), according to a Brit...

    July 2, 2019
  • A game that really exercises the mind

    Researchers link three people on a brain-to-brain network.

    US computer engineers have reported creating a way for two people to help a third person solve a problem using only t...

    July 2, 2019
  • We’re already committed to too many emissions

    Paris Agreement target in jeopardy without changes, report says. Nick Carne reports.

    Committed future carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from existing and proposed energy infrastructure already exceed what ...

    July 1, 2019
  • Body shape links to heart risk post-menopause

    Where weight is stored is as important as how much is stored.

    Postmenopausal women who store body fat in their legs rather than around their torso have a significantly decreased r...

    July 1, 2019
  • Lichens thrived while those around them fell

    Mass extinction allowed new combinations to rise up.

    It seems not everything got fried when an asteroid smacked into the Earth 66 million years ago. New research suggest...

    June 30, 2019
  • Greenhouse gas production fell in wake of Soviet collapse

    Changes in post-USSR food systems drove emissions down. Nick Carne reports.

    When the Soviet Union crumbled in 1991, its citizens discovered they had nothing to lose but their emissions.Hulton A...

    June 23, 2019
  • Trust a mongoose in times of trouble

    Field studies show they have each other’s backs.

    In a crisis, Africa’s smallest carnivores can rely on those around them. A new study shows that when faced with poten...

    June 20, 2019
  • First beluga-narwhal hybrid identified

    Skull stored in museum provides evidence of whale interbreeding.

    Skull of (a) narwhal, (b) the hybrid analysed in the study, and (c) beluga. Mikkel Høegh Post, Natural History Muse...

    June 20, 2019
  • In cat breeds, behaviour is inherited

    Different types of cat have predictable ways of behaving.

    Different breeds of cat behave in different ways, and nearly half of those differences are inherited, new research fr...

    June 17, 2019
  • Microbes may determine lemurs’ resilience

    Ability to process a different diet helps adapt to change.

    The unique fauna of Madagascar is providing new information about the complexities of species survival in the face of...

    June 16, 2019
  • Can you know too much about yourself?

    Researchers concerned about trips down the genetic pathway.

    Modern technology gives us ready access to our genetic blueprint, and that’s appealing to a great many people if the ...

    June 16, 2019
  • Herbicide-resistant ‘superweeds’ on the rise

    Some species unaffected by multiple applications.

    Superbugs get the headlines but the threat of superweeds should also sound alarm bells, researchers suggest. Just as...

    June 13, 2019
  • Hawks hold clues to rogue rogue drones

    Raptor attack modes has implications for aerial defence.

    To help design good drones that can intercept bad drones, scientists have taken a close look at the way hawks attack ...

    June 13, 2019
  • Lack of proof no bar to patent applications

    Concerns about the influence of so-called ‘prophetic patents’.

    Fake news extends to patent applications, it seems, although that in itself is not technically news. It’s legal and ...

    June 13, 2019
  • Climate change is not causing wars – yet

    Major review finds a warming world will be a more violent world. Nick Carne reports.

    Climate wars are not yet upon us, according to an international team of experts drawn from diverse backgrounds.Writin...

    June 12, 2019
  • Digitally deconstructing Beethoven

    Statistics & musicology combine to illuminate composer’s work.

    Beethoven's music was dominated by just a few major chords, researchers suggest. That’s not a criticism; it’s their ...

    June 9, 2019
  • Online, being polite is appreciated

    Keeping things civil in Q&A forums brings its own reward.

    People want you to be civil when answering their questions online, but third-party observers aren’t so fussed. That’...

    June 6, 2019
  • Bees can link symbols to numbers

    More evidence that bees are not only busy, they’re clever too.

    Bees continue to impress in the intellectual stakes. Not only can they understand zero and do basic maths, it appears...

    June 4, 2019
  • HIV-protective mutation may boost influenza risk

    Gene targeted in the ‘CRISPR baby’ scandal might prove fatal.

    The controversial birth of the world’s first gene-edited babies continues to make news and inspire follow-up work. I...

    June 3, 2019
  • Deadly frog fungus absent from New Guinea

    Pacific Ocean island represents haven from parasite.

    Scientists are closing in on what has been described as the world’s most destructive pathogen – the chytrid fungus, w...

    June 3, 2019
  • The ‘death jars’ of Laos continue to intrigue

    Archaeologists find new sites, but still no clear answers.

    The so-called “death jars” of Laos could be more widespread than previously thought. Australian archaeologists and L...

    June 3, 2019
  • Video game guns increase gun-play

    Kids more likely to pretend to shoot a real handgun

    Whether video game violence promotes real-life violence is a topic of regular and often passionate debate. A recent ...

    June 2, 2019
  • Suicide increase linked to 13 Reasons Why

    Youth suicides increased during season of the Netflix show.

    The popular Netflix series 13 Reasons Why caused a furore when it was shown in 2017, with critics saying its fictiona...

    May 31, 2019
  • Physicists ‘teleport’ logic operation between separated ions

    Experiment completes key step in quantum computing development. Nick Carne reports.

    It’s not quite a “beam me up, Scotty” moment, but the successful teleporting of a complete quantum logic operation us...

    May 30, 2019
  • Fossilised fish flock together

    Find suggests group behavioural rules are very ancient.

    Palaeontologists have uncovered a remarkable fossil that suggests ancient fish followed the same rules of coordinated...

    May 28, 2019
  • Rebuilding forests is a cost-effective way to cut carbon

    Modelling finds reforestation in tropical zones is cheaper than carbon capture and storage. Nick ...

    Paying land users to replant tropical forests rather than cut them down could play an increasingly important role in ...

    May 27, 2019
  • Space travel may prompt cartilage damage

    Mouse sent into orbit returned with significant deterioration.

    Space travel may be bad for your joints, research indicates. Mice that spent a month aboard a Russian spacecraft sho...

    May 26, 2019
  • Leonardo da Vinci had ADHD, scientist claims

    Tentative diagnosis advanced to explain the painter’s inattention.

    Last year we learned that a bung eye likely helped Leonardo da Vinci become one of the world’s great artists. Now it’...

    May 24, 2019
  • Dinner on the half-shell: chimps eat tortoises

    Adults smash open the reptiles, then share the spoils.

    Chimpanzees are handy with tools, but it appears they also resort to brute force when needed. German researchers hav...

    May 23, 2019
  • First fungus pushed back half a billion years

    New find in the Arctic updates fossil record significantly.

    A discovery in the cold of the Canadian Arctic has established a new calibration point for the evolution of fungi. A...

    May 23, 2019
  • Climate change alters plankton populations

    Sediment core data reveals big changes over the past 170 years.

    The shells of foraminifera, here highly magnified, provide a durable record of plankton populations. PASIEKAGetty i...

    May 22, 2019
  • Hiroshima’s sands contain atomic bomb glass

    Unusual tiny spheres were forged in the nuclear explosion.

    Up 2.5% of the sand on beaches near Hiroshima may in fact be fallout debris from the World War II atomic bomb that de...

    May 13, 2019
  • For fruit flies, siestas are gene-driven

    Researchers discover a gene that regulates daytime naps.

    A fruit fly, prone to a bit of shut-eye. Sefa Kaya/Getty Images A siesta-suppressing gene helps fruit flies (Droso...

    May 12, 2019
  • Meditation is a bad trip for 25% of practitioners

    Many regular meditators find it has induced anxiety and fear.

    Male atheists contemplating taking up meditation may like to think deeply about that decision. In a recent study mor...

    May 12, 2019
  • Scientist selfies bring a smile

    Hitting Insta could be a good career move, research suggests.

    Citations are all well and good, but it’s selfies that could help scientists take the next step up the ladder of publ...

    May 10, 2019
  • Why do dams collapse?

    Catastrophic structure failures need to be better researched.

    Knowledge gaps and management shortcomings contribute to the catastrophic failure of tailings dams and ash ponds that...

    May 9, 2019
  • Just 37% of the world’s long rivers run free

    More than 60,000 dams obstruct water flow and disrupt ecosystems. Nick Carne reports.

    Just 37% of the world's 242 longest rivers remain free-flowing, a new study shows, and most of these are restricted t...

    May 8, 2019
  • The hunt for WWII German uranium

    The legacy of the Nazis’ last experiments continues to baffle.

    Two US physicists turned super-sleuths are trying to solve a World War II mystery involving two types of power – poli...

    May 7, 2019
  • The origins of Sino-Tibetan languages

    Analysis pinpoints start of the second largest language groups.

    One of the most diverse language families in the world originated among millet farmers in North China around 7200 yea...

    May 6, 2019
  • Tiny Tyrannosaur trod lightly

    Two juvenile skeletons fill gaps in the story of the mighty T.rex.

    Modern science and ancient fossils are slowly letting us watch the fearsome Tyrannosaurus rex evolve, and a new disco...

    May 6, 2019
  • Researchers close in on jellyfish sting antidote

    Box jellyfish stings are so painful they can kill adult humans.

    Australian and Chinese scientists have identified an antidote to the venom of the much-feared box jellyfish (Chironex...

    April 30, 2019
  • Children’s caregivers misunderstand vaccines

    Conferences hears of vaccine among caregivers.

    There’s yet more evidence of the worrying degree of misinformation around child vaccination. More than 90% of caregi...

    April 28, 2019
  • Fossil throws crustacean evolution into disarray

    Cretaceous crab mixes and matches larval and adult traits.

    Images by Daniel Ocampo R., Vencejo Films, & Javier Luque, Yale University; animation and 3D reconstruction by Alex D...

    April 25, 2019
  • Next-gen solar cells perk up with coffee

    Joke turns real as caffeine improves perovskite performance.

    Perovskite may become the go-to material for manufacturing solar cells, thanks to a hit of caffeine. Scientists have...

    April 25, 2019
  • Health apps send data without disclosure

    Many health apps operate under dodgy privacy regimes.

    Health-care professionals should reasonably assume that data from behaviour-changing apps will be “shared with commer...

    April 23, 2019
  • The dark web weapons trade

    Sales favour handguns rather than exotic firearms.

    The dark web is being used to buy conventional firearms rather than weapons of war, and at legal-market prices, new U...

    April 23, 2019
  • Revealed: why lightning strikes twice

    Short-lived cloud structures that enable repeat strikes.

    Lightning strikes twice in the same place surprisingly often and now, thanks to a Dutch radio telescope network calle...

    April 22, 2019
  • The coelacanth is an airhead

    Why does it have a skull much larger than its brain?

    Evolution normally hates waste. If something isn’t needed, more often than not it will be selected out. This makes th...

    April 22, 2019
  • Ancient predator found in a museum drawer

    Previously unknown beast bigger than a polar bear.

    Larger than a polar bear, with a skull the size of a rhinoceros, a previously unknown 22-million-year-old apex predat...

    April 22, 2019
  • Viper story relies on angles and tips

    Snake fang sharpness involves exquisite geometry.

    What makes something functionally sharp? Not just sharp in a pointy and potentially painful way, but actually well eq...

    April 17, 2019
  • How to wash your hands

    Shorter washing time can prevent bacterial spread.

    Advising healthcare workers to spend less time washing their hands may encourage them to do it more often, a new stud...

    April 17, 2019
  • Stolen tomb fragment returned to Egypt

    Expert eye notices vital missing piece of an ancient prize.   An ancient tomb fragment stolen from Egypt and long believed lost has been found in...

    April 16, 2019
  • Being scammed foretells Alzheimer’s onset

    The elderly are likely to have a loaded weapon nearby.

    Older people may be at greater risk of being scammed by con artists than their appearance or behaviour suggest. Lo...

    April 15, 2019
  • One side of brain may be giving you nightmares

    Study explores what controls emotions while we sleep.

    Researchers believe they have identified a pattern of brain activity that predicts anger experienced during dreaming....

    April 15, 2019
  • We have evolved to develop social skills

    There’s a reason we look so different to our near relatives.

    The need to develop social skills helped shape the modern human face, scientists have suggested. Writing in the journ...

    April 15, 2019
  • Cannabis users need more sedatives pre-op

    US study finds regular users have poor responses to standard doses.

    US researchers have found that regular cannabis users require up to 220% higher dosages of sedatives in medical proce...

    April 15, 2019
  • Adding iron to oceans could increase carbon storage

    Massive geoengineering projects could prompt useful plankton blooms. Nick Carne reports.

    Could dropping iron particles from aircraft into the oceans be a new weapon in the fight against climate change? D...

    April 8, 2019
  • Don’t be fooled, cats know their names

    Research finds cats can recognise their names among other words.

    We now know that cats are indeed ignoring us when they don’t respond to our calls. Japanese researchers have confirm...

    April 4, 2019
  • Carbon dioxide dip propelled longer glaciation cycles

    New modelling confirms unprecedented levels of atmospheric carbon in modern era. Nick Carne reports.

    A long-term decline in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels and the removal of rocky soils overlying bedrock toget...

    April 3, 2019
  • Rodent ninja-kicks a rattle snake

    Slo-mo film reveals extraordinary survival acrobatics.

    Don’t mess with a kangaroo rat – at least if you’re a snake. As this snippet of video shows, these seemingly defence...

    April 1, 2019
  • The problem with mobile phones

    Numbers of people blame their phones for lost sleep & work.

    New Australian research highlights the increasing risk of “technoference’” – the disruptive impact of mobile phones. ...

    March 31, 2019
  • Galápagos introduced species underestimated

    Foreigners arriving despite stringent biosecurity protocols.

    Scientists thought there were five non-native aquatic species in the Galápagos Islands, but it turns out there are at...

    March 31, 2019
  • Neural networks stop cars spinning out

    Staying at the ‘limit of friction’ is key to marrying speed and safety.

    A neural network structure may provide the control – and thus the safety – people are looking for in driverless cars,...

    March 27, 2019
  • Rubbery figures: scientists create an entirely soft robot

    Prototype without electronics or hard surfaces could be perfect for emergency situations. Nick Ca...


    March 25, 2019
  • Water beetles mate to an evolutionary standstill

    Adaptations to male harassment result in speciation barrier.

    A species of diving beetle is having mating problems, and that’s of interest to more than just diving beetles. Grapo...

    March 24, 2019
  • Researchers warn medical AI is vulnerable to attack

    ‘Human-invisible change’ can distort results with expensive, or fatal, consequences, warns Harvar...

    The risk of “medical error” takes on a new and more worrying meaning when the errors aren’t human, but the motives ar...

    March 21, 2019
  • Microbots swarm and shape-shift

    Chinese research shows tiny mass-produced bots can organise collectively depending on the environ...

    Scientists have demonstrated that microrobots of a single “species” can shape-shift as a collective into various form...

    March 20, 2019
  • Human impacts put species under threat

    Mapping reveals animals are affected across 90% of their range.

    Detailed mapping of the accumulated human impact on birds, mammals and amphibians across the globe paints a disturbin...

    March 12, 2019
  • Water pipes as dangerous as cigarettes

    AHA issues warning over popular smoking habit.

    Hookahs are not safer than cigarettes, the American Heart Association (AHA) has warned. They often contain more toxic...

    March 10, 2019
  • Rats on psychedelics show mixed results

    Study adds evidence to gauge popularity of microdosing.

    New research suggests there are upsides and downsides to taking psychedelic drugs. That won’t surprise anyone who do...

    March 4, 2019
  • Technique upcycles single-use plastics

    Stronger and more valuable recycled results.

    US researchers have found a way to turn unwanted plastic into materials that may well be better than the original. T...

    February 27, 2019
  • Turning CO2 into coal at room temperature

    It could revolutionise carbon capture and storage.

    Researchers have used liquid metals to turn carbon dioxide (CO2) back into solid coal with technology they say has th...

    February 26, 2019
  • The genetics of sour

    Two genes in citrus fruits play a role in determining acidity.

    The acidity of citrus fruits is determined by genetic drivers that influence vacuole function. Niklas Skur / EyeEm/...

    February 26, 2019
  • Several species shared a nest

    Birds and reptiles co-habitated for mutual profit and protection.

    Birds and reptiles were strategically sharing nest sites at least 70 million years ago, new research suggests. Analy...

    February 25, 2019
  • Rabbits, fungus top invasive species pest list

    Four out of five native species threatened by feral invaders.

    Fungi don’t have a reputation as marauding invaders, but they are a serious threat in Australia. New research rankin...

    February 24, 2019
  • Origins of giant extinct bird traced to Africa

    Avian predator is related to tiny South African feathered cuties.

    Five years after the relationship between New Zealand’s kiwi and the extinct Madagascan elephant birds was revealed, ...

    February 24, 2019
  • Beach daisy underwent rapid evolution

    South African daisy transplanted to Australia looks very different.

    A species of South African beach daisy has undergone substantial and unexpected changes since being introduced into A...

    February 21, 2019
  • Yeasts stole bacteria genes to survive

    A rare case of horizontal transfer between two life domains.

    The hijacking of a suite of bacterial genes by a single yeast cell led the evolution of several fungi species adapted...

    February 21, 2019
  • The fish with pseudo-eggs on their faces

    Scientists reveal half a dozen new species of remarkable catfish.

    One of the newly discovered species of catfish, Ancistrus kellerae. Credit: de Souza, et al US scientists have dis...

    February 13, 2019
  • Autonomous vehicles favour cooperation

    Ethical questions resolve if owners make the decisions.

    The great moral debate around autonomous vehicles (AVs) is how they will behave in life-and-death situations. Will th...

    February 11, 2019
  • New clues to perching evolution

    Early passerine adds to sparse fossil record.

    Eofringillirostrum boudreauxi perched on branches and likely ate seeds. Both were unusual behaviours at the time. Cre...

    February 7, 2019
  • AVs cruising will slow us all down, modelling suggests

    There’s no need to park, so they’ll be killing time – theirs and ours. Nick Carne reports.

    Most concerns about driverless cars focus on what they might hit while they’re moving, but Adam Millard-Ball suggests...

    February 3, 2019
  • Impact of NZ earthquake felt for years

    Study reinforces the theory of health ups and downs.

    People living in Christchurch, New Zealand, during the devastating 2011 earthquake experienced ebbs and flows in thei...

    January 31, 2019
  • Sauropods had fancy footwork

    Moroccan footprints reveal surprising flexibility.

    Sauropods, the long-necked giants of the dinosaur world, could orient their forefeet both forward and sideways, with ...

    January 30, 2019
  • Microplastics cause mussels to lose their grip

    Researchers warn of “cascading impacts on biodiversity”.

    Science continues to identify more ways in which microplastics are bad news. A new study shows that they are affecti...

    January 30, 2019
  • ‘Metallic wood’ throws down a challenge to titanium

    Researchers say it’s even lighter and potentially a lot more useful. Nick Carne reports.

    Titanium is pretty impressive (as strong as steel yet half the weight), but scientists reckon they can do better.In a...

    January 29, 2019
  • Chickens modified to produce human proteins

    Scottish researchers see potential to create drugs cost effectively.

    Scottish researchers have genetically modified chickens to produce human proteins in their eggs, which, they say, cou...

    January 28, 2019
  • It’s a tougher life in space than we thought

    Studies suggest not only bone and muscles are affected. Nick Carne reports.

    Two new studies confirm that life in space is pretty hard on the body.Scientists have known for some time that extend...

    January 28, 2019
  • Should we rename some low-risk cancers?

    It may reduce anxiety, but it may also cause confusion.

    Cancer by any other name is still cancer, but should we rename some low-risk or indolent ones in a bid to reduce anxi...

    January 25, 2019
  • Men may need to workout harder to age

    But weight and height are a factor for women only.

    Physical activity, weight and height may influence women’s lifespan much more than men’s, new research suggests. In ...

    January 22, 2019
  • An ancient shark with funny teeth

    Another important addition to the fossil record.

    US scientists have introduced us to Galagadon nordquistae, a newly discovered species of freshwater shark from around...

    January 22, 2019
  • Is it Planet Nine or a massive disc?

    There’s another suggestion for what’s causing some unusual orbital architecture. Nick Carne reports.

    So, are those mystery orbits in outermost reaches of solar system caused by an unknown ninth planet? There’s another ...

    January 21, 2019
  • Frailty may increase dementia susceptibility

    There are many factors at play and potentially more treatments.

    Frailty makes older adults more susceptible to dementia and moderates the effects of dementia-related brain changes o...

    January 21, 2019
  • ‘Blindsight’ explained: there’s a neural shortcut

    Research confirms existence of an alternative brain pathway. Nick Carne reports.

    Australian researchers have confirmed the existence of a pathway in the brain that enables some blind people to detec...

    January 21, 2019
  • Dim the lights for some natural pollination

    Aa bit of darkness has ecological and environmental benefits.

    Switching off street lights helps restore the natural behaviour of moths, scientists say, and that’s important becaus...

    January 21, 2019
  • A clearer picture of how massive stars die

    An international study has revealed why some hypernovae do not emit GRBs. Nick Carne reports.

    Astronomers have been given a glimpse of a massive star dying, providing a new piece to the puzzle of how it all happ...

    January 20, 2019
  • Learning to live in Antarctica

    Study reveals Emperor penguins’ first encounters with sea ice.

    New research shows just how well young Emperor penguins (Aptenodytes forsteri) cope when their parents quite literall...

    January 20, 2019
  • Accidental outcomes tell a tale of mouse tails

    Two labs made the same unexpected but valuable discovery. Nick Carne reports.

    X-rays of control and FoxD1-LIN28B-induced animal from the Harvard study.Robinton et alIn science, sometimes things j...

    January 17, 2019
  • Robot reveals when tetrapods walked tall

    Scientists reverse engineer bot to learn about first land animals.

    Tetrapods learnt to walk efficiently on land earlier than previously thought, a new study suggests, and the prehistor...

    January 16, 2019
  • Punters’ instinct?

    Bets on referendum results confirmed wisdom of the crowds.

    If you really want to know what’s going to happen with Brexit, it might be best to ask someone down the pub. Researc...

    January 15, 2019
  • Study questions those who question GM foods

    Objections linked to those without science knowledge.

    Extreme opponents of genetically modified (GM) foods know the least, but think they know the most, a new study sugges...

    January 14, 2019
  • Teen screen use as harmful as potatoes

    Mental health impacts of digital tech have been exaggerated.

    The impact of screen time on the well-being of adolescents is too small to warrant policy change, according to a Brit...

    January 14, 2019
  • Harnessing electricity from bacteria

    One day microbes might power fuel cells and space missions.

    US engineers have reported progress in the quest to gather usable electricity from bacteria. Scientists know that ce...

    January 13, 2019
  • For budgies brains beat brawn in mating game

    Female birds prefer suitors that demonstrate clever behaviour.

    There’s interesting dating news from China. Brains beat looks in attracting birds. If you’re also a bird. Possibly. ...

    January 10, 2019
  • Weird worms challenge complexity argument

    New classification sheds light on evolution of simplification.

    Looking like a character from a gothic fantasy, a chaetognath. Credit: Creative Commons Japanese scientists have ...

    January 10, 2019
  • Getting into the head of an ichthyosaur

    Skull of giant marine animal modelled in three dimensions.

    An artist's impression of the ichthyosaur. Credit: Bob Nicholls (Thinktank, Birmingham Science Museum) British res...

    January 9, 2019
  • Ankylosaurs had long nasal passages

    Head plumbing was useful for keeping the brain cool.

    With their heavy armour and club tails, ankylosaurs were among the most rugged of dinosaurs, but it seems they also h...

    December 19, 2018
  • Nature journal nominates Top 10 people

    Campaigner & government minister make prestigious list.

    The journal Nature has named its Top 10 people who mattered in science in 2018, and there’s one controversial name on...

    December 18, 2018
  • In Game of Thrones being loyal is fatal

    Most GoT characters don’t have long and happy lives.

    This won’t be news to Game of Thrones devotees, but science has shown that loyalty is death in the popular TV series....

    December 13, 2018
  • Sleeping in Seattle

    For teens, starting school later brings multiple benefits.

    Starting the school day later means teenagers get more sleep, perform better academically and and in some cases are m...

    December 12, 2018
  • Defined: how to talk about ET

    Expert committee seeks consensus on astrobiology terms, with only limited success. Nick Carne rep...

    Whether or not you can hear people scream in space, there’s plenty of screaming, or at least disagreement, about spac...

    December 11, 2018
  • New light on opioid and driving

    Treatment-level medication less affecting than low-level alcohol.

    The risks of driving with treatment-level doses of opioids in your system appear to be quite low but it’s still best ...

    December 9, 2018
  • Watch: a gecko runs on water

    Reptile strategy could inspire swimming robot design.

    A gecko, running on water. Credit: Pauline Jennings This video illustrates a lovely example of making the best of ...

    December 9, 2018
  • AI gaming program smashes all comers, human and not

    Latest iteration of the Alpha system teaches itself several board games and aces them all. Nick C...

    Not happy with beating us at complex games, computers now want to belittle us.Last year Cosmos reported on the develo...

    December 6, 2018
  • Plague hit Europe before Bronze Age migrations

    5000-year-old remains tell new story for one of the great killers.

    Scientists have identified the oldest strain ever found of the Yersinia pestis bacteria that causes the plague. The ...

    December 6, 2018
  • Native New Yorkers

    The Big Apple contains a substantial native forest.

    In New York you can’t see the forests for the buildings, but the forests are there. The expansive yet overlooked "fo...

    December 6, 2018
  • Microplastics found in every turtle tested

    Animals from a range of areas all contained fibres.

    Yet more research has highlighted the escalating environmental threat posed by microplastics. British scientists fou...

    December 5, 2018
  • Greenland ice sheet melt ‘off the charts’

    Ice core data indicate huge increase, with worse predicted. Nick Carne reports.

    Surface melting across Greenland's ice sheet has gone dangerously into overdrive and shows no sign of abating, accord...

    December 5, 2018
  • Baby born via uterus transplant from deceased donor

    Healthy girl arrives after world-first procedure. Nick Carne reports.

    The first baby has been born following a uterus transplantation from a deceased donor, according to a case study from...

    December 4, 2018
  • Strange sperm signal species separation

    Swimmers can be very different, even from closely related lineages. Nick Carne reports.

    Scientists have discovered that sperm shape can be used to discriminate between even closely related mammal species –...

    December 4, 2018
  • The genome of Lonesome George

    Giant tortoise DNA gives hints to cancer resistance and ageing.

    Giant tortoises may grow big and old and ward off cancer because of their genes, a new study suggests. An internatio...

    December 3, 2018
  • 44,488 species of fungus and counting

    New compilation finds European names mask new types.

    Scientists have compiled the longest list yet of known North America fungi, with 44,488 entries covering the US, Cana...

    December 3, 2018
  • High plains drifters

    Tibetan Plateau colonised for 30,000 years

    People were living 4600 metres above sea level on the Tibetan Plateau at least 30,000 years ago, a new study has foun...

    November 29, 2018
  • Meet the gummy whale

    Smithsonian find could rewrite the history of baleen evolution.

    Filter-feeding, or baleen, whales have long been known to have evolved from earlier toothed species, but the transiti...

    November 29, 2018
  • Whales seen disguising themselves as ponds

    Humpbacks show fine flair for fooling fish.

    Credit: Science Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) off the coast of Canada’s Vancouver Island have been caug...

    November 29, 2018
  • Revealed: why humans don’t have hairy palms

    Researchers find a protein that blocks hair growth.

    We may finally have a clue to why humans don’t have hair on the undersides of hands and feet. In a paper published i...

    November 28, 2018
  • Predators predetermine the finding of Nemo

    Fish-anemone partnerships have evolved at least 55 times.

    If you can’t find Nemo, try looking where the anemones hang out. They’ve become great friends in what Australian rese...

    November 28, 2018
  • Bees take novel parentage to the extreme

    Flexibility in reproduction may be a key to colony survival.

    Some honeybees have what could politely be described as novel parental origins, according to new Australian research....

    November 28, 2018
  • Males can pass on mitochondrial DNA

    Thought to be an exclusively maternal process, in rare circumstances mtDNA can pass down the pate...

    Paternal transmission of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) may be possible, a new study suggests – contradicting the accepted...

    November 26, 2018
  • Reef-building corals are products of co-evolution

    A long history between corals and microbial communities.

    Corals and the microbes they host evolved together, researchers have found, providing important clues for reef manage...

    November 25, 2018
  • Protein clue to biological asymmetry

    Researchers identify a gene that makes organisms go all twisty. Nick Carne reports.

    The movement of a normal fruit fly larva (left) and one expressing Myosin 1D in its normally symmetrical epidermis. T...

    November 22, 2018
  • The 467 hazards of climate change

    Cumulative effect of threats may overwhelm systems.

    Society faces a much greater threat from climate change than anyone has previously suggested, according to a new repo...

    November 21, 2018
  • China’s missing Stone Age technique found

    Technical evolution responsible for advancing skills.

    New research challenges the conventional wisdom that a key stage in the evolution of stone tools in China relied on i...

    November 20, 2018
  • How skull-collecting ants entrap their prey

    Chemical mimicry the key to overpowering trap-jaw ants.

    The net is closing on the Formica archboldi gang, which has been leaving the dismembered remains of another ant speci...

    November 19, 2018
  • The industrial potential of wombat poo

    The cube-shaped excreta could have applications in industry.

    Wombats, the short-legged marsupials native to Australia, are the only mammals known to produce unique cube-shaped po...

    November 18, 2018
  • Design reports released for proposed China supercollider

    The biggest particle collider in the world moves one step closer to reality. Nick Carne reports.

    China’s plans to develop a next-generation particle collider have moved into a new phase with the release of a Concep...

    November 18, 2018
  • Darwin’s ‘abominable mystery’ more apparent

    Flowering plants appeared much earlier than thought.

    A three-dimensional reconstruction of Lijinganthus revoluta, found preserved in amber for 99 million years. Credit:...

    November 18, 2018
  • Renewed chemical weapons vigilance

    The implications of chemical research must be reviewed.

    Science must remain at the heart of global efforts to ensure chemical weapons do not re-emerge, British academics hav...

    November 15, 2018
  • Naples heading for ‘large volume eruption’

    Campi Flegrei may be revving up.

    A second study in just 18 months has hinted that the Campi Flegrei volcanic area in southern Italy may be starting to...

    November 14, 2018
  • Krill more resilient than thought

    Adult krill appear unharmed by upticks in ocean acidification.

    Antarctic krill may be more resilient in the face of climate change than we have assumed.  New Australian research s...

    November 13, 2018
  • Heated by the sun, cooled by space

    Scientists demonstrate that the hot sun and the chilly expanse of space can both be exploited for...

    Radiative cooling and solar heating can happily co-exist and even make each other more efficient, according to scient...

    November 8, 2018
  • Alan Turing’s equations explain shark skin

    Model explains patterning across vertebrate lineage.

    Alan Turing’s explanation for how modern animals developed their scales, feathers and hair may have even broader appl...

    November 7, 2018
  • Massive Congo forest loss driven by hands, not machines

    Study finds major wilderness will be cleared by the end of the century. Nick Carne reports.

    The forests of Africa’s Congo Basin are being ravaged largely by small-scale local clearing, which does not bode well...

    November 7, 2018
  • A new source of electrical energy

    Proof-of-concept holds great promise.

    It sounds like something from the 1960s, but the “bionic mushroom” could be a tantalising glimpse of the future. US ...

    November 7, 2018
  • Building better frogs’ legs

    Bioreactor prompts improved regrowth in legless amphibians.

    Scientists in the US have successfully trialled a new model for testing "electroceuticals" – devices that treat ailme...

    November 6, 2018
  • Pharmaceuticals found in stream wildlife

    Compounds move through the food chain, to unknown effect.

    Scientists have sobering new evidence of how manufactured chemicals are infiltrating the food chain. Aquatic animals...

    November 6, 2018
  • Wind farms are good for some animals

    Big turbines function as apex predators, researchers suggest.

    Wind farms appear to offer safe haven to lizards – at least in India. Researchers from the Indian Institute of Scien...

    November 5, 2018
  • Using AI to explain religious conflict

    Multidisciplinary team suggests that artificial intelligence might predict when disagreement tips...

    Can artificial intelligence help us explain why humans do what they do?An international team of cognitive, computer a...

    November 4, 2018
  • Tiny straws improve molecule delivery

    Materials scientists design faster, more precise method for gene editing and disease treatment at...

    US researchers have found what they believe is a better way to deliver molecules directly into human cells they want ...

    November 4, 2018
  • Martian wind makes rocket fuel

    Lab experiments show Red Planet whirlwinds can catalyse a key ingredient needed for powered space...

    One of the ingredients humans need to make in order to travel to Mars is already there in abundance. And now scientis...

    November 4, 2018
  • Even for the armed, there is safety in numbers

    Beetles with backsides from hell shelter with related species.

    Bombardier beetles, members of the genus Brachinus, are uniquely equipped to defend themselves but still prefer to se...

    November 1, 2018
  • Aerosol and greenhouse gas interactions determine frequency of extreme weather events

    Aerosol pollution might sometimes cool things down – but that’s not good news. Nick Carne reports.

    Pollution will both heat and cool the Earth’s atmosphere in the years ahead, but the overall result won’t be good, ac...

    November 1, 2018
  • Almost all of the Earth’s land and ocean wilderness has disappeared

    Mapping project reveals very few untouched spaces remain. Nick Carne reports.

    New research shows just how quickly the world's last wilderness areas are disappearing.An international team, led by ...

    October 31, 2018
  • Confirmed: a monster black hole at the heart of the Milky Way

    Long suspected, the existence of a supermassive black hole has now been ‘resoundingly’ proven. Ni...

    A simulation of material orbiting close to a black hole.ESO/Gravity Consortium/L. CalçadaThe evidence is now almost i...

    October 31, 2018
  • 95% of children’s free apps contain advertising

    Study raises concerns over marketers’ persuasive influence on children under five. Nick Carne rep...

    Advertising is worryingly ubiquitous in apps marketed to and played by children aged five and even younger, according...

    October 30, 2018
  • Polar geoengineering may exacerbate ocean warming

    Modelling sulfate aerosol scheme produces ambiguous outcomes. Nick Carne reports.

    As debate continues over the value or otherwise of using stratospheric sulfur injections to offset some of the advers...

    October 29, 2018
  • Gene means fish can recover lost stripes

    Cichlid markings and dog coat colours have much in common.

    German evolutionary biologists have found a way to add and remove stripes on East African fish called cichlids, provi...

    October 28, 2018
  • A mechanism for retina-linked hallucinations

    Visions linked to macular degeneration can be scary.

    Hallucinations linked to vision loss from macular degeneration are caused by abnormally heightened activity in the vi...

    October 28, 2018
  • Squeezing light a bright idea

    Researchers produce long-lived and directional “nanolight”. Nick Carne reports.

    An international team believes it has made an important breakthrough in the quest to harness light at the nano-scale....

    October 28, 2018
  • Australian Synchrotron leader honoured

    Andrew Peele among 25 newly appointed technology and engineering fellows.

    The director of the Australian Synchrotron, Andrew Peele, is one of 25 new Fellows of the Australian Academy of Techn...

    October 26, 2018
  • Confirmed: two galaxies near the Milky Way collided ‘recently’

    Astronomers find direct evidence of contact between the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds. Nick C...

    Two satellite galaxies of the Milky Way – the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) and the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) – col...

    October 26, 2018
  • Biblical literalism: Old and New testaments become source texts for style translation machine learning

    Computer scientists use multiple versions of the Bible to refine tricky adaptations. Nick Carne r...

    US researchers have turned to the Bible to develop an algorithm that can convert written works into different styles ...

    October 25, 2018
  • Glass sponges can handle the heat

    Deep-sea species thrive despite fluctuating temperatures.

    Glass sponges grow up tough in Canada. Studies show that unique aggregations of the deep-sea species Vazella pourtal...

    October 24, 2018
  • Microplastics found in human stools

    Pilot study finds plastics in poo samples from eight countries.

    Microplastics are all too common in the human gut, if a recent pilot study reflects the bigger picture. In a present...

    October 22, 2018
  • For plants, vigilance comes at a cost

    Energy expenditure leaves little for other purposes.

    Plants struggle to grow and reproduce when also primed to ward off invaders, a new US study suggests. In a classic c...

    October 22, 2018
  • Scientists uncover the brain area responsible for buffets

    Rat study finds unexpected neural activity connected to decisions about food. Nick Carne reports.

    We may soon have something specific to blame for our bad food choices. US neuroscientists working with rats have foun...

    October 21, 2018
  • Old age comes three years later for every generation

    Half a century of data reveals population ageing can be described as a moving front. Nick Carne r...

    The age at which we die has been slowly moving forward like a wave, and there is “no evidence” of an impending limit ...

    October 21, 2018
  • Earth’s core softer than thought

    New modelling offers insight into the planet’s deepest reaches. Nick Carne reports.

    Earth’s inner core is probably softer than previously thought.Seismologists from the Australian National University (...

    October 18, 2018
  • Da Vinci’s artistic talent was due to a bung eye

    The Renaissance master joins Rembrandt, Degas and Picasso in the strabismus club. Nick Carne repo...

    Leonardo da Vinci's artistic genius might in part have been the result of an eye disorder, according to a leading Bri...

    October 18, 2018
  • Before nerves, there were peptides

    Researchers map communication pathways in an organism that has no nervous system. Nick Carne repo...

    Placozoans reacting to peptides.University of ExeterAnimal nervous systems evolved from much more simple structures i...

    October 18, 2018
  • Father’s nicotine use affects future generations

    Mouse study implicates epigenetic changes in paternal sperm DNA. Nick Carne reports.

    As if we needed more reasons not to smoke, a new study suggests a father's exposure to nicotine may cause cognitive d...

    October 16, 2018
  • Sino-Dutch team claim cleaner coal-to-liquid fuel conversion

    Tech fix brings more efficiency and lower pollution. Nick Carne reports.

    A Sino-Dutch research team claims to have made an important breakthrough it says improves the financial and environme...

    October 14, 2018
  • Watch: an embryo on show

    Microscope provides unique inside view as a new life begins. Nick Carne reports.

    Embryonic mouse neural tubes, growing and folding.K. McDole et al./ Cell 2018A new microscope has given scientists th...

    October 14, 2018
  • Police and DNA may threaten privacy

    Proof-of-concept study set to prompt debate around privacy.

    Police in the US opened a can of worms – as well as making headlines – when they used data from a genealogy website t...

    October 11, 2018
  • Mice with two mums raise many questions

    Bi-maternal reproduction may cross ethical boundaries.

    Chinese researchers have bred healthy mice with two mums and no dads. They’ve had less success with dads alone, howev...

    October 11, 2018
  • Dinosaurs that lived in age-segregated groups

    Kids lived apart from their parents and even looked different.

    Young diplodocid dinosaurs may have lived separately from their parents, eaten more vegetables and even shown some ph...

    October 11, 2018
  • Researchers use Forrest Gump in brain study

    Tom Hanks is helping illuminate how we remember things.

    Watching the 1994 Tom Hanks movie Forrest Gump may have affected you in strange and unusual ways. British research s...

    October 8, 2018
  • Chemical moves from herbicide to hospital

    Research suggests a weed-killer could help fight fungal infections.

    A compound found in common herbicides may hold the key to saving millions of lives. International researchers say ch...

    October 8, 2018
  • The next flu pandemic will be modern

    Lessons to be learned from the worst ever outbreak 100 years ago.

    Medical researchers know more about influenza than they did a century ago, but the devastating global pandemic of 191...

    October 8, 2018
  • In the short-term, wind power could hike global warming

    Modelling finds long term positives come at the cost of more immediate negatives – but wind is st...

    Coal-fired power generation may have less of an impact on the environment in the short term than a heavy reliance on ...

    October 4, 2018
  • Call for a global microbial “Noah’s ark”

    Preserving gut diversity will save lives, researchers say, but only if worldwide action is taken ...

    A group of US scientists believes a global microbiota vault can protect the long-term health of humanity in much the ...

    October 4, 2018
  • Algae go “ping”, and that could be useful

    The discovery could provide a new measure for reef health.

    Gas bubbles released by marine algae during photosynthesis produce a distinct “ping” – a discovery that could aid sci...

    October 3, 2018
  • Two Nobels down and three to go

    The first female winner in 55 years.

    The first two Nobel Prizes for 2018 have been awarded, with a couple of firsts and an ironic twist. The 96-year-old ...

    October 3, 2018
  • For elephants, cracked skin is a good thing

    Crevices are more common in non-living materials.

    The channels visible on the skin of the African bush elephant (Loxodonta africana) are physical cracks caused by bend...

    October 2, 2018
  • Gene-tinkering improves maize yield

    Tweaking photosynthesis promises more robust crops.

    Australian and US scientists have found a way to increase maize productivity by targeting the enzyme behind photosynt...

    October 2, 2018
  • A multi-legged mini-robot made for drug delivery

    Watching nature inspires biomedical engineers to develop a multi-leg design. Nick Carne reports.

    The newly designed soft robot transports a medicine capsule across the inside of a model stomach.City University of H...

    October 2, 2018
  • Human skin is a battlefield

    Mutated skin cells are subject to savage evolutionary pressure, suppressing cancer growth. Nick C...

    Human skin is a battlefield for mutated cells and their clones – and that is a great advantage to us, according to Br...

    October 1, 2018
  • There really are snakes on planes

    Snakes devastated Guam’s birds and have Hawaii in their sights.

    A species of snake has become one of nature’s most successful invaders by hitchhiking, a team of international scient...

    October 1, 2018
  • How lizards do a good ‘wheelie’

    Movement at the right time gets species on two legs more quickly.

    Some lizards can start running on two legs more quickly than others because of the way they move their bodies and tai...

    September 30, 2018
  • Bird flu switches from chickens to ducks

    Unexpected mutations enable pathogen to adopt a new host.

    The H7N9 pathogen that triggered the 2013 global bird flu pandemic has pivoted away from chickens and has now colonis...

    September 27, 2018
  • Meet the grandparent of the Brontosaurus

    An ancestor of one of the world’s favourite dinos.

    The largest vertebrates to ever walk the Earth were doing so as far back as the Early Jurassic period, more than 200 ...

    September 27, 2018
  • Virtual autopsies beat real ones

    Non-invasive autopsies are more accurate than conventional ones.

    Dutch pathologists believe a less invasive approach to autopsies may be more acceptable to families and actually prod...

    September 25, 2018
  • Glyphosate linked to bee deaths

    Concerns over the impact of the world’s most common weed-killer.

    There’s more bad news for glyphosate, the active ingredient of Roundup, with a recent study suggesting the widely use...

    September 24, 2018
  • Mummified penguins a sobering pointer to the future

    Antarctic graveyard linked to climate patterns that are becoming more common. Nick Carne reports.

    An ancient graveyard containing hundreds of mummified Adélie penguins (Pygoscelis adeliae) in Antarctica tells a tale...

    September 23, 2018
  • A wearable antenna may just be a spray away

    US engineers believe a material called MXene could unlock the potential of smart, connected techn...

    Installing antennas could soon be as easy as “applying some bug spray” if US engineers are on the money. In research ...

    September 23, 2018
  • Questions raised about swine flu vaccine

    Study finds lack of transparency of frequency of adverse events.

    Serious questions have been raised about the safety of one of the vaccines used to fight the global H1N1 "swine flu" ...

    September 20, 2018
  • Gender roles in war play out by the numbers

    When evolution & mathematics combine, bloodshed results.

    The reason warfare is overwhelmingly conducted by men rather than women may lie in brute mathematics, researchers say...

    August 19, 2018
  • Marine heatwaves set to soar

    Modelling suggests damaging hot periods in oceans will increase in number and intensity. Nick Car...

    Marine heatwaves are becoming more frequent and intense because of global warming, and the grim trend is likely to co...

    August 15, 2018
  • Tarantula venom offers epilepsy treatment clue

    One species could give an answer to a childhood disease.

    An international team led by Australian scientists has used a peptide isolated from the venom of the West African tar...

    August 8, 2018
  • Lack of GM in wheat puts global crop at risk

    A genetic fix is in reach, but the will to take action is lacking.

    Genetic modification of wheat for disease resistance could help stabilise global food production if the will can be f...

    August 2, 2018

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