What you might have missed

Air pollution linked to psychiatric illness, a fossilised primate skull and the issue of fracking – here are some highlights from a week in science.  

Blooms of a tiny algae called coccolithophores near the Falkland Islands, but they're not always where we expect them to be. Read the full story here. 


Here are a few stories we particularly enjoyed this week. Click on the links to read them in full. You can also see all the week's yarns here.

Lifting the lid on primate brains

A fossilised primate skull the size of a chicken egg has yielded insights into how primate brains – including our own – evolved.

The 20-million-year-old near-complete skull is a rare specimen. It belongs to Chilecebus carrascoensis, a primate that scampered around the Chilean Andes during the Miocene.

Read the full story here.

Could air pollution contribute to psychiatric illness?

Poor air quality has been associated with higher rates of bipolar disorder and major depression in observational research involving more than 150 million people in the US and Denmark.

Read the full story here.

For faster photosynthesis, add more protein

Australian and British scientists say they have found a way to speed up photosynthesis in some plants, potentially boosting production of crops such as maize and sorghum.

Read the full story here.

To frack or not to frack

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

Less than a week after one study implicated it in a significant recent increase in atmospheric methane levels, another suggests that it has a much lesser impact on groundwater than conventional oil and gas production.

Read the full story here.

Linguistic diversity begins with our palates

The different accents of the world may have their origins in the shapes of our mouths, according to new research.

An international linguistics team has found that variations in the layout of the hard palate – the bony roof of the mouth – influence how people from different ethnic backgrounds pronounce vowel sounds.

Read the full story here.

Take that, Jupiter

Sometime near the dawn of the Solar System, Jupiter appears to have been clobbered by a Neptune-sized planet, in an impact so intense it penetrated all the way to Jupiter’s core, shattering it.

Read the full story here.

And here's our image of the week

The manipulator arm of the remotely operated vehicle Jason samples a stream of fluid from a hydrothermal vent.

Chris German/WHOI/NSF, NASA/ROV Jason 2012 / Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Scientists know methane is released from deep-sea vents, but its source has long been a mystery. Now a team from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, US, may have the answer.

Read the full story here.

To view all this week's featured images, click here.

  1. https://cosmosmagazine.com/latest
  2. https://cosmosmagazine.com/palaeontology/lifting-the-lid-on-primate-brains
  3. https://cosmosmagazine.com/climate/could-air-pollution-contribute-to-psychiatric-illness
  4. https://cosmosmagazine.com/biology/for-faster-photosynthesis-add-more-protein
  5. https://cosmosmagazine.com/geoscience/to-frack-or-not-to-frack
  6. https://cosmosmagazine.com/biology/linguistic-diversity-begins-with-our-palates
  7. https://cosmosmagazine.com/space/take-that-jupiter
  8. https://cosmosmagazine.com/earth-sciences/chemical-energy-created-by-geology
  9. https://cosmosmagazine.com/sections/image-of-the-day
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