What you might have missed

The ape-like face of one of our earliest ancestors, the subtle but important differences between human and mouse brains, and bacteria holding their own against mozzies – here are some highlights from a week in science. 

Scientists think they know why birds such as the male superb fairy-wren (Malurus cyaneus) change their  feathers - and their colours - twice a year. Read the full story here.


Here's a snapshot of 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.

Ape-like face of early human ancestor revealed

The ape-like face of one of our earliest known human ancestors has been revealed for the first time, thanks to the discovery of a nearly complete skull in Ethiopia.

The cranium – the skull minus its lower jaw – belongs to Australopithecus anamensis, and its owner lived in the Afar basin in Ethiopia around 3.8 million years ago.

Read the full story here.

Tattoo needles leave more than just ink

Even clean needles may cause problems for people with tattoos, new research suggests.

It shows that particles that wear from the needle during the tattooing process could be responsible for some of the allergies usually blamed on the inks or poor sterilisation.

Read the full story here.

Similar brains but with differences that matter

The most detailed study of its kind has found human brains are remarkably similar to mouse brains. But it also found subtle differences that could explain why many psych drugs that show promise in mouse studies don’t work in people.

Read the full story here.

Miniature robo-snakes might soon inch through human brains

Perching exactly at the intersection of amazing and deeply creepy, tiny snake-like robots may soon be used to perform complex brain surgery.

Read the full story here.

Bacteria v mozzies. Bacteria holding their own

Bacteria found to block the transmission of mosquito-borne infections show long-term viability as a biocontrol agent, alleviating concern that this benefit could diminish over time, according to a study published in the journal Nature Microbiology.

Read the full story here.

Crows probably shouldn't have fries with that

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

A new study suggests that a diet of human foods such as discarded cheeseburgers is giving crows living in urban areas in the US higher blood cholesterol levels than their rural cousins.

Read the full story here.

And here's our image of the week:

Two telescopes are better than one to capture some space action.


NASA has released something of a greatest hits package for its Spitzer Space Telescope.

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/ape-like-face-of-early-human-ancestor-revealed
  3. https://cosmosmagazine.com/biology/tattoo-needles-leave-more-than-just-ink
  4. https://cosmosmagazine.com/biology/similar-brains-with-crucial-differences
  5. https://cosmosmagazine.com/technology/miniature-robo-snakes-might-soon-inch-through-human-brains
  6. https://cosmosmagazine.com/biology/bacteria-v-mossies-bacteria-holding-their-own
  7. https://cosmosmagazine.com/biology/crows-probably-shouldn-t-have-fries-with-that
  8. https://cosmosmagazine.com/space/a-space-masterpiece-remembered
  9. https://cosmosmagazine.com/sections/image-of-the-day
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