How young do baby birds recognise family?

When do baby birds learn to sing? According to new research, the birds begin to take notes while still shell-bound. A group of researchers based at Flinders University have found that even inside the egg, the heartbeats of baby birds change when their parents’ calls are played to them. “This research will hopefully inspire more … Continue reading How young do baby birds recognise family?

More to learn about evolution from Galápagos finches

Finches on the Galápagos Islands have become famous because of the subtle variations in species between islands. These variations represent different selective pressures, showing the birds evolved in response to the environment. The Galápagos finches, also known as Darwin’s finches, have been scrutinised since the 19th century, but according to a team of researchers from … Continue reading More to learn about evolution from Galápagos finches

Manipulating molecules with fluids

Fluids are fiendishly unpredictable, but fluid dynamics is a very useful area of science. With a machine called a Vortex Fluidic Device, it’s possible to manipulate molecules in very neat and specific ways – like refolding proteins to unboil an egg. “How fluid flows is one of the grand challenges of science,” says Colin Raston, … Continue reading Manipulating molecules with fluids

The staggering cost of biological invasion

Invasive species have cost the planet US$1.28 trillion over the past 50 years, according to a new analysis published in the journal Nature. The team of authors warn these costs will continue to soar unless prevention and control is improved. The research reveals that biological invasion has hindered crop yields, damaged national infrastructure, and imperilled … Continue reading The staggering cost of biological invasion

Ancient tree-climbing kangaroo discovered

Researchers have discovered an extinct tree-climbing kangaroo species, which boasted powerful hind- and forelimbs, grasping hands and strongly curved claws. The new discovery reveals more about the divergent evolutionary pathways of ancient kangaroos, as well as potentially rewriting the story of the changing climate and ecology of ancient Western Australia. The new study, led by … Continue reading Ancient tree-climbing kangaroo discovered

Rare bone tool artefact revealed

Analysis of a crafted bone point unearthed on Ngarrindjeri country in South Australia is shedding new light on the behaviour and tool use of First Nations Australians, according to a new paper published in the journal Australian Archaeology. The point was crafted out of kangaroo or wallaby bone, and later discarded or lost in the … Continue reading Rare bone tool artefact revealed

150-year-old settlement rediscovered

The oldest known Australian example of a communal Irish settlement type has been discovered in country South Australia. An extensive geophysical study of the Baker’s Flat Irish settlement site near Kapunda has found the first – and possibly largest – clachan in Australia, says archaeologist Susan Arthure from Flinders University. It is also thought to … Continue reading 150-year-old settlement rediscovered

Indigenous arrival huge planned migration

The size of the first population of people needed to arrive, survive, and thrive in what is now Australia is revealed in two studies. It took more than 1,000 people to form a viable population. But this was no accidental mass migration, as our work shows the first arrivals must have been planned. Our data … Continue reading Indigenous arrival huge planned migration

Koala populations hanging by a thread

New tracking has shown that koala populations are being impacted by habitat loss, which leaves them facing possible extinction. A team of researchers from the ARC Centre of Excellence in Australian Biodiversity and Heritage (CABAH) pieced together the records of koala populations and their food trees up to 130,00 years ago — and projected their … Continue reading Koala populations hanging by a thread

Discovering how a local stream became less salty

  Dryland salinity is a devastating problem in Australian agriculture, causing ongoing environmental and economic problems. Flinders University researchers have now discovered that a stream in a deforested Adelaide Hills catchment shows a decreasing salinity trend over the past 28 years, pointing to possible long-term remediation of salt-affected land. The results from the river have … Continue reading Discovering how a local stream became less salty

New bee species discovered

South Australian researchers have discovered 26 new species of native bees from the outback of Australia. The new species belong to the subgenus Colletellus in the genus Leioproctus in the family Colletidae – the group of the silk bees. The bees in this family cover the inside of their nest with self-produced silk to protect … Continue reading New bee species discovered