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Pulsating white dwarf spotted From up in orbit, NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) has recorded an extremely rare sight: a white dwarf star suddenly turning on and off. White dwarfs are stellar corpses, formed when stars like our Sun run out of fuel to burn and slowly begin to cool and die. This particular … Continue reading You may have missed…

5 remarkable reptile facts herpetologists want you to know

Today is Reptile Awareness Day! We reached out to our lizard-loving scientist friends to learn their favourite reptile facts to bring them to you to celebrate the day. 1. Big and venomous The Komodo dragon is venomous! And the extinct giant relative Megalania was the largest venomous animal to have ever lived. Brian Fry, University … Continue reading 5 remarkable reptile facts herpetologists want you to know

Illegal reptiles smuggled into Australia after US popularity

When it comes to importing illegal reptiles, Australia’s trade closely follows US trends, according to an analysis published in Conversation Letters. A team of researchers from the University of Adelaide and University of Aberdeen, UK, compared 75 species of live reptiles illegally smuggled into Australia in the last two decades. They found that the majority … Continue reading Illegal reptiles smuggled into Australia after US popularity

Smart new snakey moves

Brown tree snakes (Boiga irregularis) appear to have evolved a whole new way of moving that could help explain how they have decimated bird populations in the Mariana Island of Guam, according to a new paper published in the journal Current Biology. They use a lasso-like motion to propel themselves up smooth vertical cylinders, which … Continue reading Smart new snakey moves

Genomic secrets of a rare reptile

Scientists have sequenced the genome of the tuatara – a rare reptile found only in New Zealand whose ancestors roamed the Earth with dinosaurs. It is 67% bigger than the human genome, they say, and the genomic architecture is unlike anything previously reported. The project was an international collaboration led by NZ’s University of Otago … Continue reading Genomic secrets of a rare reptile