Latest Science


Reconstructing the Neanderthals' genetic history

Advances in technology continue to improve our knowledge of the interaction between early humans and Neanderthals. New research suggests that all late Neanderthals separated from a common ancestor from Siberia about 150,000 years ago and that their relatedness is correlated with geographic proximity. Analysis of the findings shows that the bulk of Neanderthal gene flow into early modern humans originated from one or more populations that diverged from the late Neanderthals that were analysed before […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Nick Carne from Australia's Science Channel
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More of the massive Totten Glacier is floating than thought, increasing sea level threat

New measurements bring bad news about a gigantic Antarctic glacier. Much of the Totten Glacier – an enormous Antarctic ice structure more than twice the size of the Australian state of Victoria – has been found to be floating on the sea rather than resting on bedrock. The surprise discovery, made by a team of scientists led by glaciologist Ben Galton-Fenzi, means the melting glacier may be at a greater risk of melting due to […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Andrew Masterson from Australia's Science Channel
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Even kindergarten kids care about how they are perceived

Children start early in worrying about their reputation and how they’re seen by others. Children as young as five care about their image and reputation and behave accordingly, according to new research. Psychologists Ike Silver and Alex Shaw suggest that children take leads from how those around them behave, including adults who highly value their reputations. “Psychologists have been long interested in how we construct our identities and the sorts of strategies that we use […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Nick Carne from Australia's Science Channel
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Tracking the elusive echidna with citizen science

You can help scientists better understand and conserve one of our iconic native monotremes. University of Adelaide researchers are behind a citizen science project to address important questions about echidna numbers and distribution and to obtain material for molecular analysis. The Echidna Conservation Science Initiative or EchidnaCSI researchers have developed a dedicated mobile phone app for instant upload of photos and location, and input of details of the immediate environment and the state, size and […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Lisa Bailey from The University of Adelaide
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How obesity dulls the sense of taste

Being overweight dulls the taste of food by changing the structure of the tongue, according to new research in mice. Obesity affects the ability to taste food because it actually reduces the number of taste buds on the tongue, according to researchers at Cornell University. Their work suggests that a low-grade inflammatory response to a high-fat diet causes a disruption in the balancing mechanisms of taste bud maintenance and renewal. Previous studies have shown that […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Nick Carne from Australia's Science Channel
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Cars may show the way to healthier, tastier BBQ

Researchers have taken inspiration from the automobile industry to create healthier, tastier smoked food. If you want one of the best tasting bits of meat you’ll ever eat, smoking is totally the way to go. Cooked low and slow, infusing the delicious delicate flavours from the wood smoke, and coming out juicy with that red ring of perfection, there’s no doubting smoke makes meat sing. Get some veggies in there as well and you’re on […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel
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Where does pedestrian's death leave autonomous cars?

A woman in Arizona has been killed during an Uber autonomous car test, but that’s unlikely to change the future. Yesterday, around 3,400 people died on the roads around the world. One of those deaths involved a driverless car. Today, another 3,400 people will die on the roads. But none of those will involve a driverless car. An incident on Sunday night in Tempe, Arizona has seen a pedestrian struck and killed by an autonomous vehicle undergoing […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel

LSD makes a comeback, in the name of science

Swiss scientists have been making good use of LSD, the infamous recreational drug of the ‘60s. A human brain imaging study at the University of Zurich has found that the drug of choice during the 60’s, LSD or lysergic acid diethylamide, can dissolve the ego because it changes the activity in brain regions involved in differentiating between the self and others. This suggests a possible new approach for treating social impairments such as depression or […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Nick Carne from Australia's Science Channel
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Your face gives away more than you realise

Lady Gaga bragged of hers, but even your best poker face might unconsciously betray your feelings Keeping a “poker face” may not make you as inscrutable as you think and hope. Even if you don’t move a muscle, your emotions may be clearly on show. Research at Ohio State University has found we can correctly identify another person’s feelings up to 75 per cent of the time based solely on subtle shifts in blood flow […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Nick Carne from Australia's Science Channel
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Seed collection sheds light on earliest African agriculture

How crops were selected before formal farming. A collection of wild cereal seeds found in a rock shelter in southwest Libya gives a unique insight into long-term plant manipulation and cultivation before the domestic agriculture. The site, called Takarkori, is desert now, but thousands of years ago was part of a lush grassland expanse dubbed the “green Sahara”. Dating evidence shows the site was occupied by humans for around 4,000 years, during which time the seeds […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Andrew Masterson
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Where to sit on a plane to avoid getting sick

Planes might seem like a hotbed of infectious diseases, but now we know how they spread around aircraft. Every year, 3 billion people take flight worldwide. With increasing demand for air travel in China, the sub-continent and Africa, that number will steadily increase in the coming years. While it might mean more flight options for your next getaway, it also increases the chances of infectious diseases spreading around the globe. Despite sensational media stories and […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel

Space pic of the week: The Stellar Nursery

The European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope in Chile captured this image of a region rife with stars in the making. The OmegaCAM camera on ESO’s VLT Survey Telescope has captured this glittering view of the stellar nursery called Sharpless 29. The region of sky pictured is a region of interstellar clouds of ionised gas, rife with star formation. The dust and gas clouds in this region reflect, absorb, and re-emit the light of hot […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel
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Our complex past with the Denisovans saw us interbreed twice

Scientists are adding more pieces to the puzzle of our two hominid cousins. Just weeks after we learned of the artistic ability of the Neanderthals, a new study suggests a more diverse genetic history than previously thought between the Denisovans and modern humans. In fact, we interbred not once but twice. When Denisovans were first revealed – as recently as 2010 – as a species quite distinct from Neanderthals (thanks to an important discovery by […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Nick Carne
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Graphene finds a new use – as hair dye

 Graphene is often heralded as the wonder material for the future. But researchers have come up with an altogether more mundane use for it Imagine a hair dye that is non-toxic, non-damaging and lasts through many washes without fading. Great. How about if it was also anti-static, reducing the risk of constantly having that wind-blown look? Even better. And just for good measure, it could open up new opportunities for hair, such as turning it into […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Nick Carne from Australia's Science Channel
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Why we must make time for sleep

We already have one of the key ingredients for a longer life. On the eve of World Sleep Day, we ask why we aren’t using sleep to its full potential? In his infamous Odyssey, Homer is quoted as saying “there is a time for many words, and there is also a time for sleep.” The problem is that time for sleep seems to be a low priority, and 50 years of research suggests that has […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Australia's Science Channel Editors
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Are we really ready to take advantage of AI in healthcare?

AI will revolutionise healthcare, but there are a host of ethical issues most of us haven’t even thought of. It’s hard not to be excited about artificial intelligence, it promises to completely revolutionise our lives in ways that we can’t even predict now. One of the most powerful ways it will change the future is in healthcare, crunching health data to improve diagnostics and help doctors make better decisions for their patients. Already we’ve seen […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel

Drugs may bring a new option for menopausal women

A new class of experimental drugs has been shown to significantly reduce the number and severity of hot flushes in menopausal women. The new treatment raises hopes that it could be a much-needed alternative to Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). New in-depth analysis of data collected from a clinical trial last year shows that the drug known as MLE4901 had a significant impact – and much more quickly than first thought. And as an added bonus, participants’ […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Nick Carne
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Quantum physics comes in from the cold

Canadian researchers have developed a new way to create a quantum effect, paving the way for ‘warmer’ quantum technologies. Quantum physics is a dynamic and exciting field, with its technological applications promising, among other things, vastly quicker and more powerful computers. But the quantum world is also a tricky place, filled with complex phenomena that continue to defy complete understanding. One such phenomenon is “many-body localisation”, a state caused when quantum interactions trap particles in […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Lauren Fuge
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Whipworms hijack host guts to keep numbers low

The colonisation of a host by a pathogen – whether that be a virus, a bacterium or a large, complex parasite – involves a gruesome trade-off. If colonisation of a host by a pathogen is fast, furious and uncontrolled – as in the case of Ebola, for instance – the host dies in a very short period of time. This, in turn, results in the death of the pathogen and severely diminished opportunities to find […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Andrew Masterson
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Ocean acidification slows rate of coral growth

Researchers test lab theory on section of Great Barrier Reef – with alarming results. Ocean acidification makes it harder for corals to grow. As CO2 concentrations in our atmosphere rise, the gas dissolves into the world’s oceans, producing carbonic acid. In more acid conditions it’s harder for corals to grow by building their carbonate frameworks. Not only is it more difficult to grow, existing structures can also start to dissolve. What happens when coral reefs are exposed […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Lisa Bailey from Australia's Science Channel
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E-cigarette claims go up in smoke

E-cigarettes may not be the saviour from smoking-related diseases, according to two new pieces of research. The sale of e-cigarettes is booming around the world. However, health experts still aren’t quite sure yet if e-cigarette use results in more benefit than harm at the population level. New research has shown that it could be all smoke and mirrors – vaping has the potential to reverse years of health efforts and increase the harm caused by […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel
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Even our cells show a gender bias

Nanomedicines must take sex into account. The difference between males and females is deeper than even movies and reality TV might have us believe. We’re talking cellular level. New research from North America has found that cells from men and women respond differently to the reprogramming techniques used to enhance the ability of the cells to differentiate into a greater variety of cell types. This helps fill an important information gap and may eventually help […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Bill Condie
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Stephen Hawking dies, aged 76

Professor Stephen Hawking passes away peacefully at home in Cambridge. The wheelchair-bound physicist Stephen Hawking was an inspiration to scientists and the public alike around the world. He revolutionised our understanding of physics and the universe, and will stand alongside Einstein, Newton and Franklin as some of the greatest minds in history. His children, Lucy, Robert and Tim, said in a statement “We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today. “He was […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel
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Say goodnight to the inflight lightning strike

A new system may reduce the chance of your flight being struck. After months of work you’re finally on holidays, sitting in 32A, catching up on the latest Marvel film and wondering just how much training you’d need to do to match Chris Hemsworth’s physique. Suddenly there is a flash through the window next to you, and did you hear a thud or was it your seatmate’s jaw hitting the floor as the camera pans […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel

Astronomers discover galaxies spin like clockwork

From the biggest to the smallest, galaxies all rotate at the same rate. Astronomers have discovered that all galaxies rotate once every billion years, no matter how big they are. The Earth spinning around on its axis once gives us the length of a day, and a complete orbit of the Earth around the Sun gives us a year. “It’s not Swiss watch precision,” said Professor Gerhardt Meurer from the UWA node of the International […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: ICRAR Outreach from The International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research
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