Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Credit: Michael Johnson, US Fish and Wildlife Service
A Pri¢e for Wildlife
Can market-based incentives and private ownership of wildlife remedy shortfalls in government funding for conservation?
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Oz Mammal Genomics
A large project to sequence the genomes of Australia’s mammals will provide the first complete picture of their interrelationships and evolutionary history – and aid their conservation.
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Were Termites the World’s First Farmers?
New trace fossils from the African Rift Valley reveal evidence for the origins of agriculture, not by humans but by insects.
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Presumed Guilty
A study of 100 cases of doping in sport has concluded that the system is flawed.
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Credit: Dmitry Lobanov/Adobe
Why Size Matters at Birth
A large genetic study has determined why small babies are at greater risk of disease as adults.
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Credit: Peter McDonald
Something New, but Old, from Australia’s Dead Heart
The identification of an ancient gecko species discovered hiding in Central Australia has provided new insights into how and when Australia’s deserts began to form 10 million years ago.
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Credit: Aidenvironment/CC BY-SA 2.0
It Pays to Grow Trees
When economic forces threaten irreplaceable ecosystems in developing countries it makes sense to employ economic incentives that place a value on forests.
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Credit: Google Earth
Roads to Ruin
Can we build roads that benefit people while not destroying nature?
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COVER STORY
A large project to sequence the genomes of Australia’s mammals will provide the first complete picture of their interrelationships and evolutionary history – and aid their conservation.
FEATURES
Credit: Michael Johnson, US Fish and Wildlife Service
Can market-based incentives and private ownership of wildlife remedy shortfalls in government funding for conservation?
Echidnas move in the wild at an average speed of 1.3 km/h
Activity loggers have revealed that echidnas turn over 200 cubic metres of soil each year, making them one of Australia’s most important remaining ecosystem engineers.
New trace fossils from the African Rift Valley reveal evidence for the origins of agriculture, not by humans but by insects.
A study of 100 cases of doping in sport has concluded that the system is flawed.
Credit: Dmitry Lobanov/Adobe
A large genetic study has determined why small babies are at greater risk of disease as adults.
Resurrection plants can survive for years in an air-dry state before growing at full capacity when the rain comes. How do they do it, and can this trait be transferred to improve the tolerance of crops to drought, heat, salinity and infection?
Michael Aitken made his name developing software to detect stockmarket fraud, and now believes he can save the health sector $20 billion by detecting fraud and waste.
Credit: Peter McDonald
The identification of an ancient gecko species discovered hiding in Central Australia has provided new insights into how and when Australia’s deserts began to form 10 million years ago.
Credit: Aidenvironment/CC BY-SA 2.0
When economic forces threaten irreplaceable ecosystems in developing countries it makes sense to employ economic incentives that place a value on forests.
UP FRONT
An Orwellian dystopia is upon us when scientists are muzzled and their expertise disappears into a memory hole.
conSCIENCE
Credit: Google Earth
Can we build roads that benefit people while not destroying nature?
NEUROPSY
Individual differences in personality have been associated with structural variation in the cortex.
QUANDARY
Four patients with locked-in syndrome have communicated that they are happy as long as they receive adequate care at home.
LOWE TECH
The merry-go-round of science ministers raises concerns about instability.
OUT OF THIS WORLD
The universe has ten times more galaxies than previously thought, and the Earth may have had more than one moon.
THE BITTER PILL
As scientific literacy declines and “post-truth” and “alternative facts” take centre stage, how can you ensure that you get proper health treatments that will actually do some good?
THE NAKED SKEPTIC
Be prepared to face these straw man arguments when arguing with climate change deniers, anti-vaccination advocates and creationists.
UP CLOSE
Molecular biologist Prof Jacob Corn describes how gene editing is carried out with CRISPR-Cas9. He explains why this technology has the potential of revolutionizing the treatment of diseases such as sickle cell anemia and malaria. Besides human health, CRISPR-Cas9 can also contribute to improving agriculture and, consequently, food security. Jacob also discusses the possible ethical challenges posed by the widespread application of gene editing.
ECO LOGIC
Preventing the spread of cane toads into Western Australia’s Pilbara could cost less than $100,000 per year.
DIRECTIONS
We need to have a critical mass of women in key roles.
AUSTRALASIAN SKY
Your map of the night sky this month.