Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

How Do Hybrid Species Overcome Genome Shock?
How do hybrid species like cotton and ligers combine different genes, proteins and chromosomes, and can this knowledge be exploited for agriculture?
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moa
A Solid Grip on the Moa Extinction
Were humans responsible for the extinction of New Zealand’s moa, or were they already in decline?
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 Credit: BirdImages/iStockphoto
Flower Evolution from the Birds to the Bees
Walking around in the Australian bush we can see a dazzling array of different flower colours, but have you ever wondered how and why these evolved?
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New Ideas about the Neanderthal Extinction
Were modern humans so superior that they drove Neanderthals to extinction, or did their lonely existence leave them genetically vulnerable?
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Credit: travenian /iStockphoto
Did Standing Up Drive Human Evolution?
Watching a toddler learn to walk has led to a new hypothesis that bipedalism drove the evolution of the human brain.
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Volcanoes Sheltered Life through Ice Ages
Researchers studying the diversity of life in Antarctica have found surprising evidence that many plants and animals survived past ice ages by huddling close to warm volcanoes.
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Credit: agsandrew/iStockphoto
A Catalyst for Life
A chemical found in hair bleach may have catalysed life, and can even explain why new life is no longer being created from non-living building blocks on modern Earth.
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Conditions for Creation
A sequence of the world’s oldest rocks in the depths of the Mariana Trench indicates that both plate tectonics and life may have commenced on Earth 4.4 billion years ago.
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Were modern humans so superior that they drove Neanderthals to extinction, or did their lonely existence leave them genetically vulnerable?
FEATURES - In depth articles on current research in Australia and abroad.
A sequence of the world’s oldest rocks in the depths of the Mariana Trench indicates that both plate tectonics and life may have commenced on Earth 4.4 billion years ago.
Credit: agsandrew/iStockphoto
A chemical found in hair bleach may have catalysed life, and can even explain why new life is no longer being created from non-living building blocks on modern Earth.
Researchers studying the diversity of life in Antarctica have found surprising evidence that many plants and animals survived past ice ages by huddling close to warm volcanoes.
Credit: travenian /iStockphoto
Watching a toddler learn to walk has led to a new hypothesis that bipedalism drove the evolution of the human brain.
 Credit: BirdImages/iStockphoto
Walking around in the Australian bush we can see a dazzling array of different flower colours, but have you ever wondered how and why these evolved?
moa
Were humans responsible for the extinction of New Zealand’s moa, or were they already in decline?
How do hybrid species like cotton and ligers combine different genes, proteins and chromosomes, and can this knowledge be exploited for agriculture?
ONLINE FEATURES
Differences in metabolism explain why humans evolved brains while apes evolved brawn.
New research supports this claim that particular genes influence sexuality.
New understanding of the genes involved in taste perception and food preferences could lead to personalised nutrition plans effective not just in weight loss but in avoiding diseases.
The WA Supreme Court has dismissed an organic farmer’s claims for damages from his neighbour’s genetically-modified canola crop.
What happens to CSIRO when the federal government decides to strip away A$111 million over four years from its A$733 million annual contribution to the organisation’s budget? We are beginning to find out.
The top ten species of 2014 have been released by the International Institute for Species Exploration.
conSCIENCE - Scientific issues of public interest
People are more likely to support climate change mitigation when they are first confronted with the local adaptations that will be required.
QUANDARY - Bioethical issues raised by new technology
If software becomes intelligent, what are the ethics of creating, modifying and deleting it from our hard drives?
NEUROPSY – Adventures in neuroscience
Crying Wolf
A new review offers a modern perspective on clinical lycanthropy and other delusions of animal metamorphoses.
THE FIT - How lifestyle affects health
A global report gives a gold medal to Australia’s community sporting facilities yet finds that our kids are the second-least active in the world.
THE BITTER PILL - Examining the science in medical claims
Needless Treatment of Pets
The emergence of complementary and alternative medicine in veterinary clinics is a serious threat to animal welfare and the reputation of veterinarians.
EUREKA - Quirky experiments and conclusions
A PhD student has subjected himself to repeated bee stings over 38 days to compare the most painful places to be stung.
THE NAKED SKEPTIC - A critical eye on myths and pseudoscience
Darwin’s Aussie Epiphany
Long before he struck upon his theory of natural selection, Charles Darwin experienced a revelation while exploring the Blue Mountains.
SIMON SAYS - Commentary by award-winning journalist Simon Grose
Driving with Clive
Science could be promoted to the front row of the political agenda by advising the under-resourced Senators who hold the balance of power.
THE FOSSIL FILE - Insights from new discoveries in palaeontology
A synchrotron scan of a 400 million-year-old fish has revealed how far back our own facial structures evolved, and a 28 million-year-old toothed whale fossil has revealed the origins of echolocation in modern whales.
OUT OF THIS WORLD - Space and astronomy news
Close, Cold Neighbour of Sun
The coldest brown dwarf ever known has been discovered only 7.2 light-years away.
LOWE TECH - Ian Lowe examines the role of science in public policy
While road funding regulations remain messy, the Abbott government has supported a second Sydney airport over a high speed rail line linking the east coast cities.
EXPERT OPINION - Experts comment on scientific claims made in the news
The Western Australian Supreme Court has dismissed an organic farmer’s claims for damages from his neighbour’s genetically-modified canola crop, which caused him to lose organic certification for more than half of his property for almost 3 years.
DIRECTIONS - Science policy issues that affect our future
Strategic investment in technology, science and engineering innovation is required.
ECO LOGIC - New ways to protect biodiversity
Conventional approaches to conservation can learn from complex military decisions in Afghanistan.
AUSTRALASIAN SKY - This month's star chart
This Month's Star Chart
Your map of the night sky for June 2014.
UP CLOSE – a podcast from the University of Melbourne.
Bioengineer Prof Donald Ingber discusses how three-dimensional models of living human organs can advance our understanding of human physiology in ways that animal models can’t.