Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

evolution of man
Seven Discoveries that Changed the Course of Human Evolution
Seven discoveries made by our ancient ancestors were key cultural drivers that changed the course of human evolution in extraordinary ways.
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Credit: Wikimedia Commons
The Curious Story of the Human Backside
The human posterior is rather peculiar compared with the backsides of our close primate cousins. Its unusual form tells the story of our evolution like no other part of the human body.
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Rosetta Stone
A Stone Age “Rosetta Stone”
Our ancestors had the edge over several other contemporary species of human that were headed for extinction by about 40,000 years ago. What were they doing differently? Archaeological scientists are trying to find out using modern...
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Acheulean handaxe
The Cutting Edge of Cognition
Modern brain scans are revealing whether Stone Age hominins planned to make specific tools or whether their craftsmanship determined the outcome of their endeavours.
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rock art
Strangers on the Shore
New analysis of rock art and other artefacts found in northern Australia are revealing the timing and extent of an ancient aquaculture industry developed by South-East Asian mariners.
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dingo
Australia’s First Dingo
Genetic analyses suggest that in a single colonising event the dingo reached Australia during the Holocene. Since rising seas had already inundated the land bridge connecting Australia to South-East Asia, the dingo must have been...
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Credit: kapley/iStockphoto
Our Evolutionary Origins Expose Cancer’s Weakness
The evolution of cellular regulation has inspired a new model of cancer that predicts ways to attack its weaknesses instead of its strengths.
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evolution of man
Seven discoveries made by our ancient ancestors were key cultural drivers that changed the course of human evolution in extraordinary ways.
FEATURES
Credit: Wikimedia Commons
The human posterior is rather peculiar compared with the backsides of our close primate cousins. Its unusual form tells the story of our evolution like no other part of the human body.
Rosetta Stone
Our ancestors had the edge over several other contemporary species of human that were headed for extinction by about 40,000 years ago. What were they doing differently? Archaeological scientists are trying to find out using modern techniques to study traces of use left on stone tools and other artefacts.
Acheulean handaxe
Modern brain scans are revealing whether Stone Age hominins planned to make specific tools or whether their craftsmanship determined the outcome of their endeavours.
rock art
New analysis of rock art and other artefacts found in northern Australia are revealing the timing and extent of an ancient aquaculture industry developed by South-East Asian mariners.
dingo
Genetic analyses suggest that in a single colonising event the dingo reached Australia during the Holocene. Since rising seas had already inundated the land bridge connecting Australia to South-East Asia, the dingo must have been accompanying an ancient human sailor.
Credit: kapley/iStockphoto
The evolution of cellular regulation has inspired a new model of cancer that predicts ways to attack its weaknesses instead of its strengths.
THE FIT
Starvation and overfeeding studies reveal extreme differences in how we gain and lose weight.
QUANDARY
While synthetic biology promises benefits such as glow-in-the dark trees that replace city lights, there are many more sinister applications that have many people worried.
THE BITTER PILL
Advocates of acupuncture claim that it has been proven effective by scientific studies. Critics claim that it is only a placebo. They can’t both be right.
THE NAKED SKEPTIC
Even when we are aware of it, a placebo can still produce a real effect.
SIMON SAYS
Remodelling the edifice that delivers science advice to the highest level of government seems to be an interactive work in progress.
OUT OF THIS WORLD
Astronomers have observed what could be a massive black hole that has been ejected into space after two galaxies collided.
conSCIENCE
Some scientists would prefer religion to become extinct but it defiantly prospers – peaceful co-existence is the enduring paradigm.
LOWE TECH
Coastal communities are battling to retain their natural assets in the face of increasing tourism and residential developments.
THE FOSSIL FILE
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.
EUREKA
When couples kiss intimately for 10 seconds they transfer 80 million bacteria.
NEUROPSY
The brain decides whether an unfamiliar face is trustworthy, even before it is consciously perceived.
ECO LOGIC
The world is losing its tidal flats at an alarming rate, putting enormous pressure on threatened migratory birds.
AUSTRALASIAN SKY
Your map of the night sky for this month.
DIRECTIONS
The government’s energy Green Paper proposes reforms that will be difficult to deliver while ignoring several long-term issues.
PARACELSUS' POISON
This has been a bad year for homoeopathy, first there was the Draft Information Paper on Homoeopathy from the NHMRC, which concluded there was no reliable evidence for the use of...
UP CLOSE PODCAST
Celebrated science writer and author Margaret Wertheim discusses the state of science journalism and communication in a world of fragmented social and digital media, as well as her craft-based efforts to foster scientific and mathematical awareness.