Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Australasian Science Sample Articles

Footprints of the First Australians
By Michael Westaway

Footprints left in the ancient Australian landscape reveal how the first Australians coped with the last ice age, while the fossil record continues to play a role in understanding the complexity of modern human origins.

The Ghost of Herbivory Past
By Kevin Burns

Predation by the now-extinct moa could explain why New Zealand’s lancewoods undergo one of the most remarkable transformations in the plant kingdom.

The Birth of Our Solar System
(and Life as We Know It)

By Maria Lugaro

When the Sun was born, the radioactivity pervading the material around it may have helped to create conditions for life in the rocks that formed the planets. Understanding the origin of this radioactivity could tell us how likely it is that life could exist elsewhere in the Universe.

Black Holes: The Missing Link
By Sean Farrell

Evidence for the existence of small and very large black holes is quite convincing, and now there is strong evidence for one in the “medium” range.

The Evaporation Paradox
By Peter Pockley

A “scientist’s scientist” has won the 2009 Australasian Science Prize for research that overturns assumptions of the impacts of climate change on water availability.

Who Needs Men?
Not only could new technology that enables the production of sperm from embryonic stem cells make men obsolete, it could accelerate the development of designer children.

Diagnosing Death With Certainty
By Wendy Rogers
Australia requires a national standard for the accurate and timely diagnosis of death after circulatory arrest.

An Icier Ice Age
By Ceridwen Fraser

New evidence from seaweed genes reveals that the last ice age might have been colder than previously thought.

The Gravity Experiment
By George Hobbs

Observations of pulsars might allow us to make the first direct detection of gravitational waves within 5 years.

The Magnetic Universe
By Bryan Gaensler

Magnets are everywhere, but we don’t know how they got here.

The Lost Giants of Tasmania
By Richard ‘Bert’ Roberts and Zenobia Jacobs

New evidence reveals that megafauna survived in Tasmania until soon after a land bridge across Bass Strait enabled humans to cross from the mainland.

Memories of Tomorrow
By Nicola Clayton

Do animals remember the past and plan for the future? Studies of scrub-jays dispute the notion that humans are unique in the ability of their minds to travel in time.

Why Would ET Evolve Human-like Intelligence?
By Charles Lineweaver

Human-like intelligence is not a convergent feature of evolution on Earth, so why should we expect to find extraterrestrials that can build radio telescopes?

Desert Lizards Get a Skinful
By Danene Jones

New research reveals how Australian thorny devils and Texas horned lizards harvest rainwater with their skin.

Communicating in Colour
By Devi Stuart-Fox

Rather than blending into the background, dwarf chameleons change colour to stand out from the crowd and attract mates and intimidate their rivals.

Walking with Hobbits
By Colin Groves

The ancestors of the miniature hominins found on the Indonesian island of Flores may have spread out of Africa even before the ancestors of modern humans.

Natural Insecticides from Spiders
Glenn King argues that insecticide chemists might do well to take lessons from spiders, the most efficient insect killers on the planet.

Walking with Ancestors
Simon Grose reports that the recent discovery of two hominid fossils in Kenya has stirred the debate about the identification of our ancestors

One Powerful Idea
This month marks the 50th anniversary of Sir Macfarlane Burnet’s publication of his ground-breaking “clonal selection theory” in the Australian Journal of Science – which is now published as Australasian Science. Stephen Turner explains the impacts of Burnet’s theory on the consequent and ongoing discoveries made in immunology.

Toad Kill
The cane toad invasion could spread as far as Melbourne and Perth, but Rick Shine says their ecological impact may not be as apocalyptic as has been feared.

What Makes Us Human?
Vanessa Woods compares the violence of chimpanzees with the peaceful communities of our other close relatives, the bonobos.

Alley Cats & Sex Kittens
One of the most common human parasite infections in the world can affect our mental state, including our sexual attractiveness, IQ, schizophrenia and the likelihood of being in a car accident. Nicky Boulter reports.

Sea Change Threatened by Climate Change
John Church and colleagues warn that sea level rise will have serious consequences during the 21st century and beyond, and will impact the lives of tens of millions of people.

Malaria Treatment Is Not
Just a Cosmetic Fix

The future weapon against malaria may be a common ingredient found in shampoo. Fenja Theden reports.

Safe Pesticides from Spider Venom
The venomous eastern mouse spider doesn't share the reputation of the infamous funnel-web, but it could change the future of insecticides. Youmie Chong puts its venom to the test.

Bees Never Forget a Face
Honeybees can be trained to recognise stimuli representing human faces. Adrian Dyer explains this seemingly difficult visual task and its implications.

Thinking about Drinking:
The Power of Expectation

Most of the effects of alcohol result from our expectations, not from the actual chemical. Someone who thinks they're drinking alcohol, but isn't, will act almost as drunk as someone who is drinking the real thing, says Sitharthan Thiagarajan.

21st Century Food
While doctors are calling for a national audit of Australia 's eating habits and nutritional needs, food companies are preparing for an era of "personalised nutrition" in which diet is matched to an individual's metabolism. Guy Nolch reports.

Herbicide-resitant Sting in Honeybee's Tail
Honeybees can carry pollen over large distances, raising concerns that they may transfer herbicide resistance from genetically modified crops to closely related weed species. However, Jeanine Baker finds that overuse of existing herbicides is more likely to spread herbicide resistance to weeds.

Tiny Particles, Big Risks
Scientists face a long journey on the road to answering consumer and occupational health and safety questions surrounding the emerging field of nanotechnology. Sarah Belfield reports.