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A round-up of the latest science and news from Australasia.

Dingoes Reached Australia More Recently Than Previously Thought

Researchers from The University of Western Australia and the Australian National University have uncovered new evidence that dingoes arrived in Australia between 3348 and 3081 years ago – more recently than previously thought.

A more precise date for the arrival of dingoes in Australia is important as it answers questions about the relationship between dingoes and Aboriginal people, as well as the dingoes’ possible role in the extinction of animals such as the Tasmanian devil and Tasmanian tiger on mainland Australia.

Social Cues Shape Genitals

Male mice exposed to other male competitors have thicker penis bones, according to a study published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.

Warming Microbes May Shrink Southern Ocean Carbon Sink

The amount of carbon locked away in the depths of the Southern Ocean could fall by almost 20% by 2100 as warming waters lead to increased microbial activity, according to scientists at the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies.

Unexpected Outcomes Sound Warning for Embryo Editing

New research led by the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute and The University of Adelaide has uncovered a significant hurdle for realising the potential benefits of gene editing in embryos.

Tassie Devil Decline Allows Feral Cats to Flourish

The decline of the Tasmanian devil has serious repercussions for the State’s ecosystem, according to research published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B (https://goo.gl/KSRuXz).

As a top carnivore on the island, the Tasmanian devil plays a very important role in structuring ecosystems, particularly through scavenging. “The severe disease-induced decline of the devil presents a unique opportunity to study how scavenging by devils structures a carnivore community,” said lead author Calum Cunningham, a PhD candidate at The University of Tasmania.

Removing Silicon Contamination Doubles Graphene Performance

Graphene is the strongest material ever tested. It’s also flexible, transparent, and conducts heat and electricity ten times better than copper. When graphene research won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2010 it was hailed as a transformative material for flexible electronics, more powerful computer chips and solar panels, water filters and biosensors, but its performance has been mixed and industry adoption slow.

Shark Bite-Off Rates Revealed at Ningaloo Reef

Researchers at The University of Western Australia have quantified the number of shark bite-offs of recreationally caught fish in the Ningaloo region.

Published in Marine Ecology Progress Series, in collaboration with the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, and funded by the Gorgon Barrow Island Net Conservation Benefits Fund and the Jock Clough Marine Foundation, the study provides the first quantification of shark bite-offs in a recreational fishery.

Costs of Paris Agreement outweighed by health savings

Globally, the costs of implementing the Paris Climate Agreement between 2020-2050 could be outweighed by health savings due to reduced air pollution-related disease and death, according to estimates from a modelling study published in The Lancet Planetary Health journal.

Old human cells rejuvenated

A new way to rejuvenate old cells in the laboratory, making them not only look younger, but start to behave more like young cells, has been discovered by researchers at the Universities of Exeter and Brighton.

A team led Professor Lorna Harries, Professor of Molecular Genetics at the University of Exeter, has discovered a new way to rejuvenate inactive senescent cells. Within hours of treatment the older cells started to divide, and had longer telomeres - the 'caps' on the chromosomes which shorten as we age.