Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Cover Story

Cover Story

New Ideas about the Neanderthal Extinction

A modern human cranium (left) and a Neanderthal cranium (right). Modern humans have a globe-shaped braincase with steep sides, our foreheads lack a prominent bony ridge about the eye sockets, and our faces are shorter and flatter with scalloped cheeks. Credit: BirdImages/iStockphoto

A modern human cranium (left) and a Neanderthal cranium (right). Modern humans have a globe-shaped braincase with steep sides, our foreheads lack a prominent bony ridge about the eye sockets, and our faces are shorter and flatter with scalloped cheeks. Credit: BirdImages/iStockphoto

By Darren Curnoe

Were modern humans so superior that they drove Neanderthals to extinction, or did their lonely existence leave them genetically vulnerable?

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Why Our Brain Craves Random Noise

Credit: RyanJLane/iStockphoto

Credit: RyanJLane/iStockphoto

By John L. Bradshaw

Sensory deprivation, dreams, hallucinations and the detection of familiar patterns in clouds and repetitive sounds reveal our brain’s determination to make meaning from random noise.

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Should Australia Allow Mitochondrial Donation?

Credit: nobeastsofierce

Credit: nobeastsofierce

By Ainsley Newson & Stephen Wilkinson

Is there any ethical reason why legislation should prevent the use of donor mitochondria in cases where children are likely to inherit mitochondrial disease from their mothers?

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A Different Angle on Earth’s Climate History

Credit: pongpongching/Adobe

Credit: pongpongching/Adobe

By George Williams, Phillip Schmidt & Grant Young

Earth’s axial tilt affects our environment in many ways, but a much greater tilt in the remote geological past may have strongly influenced the planet’s climate history and the evolution of life.

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Could Sugarcane Prevent Diabetes?

 Credit: Frog 974/Adobe

Credit: Frog 974/Adobe

By Matthew Flavel & Barry Kitchen

When sugar is refined we are discarding antioxidants that not only temper metabolic diseases but can also restore insulin production.

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The Psychedelic Renaissance

Credit: agsandrew/Adobe

Credit: agsandrew/Adobe

By Martin Williams & Melissa Warner

Recent studies are finding that psychedelic medicines are effective treatments for mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and addiction.

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The Moral Machine

Credit: the_lightwriter/adobe

Credit: the_lightwriter/adobe

By Guy Nolch

How can we program autonomous vehicles to make life-or-death decisions when our own moral values vary according to factors such as age, gender, socioeconomic status and culture?

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The Big Picture on Nanoparticle Safety

Credit: olly/Adobe

Credit: olly/Adobe

By Laurence Macia & Wojciech Chrzanowski

Nanoparticles are found in our food, cosmetics and tattoo inks, but regulations for their use aren’t keeping up with new research questioning their safety.

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Inside the Lair of a Mysterious Cosmic Radio Burster

A flash from the Fast Radio Burst source FRB 121102 travelling towards the 100-metre Green Bank telescope in the USA.  The burst shows a complicated structure, with multiple peaks that may be created during the burst’s emission or imparted during its 3-billion-light-year journey to us. This burst was detected using a new recording system developed by the Breakthrough Listen project. Credit: Danielle Futselaar/Shutterstock

A flash from the Fast Radio Burst source FRB 121102 travelling towards the 100-metre Green Bank telescope in the USA.  The burst shows a complicated structure, with multiple peaks that may be created during the burst’s emission or imparted during its 3-billion-light-year journey to us. This burst was detected using a new recording system developed by the Breakthrough Listen project. Credit: Danielle Futselaar/Shutterstock

By Charlotte Sobey

Two of the world’s largest radio telescopes have unveiled the astonishingly extreme and unusual environment of a mysterious source of repeating radio bursts emanating from 3 billion light-years away.

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