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Drilling for Sub-Seafloor Life

The Japanese deep-drilling vessel DV Chikyu can core up to 4000 metres below the seabed and in areas where there is a potential danger of striking oil or gas. Photo courtesy of the Japan Agency for Marine–Earth Science and Technology

The Japanese deep-drilling vessel DV Chikyu can core up to 4000 metres below the seabed and in areas where there is a potential danger of striking oil or gas. Photo courtesy of the Japan Agency for Marine–Earth Science and Technology

By Chris Yeats

Extreme sub-sea temperatures, noxious fumes and broken drilling rods made life difficult onboard a scientific expedition that set out to sample life deep beneath the sea.

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Neurogenesis in the Emotion-Processing Centre of the Brain

Credit: Photographee.eu

Credit: Photographee.eu

By Dhanisha Jhaveri

The generation of neurons during adulthood can affect our behaviour and alter our mood, so the discovery that this occurs in the amygdala could lead to new strategies for the treatment of anxiety-related disorders.

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Neural Interfaces: From Disability to Enhancement

Credit: Jaimie Duplass/Adobe

Credit: Jaimie Duplass/Adobe

By Scott Kiel-Chisholm

Neuroprosthetic arms, mind-controlled exoskeletons and brain–computer interfaces are already enabling the disabled, but what happens when these and other devices become mainstream consumer products that blur the lines between enhanced human and machine?

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The Cutting Edge of Cognition

Acheulean handaxe

Four views of an Acheulean handaxe created 300,000–500,000 years ago in France. Credit: Didier Descouens/Wikimedia Commons

By Natalie Rogers

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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A Kink in the History of Sex

The first act of copulation in vertebrates

The first act of copulation in vertebrates was in these 385 million-year-old antiarch fishes from Scotland (Microbrachius dicki). The male (right) uses his bony L-shaped claspers to inseminate the female (left). Credit: Brian Choo

By John Long

The discovery of the first vertebrate to have copulated reveals not only the genesis of different male and female forms but also some surprising kinks in how sex has evolved.

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Did Standing Up Drive Human Evolution?

Credit: travenian /iStockphoto

Credit: travenian /iStockphoto

By Mac Shine & Rick Shine

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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Along Came a Spider

A large female golden orb-web spider

A large female golden orb-web spider is often surrounded by many small males competing for proximity to her on the web. But size isn’t the only factor determining who wins each fight.

By Michael Kasumovic

The comparative size and weight of two animals determines the outcome of 80% of fights. Now a small spider has revealed the physiological factors that help explain the other 20% of contests.

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Why Don’t Birds Fall Over When They Take Off?

Credit: NickVorobey.com/Adobe

Credit: NickVorobey.com/Adobe

By Ben Parslew

An analysis of the biomechanics of the powerful jump of a bird taking flight gives inspiration for the future of agile robots.

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Space as a Military Centre of Gravity

Credit: US Navy

The USS Lake Erie launched a Standard Missile-3 at a non-functioning National Reconnaissance Office satellite as it travelled in space at more than 27,000 km/h over the Pacific Ocean on 20 February 2008. Credit: US Navy

By Malcolm Davis

There is a common misconception that space is a pristine global commons that sits above terrestrial geopolitical rivalries. Nothing could be further from the emerging reality.

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Which Pregnant Women Are at Risk?

Credit: Olesia Bilkei/Adobe

Credit: Olesia Bilkei/Adobe

By Claire Roberts & Tina Bianco-Miotto

A new screening test can identify the risk of pregnancy complications based on a genetic test in conjunction with lifestyle factors.

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