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The Boring Billion

Sedimentary rocks such as these hold the key to understanding variations in ocean trace elements and atmospheric oxygen.

Sedimentary rocks such as these hold the key to understanding variations in ocean trace elements and atmospheric oxygen.

By Ross Large

Trace element levels in the ocean over the past 3.5 billion years explain important evolutionary events such as the Cambrian explosion of life and a “boring” billion years when evolution stood still.

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In the Eye of the Beholder

cokacoka/iStockphoto

cokacoka/iStockphoto

By Michael Kasumovic

Beauty is a subjective value, but studies are finding that mate choice is often affected by upbringing, self-esteem and previous experiences in courtship.

Michael Kasumovic is a Lecturer and ARC DECRA Fellow at the University of NSW.

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It’s Not Just About “The Science”

Credit: Mopic/Adobe

Credit: Mopic/Adobe

By Rachel A. Ankeny & Heather J. Bray

Female scientists and health professionals have revealed that opposition to genetically modified food is less about “the science” and more about perceived conflicts with personal values.

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Does a Fly Know If It’s in Control?

Credit: Nick Valmas (QBI)

A tethered fly walks on a trackball controlling an object on a digital display, allowing its brain activity to be recorded at the same time. The fly moves the object to the front when it’s paying attention to it. Credit: Nick Valmas (QBI)

By Leonie Kirszenblat & Bruno van Swinderen

What do the brain waves of a fly placed in a virtual reality arena tell us about self-awareness in animals?

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Rewilding Australia

Joanne Draper

The proposed rewilding of Tasmanian devils on the mainland jumps a time gap of about 1750 generations, has no clear understanding of what caused devils to go extinct in the first place, and returns no lost function that hasn’t already been made up by other species. Credit: Joanne Draper

By Allen Greer

Are there ecological benefits behind proposals to return Tasmanian devils to the mainland and dingoes to south-eastern Australia, or is “rewilding” simply “biological control” rebranded?

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Australia’s Ebola Risk

Credit: CDC/Cynthia Goldsmith

Credit: CDC/Cynthia Goldsmith

By Robert Cope, Joshua Ross & Phillip Cassey

Improving outbreak control in West Africa resulted in reduced risk to Australia.

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Crowded Space: The Problem of Orbital Debris

In 2001, the third stage of a Delta 2 rocket re-entered the atmosphere over the Middle East. The titanium motor casing, weighing about 70 kg, landed in Saudi Arabia about 240 km from the capital of Riyadh.

In 2001, the third stage of a Delta 2 rocket re-entered the atmosphere over the Middle East. The titanium motor casing, weighing about 70 kg, landed in Saudi Arabia about 240 km from the capital of Riyadh.

By Kerrie Dougherty

The orbiting detritus of humanity’s exploration and exploitation of space poses a growing threat to operational space systems and crewed spaceflight activities.

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Mother Knows Best

An adult female green turtle returning to the sea after nesting.

An adult female green turtle returning to the sea after nesting. Photo: T. Franciscus Scheelings

By Anthony Rafferty

Why do turtles lay eggs when their close relatives evolved live birth? A study of their reproductive physiology reveals how egg-laying improves the survival prospects of hatchlings.

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Tasty Treats Diminish Our Capacity for Patience

Credit: tawanlubfah/Adobe

Credit: tawanlubfah/Adobe

By Bowen Fung

A new study finds that our recent experience with rewards such as food can change our capacity for patience.

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Like, Comment, Share: Should You Share Your Genetic Data Online?

Credit: kentoh/adobe

Credit: kentoh/adobe

By Kathleen Gray

The culture of sharing our private details online is extending to health and ancestry data generated by genome testing. What are the benefits and what are the risks?

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