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Scientists thought these seals evolved in the north. 3-million-year-old fossils from New Zealand suggest otherwise

A fossil discovery in New Zealand has revealed a new species of monk seal that once called Australasia home. We introduce the three million-year-old seal, Eomonachus belegaerensis, in a paper published today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Eomonachus is the first monk seal species, living or extinct, ever found in the southern hemisphere — and the oldest found anywhere.

Originally published in The Conversation.

Gene editing is revealing how corals respond to warming waters. It could transform how we manage our reefs

Mikaela Nordborg/Australian Institute of Marine Science, Author provided

Genetic engineering has already cemented itself as an invaluable tool for studying gene functions in organisms.

Originally published in The Conversation.

Science communication is more important than ever. Here are 3 lessons from around the world on what makes it work


It’s a challenging time to be a science communicator.

Originally published in The Conversation.

How midnight digs at a holy Tibetan cave opened a window to prehistoric humans living on the roof of the world

Han Yuanyuan

A mountainside cave now used as a Tibetan Buddhist sanctuary was home to prehistoric humans known as The Conversation.

This tiny amphibian that outlived the dinosaurs provides the earliest example of a rapid-fire tongue

Albanerpetontids, or “albies” for short, are the cute little salamander-like amphibians you’ve likely never heard of.

Now extinct, Albies had a dream run. They’d been around since the Middle Jurassic around 165 million years ago, and probably even earlier. They lived through the age of dinosaurs (and saw out their extinction), then lived through the rise of the great apes, before quietly disappearing about 2.5 million years ago.

Originally published in The Conversation.

We studied mental toughness in ultra-marathon runners. Mind over matter is real — but won't take you all the way


For most people, running a marathon sounds like a lot of work — and they probably wouldn’t even consider completing more than one within 24 hours.

Originally published in The Conversation.

3.2 billion images and 720,000 hours of video are shared online daily. Can you sort real from fake?

Twitter screenshots/Unsplash, Author provided

Twitter over the weekend “tagged” as manipulated a video showing US Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden supposedly forgetting which state he’s in while addressing a

Originally published in The Conversation.

Put the baking soda back in the bottle: banned sodium bicarbonate 'milkshakes' don't make racehorses faster

kgbo/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA

The controversial and banned practice of giving horses baking soda “milkshakes” before a race doesn’t work, according to our analysis

Originally published in The Conversation.