Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Australasian Science Magazine Issue July/August 2014

Cover Story: New Ideas about the Neanderthal Extinction
Were modern humans so superior that they drove Neanderthals to extinction, or did their lonely existence leave them genetically vulnerable?
Feature: How Do Hybrid Species Overcome Genome Shock?
How do hybrid species like cotton and ligers combine different genes, proteins and chromosomes, and can this knowledge be exploited for agriculture?
Feature: A Solid Grip on the Moa Extinction
Were humans responsible for the extinction of New Zealand’s moa, or were they already in decline?
 Credit: BirdImages/iStockphoto
Feature: Flower Evolution from the Birds to the Bees
Walking around in the Australian bush we can see a dazzling array of different flower colours, but have you ever wondered how and why these evolved?
Credit: travenian /iStockphoto
Feature: Did Standing Up Drive Human Evolution?
Watching a toddler learn to walk has led to a new hypothesis that bipedalism drove the evolution of the human brain.
Feature: Volcanoes Sheltered Life through Ice Ages
Researchers studying the diversity of life in Antarctica have found surprising evidence that many plants and animals survived past ice ages by huddling close to warm volcanoes.
Credit: agsandrew/iStockphoto
Feature: A Catalyst for Life
A chemical found in hair bleach may have catalysed life, and can even explain why new life is no longer being created from non-living building blocks on modern Earth.
Feature: Conditions for Creation
A sequence of the world’s oldest rocks in the depths of the Mariana Trench indicates that both plate tectonics and life may have commenced on Earth 4.4 billion years ago.
Australasian Sky: This Month's Star Chart
Your map of the night sky for June 2014.
conSCIENCE: Shaping Climate Attitudes
People are more likely to support climate change mitigation when they are first confronted with the local adaptations that will be required.
The Bitter Pill: Needless Treatment of Pets
The emergence of complementary and alternative medicine in veterinary clinics is a serious threat to animal welfare and the reputation of veterinarians.
Directions: Australia Needs Integrated Growth in Agriculture
Strategic investment in technology, science and engineering innovation is required.
Eco Logic: Conservation in a Wicked World
Conventional approaches to conservation can learn from complex military decisions in Afghanistan.
Eureka!: The Bee Sting Pain Index
A PhD student has subjected himself to repeated bee stings over 38 days to compare the most painful places to be stung.
Expert Opinion: GM Farmer Wins Landmark Court Case in Western Australia
The Western Australian Supreme Court has dismissed an organic farmer’s claims for damages from his neighbour’s genetically-modified canola crop, which caused him to lose organic certification for more than half of his property for almost 3 years.
The Fit: We Built It: They Didn’t Come
A global report gives a gold medal to Australia’s community sporting facilities yet finds that our kids are the second-least active in the world.
Fossil File: World's Oldest Fossil Sperm Found at Riversleigh
Synchrotron imaging of a 16 million-year-old ostracod found in NSW has revealed the world’s oldest fossilised sperm.
Lowe Tech: Planes, Trains and Automobiles
While road funding regulations remain messy, the Abbott government has supported a second Sydney airport over a high speed rail line linking the east coast cities.
Naked Skeptic: Darwin’s Aussie Epiphany
Long before he struck upon his theory of natural selection, Charles Darwin experienced a revelation while exploring the Blue Mountains.
Neuropsy: Crying Wolf
A new review offers a modern perspective on clinical lycanthropy and other delusions of animal metamorphoses.
Out of this World: Close, Cold Neighbour of Sun
The coldest brown dwarf ever known has been discovered only 7.2 light-years away.
Quandary: What If Computers Have Feelings, Too?
If software becomes intelligent, what are the ethics of creating, modifying and deleting it from our hard drives?
Simon Says: Driving with Clive
Science could be promoted to the front row of the political agenda by advising the under-resourced Senators who hold the balance of power.
Up Close: Organs on a chip: How 3D models of living tissue are changing biomedical research
Bioengineer Prof Donald Ingber discusses how three-dimensional models of living human organs can advance our understanding of human physiology in ways that animal models can’t.
Up Close: Viral diary: The global rise and near demise of polio
Virologist Prof Vincent Racaniello discusses how poliovirus causes paralysis, and how close we are to eradicating the disease.
Up Close: Beyond the tremors: Understanding the impact of Parkinson’s disease
Neuroscientist and neurologist Prof Malcolm Horne discusses Parkinson’s disease, and examines new technological developments and the prospects they offer for early diagnosis and treatment of the condition.
Up Close: Compound benefits: Creating new materials to aid cleaner energy generation
Materials scientist Prof David Sholl explains how new hi-tech metal hydrides and metal-organic frameworks can be used to increase the efficiency of nuclear power stations and to capture carbon dioxide emissions in coal-fired power plants.
Up Close: Screening along the spectrum: The search for a genetic test for autism
Neuropsychiatrist Prof Chris Pantelis and neural engineering researcher Prof Stan Skafidas discuss the potential for the use of genetics to improve the diagnosis of autism.
Online Feature: Why so many domesticated mammals have floppy ears
Take a look at several domesticated mammal species and you might spot a number of similarities between them, including those cute floppy ears.
Online Feature: Coal seam gas emissions lower than US: first Australian study
A CSIRO study offers the first indication of fugitive emissions from coal seam gas wells under Australian conditions.
Online Feature: Fast-tracking access to experimental Ebola drugs
Several therapeutic treatments are in experimental phases of testing and show great promise in treating Ebola virus infections in animal models.
Online Feature: Australia's astronomy future in a climate of cutbacks
The future looks very bright for Australian radio astronomy but it was somewhat clouded earlier this year when CSIRO’s radio astronomy program took a dramatic hit in the Australian federal budget.
Online Feature: There are no free rides to the future: Australia's Chief Scientist
A transcript of the 2014 Jack Beale Lecture on the Global Environment hosted at the University of New South Wales.
Online Feature: Science and the Coalition: two big policies, one year and no minister
On science and technology, the Abbott government is somewhat of a paradox.