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Fierce female moles have male-like hormones and genitals. We now know how this happens.

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Moles live a tough life underground. As a result, they’ve evolved helpful adaptations, such as excavator-like claws. Female moles in particular have evolved an unusual strategy: high levels of the male hormone testosterone.


Originally published in The Conversation.

Biden's pivot to science is welcome — Trump only listened to experts when it suited him

In his acceptance speech at the weekend, US President-Elect Joe Biden signalled a return to science as a key policy shift for the United States.

“Americans have called on us to […] marshal the forces of science and the forces of hope in the great battles of our time,” he said, assuring the public the Biden-Harris COVID plan “will be built on the bedrock of science”.


Originally published in The Conversation.

10 reasons to stop whipping racehorses, including new research revealing the likely pain it causes

Pressure is increasing on the global horse-racing industry to reconsider the use of whips in the sport.

Our research, published in the journal Animals, shows horses’ skin is very similar to humans’ in both thickness and the arrangement of nerve endings.

This adds to existing evidence that whipping is ineffective and unethical. Here we outline ten reasons why it’s time to drop the crop.


Originally published in The Conversation.

This super rare squid is a deep-sea mystery. We recently spotted not 1, but 5, in the Great Australian Bight

Osterhage et al., Author provided

The mysterious bigfin squid has been spotted in Australia’s waters for the first time.


Originally published in The Conversation.

83% of Australians want tougher privacy laws. Now’s your chance to tell the government what you want

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Federal Attorney-General Christian Porter has called for submissions to the long-awaited review of the federal Privacy Act 1988.


Originally published in The Conversation.

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

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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.