Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Articles related to Natural History

Credit: Elka Lesmono
Feature: Kissing Cousins: Why Haven’t Arranged Marriage Laws Reduced Human Genetic Diversity?
Many traditional communities, including our ancestors, have long enforced marriage between first cousins. Why hasn’t this had a negative impact on genetic diversity?
Browse: Most Megafauna Extinctions Precede Humans
The passionate debate about the cause of the extinction of Australia’s megafauna has taken yet another turn, with the publication in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of a paper claiming evidence that most of the giant species were gone before the first humans arrived.
Feature: The Other Red Meat on the “Real” Palaeodiet
Are we really willing to eat the authentic palaeodiet, even if it means taking up cannibalism?
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.
Browse: Ancient DNA shows perfect storm felled Ice Age giants Browse: Australia’s Tsunami History Revised
painted rock shelters
Feature: Reaching Australia’s Ancient Refugia
New research reveals how Australia’s ancient Aboriginal populations were challenged by extreme climate change between 23,000 and 12,000 years ago, and provides insights into how people may respond to dramatic climate change in the future.
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?
Browse: Microbes Drove the Evolution of Sex Browse: Ancient Life Form Discovered in Remote Tasmanian Valley
Browse: Theory of the Evolution of Sexes Tested with Algae Browse: Theory of the Evolution of Sexes Tested with Algae
Feature: The Last of the Flying Giants
For 55 million years, giant seabirds with serrated beaks successfully soared above the waves before vanishing 2.5 million years ago. Now fossils uncovered in Melbourne show for the first time that these bizarre birds called Australia home and reached every continent, deepening the mystery of their extinction.
Nimbadon skulls representing developmental ages
Feature: Ancient Swingers
Skeletons unearthed in a fossil cave in north-western Queensland reveal that 15 million years ago Australia’s ancient forest treetops were home to mobs of 70 kg wombat-like marsupials – the largest tree-dwelling marsupial herbivores to have ever lived.
Feature: Were Termites the World’s First Farmers?
New trace fossils from the African Rift Valley reveal evidence for the origins of agriculture, not by humans but by insects.
Credit: Peter McDonald
Feature: Something New, but Old, from Australia’s Dead Heart
The identification of an ancient gecko species discovered hiding in Central Australia has provided new insights into how and when Australia’s deserts began to form 10 million years ago.
Feature: Along Came a Spider
Genetic studies reveal that trapdoor spiders colonised Kangaroo Island after surviving a remarkable rafting journey from South Africa.
Feature: Cathedrals in the Desert
Termite mounds populate the northern Australian landscape like miniature skyscrapers, yet genetic analyses reveal that the first termites that rafted to our shores originally built their nests in trees. Why did they do this?
Feature: Mountains Drove Bursts of Evolution and Extinction
Bursts of evolution and mass extinction events coincide with mountain-building events that have influenced nutrient levels in the oceans.
Browse: Little Gap in Tooth Evolution
Teeth may have evolved earlier than previously recognised following the latest discovery from the rich Devonian fossil site at Gogo in the Kimberleys.
Browse: Dinosaur Stampede, or Swimming?
Far from being a dinosaur stampede, as commonly suspected, Lark Quarry reveals evidence of dinosaurs swimming or wading across a shallow river, according to University of Queensland scientists.
Browse: Southern Ocean’s Role in End of Last Ice Age
Browse: Climate Effects on Megalakes Led to Megafauna Demise Browse: Tasmania’s North American Ancestry
Browse: Moa Affected Plant Evolution Browse: Oxygen Surprise in Earth’s Ancient Atmosphere
Browse: World’s Oldest Axe Fragment Found in the Outback Browse: Prehistoric Whale Fossil Reveals How Whales Evolved Baleen
Browse: Oldest Ornament Found in Kimberleys Browse: New clingfish discovery shows value of museum collections
Browse: New Zealand fish and chips hold human DNA clues Browse: Evidence that Climate Change Caused Thylacine’s Mysterious Loss from Australia’s Mainland
Fossil File: The Birth of Filter-Feeding Giants Browse: Dingoes Reached Australia More Recently Than Previously Thought