September Editorial

09/30/2017 05:03:15 AM

I can’t believe it’s September already! This month I’ve finally published a really important article to me, one that’s taken a lot of research and has also become part of a comedy routine (and soon to become a video blog, too – watch ...

An End to Superfluous Salad

09/20/2017 04:07:21 AM

I’d like to talk about a problem. It might seem like quite a small problem, but it’s a pervasive one. That problem, is salad. Yes, that’s right, I said salad. Not high on the list of major world perils, but perhaps it should be. I mean, ...

Can bees only sting me once?

09/02/2017 07:01:06 AM

Question: Can bees only sting me once? Answer: Honeybees are generally killed by stinging you, but most other stinging insects can survive to sting you again. It's a common urban myth that all bees can only sting once, but it's partially based ...

August Editorial

08/30/2017 08:13:57 AM

Hi everyone, I hope the issues we were having with the newsletter have started to disappear now – please let me know if not! I’ve been getting back into blogging again this month, and as well as the new content you’ve already seen I’ve ...

CRISPR MutAnts Lose Interest in Socialising

08/13/2017 05:33:21 AM

New gene editing technologies have revolutionised genetic science, but social insects like ants have proved difficult to genetically modify because of their complex lifecycle and social structure. Now, two separate labs have succeeded in using ...

July Editorial

07/30/2017 08:17:17 AM

Hello and welcome to the latest edition of the Curious Meerkat newsletter. I know there have been a few hiccups with the first few RSS newsletters – thanks for sticking around and bearing with me while I get it right! The problem was that ...

Plankton Brought Back from the Dead

07/26/2017 02:43:10 AM

A team of scientists from Denmark and Sweden revived dinoflagellates from cysts in sediments cores taken from Koljö fjord in Sweden, spanning 9 decades. Using DNA microsatellite analysis they reconstructed their population genetics, and found ...

June Editorial

06/29/2017 08:41:09 AM

Hello, and welcome to the third editions of my newly updated, RSS-driven newsletter. I hope you’re enjoying the new system. This month we’re back up in full swing, so I hope you enjoy these articles as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them. ...

The five colours we don’t learn

06/08/2017 02:55:39 AM

Colour exists on a continuum, and yet human language is surprisingly consistent in how it categorises colours. Scientists tested infants’ ability to distinguish different hues covering the entire colour spectrum. They found that infants d ...

Mongoose pups conceal their identity to stay alive

05/31/2017 04:42:53 AM

Infant mongooses rely on adults to escort them as they learn to forage. A new study finds that adult mongooses show no preference for their own offspring when choosing a pup to escort, and the authors suggest they may not be able to tell their ...

Sedentary hunter-gatherers domesticated mice

05/29/2017 08:31:53 AM

The advent of farming marks a huge change in human populations – a change in diet, social structure and a switch to a more sedentary lifestyle. As humans started storing grain for lengthy periods of time, the house mouse adapted to thrive ...

May Editorial

05/27/2017 09:50:07 AM

This is the second month of my brand new, RSS-driven newsletter. What do you think so far? It’s certainly more reliable than my old system… ;) Last month I turned 30, and to mark the milestone I’ve taken some time off. This means I haven’t ...

April Editorial

04/27/2017 14:59:23 PM

I’m trying something a bit different with the newsletter for the rest of the year – an automated RSS-driven newsletter that means you get your news every month, and I can write a short editorial in wordpress rather than faffing about copying ...

Looking sexy makes animals age faster

04/17/2017 04:26:53 AM

Telomeres – small sections of protective DNA found at the end of each chromosome – have been repeatedly linked to ageing. But their complex dynamics remain poorly understood, especially in wild populations. Publishing in the journal Ecology ...

Tibetans evolved to cope with UV

04/10/2017 02:21:18 AM

Tibetan populations have evolved at least nine specific genetic variants to help them survive the extreme conditions of the Tibetan Plateau. Living permanently at over 4,000 m above sea level, these populations have been coping for millennia ...

Geological uplift creates mountain biodiversity hotspots

04/04/2017 01:46:25 AM

Mountains tend to have more species than valleys, and new research provides support for the theory that mountain formation itself might be responsible. Yaowu Ying and Richard Ree from The Field Museum in Chicago compared regional rates of plant ...

The first skeletons evolved repeatedly in chalky seas

03/29/2017 02:52:01 AM

The first skeletons evolved multiple times independently because of unusually chalky seas, later becoming essential for survival even when chalk became scarce. Calcium-based skeletons appeared suddenly in the fossil record around 550 million ...

My #230 Papers Challenge

03/28/2017 12:49:13 PM

You might have heard of the #360papers challenge – to read one journal article a day for a whole year – you might be less familiar with the related #230 papers challenge. This makes the more realistic goal of reading one journal article ...

Curious Meerkat Advent Calendar 2016

12/24/2016 06:25:50 AM

24 Welcome to the final door of your 2016 Curious Meerkat advent calendar. My Favourite Scientific Discoveries 2016: Physics Scientists confirmed the existence of gravitational waves, twice. A new Earth-like Planet, Proxima B, was discovered. ...

Curious Meerkat Advent Calendar 2016

12/23/2016 05:38:06 AM

23 Video: See the amazing cooperative behaviour of ants in this cool video of a fire ant floating bridge. Click here to view the video full-size The post Curious Meerkat Advent Calendar 2016 appeared first on Curious Meerkat. Curious Meerkat ...

Curious Meerkat Advent Calendar 2016

12/22/2016 04:32:50 AM

22 Fact: Earlier this year El Nino triggered a super bloom in one of the hottest places on Earth – Death Valley in California. The post Curious Meerkat Advent Calendar 2016 appeared first on Curious Meerkat. Curious Meerkat Advent Calendar ...

Curious Meerkat Advent Calendar 2016

12/21/2016 06:18:27 AM

21 Link: Zooniverse Citizen Science ProjectsEverything from analysing snow flakes to counting penguins The post Curious Meerkat Advent Calendar 2016 appeared first on Curious Meerkat. Curious Meerkat Advent Calendar 2016 was first posted on ...

Curious Meerkat Advent Calendar 2016

12/20/2016 10:18:06 AM

20 Video: From the Juno mission – Exploring Jupiters Magnetic FieldClick here to view the video full-size The post Curious Meerkat Advent Calendar 2016 appeared first on Curious Meerkat. Curious Meerkat Advent Calendar 2016 was first posted ...

Curious Meerkat Advent Calendar 2016

12/19/2016 06:54:32 AM

19 Fact: The honey finder bird has a unique mutualistic relationship with local people. It responds to their specialised calls and leads them to bee hives. The post Curious Meerkat Advent Calendar 2016 appeared first on Curious Meerkat. Curious ...

Curious Meerkat Advent Calendar 2016

12/18/2016 05:39:02 AM

18 Link: Join this citizen science project to understand the global diversity of bird bills.Mark My Bird The post Curious Meerkat Advent Calendar 2016 appeared first on Curious Meerkat. Curious Meerkat Advent Calendar 2016 was first posted on ...

Curious Meerkat Advent Calendar 2016

12/17/2016 05:22:04 AM

17 Video: Changing the nature of nature.Click here to view the video full-size The post Curious Meerkat Advent Calendar 2016 appeared first on Curious Meerkat. Curious Meerkat Advent Calendar 2016 was first posted on December 17, 2016 at 12:22 ...

Curious Meerkat Advent Calendar 2016

12/16/2016 06:13:36 AM

16 Fact: Llamas, Alpacas and Camels are all part of a family of ungulates. Each wild form has a corresponding domesticated species.Click here to see the full size family tree. The post Curious Meerkat Advent Calendar 2016 appeared first on Curious ...

Curious Meerkat Advent Calendar 2016

12/15/2016 05:38:46 AM

15 Fact: Andean condors use their 8 – 10ft wingspan to soar through the air on thermals, almost never flapping their wings. The post Curious Meerkat Advent Calendar 2016 appeared first on Curious Meerkat. Curious Meerkat Advent Calendar 2016 ...

Trading Aliens: How Politics Helps and Hinders Invasive Species

07/24/2016 05:06:16 AM

The spread of non-native species across the globe is a major concern. New trade agreements threaten to change global trade patterns, with serious implications for the introduction of invasive species, which has a huge impact on our economies, ...

Cholesterol and fats prime immune cells to clog arteries

07/17/2016 08:54:46 AM

To understand how fats and cholesterol in the blood influence our immune system at the epigenetic level, Dr Bastiaan Heijmans from Leiden University Medical Center and his colleagues measured the epigenetic profiles of 3296 people, as well as ...

How much land on Earth is inhabited?

07/10/2016 05:11:23 AM

Question: How much of the land on Earth is covered by humans? According to the FAO Global Land Cover SHARE database, produced in 2014, 0.6% of Earth's land surface is defined as 'Artificial surfaces'. Artificial surfaces include any areas that ...

Flexibility doesn’t make you creative

07/03/2016 05:21:02 AM

Great-tailed grackles are very flexible, quickly learning to associate new cues with food, but new research suggests this doesn’t help them innovate to solve new problems. Corina Logan from the University of Cambridge gave grackles two novel ...

Edible Insects: The Alternative Protein People are Buzzing About

07/03/2016 04:31:24 AM

I've previously blogged on the topic of edible insects, so I was thrilled to hear from Ghergich about their new blog and infographics on the subject. It is great to see real recipes using insects as an ingredient and I'm pleased to see how far ...

Study tracks young sea turtles in Pacific for first time

06/12/2016 05:37:50 AM

What do those cute little baby sea turtles do after their epic spring to the water? Until very recently, we simply didn't know. But a new study reveals for the first time just what the young turtles have been up to in the Pacific - and it shows ...

Invertebrate hunting in Dominica

06/08/2016 07:11:46 AM

I have just finished four weeks of fieldwork collecting insects in Dominica. However this trip was different, I wasn’t marauding around the countryside with collector’s glee, this time I had to teach as well as collect. The post Invertebrate ...

Habitat Disturbance leaves a genetic legacy

06/05/2016 04:15:26 AM

Habitat disturbance can be hugely damaging to biodiversity. But even after the visible wounds have healed, the genetic scars of past disturbance remain in the genome, according to results from a two-decade-long study of shrubs in Spain. The ...

Giant eyes help spiders see in the dark

05/27/2016 02:40:58 AM

What big eyes you have! The net-casting spider Deinopis spinosa uses it's giant eyes to accurately trap prey at night, according to new research. A new study published in Biology Letters this month shows that net-casting spiders (Deinopis spinosa) ...

The costs of a big brain outweigh the benefits

05/22/2016 07:37:05 AM

Brains rather than braun may have guided our ancestors out of Africa, but new research suggests primates' big brains are no longer the assets they once were. A study published in the journal Evolution reports that larger brains are directly ...

Chimps use tools to get tipsy

04/29/2016 05:01:48 AM

Did you hear the one about the drunken monkey? Primates frequently encounter and consume alcohol in their natural environment, most commonly through fermented fruit. But a study published last year showed that some Chimpanzees are actively seeking ...

Ancient fossil arachnid reveals the origins of spiders

04/02/2016 05:54:00 AM

A new fossil discovered in France promises to shed light on the murky evolutionary history of spiders. The rare three-dimensional fossil of the new species shows that it is nearly, but not quite, a spider, lacking the key silk-spinning adaptation ...

Cuckolding common in nature, but rare in humans

03/25/2016 04:03:44 AM

A recent review published in Trends in Ecology & Evolution on 5th Aprile claims that across modern and ancient human societies, women tended to be faithful to their partners. The post Cuckolding common in nature, but rare in humans appeared ...

Fish farms make bacteria more virulent

03/16/2016 08:08:17 AM

Overfishing is a serious global issue, and many people have turned to farmed fish, or ‘aquaculture’ as a solution to dwindling wild populations. But intensive farming of any kind often comes with problems, and a new study shows that these ...

Ancient Beast was part-sabretooth, part-otter

03/04/2016 02:35:05 AM

The extinct carnivore, Kolponomos, looked like a bear, and bit like a sabre-toothed tiger. A group of carnivores that went extinct around 20 million years ago looked superficially like modern bears, but new research shows their bite was more ...

Symbiotic bacteria are a Trojan horse in the fight against pests

02/27/2016 07:12:36 AM

Scientists have developed a cool new technique for getting targeted gene control into insects, which could offer a flexible tool for the biological control of pests as well as disease vectors. Insects represent major agricultural pests and vectors ...

Honeybees treat their mates for STDs

02/08/2016 07:40:24 AM

Male honeybees produce antimicrobial chemicals in their semen to protect new queens from a fungal disease. Sex always comes with the risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease, so male honeybees have evolved to produce antimicrobial ...

Social Supergene is a Green Beard for Fire Ants

02/04/2016 11:35:22 AM

Scientists have found the final missing link answering a long-standing question about how social behaviour evolves. New research shows that a social supergene in fire ants coordinates a host of biological processes and behaviours, that ultimately ...

Giraffe hearts compromise quantity for quality

01/24/2016 06:12:57 AM

Giraffe hearts pump less blood than other mammals, to make sure oxygen reaches the top of their long necks – compromising volume for pressure. Because of their long neck, scientists have long debated how the Giraffe’s heart is able to p ...

The Science of Ant Man

01/18/2016 07:20:41 AM

The Ant Man movie doesn’t claim to be scientifically accurate (and it isn’t), but it does include a lot of “science”. And most importantly, the film is wrong in some really interesting ways. So read on for a critical appraisal

It’s all about smell:An Olfactory Arms Race in the Animal Kingdom

01/10/2016 12:18:53 PM

Animals use smell to sniff out predators, and to hide from them. For humans, vision is the dominant sense, and we often overlook the importance of odour (although we’re reminded on those occasions we find ourselves sat next to someone who ...

Climate change deprives dormice of winter sleep

12/21/2015 06:21:31 AM

Many mammals become dormant for the winter, conserving energy and avoiding predators during the colder months. New research published in functional ecology shows that this winter rest is important to rodent survival, but may be lost as the climate ...

Epigenetics Affect How Corals Respond to Climate Change

12/13/2015 10:05:36 AM

Genes associated with stress tolerance in corals have fewer epigenetic markers, enabling a rapid response to environmental change. In six species of coral, the team from the University of Washington found DNA methylation, a common epigenetic ...

Practice Makes Perfect:Tool-Foraging Dolphins Improve with Age

11/04/2015 11:38:41 AM

A group of bottlenose dolphins in Shark Bay, Western Australia, use a clever trick to access prey on the sea floor – they cover their beaks with marine sponges to protect themselves from sharp rocks as they search for food. 30 years after ...

Stick Insects Sway to Stay Alive

10/29/2015 09:36:45 AM

If you ever owned a pet stick insect as a child, you might have noticed them swaying back and forth at the end of a twig, but until recently, nobody knew what this strange behaviour was for. A study recently published in the journal Behavioral ...

Given the chance, parasites evolve to cause less harm

10/19/2015 09:02:43 AM

How do you make a parasite less harmful? It might be as simple as forcing them to stick around. Amanda Gibson from Indiana University performed experimental evolution with the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans and a parasitic bacteria (Serratia ...

Light Pollution Puts Marsupials Out of Sync

09/30/2015 08:36:25 AM

Wallabies living near humans breed later in the season, potentially missing valuable resources that could mean the difference between life and death for their growing offspring. New research published last month in Proceedings B that found that ...

Elephant seals are more social than we thought…

09/15/2015 12:03:18 PM

For male elephant seals, the fight to secure a mate can be vicious, even deadly. So they try everything they can to avoid it. This is a pattern biologists see again and again – across the animal kingdom, males have evolved to use signals to ...

Is Organic Farming Really Better for the Climate?

08/26/2015 05:17:32 AM

Organic food is often sold as being the greener alternative. By not pumping toxic chemicals into the environment, we expect that organic farms should do less harm to our wildlife, health and the climate. But new research suggests that current ...

Is Organic Farming Really Better for the Climate?

08/26/2015 05:17:32 AM

Organic food is often sold as being the greener alternative. By not pumping toxic chemicals into the environment, we expect that organic farms should do less harm to our wildlife, health and the climate. But new research suggests that current ...

Beetles Escape Extinction Because They’re Hard

08/17/2015 04:52:53 AM

The brilliant mathematician and biologist JBS Haldane is famously quoted as once having said, “God had an inordinate fondness for beetles”. He was referring to the fact that nearly half of all insect species known are beetles, but over 50 ...

Stink Bugs Provide Sunscreen for their Eggs

08/10/2015 05:44:14 AM

One scientist found his laboratory stink bugs were laying different colour eggs on the black and white squares of a crossword printed on the newspaper lining of their cage. This small observation led him to begin a series of experiments that ...

Home-Wrecking Spiders Keep Their Mates Close

07/29/2015 05:53:17 AM

New research published last week describes how black widow spiders destroy their mate’s nests to deter rival males. Female black widow spiders don’t just use their webs to catch food, they also lace them with pheromones to attract a mate. ...

Animal Electrics

07/17/2015 05:02:14 AM

Electricity is something we rely upon on a daily basis, but what if we could manufacture it inside our own bodies? A surprisingly long list of animals is capable of doing just that… although not necessarily the ones you might expect. Bioe ...

Evolution Shaped these Plants to Resonate with Bats

07/14/2015 04:11:23 AM

A new paper published in Current Biology this month shows how one species of pitcher plant has evolved to attract a species of bat and use it as a source of fertiliser. The Bornean pitch plant in question (Nepenthes hemsleyana) is part of a ...

What is a Nut?

06/28/2015 07:41:23 AM

Question: What is a Nut? Answer: In Botanical terms, a nut is a hard-shelled fruit, which does not open to release its seed. There are relatively few true nuts because dehiscent fruit (where the shell does split open) is far more common; true ...

Jurassically Inaccurate

06/12/2015 04:43:44 AM

The time is finally here. After fourteen years, Spielberg has opened up the Jurassic World for us again, and everybody’s talking about it. In the twenty years since the release of Jurassic Park, we’ve learned a huge amount about how dinosaurs ...

Why Does Sour Food Make us Cringe?

05/27/2015 08:41:15 AM

Question: Why Does Sour Food Make Us Cringe? Answer: Turns out, not many people have directly looked at this – the scientific literature has relatively little to say on the topic of cringing at sour food. However, what it does say is this: ...

Shy Hermit Crabs Have More Luck with the Ladies

05/13/2015 05:47:35 AM

Nice guys finish last? Not for the hermit crab – shy males produce more sperm and are more successful with the ladies. While we accept the individual differences in behaviour between humans without question, terming it ‘personality’

Immaculate Conception: Clonal Reproduction in Snakes (and other animals)

05/08/2015 05:43:07 AM

Reproduction takes two, right? Well, not always. Many arthropods and microscopic animals called rotifers reproduce clonally and although it is relatively rare in vertebrates, clonal reproduction has been confirmed in several species of fish, ...

Alternative Medicine II – Body Manipulation: Osteopathy and Chiropractic Care

05/04/2015 06:24:03 AM

Probably one of the most widely used and trusted of the alternative medicines are manipulative therapies such as osteopathic and chiropractic interventions. More than 30,000 people visit an osteopath every day, with complaints ranging from back ...

How Much Would a Mole of Moles Weigh?

04/26/2015 09:33:39 AM

Question: How much would a mole of moles weigh? Answer: There are two ways to interpret this question, both of which are equally silly. Maybe you mean a mole (unit of measurement) of moles (the subterranean mammal), or perhaps you mean, how ...

Recoding Genes: How Post-Transcriptional Editing is Giving Squid the Upper Hand

04/24/2015 09:10:31 AM

Natural selection is incredibly good at adapting organisms to their environment, even those environments that are harsh and difficult to live in. But the changes currently happening to the World’s climate, hydrology and land-use may be too ...

The Shifting Sands of Society

04/19/2015 08:26:58 AM

A Guest Post for Curious Meerkat by Leon Vanstone. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Comp-Sci. Imagine you were alive thousands of years ago. Technology is primitive. Food is scarce. Life is tough. Wi-Fi signal is terrible. You spend most of your time ...

Which is slimier?

04/14/2015 07:48:05 AM

Q: Is a Slug Slimier than a Snail? A: Land snails and slugs like the ones you get in your garden are members of the class Gastropoda, along with sea snails, sea slugs and limpets. However, they do not represent distinct branches of the evolutionary ...

Evolving the Modern Dinosaur

04/04/2015 08:04:21 AM

There are more than 10,000 species of living, breathing dinosaurs on Earth today. It’s just that we call them birds. And while a chicken might seem like a measly ancestor for the enormous T-rex, modern birds can teach us a lot about dinosaur ...

Does Tofu Contain Female Hormones?

03/19/2015 12:48:17 PM

QUESTION: Does Tofu Contain Female Hormones? ANSWER: No. But they do contain some compounds that sometimes mimic female hormones such as oestrogen. Soy, along with a few other components of our diet such as peanuts, lentils and other legumes, ...

Sloths Move Slow, Evolve Fast

03/11/2015 09:54:16 AM

Sloths might be notorious for their leisurely pace of life, but research published last year shows they are no slow coaches when it comes to evolution. Sloths, as we know and love them, are small, slow-moving creatures found in the trees of ...

Alternative Medicine I – The Ultimate Dilute: Homeopathy

03/03/2015 08:08:28 AM

Homeopathy. One of the most popular alternative medicines in the Western world, and perhaps the most widely misunderstood. The science against homeopathy, like the skeptics, is unequivocal. The British Homeopathic association list homeopathy ...

The Ribosome Revolution

02/21/2015 08:41:38 AM

“What Does DNA Want?” The innocent question from a small child that caused the biological necker cube to flip for Meredith and Robert Root-Bernsteina, researchers at Oxford University and Michigan State University, whose ground-breaking ...

How long does fossilisation take?

02/12/2015 08:22:26 AM

QUESTION: What is the minimum amount of time it takes to fossilise something? ANSWER: Fossils are defined as the remains or traces of organisms that died more than 10,000 years ago, therefore, by definition the minimum time it takes to make ...

Climate change puts pollinators out of sync

02/06/2015 09:12:21 AM

One of the biggest concerns, as the climate and environment around us changes, is the continuing decline of pollinators. In the UK, insect pollinators are estimated to be worth £430 million each year for their role in pollinating our crops. ...

The Truth and Lies Behind Alternative Medicine

02/03/2015 08:13:47 AM

Alternative medicine: a phrase that is heavy with connotations, emotions and frankly, a great deal of confusion. Whichever side of the debate you find yourself on, the opinions are usually strong, stubbornly held, and generally backed up with ...

The Cuckoo Underworld

01/14/2015 08:33:58 AM

Most birds make nests, and spend their time foraging to feed and care for their chicks. Cuckoos, on the other hand, don’t waste their time with any of that, they simply lay their eggs in another bird’s nest and let them do all the heavy ...

Genomic Evolution of Our Feline Friends

12/31/2014 04:54:49 AM

Cats are one of the most common domesticated animal on Earth, with an estimated 400 million worldwide. And yet they lack many characteristics that tended to make animals good for domestication. They are solitary hunters, making them relatively ...

The Science of Snow

12/22/2014 06:16:18 AM

One of the best things about this time of year is that faint possibility that it might snow. The promise of snowmen and snowball fights, of time of work and school, of that cheer that only snow can bring, is almost enough to get us through the ...

Mind Over Matter

12/21/2014 06:08:35 AM

In recent years, developments in brain computer interface technology have been turning science fiction into science fact. Some unbelievable achievements have been made, including giving locked-in syndrome suffers a means to communicate, allowing ...

Roads Help Fish Please the Ladies

12/09/2014 04:56:33 AM

Human activities are altering landscapes, dividing habitats and changing ecosystems. We rarely hear of any good coming from this, mostly because there isn’t. However, recent research has revealed an interesting evolutionary consequence of ...

Giant Bees Make Psychedelic Honey

12/03/2014 07:40:28 AM

Deep in the forests of the Himalayas, the World’s largest bee is making honey that’ll knock your socks off. So precious is this honey that locals in China and Nepal risk their lives to harvest and sell it to wealthy asian men and curious ...

What’s So Sexy About a Beard?

11/27/2014 04:55:47 AM

Beards. You either love ‘em or you hate ‘em. Science tells us that beards make a man look more masculine, older and more powerful. Apparently women think they’ll make better fathers. But new research published earlier this year sugg

Bacterial Threesome Throws up Evolutionary Surprise

11/19/2014 05:32:29 AM

Symbiotic relationships, where two organisms ‘live together’ and rely upon each other to survive, are surprisingly common in the animal kingdom. The more we look, the more we find. What is less common, or at least less well documented, ...

Ant vs Spider

11/13/2014 03:22:32 AM

Have you ever had the “what would win in a fight” conversation with various different insect and arachnid combinations? Cockroach vs Mantis, Spider vs Scorpion, Ant vs Spider? Well, if you can think of it, nature has probably done it. T ...

Estimating Extinction

11/12/2014 04:19:09 AM

We are in the midst of the sixth mass extinction, and everyone is in a hurry to tell us about it – we are constantly bombarded by statistics about how many species are threatened, but how do scientists work out which species are threatened ...

How the Moon Affects Us

10/29/2014 04:44:25 AM

The idea that the phases of the moon are linked to the human psyche is one of the oldest and most pervasive examples of folk lore and mythology. It is woven into the fabric of our classic literature, poetry and music. Even today, a surprising ...

Parasitic Fish Reveal Insights into Brain Evolution

10/23/2014 05:11:15 AM

What can this squiggling, toothed eel-like creature possible tell us about our own brains? Well, the lamprey, although ugly, occupies a pivotal place in the evolutionary tree. Research on captive lampreys can tell us about the earliest evolution ...

Couples Sleep In Sync

10/17/2014 04:33:02 AM

Love it or hate it, sharing a bed with someone is the norm for most adults in a relationship, but how well we sleep together can have a profound effect on our mood, our relationships and the rest of our lives. A new study presented at a recent ...

The Genetics of Sleep

10/08/2014 05:51:03 AM

Every night’s sleep is different, and how you sleep on any given night is likely to be determined largely by short-term causes – what and when you ate, how much exercise you did today, stress levels, what you watched on TV, whether your ...

Mega Penguin

10/02/2014 05:35:43 AM

Penguins are certainly one of the more cute and charismatic of the Antarctic fauna, but would people be so fond of penguins if they were over 2 metres tall? Fossils recently unearthed in Antarctica have revealed that giant penguins used to roam ...

Turning Blood into Brains

09/28/2014 07:17:49 AM

When you think crayfish, you probably think of food rather than groundbreaking medical research, but a paper published last month in Developmental Cell reports an incredible neurological feature of the humble lobster. Stem cells, blueprint cells ...

The Truth Behind the Badger Cull

09/17/2014 04:47:19 AM

In the UK, the Badger Cull has become a national news item, and has stimulated fierce public debate, campaigns, protests and petitions from both sides. Many impassioned articles have been written over the last few months and years, but in many ...

The Evolutionary Origins of Coffee

09/15/2014 10:23:00 AM

Each second 26,000 cups of coffee are consumed globally. That’s over 93 million cups an hour, or an astonishing 2 billion cups a day! Why is coffee the most popular beverage on Earth? Well it might have something to do with all that lovely ...

Neanderthal Art

09/10/2014 04:37:14 AM

Neanderthals were once portrayed as unintelligent, uncultured brutes, but that picture is beginning to change. They are increasingly being viewed now as intelligent, cooperative creatures who performed cultural rituals and traditions and who ...