Biology

Tired, a few aches and pains, more interested in sitting comfortably by the fire than a wet walk in the woods? Dog or owner, staying mentally active at whatever age creates positive emotions and can slow down mental deterioration.
With the prevalence of allergy and asthma on the rise around the world, the race is on to explain this increase and stem the tide. A recent study finds a clue in an unlikely source… intestinal worms.
A prehistoric human upper jawbone fragment, including a row of teeth, has been found in a cave in Israel. Dating from about 180 000 years ago, the fossil is almost twice as old as any previous remains of Homo sapiens discovered outside Africa.
Referred to as ‘perplexing’, a group of North American Pleistocene horses have been identified, until now, as different species. Now mitochondrial and partial nuclear genomic studies support the idea that there was only one species, which belongs to a new genus.
A tail of the type now seen on scorpions has been found on some spiders preserved in amber for around 100 million years.
Empathy encourages prosocial behavior, while an empathy deficit has been linked to psychological disorders. By further examining the mechanisms involved, new research hopes to offer risk analysis and better treatment for antisocial behaviour.
Chemists based in Munich have demonstrated that the alternation in wet and dry conditions on early Earth could have been enough to kick off the prebiotic synthesis of the RNA nucleosides found in all domains of life.
Old adage? Urban myth? Either way the saying ‘You are never further than two metres from a rat’ tends to make people look around themselves nervously. Since our move into settlements first gave rats the environment they needed to thrive, we’ve been battling their numbers – for the most part unsuccessfully.
From binge watching TV dramas to parents telling their small children bedtime stories, the power of story telling has enthralled us since earliest times. But why? In evolutionary terms wouldn’t the time be better spent on securing food?
A new study suggests human parasites were responsible for the spread of the plague and that the rat may have got a bad rap!
Research carried out on day-old mussel larvae explores the effect of a changing climate on shell development, with potential applications for aquaculture and biotechnology.
Animal and human investigations indicate that the impact of trauma experienced by mothers affects early offspring development, but new research is also discovering that it is also actually encoded into the DNA of subsequent generations.
By mapping the brains of more than 800 people, scientists have found positive links between the way we behave and the way our working memory can carry out its functions.
A study supported by the EU-funded SPACERADARPOLLINATOR project reveals the roles that visual experience, visual learning and foraging activity, have on the neural structure of bumblebees.
Wealth distribution can tell us much about a society but when it comes to prehistoric civilizations, a lack of written record makes that hard to trace. New research draws on house size to trace wealth disparity, with interesting results.
Probably since the dawn of time women have thrown their hands up in despair as their men folk insist that they’ve succumbed to the dreaded ‘man flu’ and take to their beds for days at a time moaning and groaning about their plight. But now a Canadian scientist has argued that man flu is real and offers possible explanations as to why.
Do the flight or fight mechanisms triggered by responses to stress, diminish with age? And if so, is there a difference between biological and chronological ageing? Questions new research is answering.
Findings from the largest study of hominin body sizes, involving 311 specimens dating from 4.4m years ago right through to the modern humans that followed the last ice age, show unexpected patterns of change.
In 2016 a team of international scientists made the headlines as they set out to solve the Himalayan yeti mystery, using DNA samples collected by local observers over the years. Their conclusions have just come out, and they’re a cold, hard truth for Yeti believers: the samples actually belonged to different sorts of bears and… a dog.
Ancient carvings recently discovered in caves in the Saudi desert are the first to show dogs on leads.
New study shows nanostructures on the surface of flower petals cause light particles to scatter, giving the flower what researchers have called a ‘blue halo’.
Humans may have evolved to be afraid of spiders, new research shows.
Humans evolved their big heads to manage their complex social structures, an idea called the social brain hypothesis. Now a new study conducted by British and American researchers suggests that whale and dolphin brains evolved in much the same way.
When cells are threatened, for example by viral infection, special sensors are activated to kick-start the immune system. Now, new genetic techniques are increasing our knowledge about how this response mechanism actually unfolds.
The 2017 Nobel Prize for Chemistry has gone to three scientists for their lasting work in the cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) field. The imaging techniques mark a significant breakthrough in atomic structures and biochemistry.
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