Guest Work

Ancient teenager the first known person with parents of two different species

Guest Author Aug 23, 2018

Michelle Langley, Griffith University A new ancient DNA study published in Nature today reports the first known person to have had parents of two different species. The studied remains belonged to a girl who had a Neanderthal mother and a Denisovan father. Neanderthals (Homo neanderthalensis) lived throughout Europe and Western Asia until around 30,000 years … Read More

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Lombok earthquakes: different building designs could lessen future damage

Guest Author Aug 21, 2018

Graeme MacRae, Massey University The series of earthquakes in North Lombok and others further east goes on. But hopefully the worst is over and the intensity will recede from now. Hundreds of people have been killed and a lot more injured, many of them seriously. Nearly all this human suffering was caused by collapsing buildings. The subsequent … Read More

Understanding and Improving the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme

Guest Author Aug 14, 2018

Catherine Leining, Motu Economic and Public Policy Research To chart a successful future for the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (NZ ETS), we need to understand its present and its past. Researchers from Motu Economic and Public Policy Research have published a new Guide to the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme. This guide covers the basics of how … Read More

Antarctic seas host a surprising mix of lifeforms – and now we can map them

Guest Author Aug 06, 2018

Jan Jansen, University of Tasmania; Craig Johnson, University of Tasmania, and Nicole Hill, University of Tasmania What sort of life do you associate with Antarctica? Penguins? Seals? Whales? Actually, life in Antarctic waters is much broader than this, and surprisingly diverse. Hidden under the cover of sea-ice for most of the year, and … Read More

We know why short-statured people of Flores became small – but for the extinct ‘Hobbit’ it’s not so clear

Guest Author Aug 04, 2018

Michael Westaway, Griffith University and Francis David Bulbeck, Australian National University Humans are diverse in size and shape – but some populations are of relatively low average height, and historically described using the term “pygmy”. Some researchers have suggested that the Rampasasa inhabitants of the Flores highlands of Indonesia are one such group. A paper published … Read More

Why compostable plastics may be no better for the environment

Guest Author Aug 03, 2018

Thomas Neitzert, Auckland University of Technology As companies move to get rid of single-use plastic bags and bans on microbeads are coming into force, new biodegradable or compostable plastic products seem to offer an alternative. But they may be no better for the environment. Recently, European scientists argued that existing international industry standards are insufficient and … Read More

In Australia’s Snowy Mountains, a Battle Over Brumbies

Guest Author Jul 31, 2018

Bianca Nogrady Experts are calling for a substantial cull of the wild horses living in New South Wales’ Kosciuszko National Park. The government isn’t having it. The peatlands that drape the high, treeless slopes surrounding Australia’s tallest peak form a natural archive. “They are unusual bits of landscape in that they actually record their own history,” says Geoffrey … Read More

Who owns the moon? A space lawyer answers

Guest Author Jul 24, 2018

 Frans von der Dunk, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Most likely, this is the best-known picture of a flag ever taken: Buzz Aldrin standing next to the first U.S. flag planted on the Moon. For those who knew their world history, it also rang some alarm bells. Only less than a century ago, back on Earth, planting a … Read More