Hot off the press

NZ’s next large Alpine Fault quake is likely coming sooner than we thought, study shows

Guest Author Apr 20, 2021

Jamie Howarth, Te Herenga Waka — Victoria University of Wellington and Rupert Sutherland, Te Herenga Waka — Victoria University of Wellington The Alpine Fault marks the boundary between the Pacific and Australian plates in the South Island of New Zealand. Author provided The chances of New Zealand’s Alpine Fault rupturing in a damaging earthquake in the next 50 years are … Read More

Forensics and ship logs solve a 200-year mystery about where the first kiwi specimen was collected

Guest Author Apr 14, 2021

Paul Scofield, University of Canterbury and Vanesa De Pietri, University of Canterbury The flightless kiwi is an iconic bird for New Zealanders, but all five species are threatened by habitat loss and introduced predators. Recent genomic analysis focused on one species, the South Island brown kiwi or tokoeka, suggests several as yet undescribed lineages. Before these can be fully … Read More

Horses can recognise themselves in a mirror — new study

Guest Author Apr 08, 2021

Ali Boyle, University of Cambridge If you ask people to list the most intelligent animals, they’ll name a few usual suspects. Chimpanzees, dolphins and elephants are often mentioned, as are crows, dogs and occasionally pigs. Horses don’t usually get a look in. So it might come as a surprise that horses possess an unusual skill, widely considered an indicator of … Read More

Ancient leaves preserved under a mile of Greenland’s ice – and lost in a freezer for years – hold lessons about climate change

Guest Author Mar 17, 2021

Andrew Christ, University of Vermont and Paul Bierman, University of Vermont In 1963, inside a covert U.S. military base in northern Greenland, a team of scientists began drilling down through the Greenland ice sheet. Piece by piece, they extracted an ice core 4 inches across and nearly a mile long. At the very end, they pulled up something else … Read More

Scientists used ‘fake news’ to stop predators killing endangered birds — and the result was remarkable

Guest Author Mar 11, 2021

Peter Banks, University of Sydney and Catherine Price, University of Sydney Animals, including humans, depend on accurate information to navigate the world. But we can easily succumb to deliberate misinformation or “fake news”, fooling us into making a poor choice. The concept of fake news came to the fore during the term of former US president Donald Trump. It … Read More

Earth’s magnetic field broke down 42,000 years ago and caused massive sudden climate change

Guest Author Feb 19, 2021

Chris Fogwill, Keele University; Alan Hogg, University of Waikato; Chris Turney, UNSW, and Zoë Thomas, UNSW The world experienced a few centuries of apocalyptic conditions 42,000 years ago, triggered by a reversal of the Earth’s magnetic poles combined with changes in the Sun’s behaviour. That’s the key finding of our new multidisciplinary study, published in Science. This last major … Read More

Plastic in the ocean kills more threatened albatrosses than we thought

Guest Author Feb 17, 2021

Richelle Butcher, Massey University; Britta Denise Hardesty, CSIRO, and Lauren Roman, CSIRO Plastic in the ocean can be deadly for marine wildlife and seabirds around the globe, but our latest study shows single-use plastics are a bigger threat to endangered albatrosses in the southern hemisphere than we previously thought. You may have heard of the Great Pacific … Read More

Dire wolves went extinct 13,000 years ago but thanks to new genetic analysis their true story can now be told

Guest Author Jan 14, 2021

Kieren Mitchell; Alice Mouton, Université de Liège; Angela Perri, Durham University, and Laurent Frantz, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich Thanks to the hit television series Game of Thrones, the dire wolf has gained a near-mythical status. But it was a real animal that roamed the Americas for at least 250,000 years, until it became extinct towards the end of the … Read More

They’re everywhere: New study finds polyester fibres throughout the Arctic Ocean

Guest Author Jan 13, 2021

Peter S. Ross, University of British Columbia The Arctic has long proven to be a barometer of the health of our planet. This remote part of the world faces unprecedented environmental assaults, as climate change and industrial chemicals threaten a way of life for Inuit and other Indigenous and northern communities that rely heavily on seafood and marine … Read More

Ancient sponges or just algae? New research overturns chemical evidence for the earliest animals

Guest Author Dec 01, 2020

Lennart van Maldegem, Australian National University; Benjamin Nettersheim, Max Planck Institute; Christian Hallmann, Max Planck Institute; Ilya Bobrovskiy, California Institute of Technology, and Jochen Brocks, Australian National University Sponges are the simplest of animals, and they may stand at the root of all complex animal life on Earth, including us humans. Scientists study the evolution of the earliest sponges, hundreds … Read More