News

Walk this Way! Lizards may have run on two feet as early as 110 million years ago

Jean Balchin Feb 20, 2018

A recent study in Scientific Reports has concluded that lizards may have run on two feet (bipedally) as early as 110 million years ago. Although typical lizard locomotion is quadrupedal (on four feet), bipedalism is a behaviour exhibited by over 50 species of lizards. During bipedal locomotion, the forelimbs leave the ground and the trunk of the lizard is elevated; essentially the lizard … Read More

Whole Lotta Rosie! Ancient fossil found in Waipara

Jean Balchin Feb 19, 2018

Canterbury Museum is now the proud home of the world’s oldest penguin fossil and the world’s most complete specimen of any bird (also a penguin) that lived during the 10 million years following the extinction of the dinosaurs. Left to Right: Dr Paul Scofield, Dr Vanesa De Pietri and Dr Gerald Mayr with the skull of Rosie’s Penguin. The story … Read More

Highly processed foods may be linked to cancer

Jean Balchin Feb 16, 2018

There may exist an association between intake of highly processed food in the diet and cancer. Published yesterday by The BMJ, the study suggests that while further exploration is needed, the rapidly increasing consumption of ultra-processed foods “may drive an increasing burden of cancer in the next decades.”  What are Ultra-processed foods? Ultra-processed foods include packaged baked goods and snacks, … Read More

Our psychological biases mean order matters when we judge items in sequence

Guest Author Feb 15, 2018

Robin Kramer, University of Lincoln This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article. We often need to make decisions about sequences of things or people rather than just a single item in isolation. For instance, in an everyday setting, we might choose which smartphone to buy after trying out several. There are … Read More

What’s that smell? Perfect poo pills!

Jean Balchin Feb 15, 2018

Gut scientists have pored over numbers and come up with a way of predicting which good bacteria can be successfully transplanted in a poo transplant. What is a Poo Transplant? Fecal microorganism transplant (FMT) is a process wherein fecal matter (aka poo) is collected from a tested donor, mixed with a saline solution, strained, and reintroduced to a patient, … Read More

Happy Valentines Day! Temporary e-tattoo can record your beating heart

Jean Balchin Feb 14, 2018

“Close your eyes, give me your hand, darlin’ Do you feel my heart beating Do you understand” You know what else can record heart beats? That’s right, an electronic tattoo! Temporary tattoos may no longer be as popular as they once were, but researchers at Huazhong University of Science and Technology and the University of Texas at Austin have come … Read More

Salmonella…mmm! How good is your food safety knowledge?

Jean Balchin Feb 13, 2018

It’s swiftly coming up to that time again, where hordes of students return to the major cities for their tertiary education (not to mention flat initiations, couch burning, toga parties and dodgy drinking decisions). This time of the year also coincides with peaks in Campylobacter and Salmonella food poisoning cases among those aged between 20 and 25 years old. Food Safety Information Council consumer … Read More

Caw Caw! Magpies living in bigger groups are no bird brains

Jean Balchin Feb 13, 2018

A recent study conducted by the University of Exeter and the University of Western Australia has found that wild magpies living in larger groups are more intelligent than magpies living in smaller groups. The study also found smarter female magpies had greater reproductive success. The research suggests that the demands of living in complex social groups may play a role in … Read More

Global study finds women hold different views of harassment

Jean Balchin Feb 08, 2018

A recent survey of 1,734 female undergraduate students across 12 countries has revealed that women have different perceptions of inappropriate behaviour by men across 47 different categories. For example, Australian woman are less likely to consider wolf-whistling in the street, being asked for sex at a social event and a man overstaying his welcome in their home as unacceptable behaviour than … Read More

Deciphering the genetic landscape of Ireland

Jean Balchin Feb 07, 2018

FineSTRUCTURE analysis demonstrates that haplotypes mirror geography across the British Isles as illustrated in A.) FineSTRUCTURE clustering dendrogram B.) Principle Component space. Administrative boundaries in map sourced from GADM (https://gadm.org). A recent study in PLOS Genetics has revealed a previously hidden genetic landscape of Ireland, shaped through geography and historical migrations. The genome-wide study, led by Ross Byrne and … Read More