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Mystery human species Homo naledi had tiny but advanced brain

Posted on 24 Apr 2017 in Homo floresiensis, Human Origins

It’s not the size of your brain, it’s how you organise it. The most recently discovered species of early human had a skull only slightly larger than a chimpanzee’s, but its brain looked surprisingly like our own – particularly in an area of the frontal lobe with links to language. Image: GovernmentZA

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In 1674, a mysterious storm devastated an entire city

Posted on 10 Apr 2017 in Archaeology, Journalism, Physics

It took barely 15 minutes. An intense and powerful – but brief – storm swept across north-west Europe one summer’s evening almost 350 years ago. It left a social and architectural imprint on the city of Utrecht that is felt to this day. Image: josef.stuefer

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It’s not just human toddlers that are fussy eaters

Posted on 3 Apr 2017 in Animal Behaviour, Evolution, Featured, Journalism

Food is often in short supply, so why would a toddler or young animal refuse to eat when it is available? A full explanation is still some way away, but biologists have developed several ideas that can help to explain why. Image: Muffet

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Recoded organism paves way to new genetic language of life

Posted on 15 Mar 2017 in Genetics, Journalism

A form of life that uses a fresh genetic “language” could be just a few years away. This comes after geneticists used a new technique to recode 5 per cent of the Salmonella bacterium’s genome, introducing a record number of engineered changes into a single organism. Image: NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center

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Neanderthals may have medicated with penicillin and painkillers

Posted on 8 Mar 2017 in Archaeology, Featured, Human Origins, Journalism

What a difference 1000 kilometres make. Neanderthals living in prehistoric Belgium enjoyed their meat – but the Neanderthals who lived in what is now northern Spain seem to have survived on an almost exclusively vegetarian diet. Image: Paleoanthropology Group MNCN-CSIC

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