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The cat made me do it: Is your pet messing with your mind?

Posted on 28 May 2015 in Animal Behaviour, Featured, Journalism

Imagine there were a parasite living in your brain – an alien interloper with the power to alter your neurochemistry, manipulate your behaviour and change the way others see you. It might even rob you of your sanity. Image: Titran’s Norsk Skogkatt

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CSI Stone Age: was 430,000-year-old hominin murdered?

Posted on 27 May 2015 in Archaeology, Featured, Human Origins, Journalism, Life

It’s the coldest of cold cases: a forensic analysis suggests that an ancient human who lived 430,000 years ago died as the result of a deliberate attack by a right-handed assailant armed with a spear or hand axe. The crime is the earliest evidence of human-on-human violence in the fossil record. Image: 2015 Sala et al.

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Ocean’s microbiome has incredible diversity – and human likeness

Posted on 21 May 2015 in Evolution, Journalism, Life

We’re a step closer to understanding the microbial community that inhabits the ocean – and it has some striking similarities to the community that lives inside our guts. The microbiome of the world’s biggest ecosystem and one of the smallest appear to function in surprisingly similar ways. Image: Christian Sardet/CNRS/Tara Expéditions

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Oldest broken bone reveals our ancestors’ switch to life on land

Posted on 20 May 2015 in Animal Behaviour, Earth Science, Evolution, Featured, Journalism, Palaeontology

It was one small fall for a tetrapod, but it signals one giant leap for tetrapod kind. A broken leg bone pushes back the emergence of our four-legged ancestors from water on to land by at least 2 million years. Image: 2015 Bishop et al.

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Rock-forming microbes may be suited for life on other planets

Posted on 6 May 2015 in Earth Science, Evolution, Journalism

They are, perhaps, the world’s deepest architects. Microbes living beneath the sea floor near methane seeps construct extensive rocky deposits – and then live inside them. The organisms may be representatives of a distinct lifestyle that could be well-suited to conditions on harsh, alien worlds. Image: dimsis

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Antarctica’s Blood Falls are a sign of life below ground

Posted on 29 Apr 2015 in Earth Science, Featured, Journalism

We already know that there is liquid water – and life – in some of the lakes beneath Antarctica’s ice. Blood Falls is a sign of something else: that the ground, too, holds liquid water, and that it may have extensive microbial activity. Image: DLR_de

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