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Dino-killing asteroid cleared way for modern reef fish

Posted on 2 Apr 2014 in Evolution, Journalism, Life, Palaeontology

Out of crisis comes opportunity. An asteroid-triggered mass extinction 65 million years ago famously wiped out the dinosaurs – but it may also have helped establish the modern reef fish communities. Image: Foto di Spalle

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Zoologger: Sex in the city no lure for urban owls

Posted on 28 Mar 2014 in Animal Behaviour, Evolution, Journalism

The burrowing owls of Argentina have embraced town life. While owl nests in rural areas can be separated by as much as 15 kilometres, urban nests may be little more than 10 metres apart. So do urban owls stay faithful, like their country cousins? Image: Annette Herz

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Designer chromosomes could turn cells into factories

Posted on 27 Mar 2014 in Evolution, Featured, Journalism, Life

Synthetic biologists have cooked up something new: an entirely synthetic chromosome. The development is being hailed as a milestone for biology. It could lead to microbes that produce exotic materials not found in nature. Image: Lucy Reading-Ikkanda

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Can you learn to be creative?

Posted on 14 Mar 2014 in Journalism

If creativity involves thinking the unthinkable, then creativity lessons surely involve teaching the unteachable. Maybe not: in recent years, there have been growing calls to nurture and teach creativity from an early age in schools and universities. What are the ways teachers are drawing out that creative spark? Image: thecrispone

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Zoologger: Female spider kills male to attract a mate

Posted on 11 Mar 2014 in Animal Behaviour, Evolution, Journalism

Treat them mean, keep them keen? For male Pennsylvania grass spiders, the whiff of dead male seems to be exactly what they look for in a mate. They are far more likely to approach a female if she has recently killed and eaten a male. Image: Anita363

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Zoologger: Superfemale mice have secret male DNA

Posted on 27 Feb 2014 in Animal Behaviour, Evolution, Journalism

Never write off a rank outsider. A female mammal that carries a “male” chromosome should struggle to reproduce, but not if that animal is an African pygmy mouse. For females of this species, a male chromosome spells reproductive supremacy. Image: Ian N. White

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