Blog Profile / New Scientist: Life

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Archived Since:April 2, 2015

Blog Post Archive

Commercial electric pulse fishing should be banned for now

The growing use in Europe of trawl nets that stun fish with electricity has divided opinion. It should be scaled back and properly researched, says Lesley Evans Ogden

Trophy: Is hunting really the only way to save big game?

A film on white hunters and landowners offers a strong conservation case for killing Africa's big beasts, but it sidelines local black people who may disagree

How besieged ants decide when it’s time to abandon their nests

Colonies of turtle ants are often attacked by competing species, and the ants understand enough military strategy to decide when certain nests should be abandoned

Baby skeleton from Alaska reveals origins of Native Americans

DNA from an infant girl who died 11,500 years ago reveals where America’s first human settlers came from and when they arrived

2018 preview: Thousands of mystery lifeforms to be revealed

Bacteria and other microbes are all around us but we only know about 1 per cent of them. That is set to change, thanks to a technique called metagenomics

Odd fossils hint first complex life hung on long after its time

The strange Ediacarans were some of the earliest complex organisms on Earth. They are thought to have died out 540 million years ago but eight odd fossils suggest they survived far longer

Cheep taste: The birds that adorn their nests with tat

From stolen underwear to clods of cow dung, some birds feather their nests with all manner of things – but what lies behind the decorative urge?

Mars rocks may have drunk up all the water and doomed life there

We used to think Mars lost most of its water to space when its atmosphere blew away. Instead, the water may have been sucked up by rocks that sunk underground

Why complex life could prove remarkably common in the universe

Two missions to other solar systems are on the table. If they find life chances are it will be sophisticated, say Dirk Schulze-Makuch and William Bains

Hardy Antarctic tardigrades may be threatened by climate change

Tardigrades can famously survive almost anything, including being sent into space, but the Antarctic species could face problems as a result of climate change

Zombie fungus infects fruit flies and turns them into slaves

For the first time, a parasitic fungus has been spotted that manipulates the brains of fruit flies before they die, and might allow biologists to work out how they do it

Young female monkeys use deer as ‘outlet for sexual frustration’

Adolescent female Japanese macaques mount deer and rub on their backs, perhaps as a way to practise sexual behaviour before they are old enough to mate

Nomadic birds in danger after spate of wildfires in key wetland

The Hutovo Blato wetland in Bosnia and Herzegovina suffered its latest severe fire in October, and may vanish within decades - threatening many bird species

Giant pelicans in danger after spate of wildfires in key wetland

The Hutovo Blato wetland in Bosnia and Herzegovina suffered its latest severe fire in October, and if the blazes continue the resident Dalmatian pelicans will struggle to survive

Lizards re-evolved eggs after thousands of years of live births

It’s an evolutionary U-turn: a group of egg-laying lizards evolved from live-bearing ancestors, which are in turn descended from even older egg-layers

Hummingbirds have massive hearts to power their hovering flight

Birds that hover in front of flowers have huge hearts to power their energy-intensive flight, and even birds that glide effortlessly need fairly big hearts to keep it up

Weird ‘underground’ flower has evolved to look like a mushroom

The cast-iron plant's flowers bloom just above the surface of the soil and are often buried. They may mimic mushrooms and serve to attract a surprising pollinator

Huge dose of brain chemical dopamine may have made us smart

Two “thinking” regions of human brains are much richer in a neurotransmitter called dopamine than the equivalent brain regions in apes and monkeys

No, the UK didn’t vote that animals can’t feel pain or emotion

Campaigners say a recent UK vote will deny sentience to animals, but the reality is rather different. The real issue is what happens to animal welfare post-Brexit

Let’s hope chickless penguin colony can come back from the brink

Last season, a huge colony of Adélie penguins saw just two young survive. As they gather to breed again, a repeat would be alarming, says Olive Heffernan

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