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34,482 articles from Guardian Unlimited Science

A Hunter-Gatherer’s Guide to the 21st Century review – sciencey self-help

Evolutionary biologists Heather Heying and Bret Weinstein show how human nature is at odds with modern society, in a study soaked in pseudoscienceImagine discovering a fence in the middle of a desert. Not immediately seeing its purpose, you might think: “Let’s get rid of this useless fence!” But are you sure about that? Maybe you’re at the edge of a field of angry wildebeest, and by...

Return of the common cold: infections surge in UK as autumn arrives

After 18 months of social distancing, scientists believe people’s immune defences have weakenedThe return of schools and the arrival of autumn means common colds and other respiratory infections are firmly on the rise, spreading coughs and sneezes, more severe illnesses, and prompting some to report their worst colds ever.According to Public Health England, there is no particularly nasty new...


THURSDAY 23. SEPTEMBER 2021


Human footprints thought to be oldest in North America discovered

Ancient tracks found in New Mexico are believed to be between 21,000 and 23,000 years old, study saysNew scientific research conducted by archaeologists has uncovered what they believe are the oldest known human footprints in North America.Research done at the White Sands national park in New Mexico discovered the ancient footprints, with researchers estimating that the tracks were between 21,000...

Doctor’s ‘brilliant’ new first aid technique can stem blood loss after shark attack

Described by another expert as a ‘fantastic life-saving idea’, the simple procedure could save lives by stopping catastrophic blood loss from shark bitesGet our free news app; get our morning email briefing An emergency department doctor says he has developed a simple new way to help save the lives of shark attack victims in the crucial moments after a bite.The technique is described in a...

Dinosaur fossil with ‘totally weird’ spikes in skeleton stuns experts

Extraordinary ankylosaur remains dating back 168m years a first for AfricaFossil hunters have unearthed remnants of the oldest – and probably weirdest – ankylosaur known so far from a site in the Middle Atlas mountains in Morocco.The remains of the heavily armoured animal are extraordinary in being the first to have defensive spikes that are fused to the skeleton, a feature researchers say is...

The smart toilet era is here! Are you ready to share your analprint with big tech?

Loo design has barely changed in 150 years – until now. Will people trade their privacy for the chance to find out exactly what is in their waste?For the past 10 years, Sonia Grego has been thinking about toilets – and more specifically what we deposit into them. “We are laser-focused on the analysis of stool,” says the Duke University research professor, with all the unselfconsciousness...

Covid-19: how effective are face masks, really? Podcast

Since the start of the pandemic, face coverings and their ability to prevent the transmission of Covid-19 have been under constant scrutiny by scientists, politicians and the public. More than a year and a half in, what do – and don’t – we know? Madeleine Finlay speaks to Prof Cath Noakes about how effective different face coverings are, how best to use them, and when we should be masking-up...

Scientists use AI to create drug regime for rare form of brain cancer in children

Hopes that breakthrough marks new era where artificial intelligence can develop treatments for all types of cancerScientists have successfully used artificial intelligence to create a new drug regime for children with a deadly form of brain cancer that has not seen survival rates improve for more than half a century.The breakthrough, revealed in the journal Cancer Discovery, is set to usher in an...


WEDNESDAY 22. SEPTEMBER 2021


Two-legged dinosaurs may have swung tails to run faster, say scientists

A computer simulation could help us better understand the evolution of movement in animalsTwo-legged dinosaurs may have swung their tails as they crashed through the undergrowth – just like humans swing their arms – according to scientists who have modelled their movements in 3D at Harvard University.Until now, it was widely believed that bipedal (two-legged) dinosaurs grew long tails to...

Genetics reveal how humans island-hopped to settle remote Pacific

Study using DNA analysis reveals not only are statues on these distant islands connected, but inhabitants tooEaster Island’s famous megaliths have relatives on islands thousands of miles to the north and west, and so did the people who created them, a study has found.Over a 250-year period separate groups of people set out from tiny islands east of Tahiti to settle Easter Island, the Marquesas...

More microplastics in babies’ faeces than in adults’ – study

Researchers say children’s mouthing behaviour and products such as bottles may be to blameInfants have more microplastics in their faeces than adults, a study has found.Microplastics are plastic particles smaller than 5mm in size that have been released into the environment from the breakage of bigger plastic objects. They are a threat to the environment because they do not easily biodegrade,...

A new therapy for children who may have autism risks carrying a hidden cost | James Cusack

Support that boosts toddlers’ social development can lead to them missing out on a diagnosis that secures ongoing helpJames Cusack is chief executive of Autistica, a British autism research charityBeing autistic, for me and the 700,000 other autistic people in the UK, often means spending a lot of time inhabiting a world that doesn’t work well for you. This is why it’s vital that the needs...

Mathematicians discover music really can be infectious – like a virus

New music download patterns appear to closely resemble epidemic curves for infectious disease, study finds Pop music is often described as catchy, but it seems you really can infect friends with your music taste. The pattern of music downloads after their release appears to closely resemble epidemic curves for infectious disease – and electronica appears to be the most infectious genre of...

How green is your food? Eco-labels can change the way we eat, study shows

While food labels are nothing new, a different type that calculates the environmental cost has had a surprising effect on consumersIt’s lunchtime at a workplace cafeteria in Birmingham, and employees returning to work after months away during the coronavirus pandemic are noticing something has changed. Next to the sandwiches and hot and cold dishes is a small globe symbol, coloured green, orange...


TUESDAY 21. SEPTEMBER 2021


Research suggests a diet rich in dairy fat may lower the risk of heart disease

Study’s lead author says evidence shows ‘type of dietary fat, or the source of dietary fat, is actually more important than the amount’Get our free news app; get our morning email briefingA higher consumption of dairy fat may be linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, according to new research that suggests choosing full-fat dairy options is no worse for heart health.The study,...

My sci-fi novel about recreating an extinct species is becoming a reality - but even if we can, should we? | James Bradley

The idea of reintroducing mammoths to the Arctic to slow climate change isn’t entirely fanciful, but it does raise deeper ethical concernsLast week I woke up to a string of notifications alerting me to the news a biotech company had secured US$15m (A$20.6m) to underwrite a scheme to recreate mammoths with a view to reintroducing them onto the Arctic tundra.The reason for the flurry of emails and...

Einstein’s handwritten calculations for theory of relativity to be auctioned for €3m

The rare document, which records attempts to explain an anomaly in the orbit of Mercury, is ‘a fascinating dive into the mind of the greatest scientist of the 20th century’A crucial series of Albert Einstein’s calculations, scrawled down as the physicist struggled to account for an anomaly in the orbit of Mercury while developing his theory of general relativity, is set to be auctioned for...

Trials begin on Covid booster jab hoped to protect against new variants

Self-amplifying mRNA jab aims to trigger immune response towards virus’s spike and non-spike proteinsCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageThe first trials have begun of a Covid booster jab that it is hoped will offer good protection against a wide range of variants, researchers have revealed.Covid jabs currently used in the UK trigger an immune response towards the...

Insects are vanishing from our planet at an alarming rate. But there are ways to help them | Dave Goulson

In Germany, flying insects have declined by 76% in 26 years. In the UK, common butterfly populations have fallen by 46% since 1976. We should be alarmed by this insect apocalypseInsects have been around for more than 400m years, their ancestors crawling from the oceans to colonise the land long before dinosaurs appeared. They have been enormously successful, evolving into a staggering diversity of...

Future pandemic modelling in Australia to factor in increased severity of Covid Delta variant

Current modelling informing national reopening plan was conducted before all aspects of deadlier variant were knownRoadmaps out of lockdown: why NSW and Victoria are taking different paths to Covid normalNSW and Vic restrictions; Vic hotspotsVaccine rollout and rates tracker; Cases and data tracker5km and 10km from home map: check your travel radiusGet our free news app; get our morning email...

The bias that blinds: why some people get dangerously different medical care

Medical research and practice have long assumed a narrow definition of the ‘default’ human, badly compromising the care of anyone outside that category. How can this be fixed?I met Chris in my first month at a small, hard-partying Catholic high school in north-eastern Wisconsin, where kids jammed cigarettes between the fingers of the school’s lifesize Jesus statue and skipped mass to eat...

Country diary: fungi like ripe peach flesh magnifies the veteran oaks

Moccas Park, Herefordshire: One of Britain’s finest woods illustrates that biodiversity net gain cannot easily measure natureI’m wary of the way that the new government formula of net gain is being bandied to justify all manner of pet projects. It’s intended to ensure developers leave more nature than they subtract, but the value of landscape isn’t easily measured in simple metrics....

Egg-freezing just got more attractive – but is it worth it? – podcast

Earlier this month the government announced it will extend the storage limit for those freezing their egg cells from 10 to 55 years. Over the past decade there has been a rapid growth in egg freezing, reaching 2,400 cycles in 2019, and the new rules will allow more freedom in choosing when to freeze – and unfreeze. But, as an expensive, invasive and often unsuccessful procedure, it certainly...


MONDAY 20. SEPTEMBER 2021


Autism therapy aimed at infants may reduce likelihood of later diagnosis

Study suggests tailored therapy could help some children develop social skills before school ageDoctors have shown for the first time that a new therapy aimed at infants can reduce autistic behaviour and the likelihood the children will go on to be diagnosed with autism before they reach school age.Infants who received the therapy after displaying early signs of potential autism, such as avoiding...