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36,698 articles from Guardian Unlimited Science

How quirk of primate evolution gave humans the voice apes lack

Simplification of larynx let humans have excellent pitch control with long and stable speech sounds Scientists have identified evolutionary modifications in the voice box distinguishing people from other primates that may underpin a capability indispensable to humankind: speaking.Researchers said on Thursday that an examination of the voice box, or larynx, in 43 species of primates showed that...

Discovery of small armoured dinosaur in Argentina is first of its kind

Jakapil kaniukura was about 5ft long and probably walked upright in then-steamy Patagonian landscape about 100m years agoPalaeontologists have announced the discovery of a previously unknown small armoured dinosaur in southern Argentina, a creature that probably walked upright on its back legs roaming a then-steamy landscape about 100m years ago.The Cretaceous period dinosaur, named Jakapil...

How rage against the machine – or other people – can backfire | Letter

Unwarranted expressions of anger cause the aggressor much more long-term stress and distress than the receiver of the aggression, says Sophie ThompsonAs a psychotherapist and care coordinator in a busy, underfunded child and adolescent mental health services unit in the NHS, I field a lot of anger (‘Don’t take it out on our staff!’: How did Britain become so angry?, 4 August)....

Brain drain: scientists look at why mental exertion triggers exhaustion

Prolonged mental activity leads to buildup of potentially toxic neurotransmitter in brain, study findsIt’s a familiar feeling on a Friday evening. After finishing a gruelling day’s work, you finally agree with friends on where to meet for a night out.But by the time you have figured out what to wear and where you left your keys, a night on the sofa begins to sound more appealing than one on...

T rex’s keyhole eye sockets helped its bite, research suggests

Specialised shape thought to have evolved to let dinosaur spread stress across skull as it chewed preyWith a huge body, sharp claws, and dagger-like teeth, Tyrannosaurus rex would not have relied on looks to kill. But research suggests its eyes may have contributed to its bone-crushing bite.A study has proposed the keyhole-shaped eye sockets of T rex may have helped to disperse stress across the...

China overtakes the US in scientific research output

Between 2018 and 2020 China published 23.4% of the world’s scientific papers, eclipsing the USChina has overtaken the US as the world leader in both scientific research output and “high impact” studies, according to a report published by Japan’s science and technology ministry.The report, which was published by Japan’s National Institute of Science and Technology Policy (NISTP) on...

Vegetarian women more likely to fracture hips in later life, study shows

Research suggests some vegetarians may not get sufficient nutrients for good bone and muscle healthWomen who are vegetarian are more likely to experience hip fractures in later life than those who frequently eat meat, a UK study has found.Researchers analysed health and diet records from more than 26,000 women and found that over a roughly 22-year period, vegetarians were a third more likely to...

From the archive: Are western lifestyles causing a rise in autoimmune diseases? | podcast

Could the food we eat and the air we breathe be damaging our immune systems? The number of people with autoimmune diseases, from rheumatoid arthritis to type 1 diabetes, began to increase around 40 years ago in the west. Now, some are also emerging in countries that had never seen the diseases before.In this episode from January 2022, Ian Sample speaks to the genetic scientist and consultant...

Global weekly coronavirus deaths have fallen 9%, WHO reports

New deaths in Africa plummet 70% but rise 19% in Middle East, as World Health Organisation urges countries not to drop their surveillance of virusSee all our coronavirus coverageThe number of coronavirus deaths fell 9% in the past week while new cases remained relatively stable, according to the latest weekly pandemic report released by the World Health Organization.The UN health agency said on...

Australian supercomputer produces fantastic picture of supernova remnant | Wasim Raja and Pascal Jahan Elahi for the Conversation

Data from Australia’s square kilometre array radio telescope was processed by a new supercomputer called Setonix – named after WA’s quokkaFollow our Australia news live blog for the latest updatesGet our free news app, morning email briefing or daily news podcastWithin 24 hours of accessing the first stage of Australia’s newest supercomputing system, researchers have processed a series of...

Supermoon August 2022: how to take a good photograph of the full Sturgeon moon on your phone or camera tonight

Guardian Australia picture editor Carly Earl explains the dos and don’ts of photographing the celestial spectacle, the last super moon of of 2022Get our free news app, morning email briefing or daily news podcastWith a ‘sturgeon’ supermoon rising tonight, many people will pull out their mobile phones to try and get an Instagram-worthy photograph, but unfortunately the full moon is really...


WEDNESDAY 10. AUGUST 2022


Timelapse footage shows a sea sponge sneezing – video

It has emerged that sea sponges can  sneeze, casting off accumulations of particles trapped in mucus on their surfaces in the process.Dr Jasper de Goeij, a marine biologist at the University of Amsterdam and the senior author of the paper, said the team made their discovery while examining timelapse videos of sponges in an effort to understand how the creatures poo.Writing in the journal...

Researchers decode metal-making recipes in ancient Chinese text

Study identifies mystery elements in Kaogong ji, shedding light on how early bronzes were producedResearchers have deciphered enigmatic recipes for metal-making contained in an ancient Chinese text, revealing unexpected complexity in the art at the time.Six chemical formulas are given in a Chinese text from 300BC known as the Kaogong ji. The manuscript, known as The World’s Oldest Encyclopedia...

Obese patients ‘being weight-shamed by doctors and nurses’

Exclusive: Research shows some people skip medical appointments because they feel humiliated by staffDoctors and nurses often “weight-shame” people who are overweight or obese, leaving them feeling anxious, depressed and wrongly blaming themselves for their condition, research has found.Such behaviour, although usually the result of “unconscious weight bias”, leads to people not attending...

Newly identified Langya virus tracked after China reports dozens of cases

Virus, which causes symptoms including fever, fatigue, cough, loss of appetite and muscle aches, is believed to have spread from animals to humansResearchers have begun tracking a newly identified virus in China, with dozens of cases recorded so far.The novel Langya henipavirus (LayV) was first detected in the north-eastern provinces of Shandong and Henan in late 2018 but was only formally...

Half of people with possible signs of cancer wait six months to contact a GP

Survey by Cancer Research UK shows poorer people less likely to see their family GP, reducing survival chancesHalf of people with possible cancer symptoms in the UK do not contact a GP for at least six months, potentially reducing their chances of survival, research has found.Poorer people are less likely than the better-off to see their family doctor once they have eventually sought medical help,...


TUESDAY 9. AUGUST 2022


As more space junk falls to Earth, should we be worried?

Last week, debris from a suspected Chinese booster rocket made an uncontrolled return to Earth, reportedly falling just metres from villages in Malaysia and Indonesia, and triggering a rebuke from Nasa. This follows the recent discovery of SpaceX debris on a sheep farm in regional NSW.Jane Lee speaks to ANU astrophysicist Dr Brad Tucker and reporter Natasha May about why more space junk is falling...

WHO stresses monkeypox surge not linked to monkeys amid attack reports

World Health Organization issues statement after reports of animals being poisoned in BrazilThe World Health Organization has stressed that monkeypox outbreaks are not linked to monkeys, following a number of reported attacks on the primates in Brazil.“What people need to know is that the transmission we are seeing is happening between humans,” a WHO spokesperson, Margaret Harris, told...

‘This was her dream’: Olivia Newton-John’s legacy lives on at cancer research centre

The singer’s advocacy enabled scientific advancements and offered hope and support to people affected by cancerIt’s not often a medical institute has to say it is unable to take calls because of overwhelming demand, but that was the case on Tuesday at Melbourne’s Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness & Research Centre, after the death of the 73-year-old singer and actor.Newton-John has been...

From the archive: Why are climate and conservation scientists taking to the streets? – podcast

In early April this year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a new report giving the world just 30 months to get greenhouse gas emissions falling. Beyond that, we’ll have missed our chance of limiting global heating to 1.5C. As this summer of heatwaves, droughts, wildfires and floods prove, going much above 1.5C will have truly devastating consequences for us and the...


MONDAY 8. AUGUST 2022


Olivia Newton-John, star of Grease, dies aged 73

Pop star best known for her role in the film musical devoted her later life to activism in support of cancer researchOlivia Newton-John, the musical star who found enduring fame for her leading role in the film Grease, has died aged 73. The news was confirmed by her husband.In a statement posted on social media, Olivia Newton-John’s widower John Easterling said: “Dame Olivia Newton-John (73)...

Lack of maths funding will hinder UK’s scientific progress | Letter

Maths is the bedrock of all the sciences, but promised funding is yet to be delivered, writes Prof Ulrike TillmannThe aim of making the UK a “science superpower” is welcome, but the deficiencies in the government’s strategy highlighted in a Lords report are only the start (‘Science superpower’ plan risks making UK bureaucracy superpower, says peer, 4 August).Lord Krebs compared the...

Did you solve it? Do you have the mind of an engineer?

The solutions to today’s puzzlesEarlier today I set you five ‘reverse engineering’ picture puzzles, in which I presented pictures of five structures and asked you to explain why they were built in that way. Below are the questions and the correct answers, but please do scroll below the line in the original article because some of the comedy wrong answers are very funny. Feel free to add to...

Deciphering a baby’s cries down to experience, research finds

Study finds parents with young children decode babies’ cries better than adults with no childcare skillsIf the wails of your newborn baby leave you baffled as to what is wrong, just give it time. Deciphering a baby’s cries is all down to experience, new research suggests.Being able to tell whether a baby is in pain is vital information for new parents and caregivers. But rather than being an...