194 articles from MONDAY 23.3.2020

Australia's food supply relies on migrant workers, many of whom are facing coronavirus limbo | Victoria Stead

As borders close and social distancing increases, what are our responsibilities to the people who keep working?Amid coronavirus-induced stockpiling and empty supermarket shelves, politicians have been quick to assure us of the reliability of Australia’s food supply systems.Writing for the Guardian last week, agriculture minister David Littleproud slammed “ridiculous” panic-buying, saying:...

The Guardian view on lockdown for Britain: true leadership is required | Editorial

However well-intentioned, a laissez-faire strategy for fighting coronavirus has not worked. Now is the right time for the government to give the public clarity and firm parametersCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageAfter the Emergency Powers (Defence) Act was introduced in 1939, imposing a series of stringent and intrusive restrictions on individual freedoms, the wartime...

Ancestor of all animals identified in Australian fossils

Geologists have discovered the first ancestor on the family tree that contains most animals today, including humans. The wormlike creature, Ikaria wariootia, is the earliest bilaterian, or organism with a front and back, two symmetrical sides, and openings at either end connected by a gut. It was found in Ediacaran Period deposits in Australia and was 2-7 millimeters long, with the largest the...

Fossil hunters find evidence of 555m-year-old human relative

Ikaria wariootia is half the size of a grain of rice and an early example of a bilateral organism It might not show much of a family resemblance but fossil hunters say a newly discovered creature, that looks like a teardrop-shaped jellybean and is about half the size of a grain of rice, is an early relative of humans and a vast array of other animals.The team discovered the fossils in rocks in...

Pablo Escobar's hippos may help counteract a legacy of extinctions

When cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar was shot dead in 1993, the four hippos he brought to his private zoo in Colombia were left behind in a pond on his ranch. Since then, their numbers have grown to an estimated 80-100, and the giant herbivores have made their way into the country's rivers. Scientists and the public alike have viewed Escobar's hippos as invasive pests that by no rights should run...

Researchers investigate how squid communicate in the dark

In the frigid waters 1,500 feet below the surface of the Pacific Ocean, hundreds of human-sized Humboldt squid feed on a patch of finger-length lantern fish. Zipping past each other, the predators move with exceptional precision, never colliding or competing for prey.

New 3-D view of methane tracks sources

NASA's new 3-dimensional portrait of methane concentrations shows the world's second largest contributor to greenhouse warming, the diversity of sources on the ground, and the behavior of the gas as it moves through the atmosphere. Combining multiple data sets from emissions inventories, including fossil fuel, agricultural, biomass burning and biofuels, and simulations of wetland sources into a...

New genetic editing powers discovered in squid

Revealing yet another super-power in the skillful squid, scientists have discovered that squid massively edit their own genetic instructions not only within the nucleus of their neurons, but also within the axon—the long, slender neural projections that transmit electrical impulses to other neurons. This is the first time that edits to genetic information have been observed outside of the...

Coronavirus: Britons abroad urged to return to UK immediately

Foreign Office asks up to 1m British citizens to cut short trips and come home straight away Coronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageUp to 1 million Britons on holiday or on business trips abroad have been asked to return to the UK immediately by the Foreign Office as they may not be able to get commercial flights within days.In updated advice, the FCO said British citizens...

Is Niagara Falls a barrier against fish movement?

New research shows that fishes on either side of Niagara Falls—one of the most powerful waterfalls in the world—are unlikely to breed with one another. Knowing how well the falls serves as a barrier to fish movement is essential to conservation efforts to stop the spread of invasive aquatic species causing ecological destruction in the Great Lakes. The study is published today in the journal...

Stroke: When the system fails for the second time

After a stroke, there is an increased risk of suffering a second one. If areas in the left hemisphere were affected during the first attack, language is often impaired. In order to maintain this capability, the brain usually briefly drives up the counterparts on the right side. But what happens after a second attack? Medical researchers have now found an answer by using virtual lesions.

NHS doctor moves into motorhome to protect three-year-old son

Nick Dennison says he made decision in effort to reduce risk to his son who has cancerCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageAn NHS intensive care doctor working on the frontline of the coronavirus crisis has moved into a motorhome to protect his three-year-old son who has cancer.Nick Dennison is an anaesthetist at Frimley Park hospital in Surrey, but is now working as an...