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Biological sciences posts

No more smallpox News

by Pat, 8 May 2013 | 0 comments

Smallpox vaccination kit, including a syringe, bifurcated needle and vial of vaccine.

It’s not often that we think of an organism becoming extinct as being a good thing. However, this is the case for smallpox.

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Migration mysteries News

by Pat, 3 May 2013 | 0 comments

Black-winged stilt wading in water.

When the weather gets colder, do you sometimes wish you could pack up and head somewhere warmer? Many species of animals do this – it’s called migration.

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Printing tissues News

by Pat, 26 April 2013 | 0 comments

Last year Science by Email reported how 3D printers could print out chemicals. Now scientists from Oxford University are using 3D printing to create materials that mimic biological tissues.

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Back from the dead

by Pat, 12 April 2013 | 0 comments

Thylacine in a zoo.

What do the thylacine, woolly mammoth and gastric-brooding frog all have in common? For one, they’re all extinct – however, there are some scientists who think that the extinction of these animals (and others) might not have to be permanent.

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Chicken jigsaw Activity

by Mike, 10 April 2013 | 0 comments

Illustration of the location of bones on a chicken.

Going by their work, paleontologists would need to be pretty good at putting together jigsaw puzzles. Paleontologists have the task of identifying bones based on their shape, then estimating where they belong in the body. Often they only have a couple of bones or teeth to use to identify the fossilised animal.

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Changing seasons News

by Pat, 5 April 2013 | 0 comments

Autumn leaves.

Wherever you are in the world, you may have noticed a change in the weather. Over the course of a year, there are periodic changes in things like temperature, rainfall and the amount of daylight. These changes allow us to divide the year into seasons.

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Ancient body builders News

by Mike, 19 March 2013 | 0 comments

Marble head with a missing nose

Humans have been modifying their bodies for millennia. The 5000-year-old, freeze-dried remains of a man found in the Ötztal Alps of Europe was tattooed with lines. People from cultures around the world still mark their bodies with scars, stretch their lips and earlobes, or undergo painful ceremonies to adorn their bodies with symbols and markings.

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Chemical secrets of feathers News

by Pat, 15 March 2013 | 0 comments

X-ray fluorescent images of feathers.

Birds are an important part of many ecosystems. New Australian research shows that bird feathers could be used to measure just how healthy some ecosystems are.

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Shave the horn, save the rhino? News

by Pat, 8 March 2013 | 1 comments

Wild rhinoceros.

Africa’s rhinoceros populations are under threat – only 5000 black rhinos and 20 000 white rhinos are left in the wild. A major cause in their decline is illegal hunting for their famous horns, used in ornamental weapons and traditional Chinese medicine.

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Electric buzz News

by Pat, 1 March 2013 | 0 comments

Honey bee on a flower.

Flowers have adaptations such as vivid colours and strong scents to attract bees. According to recent research, they might also have a more electric way of bringing all the bees to the yard.

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