How arbitrary is language?
Words in the English language are structured to help children learn according to research led by Lancaster University.
How plants may be evolving to the lack of bees
Plants which used to have two types of male reproductive organs – to increase their chances for fertilisation – are reverting back to one type. And in some cases, they are becoming self-fertilising.
How repeatable is evolutionary history?
Writing about the weird soft-bodied fossils found in the Burgess Shale in the Canadian Rockies, paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould noted that of 25 initial body plans exhibited by the fossils, all but four ...
Plants convert energy at lightning speed
A new way of measuring how much light a plant can tolerate could be useful in growing crops resilient to a changing climate, according to scientists from Queen Mary University of London.
Feeding global population without degrading the environment a major challenge
(Phys.org) —Scientists are warning we are undertaking "the greatest challenge we have ever faced" in trying to get more from the earth to feed the world's growing population.
GM spuds beat blight
(Phys.org) —In a three-year GM research trial, scientists boosted resistance of potatoes to late blight, their most important disease, without deploying fungicides.
Fast-mutating DNA sequences shape early development
What does it mean to be human? According to scientists the key lies, ultimately, in the billions of lines of genetic code that comprise the human genome. The problem, however, has been deciphering that code. ...
Early stone tool making more sophisticated than originally thought
(Phys.org) —Researchers at the University of Liverpool have found that long and slender stone tools were made by human ancestors at least a million years ago – nearly twice as long ago as generally thought.
New study shows use of tools supports learning in nonhuman species
(Phys.org) —Leave young children alone with a soccer ball or a plastic shovel, and they quickly begin to put the object to use, especially if they've observed adults kicking the ball or using the shovel ...
Canny crows know their tools
(Phys.org) —Scientists at the University of St Andrews have discovered that New Caledonian crows, famous for their use of tools to extract hidden food, do not rely on guesswork when deploying one of their ...
What evolved first—a dexterous hand or an agile foot?
Resolving a long-standing mystery in human evolution, new research from the RIKEN Brain Science Institute indicates that early hominids developed finger dexterity and tool use ability before the development ...
Alaska tundra shows surprising resilience after unprecedented fire
Despite the size and severity of the massive 2007 Anaktuvuk River fire on Alaska's North Slope, much of the arctic vegetation has recovered and the tundra is likely to return to its pre-fire condition according ...
Sea-floor microbes may be affected by ailing shrimp in acidified oceans
Disrupting just one process in the important relationship between microbes and bigger plants and animals that live in ocean floor sediment may have knock-on effects that could reduce the productivity of coastal ...
Carbon-sequestering ocean plants may cope with climate changes over the long run
A year-long experiment on tiny ocean organisms called coccolithophores suggests that the single-celled algae may still be able to grow their calcified shells even as oceans grow warmer and more acidic in ...
Insight into marine life's ability to adapt to climate change
A study into marine life around an underwater volcanic vent in the Mediterranean, might hold the key to understanding how some species will be able to survive in increasingly acidic sea water should anthropogenic ...