Archives for the month of: October, 2013

It looks like the SARS virus originated in Chinese horseshoe bats and was passed on through bat-to-human contact – that’s one for you, Count Dracula!


A blind crustacean that lives in underwater caves uses venom to liquify its prey. This is the first venomous crustacean discovered.

Another reason why sleep is important – it seems to clear your brain of toxins. During sleep, the flow of fluid around the brain increases, washing away any buildup of waste proteins. This could explain the link between sleep disorders and brain disease such as Alzheimer’s disease.

The research was published in Science.

Contrary to previous theories, there may only have been one human species walking the earth millions of years ago. According to a paper in Science, Homo habilis, Homo rudolfensis and Homo erectus may have been part of the evolution of humans, rather than separate species.

Some dogs can instinctively predict when someone is about to have an epileptic fit – dogs can also be trained to do this.

A 520 million year old fossil of a spider-like creature shows details of its brain and nervous system.

The research was published in Nature.

…or is it? DNA samples from purported Yetis actually match those from an ancient type of polar bear, which dates back around 40,000 years. Some scientists are skeptical, but watch this space…

Small monkeys called marmosets have polite conversations, where they take turns to speak – perhaps Radio 4’s Today programme presenters could learn something…

Read the research in Current Biology.

Ants are more closely related to bees than to wasps, according to a study of the insects’ genomes and transcriptomes (the genes that are actively being translated into proteins).

Happy Ada Lovelace Day. Ada Lovelace worked with Charles Babbage, and is credited as the first ever computer programmer. Use today to celebrate women scientists everywhere!

Incidentally, Ada Lovelace was Lord Byron’s daughter.

%d bloggers like this: