Twenty surprising scientific facts we learned in 2020

From corals bunkering down in deeper waters to wait out climate change stress, to how vaccines can boost our immune system beyond a specific disease – here are the 20 most surprising scientific facts that we discovered this year.  Read: Five things you need to know about bats, disease and coronavirus  Read: We are starting … Read more

Concerns linger over workplace robots, even as they deliver benefits

Robots can already take over some repetitive tasks from human workers, now research focuses on more interaction between the two. Image credit - KUKA Roboter GmbH, Bachmann, the image is in the public domain

People harbour lingering fears about the impact of robots on their jobs and welfare, but machines in the workplace have produced benefits that researchers believe are likely to continue. But for that to happen, challenges such as earning workers’ trust and improving safety and human-robot interaction must be overcome. In the EU, 72% of people are … Read more

Fossil colour studies are changing our idea of how dinosaurs looked

In-depth fossil analysis could help us understand the true functions of colour. Image credit: Aline Dassel/Pixabay, licensed under Pixabay licence

by Gareth Willmer What colour were the dinosaurs? If you have a picture in your head, fresh studies suggest you may need to revise it. New fossil research also suggests that pigment-producing structures go beyond how the dinosaurs looked and may have played a fundamental role inside their bodies too. The latest findings have also … Read more

‘Browning’ white fat cells opens new avenue to obesity prevention

by: Vittoria D’Alessio Scientists are getting closer to understanding how to turn the body’s energy-storing white fat cells into energy-burning beige fat cells, opening up hopes that fat deposits could one day be deliberately manipulated to prevent obesity and related health conditions. Professor Mirko Trajkovski from the Laboratory of Metabolic Health at Geneva University, Switzerland, … Read more

Why meerkats and mongooses have a cooperative approach to raising their pups

Mongooses, like humans, are among the few mammals that go to war with each another. Image credit - Harry Marshall

Raising children can be a tough job, especially when doing it alone, but some animals like meerkats and mongooses work together to raise their young. Studies of these cooperative creatures are revealing how this highly social behaviour evolved and is shedding light on the roots of our own species’ collaborative abilities. Living in the flat, … Read more