Thu, 29 June 2017
Hosts: Ed Brown, Penny Dumsday, Jo Benhamu.
00:00:40 An archaeological site in a Moroccan cave has long been known to have specimens of early humans. But an recent study has dated some of these bones to over 300,000 years old. If correct, that would make them the oldest fossilised remains of modern humans ever found - and it would change our understanding of the spread of humans out of Africa. For books to help explain evolution to young children, we recommend Grandmother Fish by Jonathan Tweet and Evolution: How We and All Living Things Came To Be by Daniel Loxton.
00:10:34 In the latest send-animals-to-space experiment, flatworms were studied on the International Space Station. And things got weird - especially with one worm that grew two heads!
00:15:42 Recently a lot of scientists have been suggesting that we're currently in the midst of a sixth mass extinction - and we humans are the prime cause of it. But Smithsonian paleontologist Doug Erwin argues that we're not there yet. Things are bad but to call it a mass extinction isn't really accurate.
00:19:42 And are humans hard-wired to look at faces? A study shines a light on what babies see in the womb.
This episode contains traces of John Oliver talking about vaccines on Last Week Tonight.
Tue, 20 June 2017
Hosts: Ed Brown, Dr. Shayne Joseph, Penny Dumsday
00:00:40 There's a lot of talk about the supposed health benefits of sourdough bread. But a new study seems to suggest that some people may be better off eating white bread, and others may have more to gain from sourdough bread.
00:10:34 A group of about 1200 giant bumphead parrotfish have been caught in the act of mating off Palau in Micronesia. It's the first time they have ever been seen doing so in such large numbers.
00:15:42 A strain of the lactobacillus bacteria has been extracted from yogurt and used to slow down the growth of 14 multidrug-resistant bacteria.
This episode contains traces of a message from French President Emmanuel Macron to American climate change researchers.
Sat, 10 June 2017
Hosts: Ed Brown, Dr. Shayne Joseph, Penny Dumsday.
00:00:39 Baleen whales - the toothless filter feeders - used to be around 10m long. Then 3 million years ago they started to grow to the enormous size they are today (blue whales can grow be 30 metres long!).
00:07:08 A new study has found that gastric bypass surgery disrupts the gut microbiome so significantly, that patients have a completely different bacteria makeup in their guts after surgery. And the new gut flora appears to promote weight loss.
00:14:14 An increase in the number of baby dugongs on the Great Barrier Reef indicates a revival of seagrass meadows following the devastation wrought by Cyclone Yasi in 2011.
00:18:11 Newly developed recognition software is helping underwater drones search for submerged mines and even map starfish colonies. Not only do the drones pilot themselves, they use pattern-matching to identify points of interest and relay that back to humans.
This episode contains traces of meteorologist Kait Parker at The Weather Channel responding to Breitbart's misrepresentation of climate data.
Sun, 4 June 2017
Hosts: Ed Brown, Dr. Shayne Joseph, Penny Dumsday, Dr. Helen Maynard-Casely.
00:01:03 The first results from the Juno spacecraft are in, giving us new and surprising insights into the largest planet in our solar system.
00:09:39 Some media reports of flooding at the Svalbard Global Seed Vault were somewhat exaggerated. Some water got in at the front door, which happens every year, but the seeds were never in any danger.
00:14:36 Have you ever seen a flamingo fall over? Probably not. Turns out they're extremely stable, especially on one leg. A pair of biologists set out to find out why.
00:22:11 The first steps have been taken towards space-based baby-making, with healthy mouse pups being born from sperm that went to space.
This episode contains traces of astronaut Dr. Peggy Whitson talking with President Trump, after breaking the US record for the most time in space. Dr. Whitson was already the world's most experienced spacewoman and the oldest woman in space.