Neanderthal brains 'grew more slowly'

Neanderthal brains 'grew more slowly'

Image copyrightJoan Costa Image caption The skeleton of a boy that shattered our view of Neanderthal brain developmentA new study shows that Neanderthal brains developed more slowly than ours. An analysis of a Neanderthal child’s skeleton suggests that its brain was still developing at a time when the brains of modern human children are fully formed. This is further evidence that this now extinct human was not more brutish and primitive than our species. The research has been published in the journal Science. Until now it had been thought that…

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UK strikes research deal with US in run-up to Brexit

UK strikes research deal with US in run-up to Brexit

Image copyrightFredex8 The UK and US have reached a deal to develop a special relationship for science. An agreement between the two countries aims to make it easier for researchers to travel, collaborate and share facilities. US science bodies are said to be “eager” to take advantage of research opportunities lost because of Brexit. The deal is part of government efforts to develop research collaborations outside the EU. BBC News revealed earlier this year when the deal was being negotiated that the aim was to develop a legal framework to…

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Owls hold secret to ageless ears

Owls hold secret to ageless ears

Image copyrightGetty Images Image caption Barn owls rely on their hearing to huntBarn owls keep their acute sense of hearing into old age, scientists have discovered. Previously, starlings have been found to have this ability, suggesting birds are protected from age-related hearing loss. Understanding more about the “ageless ears” of barn owls could help develop new treatments for human hearing problems. Birds are able to naturally repair damage to the inner ear. Georg Klump of the University of Oldenburg, Germany, a researcher on the study, said owls keep their hearing…

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Size matters when it comes to extinction risk

Size matters when it comes to extinction risk

Image copyrightGetty Images Image caption The large and the small are most at risk of extinction, on land and in waterThe biggest and the smallest of the world’s animals are most at risk of dying out, according to a new analysis. Size matters when it comes to extinction risk, with vertebrates in the so-called “Goldilocks zone” – not too big and not too small – winning out, say scientists. Action is needed to protect animals at both ends of the scale, they say. Heavyweights are threatened mainly by hunting, while…

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Rhino horn smuggled as jewellery

Rhino horn smuggled as jewellery

Image copyrightWildlife Justice Commission Criminal networks smuggling rhino horn out of Africa are turning it into jewellery to evade its detection in airports, an investigation has found. Wildlife trade monitoring network Traffic revealed an “emerging trend” of making and smuggling beads, bracelets and bangles and rhino horn powder. The lead investigator told BBC News the trade in rhino horn was now “morphing” into a market for luxury items. At least 7,100 rhinos are estimated to have been killed in Africa since 2007. Today, about 25,000 of the animals remain. Julian…

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