Latest news in science as it happens from around Australia and the world.
Updated: 1 hour 32 min ago
DEEPLY CONCERNING: Deep ocean trenches - considered the most remote places in the world - have levels of toxic, industrial chemicals 50 times higher than a highly polluted river system in China
DIY KILLERS: Carnivorous plants around the world all developed their killer habit in surprisingly similar fashion, according to a genetic study of distantly related pitcher plants from Australia, Asia and America.
EVOLUTION OF LIFE: A bacterium dubbed the "platypus of microbiology" is even stranger than first thought, with the discovery it contains structures normally only found in more complex cells.
MATERIAL SCIENCE: An everyday cooking oil has been used to make graphene in a lab - a development scientists said could significantly reduce the cost and complexity of making the super-substance on a commercial scale.
2017 AUSTRALIAN OF THE YEAR: Emeritus Professor Alan Mackay-Sim has been awarded Australian of the Year for stem cell research which has led to groundbreaking advances in the treatment of spinal cord injuries.
GIANT OTTER: Scientists have unearthed fossils of an intriguingly large otter as big as a wolf that frolicked in rivers and lakes in a lush, warm and humid wetlands region in south-western China about 6.2 million years ago.
SAVING PLAN: The first captive-bred orange-bellied parrot to have survived its first week in the nest of an adoptive mother in the wild in a world-first fostering trial as a strategy to boost the endangered species.
BRAIN EVOLUTION: Scientists have mapped 100-year-old brains of two extinct thylacines - better known as the Tasmanian tiger - to reveal how the carnivore was wired to be a predator.
ALIEN WEATHER: A weather system - including strong winds and changing cloud cover - has been observed in the atmosphere of a giant gas planet outside our solar system for the first time.
AMBER FOSSIL: The exquisitely preserved bones and feathers of a dinosaur tail have been discovered in a piece of 99-million-year-old amber found by a palaeontologist hunting for fossils in a Myanmar market.
TIME IS SLIPPING: The observations of ancient astronomers from the time of the Babylonians onwards have revealed our modern days are not getting quite as long as they should be.
GUT BRAIN LINKS: Changes to gut microbes can influence the development of Parkinson's-like movement disorders, according to a study of mice predisposed to the neurological condition.
GALAXY EVOLUTION: The discovery of an enormous reservoir of ultra-cold gas surrounding a distant galaxy has reshaped our scientific understanding of how stars and galaxies formed in the early universe.
MINIATURE LABORATORY: A new skin patch could help you keep tabs on your health while you work up a sweat - literally.
CARBON CITIES: The production of cement is a major source of carbon dioxide, but new research suggests the material that makes up our concrete jungles also plays an important role in reabsorbing carbon emissions.
BRIGHT FLASH: An ultra-bright cosmic flash of radio waves from a galaxy far, far away has given scientists an unprecedented view of what lies between galaxies in the Universe.
KELP KILLERS: The southerly migration of voracious tropical fish and urchins are threatening kelp forests along the east coast of Australia, while marine heatwaves and pollution are taking their toll in the south and west, two separate studies have found.
PLANT POWER: The rate of growth in atmospheric carbon dioxide has slowed due to an increased uptake of the greenhouse gas by the planet's plants, a new study has suggested.
AGEING EYES: We are not the only ones who need glasses as we age - bonobos also become long-sighted as they get older, according to research.
DESERT SURVIVAL TACTICS: The secret to thorny devils' survival in the desert is shovelling sand on top of themselves to suck the moisture out of it, a study suggests.