Latest news in science as it happens from around Australia and the world.
Updated: 1 hour 44 min ago
SUPER SWEEPER: At least one super-Earth could have formed close to the Sun sweeping away debris before the planet was destroyed, a new study suggests.
CORAL BLEACHING: Sea temperature rises of as little as 0.5% could see more than a quarter of corals on the Great Barrier Reef lose their ability to survive bleaching events.
INSECT INNOVATION: Life in the scorching hot Sahara Desert is no problem for an ant that has evolved an effective and stylish heat-repellent system, new research finds.
AGED CARE: Video chatting with relatives over the internet might be able to reduce the risk of nursing home residents with dementia from becoming agitated or even aggressive, new research suggests.
DIABETES BREAKTHROUGH: Fully functioning pancreatic cells that produce insulin have been created in the laboratory from human stem cells for the first time.
GREAT MOMENTS IN SCIENCE: Pi is a very long and a very important number, but how many decimal places of it do we really need to know? Dr Karl investigates.
SHIFTING POLES: Shifts in the spin axis of our planet are not only being driven by melting ice sheets but also changes in the relative amount of water stored on the continents, researchers have discovered.
MISSING Y CHROMOSOME: The disappearance of the Neanderthal Y chromosome from modern humans may be due to genetic incompatibilities that led to miscarriages, suggests the first-ever analysis of the male Neanderthal sex chromosome.
BIG SURPRISE: The discovery of a monster black hole 17 billion times more massive than the sun in a modestly-sized galaxy, raises suspicions supermassive black holes may be more common than originally thought.
HUMAN COLONISATION: The colonisation of South America by prehistoric people occurred in two distinct phases of population growth that resembled an invasive species, a study reveals
SUPERNOVAE SHOWERS: The Earth was bombarded by debris from a series of stellar explosions with the closest supernova occurring about 2.3 million years ago, two new studies indicate.
CROSS-SPECIES TRANSPLANTATION: A team of US and German scientists has kept transplanted pig hearts alive in baboons, primate cousins of humans, for a record 2.5 years.
GREAT MOMENTS IN SCIENCE: Dr Karl puts his finger on the pulse of research that suggests your heart can become stronger if it runs out of sync for a short while before its rhythm is restored.
FOSSIL FIND: A tiny arthropod from 430 million years ago dubbed the 'Kite Runner' stashed its young in individual capsules tethered to its body.
DARK ROLE OF RITUALS: Elaborate ritual killings such as being crushed under a newly built canoe and decapitation after being rolled off a house laid the foundations of class-based structures in modern societies.
SMOKING RISK: Women who smoke while pregnant may alter the DNA of their developing foetus, according to a large international study of more than 6,000 women and children.
EXOPLANET MAPPING: Astronomers have, for the first time, mapped a nearby 'super-Earth' exoplanet to find that one hemisphere is almost completely molten rock, while the other half is almost completely solid.
HUMAN EVOLUTION: The disappearance of so-called hobbits on the Indonesian island of Flores is pushed back to 50,000 years ago after excavations revealed flaws in the original dating of the controversial species of primitive humans.
DROUGHT RISK: Extreme droughts could lead to widespread death of eucalypts from embolisms, say researchers.
GREAT MOMENTS IN SCIENCE: Your life depends on the regular beat of your heart. Dr Karl explains how this mighty four-stage pump works.