Science

Plastic straws could be banned, suggests Michael Gove

Image copyright PA Environment Secretary Michael Gove has suggested that plastic straws could be banned in Britain. When asked by the Daily Telegraph if he would prohibit plastic straws Mr Gove replied “watch this space”. He added that a balanced approach would be needed but said: “If it is bad, then banning it is a good thing.” The Marine Conservation Society estimates the UK uses 8.5 billion straws every year

‘Fishing continued’ even after East China sea oil spill

Image copyright AFP/Transport Ministry of China Image caption The tanker carried a highly toxic petroleum product that became invisible after the spill Fishing activities continued at the site of massive oil spill in the East China Sea for days after the incident, a BBC investigation suggests. Most of the fishing vessels in the affected region were identified as Chinese. Independent experts say fishing was stopped much later and reports in

Wildlife secrets of Nigeria’s last wilderness

Image copyright Chester Zoo Image caption The Nigeria-Cameroon chimp is confined to remote pockets of forest The world’s rarest chimpanzee has been captured on camera in the remote forests of Nigeria. The Nigeria-Cameroon chimp was seen at various locations within Gashaka Gumti National Park, raising hopes for its future survival. Conservationists also recorded the first sighting in the country of a giant pangolin. The park is regarded as a national

Neanderthals were capable of making art

Image caption The dates suggest Neanderthals stencilled their hands by blowing red paint over them Contrary to the traditional view of them as brutes, it turns out that Neanderthals were artists. A study in Science journal suggests they made cave drawings in Spain that pre-date the arrival of modern humans in Europe by 20,000 years. They also appear to have used painted sea shells as jewellery. Art was previously thought

Mutation ‘gives bats edge over deadly viruses’

Image copyright SPL Image caption Bats can carry lots of deadly viruses, such as Nipah, Marburg, Sars and Ebola A single mutation in an immunity gene called Sting might be one reason why bats can resist the worst effects of harmful viruses such as Ebola. Chinese scientists have shown that bat Sting triggers production of lower levels of interferon, the proteins that signal when the body is under attack. Too

Seychelles protects an area ‘as big as Britain’ in Indian Ocean

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The island nation plans to protect 30% of its seas by 2020 The Seychelles has created protected areas “the size of Great Britain” in the Indian Ocean. In exchange for getting some of its national debt paid off, the island nation has agreed to protect 210,000 sq km (81,000 sq miles) of ocean. The reserves will limit tourism and fishing activities in the Seychelles

SpaceX launches broadband pathfinders

Image copyright SPACEX Image caption The early morning launch had to go off at a very specific time SpaceX launched again on Thursday – this time to put a Spanish radar satellite above the Earth. But there was a lot of interest also in the mission’s secondary payloads – a couple of spacecraft the Californian rocket company will use to trial the delivery of broadband from orbit. SpaceX has big

Ancient Britons ‘replaced’ by newcomers

Image caption Beaker pottery starts to appear in Britain around 4,500 years ago The ancient population of Britain was almost completely replaced by newcomers about 4,500 years ago, a study shows. The findings mean modern Britons trace just a small fraction of their ancestry to the people who built Stonehenge. The astonishing result comes from analysis of DNA extracted from 400 ancient remains across Europe. The mammoth study, published in

Tasmanian tiger ‘joeys’ revealed in 3D

Image copyright University of Melbourne It is a fascinating insight into the biology of an extinct animal. Scientists have scanned all known preserved Tasmanian tiger “joeys” to better understand the marsupial’s key early development phases. The study tracks the changes to the infants’ skeleton and internal organs as they grew inside the mother’s pouch. It captures in detail the transition the tiger joey made from something that resembled all other

Government loses clean air court case

Image copyright PA Campaigners have won a third High Court victory over the UK government’s plans to tackle air pollution. The judge in the case said the Government plan was “unlawful” and that more action was needed in Wales and 45 English local authority areas. He said ministers had to ensure that in each of the areas, steps were taken to comply with the law as soon as possible. The