Science

Farm subsidies ‘must be earned’ – Gove

Image copyright AFP Image caption Mr Gove says leaving the EU will allow Britiain to reform how it cares for the environment Farm subsidies will have to be earned rather than just handed out in future, the Environment Secretary Michael Gove is expected to say in a speech later. Farmers will get only get taxpayers’ cash if they agree to protect the environment and enhance rural life, he will say.

Moon dust bag sold for $1.8m at New York auction

Image copyright AFP/Getty Images Image caption The white bag still carries traces of Moon dust and small rock A bag used by US astronaut Neil Armstrong to collect the first ever samples of the Moon has sold at auction in New York for $1.8m (£1.4m). The outer decontamination bag from the Apollo 11 mission in 1969 was bought at Sotheby’s by an anonymous bidder. The white bag still carries traces

Elephant seals ‘recognise vocal rhythm’

Image copyright Ari Friedlaender Image caption Male northern elephant seals can weigh more than two tonnes Male elephant seals recognise the rhythm of one another’s voices, researchers say. Scientists in the US “decoded” the calls of male elephant seals, revealing that vocal communication played a crucial part in their social lives. This showed seals communicating their identity with deep, rhythmic calls. In their Current Biology paper, the team says this

Poaching pushes pangolin closer to extinction

Image copyright University of Sussex Image caption African white-bellied pangolin Millions of pangolins are being hunted and killed in Africa, raising fears that they are being pushed to extinction. The pangolin is the world’s most trafficked and poached mammal, because of the demand for its meat and scales. Conservationists say an international trade ban announced last year must be strictly enforced. There are concerns that traders are illegally supplying African

Rock find ‘rewrites’ Australian human history

Image copyright Dominic O Brien/Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation Image caption The discovery was made in a rock shelter in the Northern Territory Archaeologists have found the first evidence to suggest that Aboriginal people have been in Australia for at least 65,000 years. The discovery indicates their arrival on the continent was up to 18,000 years earlier than previously thought. It was made after sophisticated artefacts were excavated from a rock shelter

Why dogs are friendly – it’s written in their genes

Image copyright Monty Sloan Image caption Some wolves are more sociable than others Being friendly is in dogs’ nature and could be key to how they came to share our lives, say US scientists. Dogs evolved from wolves tens of thousands of years ago. During this time, certain genes that make dogs particularly gregarious have been selected for, according to research. This may give dogs their distinctive personalities, including a

UK rhino eggs ‘could save last northern whites’

Image copyright Longleat Image caption Scientists have extracted eggs from rhinos at Longleat Safari park in Wiltshire A UK zoo is taking part in a radical plan to save the world’s last three northern white rhinos from extinction. At Longleat safari park, scientists have collected eggs from southern white rhinos – a closely related sub species – to use for IVF. The eggs will help researchers to develop the technology

How did dogs become our best friends? New evidence

Image copyright Getty Images Dogs most likely evolved from wolves at a single location around 20,000 to 40,000 years ago, a study suggests. Previously, it had been thought that dogs were tamed from two populations of wolves living thousands of miles apart. Researchers studied DNA from three dogs found at archaeological sites in Germany and Ireland that were between 4,700 and 7,000 years old. The ancient canines share ancestry with

LISA Pathfinder: Time called on Europe’s gravity probe

Image copyright ESA Image caption Artwork: The LISA Pathfinder demonstration took place more than a million km from Earth The European Space Agency (Esa) has turned off one of its most successful ever missions. LISA Pathfinder was sent into orbit in 2015 to prove key technologies that could be used on some future project to detect gravitational waves – the ripples that disturb space-time whenever black holes collide. The satellite

California votes to extend cap-and-trade climate law to 2030

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption California is challenging Mr Trump’s decision to scrap his predecessor’s environmental policies California legislators have voted to extend a law to cut carbon emissions, weeks after President Donald Trump said the US would withdraw from the Paris climate accord. The policy, which requires firms to purchase permits to release pollutants, will be extended to the year 2030. California Governor Jerry Brown said Republicans and