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New Zealand’s giant extinct bird traced back to Africa

Scientists have revealed the African origins of New Zealand’s most mysterious giant flightless bird – the now extinct adzebill – showing that some of its closest living relatives are the pint-sized flufftails from Madagascar and Africa. Led by the University of Adelaide, the research in the journal Diversity showed that among the closest living relatives of the […]

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Sea snakes avoid predators by “seeing” tails

New research has revealed the fascinating adaptation of some Australian sea snakes that helps protect their vulnerable paddle-shaped tails from predators. An international study led by the University of Adelaide shows that several species of Australian sea snakes can sense light on their tail skin, prompting them to withdraw their tails under shelter. The study […]

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7000 years of drought and rainfall found in preserved leaves

A study by University of Adelaide researchers and Queensland Government scientists has revealed what south-east Queensland’s rainfall was like over the last 7000 years – including several severe droughts worse and longer lasting than the 12-year Millennium Drought. The study – published in Scientific Reports – used preserved paper-bark tea tree leaves from North Stradbroke Island’s Swallow […]

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ACAD discovers two new penguin species through Ancient DNA

Researchers at the University of Adelaide’s Australian Centre for Ancient DNA analysed DNA from prehistoric penguin bones found on the Chatham Islands east of New Zealand as part of the evolutionary study. Co-author of the study, Dr Kieren Mitchell said they were surprised when ancient DNA from these bones revealed the existence of two previously […]

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Climate Change Wiped out the ‘Siberian Unicorn’

New research has shed light on the origin and extinction of a giant, shaggy Ice Age rhinoceros known as the Siberian unicorn because of its extraordinary single horn. An international team of researchers from Adelaide, Sydney, London, the Netherlands, and Russia, have settled a long-standing debate about the relationship of the Siberian unicorn to living […]

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According to Lilly Pilly Fossils, the Snowy Mountains were Once Snowless!

Leaf fossils discovered high in Australia’s Snowy Mountains have revealed a past history of warmer rainforest vegetation and a lack of snow, in contrast with the alpine vegetation and winter snow-covered slopes of today. University of Adelaide research, published in the American Journal of Botany, describes fossils of the iconic Australian tree, the Lilly Pilly, […]

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Feral Rabbits are Losing the Battle against Two Biological Control Agents

A new study has shown how two biological control agents have been effective in reducing the numbers of feral rabbits in Australia. Using data from the largest wild rabbit study in the world, scientists have examined the long-term interaction of myxoma and rabbit haemorrhagic disease viruses. The research was published in the Journal of Animal […]

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Platypus Venom

Mysterious New Diabetes Treatments from Platypus Venom

A world first discovery of a key metabolic hormone found in the venom and gut of Australia’s iconic platypus will now be investigated for its potential to treat type 2 diabetes, in new research led by the University of Adelaide. In a collaboration between the University of Adelaide, Flinders University, Monash University, SAHMRI and the […]

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C4 Plants and Vegetation

Revealing the history of Australia’s Vegetation

University of Adelaide researchers have uncovered the history of when and why the native vegetation that today dominates much of Australia first expanded across the continent. The new understanding will help researchers better predict the likely impact of climate change and rising CO2 levels on these critically important plants. Called ‘C4 plants’ after their alternative […]

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Repost: Smaller emus on smaller islands

The following piece has been reposted from Dr Vicki Thompson’s blog VickiThomson.com     “Have you ever wondered how animals evolve when they are on a permanent diet? Over long time frames? Well, looking at what happens on islands is a perfect way to find this out. In our recent study (‘Genetic diversity and drivers of […]

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