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The giant that perished

The largest known razorbill, or auk, was a powerful swimmer that couldn’t fly. Our ancestors carved images of the Great Auk in caves 35,000 years ago. But in the 1800s we drove it to extinction.

Ants in supercolonies defy evolution

Some invasive ants create supercolonies which eliminate other ants in an area. But the supercolonies cannot continue to exist, since evolution doesn’t allow for this social behaviour.

Animals that might exist

Cryptozoology isn’t just about abominable snowmen and dinosaurs hiding out in highland lakes. Normal animals also have their place in the study of creatures that are still hypothetical. Anyway, what do we mean by normal?

Chimpanzees have the X factor

New research reveals how natural selection has affected the evolution of chimpanzees, and perhaps also humans. The X chromosome probably holds the answer.

The mother of all birds had black wings

A study has discovered new evidence about the colour of the wings of Archaeopteryx – the primordial bird.

Weird 'plant-animal' baffles scientists

A strange creature that’s neither animal nor plant is causing researchers to rethink traditional ways of classifying living organisms.

Clearing up a Big Bang mystery

Alternative ideas have been put forward to fix what astrophysicists see as a flaw in the standard Big Bang model. But which is the right one? Data from the Planck satellite could provide the answer.

A toe’s tale of monkeys and lemurs

If a fossil has a special second toe, is it an ape or a lemur? A new study has raised doubts about the elongated “toilet claw”, and places Ida – thought to be the earliest and most complete fossil found in our primate group – among the lemurs.

What would we do without the moon?

How would it be on Earth if the Moon had never existed? Would we be in trouble if our celestial satellite were to leave us?

The physics of cross-country skiing

You don’t need a science degree to grasp the physics of Nordic skiing. And even physics nerds need more glide when kicking forward on cross-country skis.

2012: Is Planet X on collision course with Earth?

The end of the world is approaching, according to internet-based groups who believe that Earth will be hit by Planet X, also known as Nibiru, in 2012. But astronomers say there is nothing to indicate that doomsday is just around the corner.

New Year’s rocket science

Here's the full story of what happens after you've lit the fuse of a rocket and run off to a safe distance.