New Scientist Weekly
#152 Ancient species of human could control fire; complete brain map of fly
An extinct species of ancient human may have been much more advanced than we first realised. First discovered 10 years ago, Homo neladi had a brain about a third the size of ours and yet it may have done complex things like burying its dead and controlling fire. The team learns about the latest finding from the Rising Star cave near Johannesburg.
Mars has long been described as geologically dead, but new evidence shows it may still be volcanically active. The team learns about a new theory which might explain what created the mysterious trenches in the Cerberus Fossae region of the planet.
The largest complete map of the connections between neurons inside a brain has been made - but it’s not of a human brain. This whole-brain connectome is that of a Drosophila larva - the larva of a fruit fly. The team finds out about this massive undertaking - a stepping stone to describing the brains of more complex animals.
Are penguins self-aware? When we try to answer this question in any animal, we tend to use the controversial mirror method - and that’s exactly what a group of researchers have done. But does it actually work, and can we trust the new findings?
The remains of the last known thylacine (Tasmanian tiger) have been found, 80 years after they went missing. Self-described Australian mammal nerd Jack Ashby of Cambridge University tells the team how this curious mystery was solved. As the author of Platypus Matters, Jack also shares a story about Platypuses, and the “cocktail of misery” in the animal’s poisonous sting.
On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Leah Crane, Alison George and Michael Marshall. To read about these subjects and much more, you can subscribe to New Scientist magazine at newscientist.com.
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