The Sibudu Cave. Credit: South African Heritage Resources Agency

Birdie num num: Stone Age people loved it too

Fancy digging your teeth into a meal of pigeon breasts or dishing up guinea fowl legs? Middle Age Stone men and women did too. Researchers from the University of the Witwatersrand’s Evolutionary Studies Institute carefully looked at bones collected in the Sibudu Cave near Tongaat in KwaZulu-Natal. Sibudu Cave – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Sibudu…

Scientists say that there are four genetically distinct giraffe species. Photo: Engela Duvenage

A rethink about giraffes

If you thought that all giraffes were created equal, think again. Yes, based on their looks they all seem pretty much the same, but their genes tell a totally different story. The ones you’ll see in the Kruger National Park or elsewhere in South Africa are genetically very different from the ones in Ethiopia and…

Wine tasting at Stellenbosch University. Photo: Engela Duvenage

[LISTEN] The Science Inside’s Wine segment

This week’s The Science Inside radio slot is all about wine. The Drunken Monkey Hypothesis is discussed, and how our enjoyment of alcohol might be evolutionary. Find out about the chemistry of a good wine with Prof Antonio Ferreira and the process of wine making with Samantha Fairbairn. Both are from the Institute for Wine Biotechnology…

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Monday Menu: What happens when athletes have to quit?

So what happens to former elite athletes once they become too old to chase their Olympic dreams, or have to retire because of forced injuries? Many of those who develop injuries such as osteoarthritis don’t take it well. This can lead them to feel distress and suffer from sleep disorders and alcohol problems. This is…

The “Offset Gregorian” type antenna stands among 15 others that form part of the current configuration of the MeerKAT telescope. Photo: Sibusiso Biyela.

MeerKAT Puts South Africa on the Map

  TOP government officials bore witness to the launch of what is on its way to being the most powerful telescope in the world. The weekend saw the unveiling of 16 new antennas at the SKA site near Carnarvon with amazing science to boot. The MeerKAT team, in conjunction with the Department of Science and…

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Cats, pregnancy and the threat of toxoplasmosis

Kenneth Hammond-Aryee takes stock of the risks that toxoplasmosis holds for unborn babies, immune-compromised people such as those living with HIV/Aids, and people receiving organ transplants. This disease is linked to cats, and is caused by parasites,  “Say cheeeese.” Click, click, click goes the camera, as Kabaso* snaps picture after picture of the heavily pregnant…

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Monday menu: are SA youngsters up to date with the ABC’s of abortion?

So how much do South African youngsters know about abortion legislation, and what it all entails? Most know that it is legal to get an abortion, but their knowledge about the actual details are quite limited. That was some of the findings in a study by Devashnee Ramiyad and Cynthia Patel of the University of KwaZulu-Natal.…