Weighty matter: metabolic syndrome on the rise among SA’s Asian Indian population

Metabolic syndrome (MetS) in South African Asian Indians is becoming a considerable health concern. It’s not only confined to older adults either. Worryingly, this lifestyle disease was identified in 6.9% of the young adults tested between the ages of 15 and 24 years. This is the results from the most up-to-date study available on the…

Carrion plant’s (only) little helper

Not all flies attracted to foul-smelling carrion plants help with its pollination In the life cycle of smelly yellow carrion plants (Orbea lutea subsp. lutea), all flies are not created equal. Their flowers, which quite literally reek, lure insects from far and wide that are attracted by the smell of decaying matter and faeces. However,…

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…

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…

In tough times young mice take things slow

When the going gets tough, the young slow down and the old keep going. That’s what happens to African striped mice (Rhabdomys pumilio) in times of drought, according to researchers from the University of the Witwatersrand. Their findings are published in the journal Ethology. These highlight the influence of different seasons and the use of…

Monday Menu: Bottled water and human rights

Have you ever thought about the fact that bottled water might be having an impact on one of man’s most basic human rights – access to water? It’s all about commodification and boils down to money, says Maria Macarena Pereda of the University of Pretoria, in a mini-thesis she completed as part of her LLM…

John Simaika’s fascination with dragonflies

Stellenbosch University water ecologist Dr John Simaika has spent lots of time around dragonflies since one serendipitously landed on his dinner plate while he was discussing his honours degree project. Along with his former postgraduate supervisor, the renowned insect conservationist Prof Michael Samways of the SU Department of Conservation Ecology and Entomology, he has recently…