How long until we lose the moon?

Interested in local research about the moon? Then read this article by Sphumelele Ndlovu of the Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory (HartRAO) and the University of KwaZulu-Natal, which first appeared in the latest edition of Science Today.   The Moon, every year, moves away from Earth by about 3.8 cm. It seems very small, about 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…

[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…

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…

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…