ZINIO logo
Science Illustrated

Science Illustrated Issue 66

Add to favorites

Science Illustrated delivers natural science, break through discoveries and an understanding of the world for the entire family. Packed with stunning photography and in-depth editorial it’s a visually spectacular gateway to the world looking into the beginning of life to distant objects in the universe.

Read More
Nextmedia Pty Ltd
$5.49(Incl. tax)
$29.99(Incl. tax)
8 Issues

in this issue

3 min.
our lost history

How long is human history? It’s not as easy to answer that question as you might think. When does “history” start? What’s the point where we stopped being just really smart apes, and became something different, something that the planet hasn’t seen before? History is older than civilisation, of course. That’s because “civilisation” is a term used by archaeologists to mean a complex society with urban development, evidence of social classes, some kind of symbolic communication system (mostly writing), and modification of the natural environment via agriculture, irrigation, land-clearing, and so forth. Some of the earliest sites that could qualify as being “civilised” are in Mesopotamia, including Jericho, where excavations have uncovered circular mud-brick huts and various other structures - these date from around 9000BCE. But those people already had a long history,…

1 min.

Huge salamander 'sees' with its whole body The water snake struggles to escape the huge salamander. The American hellbender salamander is the world’s third biggest amphibian, and can grow as long as 70 cm. The huge salamander particularly feeds on crayfish and fish, but could also go for larger animals, like this snake. Its eyesight is poor, but light-sensitive cells all over its body help it locate its prey. The photo of the struggle between salamander and snake was one of the winners of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year award. The snake actually managed to escape. Breast tissue snapshot helps cancer researchers Mammary glands - better known as breasts - contain thousands of tiny channels, along which milk flows, pushed by specialised muscles, mad clear by this new 3D cinephotomicrographies of a…

1 min.
mini-brain connects itself to mouse spinal cord

NEUROLOGY For the last several years, scientists have been trying to use stem cells to grow miniature brains in a dish. Well, not exactly a brain, but a structure called a brain organoid, comprised of two million neurons, which it turns out is enough for the structure to actually react to its surroundings. In this latest experiment, UK researchers placed a piece of mouse spinal cord and muscle tissue near a brain organoid they'd grown earlier. The mini-brain grew and extended tendrils to investigate the mouse tissue, and eventually connected itself to both pieces. Later, researchers observed muscle movement in the mouse tissue. It sounds creepier than it is - the mini-brain can't think or feel, it's just following the programming of its own stem cells. But the experiment gives neuroscientists a tantalising…

2 min.
new rover will search for life

NASA’s next rover will be the first to collect samples on Mars which will be brought back to Earth. They might reveal if there was ever life on the Red Planet. AEROSPACE NASA’s next Mars rover will arrive at the Red Planet in 2021, and the landing site is already all picked out: the Jezero Crater, which involves both ancient lake bed and a dried-up river delta. Four billion years ago, the crater was half-filled with water, and along the old lake shore, a ring of carbonate has been discovered. Equivalent sediments on Earth often include stromatolites, or fossil mats of bacteria. If there were microbes on Mars, when it was a wet planet, it is an obvious spot to search for evidence of them. The Mars rover will analyse the sediments…

1 min.
parkinson’s can be hiding in the appendix

MEDICINE Parkinson’s destroys the brain’s motor centres, but it might originate in our digestive system. Scientists from the Van Andel Institute in Michigan, USA, have discovered that you suffer less risk of developing Parkinson’s, if your appendix is removed at an early age. The discovery is supported by data from 1.7 million people since 1964. One in 100 people develop Parkinson’s after the age of 65, but the data revealed that the risk is about 20 % lower for people who had their appendixes removed early. The cause is probably to be found in the alpha-synuclein protein. The precise function of the protein remains unknown, but studies have shown that it tends to fold and form clumps. In this shape, it could harm nerve cells in the brain’s motor centres, causing…

1 min.
by the way

THE BIGGEST BIRD WAS ACTUALLY EVEN BIGGER The extinct elephant birds of Madagascar are the biggest birds that ever lived on Earth. Scientists recently identified a species that is bigger still. It was 3 m tall and weighed 800 kg–almost the same as a giraffe. AND TALKING OF ELEPHANT BIRDS … HUMANS HUNTED ELEPHANT BIRDS FOR 10,000 YEARS The elephant birds went extinct 1,000 years ago, probably because they were wiped out by people who came to Madagascar. Scientists used to think that humans did not arrive there until 4,000 years ago, but new discoveries of cutting marks in elephant bird bones show that we hunted the birds 10,500+ years ago. ELEPHANT BIRDS WERE ALMOST BLIND New scans of elephant bird skulls demonstrate that the birds’ centre of vision was so small that scientists think that…