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Jun 15

We often hear or read that ‘some species of a bird or animal is going extinct’, or ‘a new species of an amphibian or reptile was discovered in the jungles of the Western Ghats’. However, what exactly do we mean by ‘species’?

General, Science, Ecology, Scitoons, SciQs
Arunachal Pradesh | Jun 14
Image: Tightly rosetted morph of Asiatic golden cat by Sahil Nijhawan/Panthera/APFD

A team of the local Idu Mishmi people led by Dr Sahil Nijhawan from ZSL and UCL, placed cameras in the jungles of Dibang Valley, Arunachal Pradesh to understand the distribution of medium and large-sized mammals. Among the images, they found many pictures of differently coloured, medium sized cats—all of which were Asiatic golden cats. The study also marks the first discovery of the tightly-rosetted morph of the golden cats in the world.

General, Science, Ecology, News
Bengaluru | Jun 14
Tell me why: Scepticism in science

Jack: That, my dear Algy, is the whole truth pure and simple.
Algernon: The truth is rarely pure and never simple.
— 
Oscar Wilde in The Importance of Being Earnest

In a series of articles, Research Matters tries to explain the commonly accepted process of scientific methodology, the interpretation of scientific studies and the obvious pitfalls. It is hoped that this series will help lay public in analysing any understanding published scientific studies for what they are, instead of believing just because ‘scientists say so’. This article is the first in the series.

General, Science, Society, Deep-dive, Friday Features, Joy of Science
Bengaluru | Jun 12
The street smartness of urban lizards

Bengaluru, once called the ‘garden city’, has today traded its greenery for the grey tones of cement. The mushrooming buildings have not only changed the city for its human inhabitants but also for animals that once called this land home. Like us, these animals try to adapt to a new and ever-changing world by learning the tricks and trades necessary to thrive. Now, a study by researchers from IISc has discovered that lizards in the city’s suburbs are street smart, and learn faster than their rural brethren, to stay safe.

General, Science, Ecology, Deep-dive
Bengaluru | Jun 11
Meet Micryletta aishani, the new frog from the northeast that plays hide-and-seek with monsoon

The monsoon is here; humming with the pouring rain are the croaks of frogs, for it is the season of love for most of them. But not for Micryletta aishani, the newest of the frogs discovered from the state of Assam. Unlike most frogs that breed during the monsoon, this elusive frog breeds before the onset of monsoon and then goes into hiding for the rest of the year. The discovery is the result of six years of extensive fieldwork in the northeastern states of India by a team of researchers from the University of Delhi, Wildlife Institute of India, Indonesian Institute of Sciences and the University of Texas at Arlington, USA. 

General, Science, Ecology
Guwahati | Jun 10
Is your milk pasteurised? Detection strips from IIT Guwahati can tell you

In this digital age, ruled by smartphone apps, how about one to tell you how fresh your milk is? Although there are stringent safety rules concerning the quality of milk, almost 68% of what is available in the country does not conform to them. In a recent study, researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati have come up with a paper-based detection system to detect if a sample of milk is pasteurised and fresh. This technique, they say, is cost-effective, rapid, user- and environment-friendly.

General, Science, Technology, Health, Deep-dive
Bengaluru | Jun 10
Improving the prediction of the impact of earthquakes

About five earthquakes of magnitude 5.0 or higher on the Ritcher scale occur on our planet every day. Researchers from the IISc, Bengaluru, King Saud University, Saudi Arabia, and BARC, Mumbai, have reported a method to better identify building sites with soil that could be susceptible to damage from earthquakes.

General, Science, Society, Deep-dive
Jun 8

It is the 21st century, and human beings have transcended their lives far from ordinary. And yet, the origin of life on Earth is still one of the greatest mysteries of all times. Until now, biology explained the origin of life as the formation of the cell, ultimately creating every living organism on the planet. However, the plausibility of this theory has been challenged by a new one that casts the origin of life as an inevitable outcome of thermodynamics—an essential part of physics.

General, Science, Ecology, Scitoons, SciQs
Aizawl | Jun 7
Researchers describe a new genus and species of rain-loving snake from Northeast India

Researchers from NCBS, NHM, WII, Mizoram University, Pachunga University College, and IISc have documented a new genus and species of Natricine snake from Northeast India. 

General, Science, Ecology, Deep-dive
Kolkata | Jun 6
Tracing the footsteps of aphids to save India’s mustard crops

Researchers from Bose Institute, Kolkata, investigated the effect of air circulation and the varying climatic conditions on the mustard aphids that migrate across the Indo-Gangetic Plains in Northern India. The authors traced the pests’ exact origin by studying the backward courses of air movement along known migratory routes.

General, Science, Ecology, Deep-dive