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Expert Reactions

Size matters in language evolution – experts respond

John Kerr posted in on February 3rd, 2015.

When it comes to new words, size matters. An Australian-based study of 20 Polynesian languages, including New Zealand Maori, suggests that widely-spoken languages gain new words more frequently while those with just a few speakers tend to lose words faster. How the size of a population affects the evolution of language is unclear. Do languages […]

Bearded beauty in the eye of the beholder

John Kerr posted in on April 16th, 2014.

A University of New South Wales study by Rob Brooks, Zinnia Janif and ex-pat Kiwi Barnaby Dixson has burrowed into the beauty of beard. Writing on the website The Conversation, researcher Rob Brooks offers some context on their facial hair findings. Fear not the hipster beard: it too shall pass By Rob Brooks If you […]

Australians claim Kiwi’s ancestor

John Kerr posted in on December 20th, 2013.

Is New Zealand’s national bird about to go the way of Phar Lapp, Crowded House and pavlova? The Aussies are almost claiming the Kiwi, but not quite. New research suggests that the Kiwi is not a dwarf version of the Moa, as some theories suggest, but in fact shares a common ancestor with the emu […]

Kiwi scientist on mega-organism ancestor research

John Kerr posted in on November 24th, 2011.

Life was born complex, with the primordial ocean acting as a kind of genetic swap-shop over hundreds of millions of years as cells exchanged useful parts to effectively become a global mega-organism, says new American research. The last universal common ancestor (LUCA) is the label for a crude organism — probably one with structure sufficiently […]

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