Australian Continent

Continents collided to form Australia, research shows Northern Australia was once a separate landmass prior to colliding into Central Australia and forming a wedge underneath it according to Australian researchers.

Kate Selway, a researcher at the University of Adelaide and her colleagues are studying the collision that is estimated to be 1.64 billion years old.

"If you looked south from Alice Springs before that time, you would have seen an ocean",says Kelway.

Researchers believe that the Australian continent formed from pieces of land from other continents. Research from study of different rock types, ages and chemistry indicate that long before eastern Australia, the northern, western and central parts of the continent were separate landmasses.

But Selway says that there is no way of determining exact boundaries of these plates or how they came to collide in the first place. This difficulty is aggravated by the fact that the boundary lines are largely covered by dirt and sediment.

Australia's national science agency, CSIRO

The Commonwealth Science and Research Organisation is Australia's national science agency with national and international influence.

Its' mission is to improve the living standards of all Australians and to boost the economic and social performance of local industries. This is a noble mission for an agency with over 75 years of research expertise.

CSIRO works in partnership with industry, governments and the wider community and recruits world-class scientists and support staff to achieve this mission.

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Australian Geneticist Receives Top Award in Paris

Eminent ANU evolutionary geneticist, Professor Jenny Graves, has been internationally recognised for her pathbreaking research into the evolution of mammalian genomes. At the Women in Science 2006 conference in Paris, Professor Graves was named Asia-Pacific Laureate and also received an award of EUR 82,000. Professor Graves describes her research as "detective work on the order and organisation of living things through genetics".

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Perth scientists - new vaccine designed to prevent asthma in children

Australian Trial for Asthma Prevention in Children
It is estimated that 40% of Australian children have some sort of allergy or develop asthma. In a breakthrough, Perth scientists have developed a trial vaccine to prevent asthma in children.

The Institute for Child Health Research is undertaking the trial on high-risk babies and toddlers and they will be monitored for any reaction to the vaccine. The oral vaccine is expected to boost the body's immune system to prevent allergies that usually lead to serious cases of asthma. The trial will kickoff in Melbourne, Perth and New York and may move to European countries such as Germany and Sweden.

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Great Barrier Reef - New Fish Species

A landmark survey of the Great Barrier Reef has revealed an even greater diversity of marine life than could have ever been imagined. The discovery of new species of fish has thrilled scientists as the result of the Great Barrier Reef Seabed Diversity project, conducted last year bore fruit. The survey was conducted using a small sled dragged along the seabed. The survey uncovered that around a third of the marine life was unique and not to be found elsewhere in Australia or even the world and had not been studied before.

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Tasmanian Spiders

Some interesting facts about the Tasmanian spider

  • It prefers to dwell in caves
  • Its silk has special chemical properties that protect it from bacterial and fungal infections
  • The spider is only to be found in Tasmania and that's where it got its name from
  • A hungry female Tasmanian spider would not hesitate in devouring her mate
  • The spider weaves horizontal webs unlike other spiders
  • They can grow to leg spans of 18cm

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