Nature Podcast

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Why are we nice? Altruism's origins are put to the test

In this episode:


00:45 Why are humans so helpful?

Humans are notable for their cooperation and display far more altruistic behaviour than other animals, but exactly why this behaviour evolved has been a puzzle. But in a new paper, the two leading theories have been put the test with a model and a real-life experiment. They find that actually neither theory on its own leads to cooperation but a combination is required for humans to help one another.


Research article: Efferson et al.

News and Views: Why reciprocity is common in humans but rare in other animals


10:55 Research Highlights

The discovery of an ancient stone wall hidden underwater, and the fun that apes have teasing one another.


Research Highlight: Great ‘Stone Age’ wall discovered in Baltic Sea

Research Highlight: What a tease! Great apes pull hair and poke each other for fun


13:14 The DVD makes a comeback

Optical discs, like CDs and DVDs, are an attractive option for long-term data storage, but these discs are limited by their small capacity. Now though, a team has overcome a limitation of conventional disc writing to produce optical discs capable of storing petabits of data, significantly more than the largest available hard disk. The researchers behind the work think their new discs could one day replace the energy-hungry hard disks used in giant data centres, making long-term storage more sustainable.


Research Article: Zhao et al.

20:10 Briefing Chat

The famous fossil that turned out to be a fraud, and why researchers are making hybrid ‘meat-rice’.


Ars Technica: It’s a fake: Mysterious 280 million-year-old fossil is mostly just black paint

Nature News: Introducing meat–rice: grain with added muscles beefs up protein


Subscribe to Nature Briefing, an unmissable daily round-up of science news, opinion and analysis free in your inbox every weekday.



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Description by Nature Podcast
The Nature Podcast brings you the best stories from the world of science each week. We cover everything from astronomy to zoology, highlighting the most exciting research from each issue of the Nature journal. We meet the scientists behind the results and provide in-depth analysis from Nature's journalists and editors.

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

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