Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Earth’s wild years: the creative destruction of cosmic encounters

We earthlings enjoy the spectacle of shooting stars, small fragments of asteroids and comets that burn in sudden flashes upon entry in the Earth’s atmosphere. The largest of these fragments pose a limited threat to us as their mid-air blasts can produce local damage to buildings and infrastructures. Larger events are increasingly rarer, but their consequences can be devastating on a global scale.

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How can feed additives enhance forage-based diets of beef cattle? [Infographic]

Beef cattle production systems often rely on forage-based diets, consisting of pasture, as a low cost and widely accessible method for feeding herds. Whilst there are financial and practical benefits to forage-based diets, it is important to note that seasonal variations in pasture availability and nutritive quality can impact cattle performance and nutrition. So, are there any solutions to this?

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A Story of Us

What if COVID-19 had emerged in 1719?

We’re often told that the situation created by the attack of the new coronavirus is “unique” and “unprecedented.” And yet, at the same time, scientists assure us that the emergence of new viruses is “natural”—that viruses are always mutating or picking up and losing bits of DNA. But if lethal new viruses have emerged again and again during human history, why has dealing with this one been such a struggle?

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Animal Frontiers

Swine fevers: how to prevent and control the spread [infographic]

With the world’s attention set on the COVID-19 pandemic, concerns have been growing over the lack of concentrated efforts in preventing the current spread of swine fevers. Both Classical Swine Fever and African Swine Fever cause high mortality in pigs but are the result of two unrelated viruses and, if safe and efficacious prevention methods are not present, can cause significant socioeconomic impacts in endemic countries.

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Making Deep History

Turning geology into archaeology: how two businessmen changed the face of time

On the afternoon of 27 April 1859, two top-hatted businessmen, standing in a gravel pit outside the French city of Amiens, were about to change history. Joseph Prestwich and John Evans had brought with them a photographer, scientific witnesses, and a great deal of zeal and perseverance to answer a longstanding question: how old was humanity?

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Zoological Journal

Darwin’s queer plots in The Descent of Man

This year, LGBT+ History Month coincides with the 150th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s momentous sexological work The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex, originally published on 24 February 1871. The occasion prompts reflection on Darwin’s highly equivocal handling of sex variations in the natural world, including intersexualities (“hermaphroditism”), transformations of sex, and non-reproductive sexual behaviours.

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Darwin's Psychology

Darwin’s theory of agency: back to the future in evolutionary science?

Was Darwin a one-trick pony? The scientists who most laud him typically cite just one of his ideas: natural selection. Do any know that his theory of evolution—like his take on psychology—was drawn from a comprehensive analysis of organisms as agents? This fact has long been eclipsed by the “gene’s-eye view” of adaptation which gained a strangle-hold over biology during the twentieth century—and hence over sociobiology and today’s “evolutionary” psychology.

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Darwin's Historical Sketch: An Examination of the 'Preface' to the Origin of Species

Ten things you didn’t know about Darwin

Charles Darwin’s birthday on 12 February is widely celebrated in the scientific community and has come to be known as “Darwin day.” In recognition of Darwin’s 212th birthday this year we have put together a list of ten interesting facts about the father of evolution.

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Genome Biology and Evolution

Good news for honey bees from 150-year-old museum specimens

The past several decades have been hard on Apis mellifera, the Western honey bee. Originally native to Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, Western honey bees have spread worldwide thanks to the nutritional and medicinal value of their honey, pollen, beeswax, and other hive products.

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Genome Biology and Evolution

Unique adaptations allow owls to rule the night

As the only birds with a nocturnal, predatory lifestyle, owls occupy a unique niche in the avian realm. Hunting prey in the dark comes with a number of challenges, and owls have evolved several features that leave them well-suited to this task.

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When deterrence doesn’t work

No one likes to be threatened, and yet we threaten and are threatened all the time. From animal self-defence to how we raise our children, from religious teaching to gun ownership, capital punishment and nuclear deterrence, threat is an ever-present tool employed to influence an often-unpredictable external environment. But does it always work? And what are the consequences when it doesn’t?

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BioScience

Bring living waters back to our planet

Demanding the Indian government take action to clean and save the nation’s Mother River, the Ganga, activist and former civil engineer Professor G.D. Agarwal died from heart failure in 2018, after fasting for 111 days. Agarwal’s hunger strike remains symbolic of the mounting desperation many of us feel faced with the fragility of rivers, lakes, […]

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How water conflicts hurt marginalized populations

There are 286 international transboundary river basins that are shared by 151 countries. These basins are the source for water as well as livelihoods to 2.8 billion people. In many of these places the already vulnerable and marginalised are at great risk due to problems managing water. Sudden, sharp changes in these basins are not […]

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