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BBC Inside Science

300 EpisodesProduced by BBC Radio 4Website

Dr Adam Rutherford and guests illuminate the mysteries and challenge the controversies behind the science that's changing our world.

28:06

Zika, Penguins, Erratum, Fossil fish

The Zika virus is dominating the news this week. The latest data says it's been found in 21 countries so far. The symptoms are generally mild, but the possibility of a link to microcephaly has been raised in Brazil. Microcephaly is a serious condition where children are born with abnormally small heads and sometimes incomplete brain development. Trudie Lang, Professor of Global Health at Oxford University, and virologist Professor Jonathan Ball from Nottingham University discuss what we know so far.

All the way from Antarctica our reporter Victoria Gill brings us the latest news about the citizen science project 'Penguin Watch'. Victoria installed new cameras with Dr Tom Hart and collected guano with Hila Levy. Gemma Clucas (Oxford and Southampton University) gives an update on what will happen with the collected data.

Back in October we featured a major paper by a team of scientists lead by Dr Andrea Manica from Cambridge University. By comparing the 4500 year-old genome of a prehistoric man called Mota to other genomes from living Africans they had mapped a migration of Middle Eastern farmers back into the whole African continent. This week, colleagues identified an error in the way the original team had processed the data, thus overturning one of the key results. But the rest of the findings remain intact. Andrea talks to us about how and why science must make corrections along the path of progress.

Heard a few stories about giant dinosaur fossils lately? Usually the giant A-list superstar fossils get all the attention. But according to curator Mark Carnall, about 90% of the collections are mainly uninteresting specimens. Marnie Chesterton went out to meet Mark at the Museum of Natural History in Oxford. He celebrates fragmentary fossils in his blog 'Underwhelming Fossil Fish of the Month'. Warning: Lower your expectations!

Producer: Jen Whyntie
Assistant Producer: Julia Lorke.

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