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Download the Nature Podcast 21 February 2023

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

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