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Curious Kids: do cats and dogs understand us when we miaow or bark?

There’s been a lot of research about communication between people and domestic animals like dogs and cats. But we don’t yet have the answer to your very interesting question. We don’t know what cats and dogs think or if they understand us when we use their noises.

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Concentration camps in the South African War? Here are the real facts

More than a century after 48 000 people died in concentration camps in what’s known as the South African War between 1899 and 1902 – or the Anglo-Boer War – the events of that period are back in the headlines.

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Nearly half of South Africa’s live music workers may quit the industry for good

For people working in South Africa’s live music sector, 2020 has been “devastating”. That was the term that researchers read most frequently in responses to the country’s largest-ever live music and COVID-19 survey, published in November.

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Watch documentary: Developing international standards to manage demonstrations

In 2020, we watched Black Lives Matter protests unfold across the world as a reaction to police brutality in the USA. Researchers at the Faculty of Law were instrumental in drafting the UN standards on the use of force by police.

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Where are all the whales? Too hungry to migrate

The large numbers of southern right whales that usually visit the South African coast have been in dramatic decline since 2010. Research conducted by the University of Pretoria (UP) has shown that many lack the energy to do so and that female whales are calving less often.

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Engineering 4.0: The future of smart cities in Africa

Concepts such as Engineering 4.0 can be realised with projects that seek to improve the crop of civil engineers available in South Africa. One such effort is the national road materials reference and training laboratory under construction at the University of Pretoria.

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UP researchers embark on vaccine trial for bovine TB

Professor Anita Michel and Dr Jennie Hewlett, University of Pretoria (UP) researchers in the Faculty of Veterinary Science, have announced the start of vaccine trials for tuberculosis (TB) in African buffalo.

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Engineering 4.0: The future of smart cities in Africa

Concepts such as Engineering 4.0 can be realised with projects that seek to improve the crop of civil engineers available in South Africa. One such effort is the national road materials reference and training laboratory under construction at the University of Pretoria.

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UP chemical pathology scientists develop ground-breaking nanobodies for COVID-19 detection and therapy

Researchers at the University of Pretoria (UP) are producing unique nanobodies that could be of ground-breaking use in rapid tests and as a therapy for COVID-19. In tests conducted in collaboration with the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), the nanobodies have been shown to neutralise SARS-CoV-2 in cells.

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Invasive mosquito species could bring more malaria to Africa’s urban areas

A species of mosquito that can carry malaria – known as Anopheles stephensi – has invaded eastern Africa and is quickly moving across the region. Moina Spooner, from The Conversation Africa, asked Jeremy Herren and Clifford Mutero to provide insights into why this invasion is happening and what can be done to protect people from it.

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Movember: Raising awareness around men’s health and prostate cancer

Movember is an annual campaign in which men are called upon to grow moustaches during November to raise awareness of men’s health issues – including that of prostate cancer.

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Can wildlife biosurveillance prevent future pandemics?

“One health” refers to a transdisciplinary approach that focuses on the convergence of humans, animals and their various environments. The University of Pretoria (UP) is strategically well positioned to lead this research field because it has several faculties which, combined, have the necessary expertise and infrastructure to address the transdisciplinary research aspects of this complex field.

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Researcher Profile: Prof Wanda Markotter

Professor Wanda Markotter is a virologist who began her academic career at the University of Pretoria (UP) in 2004 and is currently the Director of its Centre for Viral Zoonoses in the Department of Medical Virology at the University’s Faculty of Health Sciences.

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Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Prevention is in the genes

Globally, 14 million people are diagnosed with cancer each year, and about nine million lose their lives to the disease annually. But next-generation DNA technologies and sequencing are heralding a change to the outlook of the disease, and the rapid development and roll-out of DNA tests could save lives.

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Fast facts about breast cancer

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual campaign by private and public healthcare organisations to increase awareness of the disease on a national scale. In the infographic below, UP researcher Professor Annie Joubert guides us through some facts on breast cancer and what you need to know about the disease.

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UP Whale Unit to gather data on dwindling southern right whale populations during 41st aerial survey

The Whale Unit at the University of Pretoria’s Mammal Research Institute (MRI) will be conducting this year’s aerial survey of southern right whales from 28 September to mid-October. This is the 41st annual southern right whale photo-identification aerial survey, making it one of the longest-running datasets on any marine mammal worldwide.

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UP Zoology prof part of study that finds hummingbirds drop body temperature to near freezing point to survive cold nights

A University of Pretoria professor of zoology was part of a team that recently published a study that reveals that tiny hummingbirds living in the Andes Mountains in Peru drop their body temperature from 40°C to 3.3°C, near freezing point, to survive bitterly cold nights. “It is the lowest body temperature reported so far in any bird or non-hibernating mammal,” says UP’s Professor Andrew McKechnie.

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Heritage: Researcher Profile - Dr Siona O'Connell

Dr Siona O’Connell is based in the University of Pretoria’s School of the Arts and is a founding member of the Critical African Studies project at UP (CAST UP). She was the recipient of the prestigious National Endowment for the Humanities Professor of the Humanities in Africana and Latin American Studies, Art and Art History and Film and Media Studies at Colgate University in the USA.

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Heritage: Finding your way back home after being ‘uitgesmyt’

Uitgesmyt – ‘cast out’ – is a documentary by Dr Siona O’Connell which tells the story of the first land restitution case in South Africa.

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New study finds SA’s springhare is a better hopper than Australia’s kangaroos

While kangaroos are distinguished for their well-developed hindlimbs which they use to hop across the Australian outback, it seems South Africa has its own unusual hopper – the springhare. A new study published in the Journal of Anatomy suggests that “the diminutive springhare is a bit better at hopping than its more famous Australian counterpart, at least when it comes to muscle-tendon design, and implications for fast and accelerative hopping”.

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