Interronauts | Episode 9: Where brains store faces, ancient origins of humans, blood vessel algorithm, and Aus spider guide magic

By Jesse Hawley

16 June 2017

3 minute read

Join Jesse and Sophie as they cast their net overboard to snag last fortnight’s science news before heaving it aboard with their gelatinous biceps for us all to sort through. Here’s the catch: they talk about how it is that we’re able to remember (tens of) thousands of faces with relative ease, our new algorithm that can model blood vessel growth to pre-empt tumours, the ancient origins of Homo sapiens (100 000 years older than expected), and, they speak with Robert Whyte, co-author of A Field Guide to  Spiders of Australia — the latest and most comprehensive guide to those wonderful eight-legged friends.

Science news


A Field Guide to Spiders of Austrlalia CSIRO Publishing

“Here’s a story, of some lovely ladies…” Top left: net-casting spider (Robert Whyte); top middle: wolf spider (Thomas Shahan) top right: jumping spider (Thomas Shahan); bottom left: huntsman (Tamara Negara); bottom middle: crab spider (James Allan); bottom right: horned arkys (Greg Anderson).

We speak with Robert Whyte, honorary researcher at Queensland Museum to talk about his new book from CSIRO Publishing: A Field Guide to Spiders of Australia. Robert tells us about his favourite group of spiders — jumping spiders and some of the neat things they can do, how Australia became the nursery for such rich spider diversity, and also how to cure your fear of spiders (hint, buy the book).

CSIRO news

Dadong et al. blood vessel branching algorithm

(Top left) The hepatic vein of a rat; (bottom right) The skeleton generated by our method.

Where there’s smoke there’s fire: early cancer detection through fine-print mapping of blood vessel growth

“To grow, cancerous cells feed on a constant supply of nutrients from blood vessels. Like piping infrastructure preceding a new development, the growth of new blood vessels can be mapped to locate early-stage cancers quickly — and with our new algorithm, those maps are finer and more accurate than ever before.,” from our blog. Learn more about the study here.

Listen and subscribe

Contact us

You can get in touch with the Interronauts team via Facebook, Twitter @CSIROnews, Instagram @csirogram, or by emailing us at Thanks for listening!