Science news

  • August 2022

    On 22 May 2021, the Nyiragongo volcano (DR Congo) erupted. Lava flows destroyed part of the city of Goma and thousands of people fled. In a study published in Nature, an international team of researchers shows that this eruption could not be predicted.

  • August 2022

    The Botswana Post Office has designed a series of postal stamps on the country's myriapods.

  • July 2022

    For the first time, a new study has mapped the full scale of a vast region of peatland in the heart of the Congo Basin. These peatlands store huge amounts of carbon and their preservation is therefore essential in the battle to tackle global warming. However, a large proportion of the peatlands are under threat, particularly from oil exploitation.

  • July 2022

    A scientific expedition led by the AfricaMuseum in Mayotte has collected for the first time the male of a spider species described over 130 years ago.

  • May 2022

    In the new book The Congo Free State: What Could Archives Tell us? New light and research perspective, international historians and archivists delve into little-known or unpublished archives produced during the Congo's Free State (1885-1908). Through fine analysis, they demonstrate that the history of this period is far from having revealed all its facets. Published by Peter Lang, the book is co-edited by Patricia Van Schuylenbergh and Mathilde Leduc-Grimaldi, two historians from the AfricaMuseum.

  • May 2022

    The presence of Swahili-Arab traders in the eastern part of present-day DR Congo had a lasting impact on the populations of the region. However, this legacy and related objects that are now in Belgian collections, remain largely unstudied. Provenance and object biography research aims to provide a more nuanced historical understanding and to enable a dialogue with source communities on this Congo-Swahili-Arab history and heritage.

  • April 2022

    A team of Belgian researchers has described ten new species of small predatory fish from Lake Edward. Scientists have long suspected that this lake between the DR Congo and Uganda is home to exceptional fish diversity.

  • April 2022

    Critical minerals such as lithium and tantalum are used in smartphones or electric cars. They are highly sought-after commodities, being indispensable in modern technologies and for the transition to green energy. The Great Lakes region in Central Africa is geologically rich in minerals that are extracted for these raw materials. Geologists from the Royal Museum for Central Africa study the formation and distribution of these minerals to promote their sustainable and fair exploration and exploitation.

  • March 2022

    Stem growth of tropical trees is reduced in years when the dry season is warmer and drier than normal. This is the main finding of a global study on the sensitivity of trees in the tropics to climate change. The researchers found that the effect of drier and hotter years is larger in more arid or warm regions. This suggests that climate change may increase the sensitivity of tropical trees to climatic fluctuations. 

  • February 2022

    The AfricaMuseum is the custodian of important insect collections, representing a unique chronicle of insect biodiversity on the African continent. The launch of a citizen science project focused on the butterfly and moth collection aims to open it up to a wider audience.