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Ancient DNA Researcher Dismissed

Ancient DNA researcher Alan Cooper has been dismissed from his post at the University of Adelaide following an investigation into bullying, Nature News reports.

In August, Australia's ABC News reported that Cooper had been suspended while the university looked into the working environment in his lab. The University of Otago's Nic Rawlence, who had previously worked at the Australian Center for Ancient DNA told Science at that time that people were "picked on, yelled at, and shamed" during lab meetings.

The University of Adelaide has now fired Cooper for "serious misconduct," Nature News says, though it adds that the university declined to comment on the circumstances surrounding Cooper's dismissal, except to say that it was not due to any issues of research integrity.

Cooper rejects allegations of bullying, telling Nature News that he held his students to high standards and may have "occasionally been too blunt in my language and actions, and regret this." He further notes that he was never warned about his conduct prior to the investigation.

Jeremy Austin, who has taken over the Australian Center for Ancient DNA, tells Nature News that the university failed both Cooper in never warning him about his behavior and in its duty of care to students.