A new theory of gravity explains the way galaxies rotate without the need for the theoretical presence of dark matter, according to a renowned expert in string theory.

According to mainstream physics, more than 80 per cent of all matter cannot be seen.

Its presence – and the extra gravity it provides – is required under current thinking to explain why stars do not fly off into the universe as their galaxies spin.

However, Professor Erik Verlinde, of Amsterdam University, has now published a research paper in which he argues his startling theory of “emergent gravity”, first put forward in 2010, explains the movement without the need for dark matter, according to a report on the phys.org website.

“We have evidence that this new view of gravity actually agrees with the observations,” he told phys.org.

“At large scales, it seems, gravity just doesn’t behave the way Einstein’s theory predicts.”