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Tuesday, April 13, 2021
How Humans Domesticated Themselves

How Humans Domesticated Themselves

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Researchers have observed that the friendliest male bonobos, like this male resident of Lola Ya Bonobo sanctuary in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, tend to be the most successful. Early humans may have had the same experience with their peers. Ley Uwera for NPR hide caption toggle caption Ley Uwera for NPR Researchers have…
The longest trail of fossilized human footprints hints at a risky Ice Age trek

The longest trail of fossilized human footprints hints at a risky...

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On a day during the late Ice Age, a young adult or teen carrying a toddler hustled across a muddy flat where mammoths and giant sloths roamed. Now, over 10,000 years later, fossilized footprints reveal that possibly perilous journey. The tracks, found in New Mexico’s White Sands National Park, stretch for nearly 1.5 kilometers across…
We still don’t know what COVID-19 immunity means or how long it lasts

We still don’t know what COVID-19 immunity means or how long...

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Even as U.S. President Donald Trump claims his bout with COVID-19 has granted him immunity, reports of people getting the disease a second time are emerging. While reinfection still appears to be rare, it remains unclear to what extent immunity can truly protect a person.  Immunity is also in the news because a debate is…
Drones find signs of a Native American ‘Great Settlement’  beneath a Kansas pasture

Drones find signs of a Native American ‘Great Settlement’ beneath...

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Specially equipped drones flying over a Kansas cattle ranch have detected the buried remnants of a horseshoe-shaped ditch made more than 400 years ago by ancestors of today’s Wichita and Affiliated Tribes, scientists say. The find adds to suspicions that the Kansas site was part of a sprawling population center that Spanish explorers dubbed the…
Puberty can repair the brain’s stress responses after hardship early in life

Puberty can repair the brain’s stress responses after hardship early in...

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A researcher slips stickers under some colored cups on a lazy Susan, then gives the tray a whirl. When the spinning stops, a preschooler must find the hidden stickers. Most children remember where the stickers are, but a few have to check every single cup. The game tests working memory, which is among the set…
Ancient sculptures hint at universal facial expressions across cultures

Ancient sculptures hint at universal facial expressions across cultures

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Grimaces, scowls and doting gazes of ancient human sculptures indicate that there are universal facial expressions that signal the same emotions across cultures, researchers argue. Faces depicted in sculptures crafted between 3,500 and 600 years ago in Mexico and Central America convey five varieties of emotion to Westerners today, say computational neuroscientist Alan Cowen and…
Competitive hot dog eaters may be nearing humans’ max eating speed

Competitive hot dog eaters may be nearing humans’ max eating speed

In the race to scarf down as many hot dogs as possible in 10 minutes, competitive eaters may have a limit: 83 franks, buns and all. That’s according to an analysis of nearly 40 years of the storied Nathan’s Famous Coney Island Hot Dog Eating Contest. Started in the 1970s in New York City, the…
Births in the United States have dropped to a 34-year low

Births in the United States have dropped to a 34-year low

For the fifth year in a row, the number of babies born in the United States has declined. It’s the lowest number of births — just under 3.75 million in 2019, gleaned from birth certificate data — since 1985, according to the report published online May 20 from the National Center for Health Statistics. Since…
Malaria parasites may have their own circadian rhythms

Malaria parasites may have their own circadian rhythms

The parasites that cause malaria may march to the beat of their own drum. New genetic analyses suggest that Plasmodium parasites possess their own circadian rhythms, and don’t depend on a host for an internal clock, researchers report May 15 in Science. Figuring out how Plasmodium’s clock ticks may lead to ways to disrupt it, potentially…
A gene variant partly explains why Peruvians are among the world’s shortest people

A gene variant partly explains why Peruvians are among the world’s...

Nearly 4,000 common variations in DNA are known to affect height, with each one nudging stature up or down a millimeter or so. But a gene variant found in almost 5 percent of Peruvians reduces height by 2.2 centimeters, on average. That’s the biggest effect on stature recorded to date for a common version of…

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