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Saturday, August 8, 2020
Here’s where things stand on COVID-19 tests in the U.S.

Here’s where things stand on COVID-19 tests in the U.S.

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White House officials have released guidelines to help states decide how — and when — to loosen social distancing measures in a way that prevents the coronavirus from surging back. But health experts say beginning to open parts of society during the pandemic hinges on the availability of widespread testing to both stamp out new…
Evolving an arch across the foot’s width helped hominids walk upright

Evolving an arch across the foot’s width helped hominids walk upright

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The arch running across the width of the human foot might be a big part of the reason that people can walk and run upright, a new study suggests. People have a prominent arch along the insides of their feet from ball to heel — a structure that helps make feet stiff to withstand forces…
The earliest known hominid interbreeding occurred 700,000 years ago

The earliest known hominid interbreeding occurred 700,000 years ago

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Ancestors of Neandertals and Denisovans left Africa for Eurasia around 700,000 years ago and then interbred with a Homo population that had exited Africa long before, according to a new genetic study. The finding reveals the oldest known case of interbreeding among members of the genus that includes people today, Homo sapiens. Evidence of genetic…
Some West Africans may have genes from an ancient ‘ghost’ hominid

Some West Africans may have genes from an ancient ‘ghost’ hominid

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An ancient, humanlike population still undiscovered in fossils left a genetic legacy in present-day West Africans, a new study suggests. These extinct relatives of Homo sapiens passed genes to African ancestors of modern Yoruba and Mende people starting around 24,000 years ago or later, say UCLA geneticists Arun Durvasula and Sriram Sankararaman. Surviving DNA of…
Stem cell clinics’ much-hyped treatments lack scientific support

Stem cell clinics’ much-hyped treatments lack scientific support

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Joanna had just turned 62 when she noticed that she couldn’t stand very long before her right leg would hurt. She thought it was from an old injury, when her dog had slammed into her thigh. When the ache moved to her wrist, she went to a doctor who said she might be getting arthritis.…
Stress turns hair gray by triggering the body’s fight-or-flight response

Stress turns hair gray by triggering the body’s fight-or-flight response

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It turns out stress does turn hair gray, and now researchers know how. Stress triggers the body’s fight-or-flight response, which in turn causes pigment-producing cells that give hair its color to go into a frenzy and dwindle in number, researchers report online January 22 in Nature. As these pigment cells disappear, so does the color. …
Homo erectus arrived in Indonesia 300,000 years later than previously thought

Homo erectus arrived in Indonesia 300,000 years later than previously thought

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Homo erectus reached the Indonesian island of Java some 300,000 years later than many researchers have assumed, a new study finds. Analyzing volcanic material from sediment that had yielded H. erectus fossils at Java’s Sangiran site shows that the extinct, humanlike hominids likely arrived on the island around 1.3 million years ago, scientists report in…
In some languages, love and pity get rolled into the same word

In some languages, love and pity get rolled into the same...

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Lexically speaking, love is love. Except when it’s not. In some languages, the word for love comes tinged with pity. By analyzing the meanings of words used to describe emotions in over 2,000 languages, researchers found some universal truths. But the analysis, described in the Dec. 20 Science, also revealed cultural quirks. That includes “hanisi,”…
Mysterious Denisovans emerged from the shadows in 2019

Mysterious Denisovans emerged from the shadows in 2019

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Denisovans’ days of Stone Age obscurity appear numbered. The mysterious “ghost clan” floated into view over a decade ago, when a bit of a girl’s pinkie bone, found in Siberia’s Denisova Cave, yielded DNA that didn’t match that of any known hominid. A few more fossils — three teeth and a limb fragment — plus…
50 years ago, income inequality was severe in the U.S. It still is

50 years ago, income inequality was severe in the U.S. It...

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Trends in inequality, Science News, December 6, 1969 — The share of the total national income going to the poorest 20 percent of the [United States] has increased very little in the past 20 years … only from 5.1 to 5.4 percent … between 1947 and 1967. The proportion of the low-earning group that is…

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