Cooking, Evolution, and Brain Growth Anthropology Education 

Cooking, Evolution, and Brain Growth

Cooking establishes the difference between animals and people. In fact, we’re not the only social animals that sit down to eat together, but we are the only ones who cook. But how is cooking linked to human brain’s growth and evolution? This is a video from Dr. Joe Hanson’s It’s Okay To Be Smart series. Cooking helped humans strengthen social bonds and cooperation. Although our brain uses one-fifth of the calories that we eat, we spend only 5 percent of our daily lives eating, while Chimpanzees and Gorillas spend more than half…

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Why Do Humans Have Thumbs and Not Fins? Biology Education Paleontology Videos 

Why Do Humans Have Thumbs and Not Fins?

Did you know we can trace the evolution of our hands, and thumbs, back to a 375 million-year-old fish called Tiktaalik? Watch this video with paleontologist and geneticist Dr. Neil Shubin to learn what a fish and a little blue hedgehog can teach us about the evolution of thumbs. This is a video from Dr. Joe Hanson’s It’s Okay To Be Smart series.     Tiktaalik is a 375 years-old fish with fins. When we look under its fin rays and take off the scales, what we find are versions of our…

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How Have Snapping Shrimp Evolved to Snap? Archaeology Biology 

How Have Snapping Shrimp Evolved to Snap?

By Hallie Macdougal By using computer modelling and 3-D printing and mapping evolutionary trees, researchers at the University of Alberta have discovered a possible evolutionary pathway that shows how snapping shrimp have evolved to “snap.” Snapping shrimp, also known as pistol shrimp or alpheid shrimp, compete with whales for the title of loudest animal in the ocean. To make noise, snapping shrimp are able to close their claws incredibly fast, which shoots a stream of water so quickly that new water from above doesn’t have time to replace it, creating…

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Vadasaurus Fossil Shows a Reptile in Transition Animals Paleontology 

Vadasaurus Fossil Shows a Reptile in Transition

By Kate Stone @GotScienceOrg A small fossil—just a foot long—is revealing secrets of how some land-dwelling reptiles moved back into the water. After studying the 155-million-year-old reptile fossil, scientists at Johns Hopkins University and the American Museum of Natural History report they have filled in some important clues to the evolution of animals that once roamed land and transitioned to life in the water. Vadasaurus, the Latin term for “wading lizard,” was discovered in limestone quarries near Solnhofen, Germany. The area was once part of a shallow sea that has…

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Ongoing Human Evolution Revealed in Data Biology Health 

Ongoing Human Evolution Revealed in Data

By Kate Stone @GotScienceOrg When I was about nine years old, a young schoolmate demanded to know, “If evolution is real, then why isn’t it happening now?” Being nine and not a biologist, I wasn’t prepared to answer this question. And yet, it was a question that I’ve heard echoes of in the years to follow. Now, a research team at Columbia University has conducted a large-scale study of genetic data and revealed how humans are evolving. In a study analyzing the genomes of 210,000 people in the United States…

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Biology Paleontology 

Microfossils Are Earliest Evidence Yet of Life on Earth

By Katherine Lindemann Researchers examining deposits from ancient hydrothermal vents in northeastern Canada have found evidence of microbial activity, possibly some of the earliest life on Earth. Hydrothermal vents deep beneath the oceans have long been thought to be where life originated, leading Matthew Dodd and colleagues to search where they did. The microbes were likely iron-metabolizing bacteria, and the structures they left are between 3.77 and 4.28 billion years old, making them even older than the microbes found last year to have lived near the surface of the ocean…

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Which Dinosaur Gave Rise to Tyrannosaurus Rex? Paleontology 

Which Dinosaur Gave Rise to Tyrannosaurus Rex?

By David Blagic Tyrannosaurus rex surely is one of the most well-known dinosaurs of all time. We know nearly everything about it, from its anatomy to its behavior. However, one important question hasn’t yet been answered—who was T. rex’s ancestor? What dinosaur species has the honor to be called “the King’s” grandparent? There are three main contestants: (1) Tarbosaurus bataar, (2) southern-type North American tyrannosaurid, or (3) Daspletosaurus torosus. Tarbosaurus bataar Tarbosaurus is probably the closest relative of Tyrannosaurus discovered so far. The only notable morphological differences between it and…

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Book Review: God’s Word or Human Reason? Book Reviews Paleontology 

Book Review: God’s Word or Human Reason?

Title: God’s Word or Human Reason? An Inside Perspective on Creationism Reviewed by: Steven Spence for GotScience.org, a Science Connected publication Authors: Jonathan Kane, Emily Willoughby, T. Michael Keesey, Glenn Morton, and James Comer Publisher: Inkwater Press On sale: January 31, 2017 Best for: High school junior level and above Reviewer’s rating: 5 out of 5 Introduction “People are not stupid. They believe things for reasons. The last way for skeptics to get the attention of bright, curious, intelligent people is to belittle or condescend or to show arrogance toward…

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DNA Analysis Reveals Four Distinct Giraffe Species Animals Biology 

DNA Analysis Reveals Four Distinct Giraffe Species

By Katherine Lindemann Researchers have long recognized only a single species of giraffe, thought to be made up of several subspecies. However, a research collaboration has now identified four distinct species. Conservation biologist Julian Fennessy of the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, geneticist Axel Janke of the Senckenberg Research Institute, and their colleagues collected and analyzed samples from giraffes across the African continent. Their results appear in the journal Current Biology. ResearchGate: When and why did you start genetically testing giraffes across Africa? Julian Fennessy: When I approached Axel Janke to help…

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Nests, Neurons, and the Evolution of Behavior. How and Why Do Brain Cells Die? Biology 

Nests, Neurons, and the Evolution of Behavior

By Emily Willoughby @eawilloughby Evolution is a beautiful thing. We tend to appreciate its elegance and creative productivity most when looking backward into deep time: in our distant ancestors, in dinosaurs, and in entire strange lineages that rose and fell before humanity. To most of us, evolution is a thing that happened so long ago that it has no practical relevance to our lives today. We see its results in the bodies of living things and the relationships among them—and these results, in all their wonder, seem static, like final…

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