3-30-15 A big bank balance leads to big-brained babies
A big bank balance leads to big-brained babies
Have Mum and Dad got a few quid to spare? You'd better hope so, because the wealthier your parents are, the larger the surface area of your brain is likely to be – a structural feature known to be associated with greater intelligence in children. This is according to the world's largest study of child brain structure and socioeconomic status. The results also reveal a link between brain surface area and the education levels of a child's parents. Previous research has shown that factors such as a parent's job, education and income correlate with a child's intelligence.
3-26-15 DNA of 'an entire nation' assessed
DNA of 'an entire nation' assessed
The genetic code of "an entire nation" has effectively been deduced, say researchers in Iceland. The feat was performed by combining DNA data with family trees. The reports, published in the journal Nature Genetics, used the data to make a suite of discoveries including the age of the last common ancestor of men.
3-17-15 Breastfeeding 'linked to higher IQ'
Breastfeeding 'linked to higher IQ'
A long-term study has pointed to a link between breastfeeding and intelligence. The research in Brazil traced nearly 3,500 babies, from all walks of life, and found those who had been breastfed for longer went on to score higher on IQ tests as adults.
3-17-15 Repeated remembering 'wipes similar memories
Repeated remembering 'wipes similar memories
Recalling a particular memory can cause us to forget another, similar memory - and neuroscientists have now watched this process happen using brain scans. Inside the brains of human subjects, they pinpointed the unique imprints of two visual memories that were triggered by the same word. Then they watched as repeatedly recalling one of the images caused the second, interfering memory to vanish. (Webmaster's comment: Evolution shaped our brain to help us survive and breed. Memories that do not contribute to these objectives can be pruned.)
3-17-15 Penguin waddle put to the test
Penguin waddle put to the test
A penguin's waddle is one of nature's weirdest walks. Prof John Hutchinson on the eccentricity of the penguin's walk. He adds: "But when I see an animal do something weird, as an evolutionary biologist, I want to know how that evolved, how it got that way. "And with these experiments, we're trying to tie what we know about penguin evolution with penguin physics."
3-11-15 The 15 Tweaks That Made Us Human
The 15 Tweaks That Made Us Human
Humans are possibly the weirdest species to have ever lived. We have freakishly big brains that allow us to build complicated gadgets, understand abstract concepts and communicate using language. We are also almost hairless with weak jaws, and struggle to give birth. How did such a bizarre creature evolve?
3-11-15 Chameleon colours 'switched by crystals'
Chameleon colours 'switched by crystals'
Swiss researchers have discovered how chameleons accomplish their vivid colour changes: they rearrange the crystals inside specialised skin cells.
3-11-15 Anthropocene: New dates proposed for the 'Age of Man'
Anthropocene: New dates proposed for the 'Age of Man'
The Anthropocene - a new geological time period that marks the "Age of man" - began in 1610, a study suggests. Scientists believe that the arrival of Europeans in the Americas had an unprecedented impact on the planet, marking the dawn of this new epoch.
3-9-15 Are murderers born or made?
Are murderers born or made?
Murders are tragic but rare. But what drives some people to kill? Michael Mosley has been looking into research exploring the minds of murderers.
3-6-15 Why many U.S. biology teachers are 'wishy-washy'
Why many U.S. biology teachers are ‘wishy-washy’
Future science teachers lack knowledge and role models.
Summary: In 2007, two political scientists surveyed a national sample of high school biology teachers on their teaching of evolution. They found that 13% were openly sympathetic to creationism, while 28% gave their students a solid grounding in evolution science. The rest, which the researchers labeled "the cautious 60%," spent as little time as possible teaching this most fundamental concept in biology. Now, in a new study of students preparing to become science teachers, the same pair of researchers focuses on where this "wishy-washiness" on teaching evolution comes from. Drawing from focus groups held with 35 teacher-trainees at four universities in the Pennsylvania, they find that future science teachers often lack the knowledge, conviction, and role models needed to teach evolution with confidence. One problem, the researchers say: breaking the "cycle of ignorance," in which teaching students lack good role models for teaching evolution because they weren't taught the subject well in high school or college. (Webmaster's comment: We are losing the battle with the ignorant Americans, the right-wing conservatives, and the religious dark age savages.)
3-6-15 Deep roots for the genus Homo
Deep roots for the genus Homo (page 1)
Deep roots for the genus Homo (page 2)
Fossil jawbone punches back origins of our genus by 400,000 years.
3-6-15 Shape of eye's 'light pipes' is key to colour sorting
Shape of eye's 'light pipes' is key to colour sorting
Physicists have pinned down precisely how pipe-shaped cells in our retina filter the incoming colours. These cells, which sit in front of the ones that actually sense light, play a major role in our colour vision that was only recently confirmed. They funnel crucial red and green light into cone cells, leaving blue to spill over and be sensed by rod cells - which are responsible for our night vision.
3-5-15 Autism is largely down to genes, twins study suggests
Autism is largely down to genes, twins study suggests
Genetic influences on autism are estimated to be between 74-98%, a Medical Research Council study of 258 twins suggests. The King's College London team said 181 of the teenagers had autism, but the risk was far higher in identical twins where one twin had autism, as they share the same DNA. The researchers told JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) Psychiatry that hundreds of genes were involved.
3-4-15 'First human' discovered in Ethiopia
'First human' discovered in Ethiopia
Scientists have unearthed the jawbone of what they claim is one of the very first humans. The 2.8 million-year-old specimen is 400,000 years older than researchers thought that our kind first emerged. The discovery in Ethiopia suggests climate change spurred the transition from tree dweller to upright walker. The head of the research team told BBC News that the find gives the first insight into "the most important transitions in human evolution".
3-2-15 Genomes document ancient mass migration to Europe
Genomes document ancient mass migration to Europe
DNA analysis has revealed evidence for a massive migration into the heartland of Europe 4,500 years ago. Data from the genomes of 69 ancient individuals suggest that herders moved en masse from the continent's eastern periphery into Central Europe.
3-3-15 Chinese scientists produce TB-resistant cows
Chinese scientists produce TB-resistant cows
Scientists in China have produced a herd of genetically engineered cows that are better able to ward off bovine TB infection. (Webmaster's comment: Bettering evolution - from China.)
3-1-15 Are humans getting cleverer?
Are humans getting cleverer?
IQ is rising in many parts of the world. What's behind the change and does it really mean people are cleverer than their grandparents?