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Microsleep: What happens to our brains when we’re both awake and asleep?

Megan Schmidt | 
During microsleep, parts of the brain go offline for a few seconds while the rest of the brain stays awake ...
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Is childhood trauma linked to depression? Why this paper may have overestimated the impact

Neuroskeptic | 
A paper in PNAS got some attention on Twitter recently. It’s called Childhood trauma history is linked to abnormal brain connectivity ...

Will ‘common sense” keep us from making human clones?

Karen Weintraub | 
Prominent scientists involved in cloning say they’ve never had any intention of replicating a person — and are as wary ...
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Can genetic matchmaking help us find a healthier true love?

Eric Betz | 
Ever since his work on [the Human Genome Project, geneticist George Church has] been trying to sequence the rest of ...
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Were the Denisovans a collection of 3 different species?

Nathaniel Scharping | 
A new study using genetic data is offering an intriguing new look into the history of the Denisovans, revealing them as a ...

Human brains have been shrinking since the Stone Age. We don’t know why

Bridget Alex | 
It’s something of a well-known secret among anthropologists: Based on measurements of skulls, the average brain volume of Homo sapiens has reportedly decreased by roughly ...
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Domestication ‘reboot’: CRISPR gene editing turns wild plants into desirable fruits and vegetables

Jonathon Keats | 
Early in the 20th century, a strange tomato plant took root in the northeastern United States. Because of a random ...
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How the evolution of our ability to run marathons ‘made us human’

Bridget Alex | 
Let’s call it the “running made us human” hypothesis: According to some scientists, distance running was key to our ancestors’ ...
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Atheists are mutants? Dissecting a ‘genetics’ paper without genetics

Neuroskeptic | 
I just came across a paper with an interesting title: The Mutant Says in His Heart, “There Is No God”. The ...
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Evolutionary riddle: Why humans have breasts?

Bridget Alex | 
Over the years, researchers have proposed a number of explanations for human breasts. Some claimed evolution favored “pendulous” breasts — as scientists ...
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Using personality types to predict cancer? Why was this 30-year-old case of ‘probable scientific fraud’ never investigated?

Neuroskeptic | 
The Journal of Health Psychology has just published an extraordinary pair of papers that call for a new inquiry into a 30-year ...
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Were Neanderthals doomed by their inbreeding?

Bridget Alex | 
Mounting evidence suggests Neanderthals also had a habit of inbreeding, or conceiving with close relatives. Several studies have now reported ...
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‘Human-controlled rat cyborgs’ are real

Bill Andrews | 
Scientists have created human-controlled rat cyborgs. Lest you think this is some media sensationalism at work, here’s the actual title ...
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Ancient African DNA reveals insights before slavery, colonialism

Bridget Alex, Elizabeth Sawchuk | 
[B]ones between 5,000 and 15,000 years old — surrounding the start of the Holocene, our current geologic epoch — can ...

Learn while sleeping? Listening to foreign words could ‘enhance’ language abilities

Megan Schmidt | 
[L]istening to French on tape while you sleep is unlikely to instantly give you the ability to order a vanilla ...
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Why does human skin color have so much variation?

Bridget Alex | 
Human skin color reflects an evolutionary balancing act tens of thousands of years in the making. There’s a convincing explanation ...

Bad decision: Did your genes make you do it?

Nathaniel Scharping | 
Studies have picked out groups of genes associated with intelligence, academic achievement, criminal activity and other life outcomes. It now ...
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Did Neanderthals have their own language?

Bridget Alex | 
Did Neanderthals have language? Before trying to answer that, I should admit my bias: I’m team Neanderthal. As an anthropologist ...
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CRISPR gene editing could save pigs from devastating disease

Roni Dengler | 
As flu season rears its ugly head, humans aren’t the only ones on the virus’ warpath. Pigs are also vulnerable ...
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DNA of God: Did humans evolve a need for religion?

Bridget Alex | 
[H]ow does evolution explain religion? Leading scholars propose a two-phase hypothesis (here, here): First, our ancestors evolved certain mental abilities, useful ...

Is there a link between climate change and human evolution?

Bill Andrews | 
[W]hile all the talk nowadays focuses on how to change the course of the climate’s evolution, a study out [October 11] ...

Fear-free life? Removing a part of your brain could make it possible—in theory

Brain surgery is not usually something that people actively seek out. However, there may be an exception: the idea of ...

Deep space travelers could face ‘significant’ gastrointestinal damage from radiation

Chelsea Gohd | 
Deep-space travel could even cause significant gastrointestinal (GI) damage to astronauts, according to one new study. Researchers at Georgetown University ...
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Mushrooms protect honey bee from disease-carrying Varroa mite, study shows

Gemma Tarlach | 
It’s not easy being a bee these days. Apis mellifera, the Western honey bee, is crucial to agriculture worldwide but faces ...

Are mental disorders linked to the tweaking of genes in human evolution?

Charles Choi | 
The same recent evolutionary changes that make humans prone to bad backs and impacted wisdom teeth may also tweak genes ...

Jack of all environments: Is this why Homo sapiens survived and thrived?

Gemma Tarlach | 
When paleoanthropologists and archaeologists define what makes our species unique, they usually focus on our use of symbolism and language, ...

What genetics tell us about the evolution of wolves to dogs

Gemma Tarlach | 
Who’s a good dog? The very first dogs, apparently, as a new genetic study reveals the sequence of events, begun ...
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Making a ‘monster’ with artificial intelligence—on purpose

Nathaniel Scharping | 
Researchers at MIT have created a psychopath. They call him Norman. He’s a computer. Actually, that’s not really right. Though ...