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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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] ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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, ...
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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 ...