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We’re still searching for a key piece of our evolutionary tree—our most recent ancestor

Humans’ most recent ancestor, the species that predated our kind, remains shrouded in mystery. Anthropologists still don’t know what species ...
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Shedding light on ‘bizarre’ 1930s procedure in which doctors injected malaria into human brains

A new paper in a neurosurgery journal sheds light on one of the most bizarre and shocking medical procedures ever ...
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Searching for a genetic ‘tattletale’ for heart attack risk

If you want a sneak peek into your risk of heart disease, here are your options: Your doctor can measure ...
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Viewpoint: Despite ‘hope and hype’, genome sequencing hasn’t given us revolutionary medical treatments

An emergency room physician, initially unable to diagnose a disoriented patient, finds on the patient a wallet-sized card providing access ...
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Video: Look inside Siberia’s Denisova cave, where researchers discovered bones of our mysterious relatives

The Denisovans are named after Denisova Cave in Siberia. Until 2019, it was the only place where archaeologists found bones ...
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Evolutionary quirk: Humans are defined by ‘singular vulnerability’ to heart attacks

There are many things that set us humans apart from other species: large brains, bipedalism, a predilection for puns. But ...
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Human carelessness one of the ‘biggest risks if we encounter extraterrestrial life’

As humans explore the solar system, the tantalizing possibility of discovering extraterrestrial life continues to pop up. But the goal ...
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Unraveling the genetic mystery of Skeleton Lake, an ancient Indian site filled with hundreds of human bones

At the mysterious Skeleton Lake in northern India, the dead are talking, revealing surprises through centuries-old DNA. And it’s not ...
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Fecal transplant industry needs a lot of ‘quality’ poop. Where does it come from?

To reset the microbiome, the best medicine comes from the last place you’d expect: a fecal transplant, in which a ...
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98.5% of our DNA is ‘junk’: But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t play a key role in disease, evolution

Would you purchase a book with over 98 percent of the text written in gibberish? Biology has no business in ...
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Life after death? Some genes turn on after we die, and we don’t know why

“We really know nothing about what happens when you die,” says Peter Noble, a former professor at the University of ...
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If you can’t remember your dreams, is there something wrong with you?

What is it about people who don’t remember their dreams that sets them apart from the people that do? Is ...
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Viewpoint: We should be skeptical of memory boosting promises by wearable brain stimulators like ‘Humm’

I came across a brain stimulation device called Humm that promises to improve your cognitive function and memory if you ...
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How genes from long-extinct Neanderthals and Denisovans live on in modern human DNA

When the Neanderthal genome was first sequenced in 2010 and compared with ours, scientists noticed that genes from Homo neanderthalensis ...
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Fasting as a treatment for Alzheimer’s? Preliminary research indicates benefits

[Neuroscientist Mark] Mattson has spent decades researching calorie intake and Alzheimer’s disease. In several studies of mice genetically altered to ...
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Microsleep: What happens to our brains when we’re both awake and asleep?

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

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?

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?

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?

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

It’s something of a well-known secret among anthropologists: Based on measurements of skulls, the average brain volume of Homo sapiens ...
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How the evolution of our ability to run marathons ‘made us human’

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

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?

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?

The Journal of Health Psychology has just published an extraordinary pair of papers that call for a new inquiry into a 30-year ...
2-26-2019 neanderthal dna still runs in our genomes complicating the story of our origins

Were Neanderthals doomed by their inbreeding?

Mounting evidence suggests Neanderthals also had a habit of inbreeding, or conceiving with close relatives. Several studies have now reported ...
2-20-2019 the rise of the rat cyborgs forecasts the glorious merger of biology and ai

‘Human-controlled rat cyborgs’ are real

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

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