Jaw-dropping theory of human evolution : Nature News
Why Did Consciousness Evolve, and How Can We Modify It? | Science Not Fiction Update 5/24/11: The conversation continues in Part II here. I recently gave a talk at the Directors Guild of America as part of a panel on the “Science of Cyborgs” sponsored by the Science Entertainment Exchange. It was a fun time, and our moderators, Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant from the HowStuffWorks podcast, emceed the evening with just the right measure of humor and cultural insight.
Rare Neurons Found In Monkeys’ Brains A mysterious kind of nerve cell that has been linked to empathy, self-awareness, and even consciousness resides in Old World monkeys. The finding, published May 10 in Neuron, extends the domain of the neurons beyond humans, great apes and other large-brained creatures and will now allow scientists to study the habits of a neuron that may be key to human self-awareness. “People have been reluctant to say, but want to believe, that these neurons might be the neural correlate of consciousness,” says neuroscientist and psychiatrist Hugo Critchley of the University of Sussex in England. Finding the neurons in macaques, which can be studied in laboratories, “opens up the possibility to study directly the role of these cells,” he says.
Three months ago, I received an email informing me that a high school friend, Pat, had died. I read his obituary and my body stopped functioning. I froze on the spot, limbs tense but trembling. My mouth went dry, my vision blurred. As I waited for my train in the packed station, I could barely stand as my muscles turned to jelly and legs folded beneath my body. The Evolution of Grief, Both Biological and Cultural, in the 21st Century | Culturing Science
Just like our animal skin–clad ancestors, we gather food with zeal, lust over the most capable mates, and have an aversion to scammers. And we do still wear plenty of animal skins. But does more separate us from our Stone Age forebears than cartoonists and popular psychologists might have us believe? At first blush, parsing the modern human in terms of behaviors apparently hardwired into the brain over eons of evolution seems like a tidy, straightforward exercise. And 30 years ago, when the field of evolutionary psychology was gaining steam, some facile parallels between ancient and modern behaviors lodged themselves in the popular conceptions of human evolution. "It's very easy to slip into a very simplistic view of human nature," says Robert Kurzban, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, citing the classic Flintstones stereotype. Fast-Evolving Brains Helped Humans out of the Stone Age
One gene helped human brains become complex - life - 03 May 2012 Read more: Click here to read a longer version of this story When it comes to brain development, slow and steady wins the race. A single ancestral human gene that made two copies of itself may have helped the evolution of our large brains 2.5 million years ago, as our ancestors were diverging from australopithecines. Paradoxically, it seems the effect of the extra copies was to slow down individual brain development. This allowed time for neurons to develop more and better connections with one another. Gene duplications are rare in human history: only about 30 genes have copied themselves since we split from chimps 6 million years ago.
Climate and Human Evolution
Missing Lincs Nearly everybody knows that Frank Lloyd Wright designed Fallingwater, the house in Pennsylvania that sits above and appears to cascade into a waterfall. I.M. Pei’s glass pyramid at the Louvre in Paris is similarly famous. And Frank Gehry is widely known for the curvilinear shining steel Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.
Around 100,000 years ago, the human race was on the brink of extinction. Confined to Africa, our population had fallen to less than 10,000. Yet within a few tens of thousands of years, we began spreading around the world. New genetic evidence suggests that one factor contributing to the population bottleneck was a massive epidemic of bacterial disease. Was humanity born in the mother of all plagues? - health - 04 June 2012
Chinese human fossils unlike any known species - life - 14 March 2012 And so it begins. For years, evolutionary biologists have predicted that new human species would start popping up in Asia as we begin to look closely at fossilised bones found there. A new analysis of bones from south-west China suggests there's truth to the forecast. The distinctive skull (pictured, right) was unearthed in 1979 in Longlin cave, Guangxi Province, but has only now been fully analysed. It has thick bones, prominent brow ridges, a short flat face and lacks a typically human chin.
Evolution Takes Asian Refuge After ancient people left their African homeland, they migrated into Asia and Europe, taking refuge from ice age conditions in areas isolated from other populations, two new reports suggest. That isolation may have prompted the evolution of new Homo species, including a mysterious Asian population dubbed Denisovans and possibly an unusual-looking humanlike group now identified in China. OLD AND NEW A reconstructed partial skull (right) from a Chinese cave displays a peculiar mix of ancient and modern traits (seen in illustration, left), indicating that these late Stone Age people interacted little with nearby, modern-looking humans.
Ancient Human Had Feet Like an Ape [Video] Evolution::News::March 29, 2012:: ::Email::Print A recently discovered fossil foot hints that tree-dwellers lived alongside species built for walking By Brian Switek and Nature magazine Researcher Stephanie Melillo holds the fourth metatarsal of the Burtele partial foot right after its discovery.
New Ancestor Grasped At Walking
Evolution::Web Exclusives::March 20, 2012:: ::Email::Print Could a recently discovered species from South Africa be the ancestor of us all? By Kate Wong Field Notes: A Visit to an Early Human Death Trap [Videos and Slide Show]
First of Our Kind: Could Australopithecus sediba Be Our Long Lost Ancestor? Evolution::Feature Articles::March 20, 2012:: ::Email::Print See Inside Sensational fossils from South Africa spark debate over how we came to be human
Ancient Walking Gets Weirder
You Have Grandpa's Chromosome Tips