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Introduction Homo habilis is a well-known, but poorly defined species. The specimen that led to the naming of this species ( OH 7) was discovered in 1960, by the Leakey team in Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania. This specimen and its designation was the subject of much controversies up through the 1970s. The material was found in the same region where A. boisei had previously been found, and many researchers of the time did not fully accept that the material was sufficiently different from that material (or maybe A. africanus ) to denote a new species. Louis Leakey was convinced that this was the Olduvai toolmaker he had spent his life looking for, and placed this as a direct human ancestor, with H. erectus a dead-end side-branch.
Illustration: Jonathon Rosen "A MAN WITH A CONVICTION is a hard man to change. Tell him you disagree and he turns away. Show him facts or figures and he questions your sources. Appeal to logic and he fails to see your point." So wrote the celebrated Stanford University psychologist Leon Festinger (PDF), in a passage that might have been referring to climate change denial—the persistent rejection, on the part of so many Americans today, of what we know about global warming and its human causes.
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. In my twelve minutes, I shared a theory of how consciousness evolved.
Mind & Brain :: News :: July 20, 2011 :: :: Email :: Print People were once thought to have ancient psyches ill-suited to modern existence, but they have adapted much more quickly than early theories had predicted By Katherine Harmon Prehistoric sensibilities?: Earlier evolutionary psychology suggested that changes in the human brain lagged behind changes in our environment, but the field itself has been undergoing some rapid evolution.
By MARCELO GLEISER - NPR Added: Thursday, 19 January 2012 at 5:51 PM Junko Kimura/Getty Images Sometimes the fossil record comes with teeth: Mapusaurus roseae on display in the "Dinosaurs of Gondwana" exhibit in 2009 at the National Museum of Nature and Science in Tokyo. The evidence is clear, as in a February 2009 Gallup Poll , taken on the eve of the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birthday, that reported only 39 percent of Americans say they "believe in the theory of evolution," while a quarter say they do not believe in the theory, and another 36 percent don't have an opinion either way.
So there's a name for it: photic sneeze response. I seem to have this, but only when I first walk outside into the sun, then it doesn't happen later on in the day, and doesn't happen 100% of the time. I've always wondered if those sneezes are triggered by first exposure to sunlight for the day or just a response to what's in the outside air after being inside all night. Also, I wonder if a sneezing fit releases dopamine or something, because I always feel kinda good after a fit. Like, if I have a mild headache and have a sneezing fit, the intensity of the headache is reduced significantly, if not completely for a while. 1/19/12 7:02pm <p style="text-align:right;color:#A8A8A8"></p>
Does thinking about god help you in life? It’s a question whose answer will likely never be accepted by many, but that hasn’t stopped researchers from trying to find it. A new study examining self-regulation reveals that thinking about god does help you achieve your goal, but only if your goal is to successfully resist the urge to do something .
Soren Bowie is on assignment in the jungles of South America. Filling in for him today is Los Angeles based writer Joe Donatelli. At some point, your appendix was vital to your survival. Well, not yours in particular.
When he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease aged just 21, Stephen Hawking was only expected to live a few years. He will be 70 this month, and in an exclusive interview with New Scientist he looks back on his life and work Read more: " Hawking highlights "
Modern humans possess brain structures larger than their Neanderthal counterparts, suggesting we are distinguished from them by different mental capacities, scientists find. We are currently the only extant human lineage, but Neanderthals , our closest-known evolutionary relatives, still walked the Earth as recently as maybe 24,000 years ago. Neanderthals were close enough to the modern human lineage to interbreed , calling into question how different they really were from us and whether they comprise a different species. To find out more, researchers used CT scanners to map the interiors of five Neanderthal skulls as well as four fossil and 75 contemporary human skulls to determine the shapes of their brains in 3-D. Like modern humans, Neanderthals had larger brains than both our living ape relatives and other extinct human lineages. The investigators discovered modern humans possess larger olfactory bulbs at the base of their brains.
More Science :: News :: November 18, 2011 :: :: Email :: Print Sixty "de novo" genes, many active in the cerebral cortex, arose from once-quiet stretches of DNA after humans split off from chimpanzees more than five million years ago By Charles Q.
"Tradition" by Nathaniel Gold Culture defines who we are but few can explain where it comes from or why we adopt one tradition over another. In the classic musical The Fiddler on the Roof the family patriarch, Tevye, muses on this basic fact of human existence: Here in Anatevka we have traditions for everything… how to eat, how to sleep, even, how to wear clothes. For instance, we always keep our heads covered and always wear a little prayer shawl… This shows our constant devotion to God.
A recent study published in the scientific journal Nature explains how confidence plays an important role in our evolution. According to the research, confidence motivates us to take action in the face of uncertainty. The more confident we are, the more likely we are to fight for the resources we need to survive. The truth is life is filled with uncertainty. We never really know how the future is going to turn out. And sometimes due to this uncertainty we fear rejection or failure.
More Science :: Head Lines :: September 19, 2011 :: :: Email :: Print See Inside An extraordinary baby bonobo is a rare case study for autism researchers By Nina Bai Teco shows more interest in objects than in his family—much as autistic children do. Image: Courtesy of Elizabeth Rubert-Pugh, Great Ape Trust