A baby born in Tennessee can lay claim to being the oldest baby ever born, in that she is believed to be the longest-frozen embryo ever successfully delivered in a live birth. Molly Everette Gibson was born just a week ago on October 26, but her birthday was an event literally decades in the making.
Our brains are amazing pieces of biological machinery. Among the many tough jobs they handle with apparent ease is telling apart real words from random strings of letters, all with great speed and accuracy. Now, scientists think they’ve found the part of the brain responsible for this task. New research points to the mid-fusiform cortex,
They rank among some of the oldest known art in the world. Strange statuettes of female figures dating back to the Late Stone Age, many with heavily rounded breasts, buttocks, thighs, hips, and stomachs. These iconic, stylised depictions of women from the Upper Palaeolithic – often called Venus figurines, in a loose reference to the
Some people are morning larks. Others are night owls. But not everybody falls neatly into those two categories, scientists say – and a new study suggests there are actually multiple distinct ‘chronotypes’ that define people’s wakefulness and rest. Chronotypes are the behavioural manifestations of the circadian rhythms we experience throughout the day and the night.
The celebrated Arecibo Observatory telescope in Puerto Rico, which once starred in a James Bond film, collapsed Tuesday when its 900-ton receiver platform plunged 450 feet (140 meters) onto the radio dish below. Engineers had recently warned of the huge structure’s decrepit condition, and the US National Science Foundation (NSF) announced only last month that
Why and how our dreams are affected by our daily lives has long fascinated scientists, and a new study sheds some light on how the spread of COVID-19 – and the ongoing changes in our habits – is impacting what we dream about. Anger and sadness have become more common in dreams as the pandemic
Strangely come, strangely go. Only days after the world first became aware of it, a mysterious metal monolith in the remote desert of Utah’s Red Rock Country has now seemingly vanished from sight. The object made headlines last week, after authorities with the Utah Department of Public Safety (DPS) announced the discovery of the strange,
We all want our family life to be as happy as possible – and now researchers have identified some of the personal characteristics and skills that are most likely to make for a harmonious home. One of the key factors when it comes to healthy family and romantic relationships, it would seem, is psychological flexibility.
Thousands of years ago, ancient Egyptians were laid to rest in Saqqara, an ancient city of the dead. Priests placed them inside wooden boxes adorned with hieroglyphics, and the sarcophagi were sealed and buried in tombs scattered above and below the sand. Archaeologists have discovered 160 human coffins at the site over the last three
The periodic table of the elements, principally created by the Russian chemist, Dmitry Mendeleev (1834-1907), celebrated its 150th anniversary last year. It would be hard to overstate its importance as an organising principle in chemistry – all budding chemists become familiar with it from the earliest stages of their education. Given the table’s importance, one
Archaeologists have uncovered a “treasure trove” of artifacts as another major ice patch melts away in the Norwegian mountains, revealing a total of 68 arrows and many more items from an ancient reindeer hunting site. The earliest finds go back some 6,000 years, according to radiocarbon dating. They include reindeer bones and antlers, as well
The question of whether a 7-million-year-old primate, nicknamed ‘Toumai,’ walked on two or four legs has whipped up drama amongst palaeontologists – complete with a vanishing femur. Since the discovery of Sahelanthropus tchadensis’s first fossil back in 2001, it has often been cited as our earliest known hominin ancestor. Initial analysis suggested that Sahelanthropus regularly walked upright
An Egyptian mummy that was decorated with a woman’s portrait contained a surprise – the body of a child who was only 5 years old when she died. Now, scientists have learned more about the mysterious girl and her burial, thanks to high-resolution scans and X-ray ”microbeams” that targeted very small regions in the intact artifact. Computed X-ray tomography (CT)
Who embedded a large metal monolith in the remote Utah desert? State wildlife officials are scratching their heads after discovering a bizarre 10-foot-tall (3 meters) installation in Red Rock Country in southeastern Utah. The shiny silver rectangle sits in the center of the dead end of one of the many shallow rock ravines that scour this desert
Two of Charles Darwin’s notebooks containing his pioneering ideas on evolution and his famous “Tree of Life” sketch are missing, believed stolen, the Cambridge University Library said on Tuesday. The British scientist filled the leather notebooks in 1837 after returning from his voyage on the HMS Beagle. The library said they were worth millions of
Just before going into a hallucinogenic trance, Indigenous Californians who had gathered in a cave likely looked up toward the rocky ceiling, where a pinwheel and big-eyed moth were painted in red. This mysterious “pinwheel,” is likely a depiction of the delicate, white flower of Datura wrightii, a powerful hallucinogen that the Chumash people took not
We often hear about people being “in the zone” when they have excelled, be it at sport, playing music, video gaming, or going for a run. For decades, researchers have tried to find out what the zone is and how to enter it. And the assumption has been that there is one zone that we
The remains of two victims of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius almost 2,000 years ago have been unearthed at a grand villa on the fringes of Pompeii, officials at the archaeological site said Saturday. “Two skeletons of individuals caught in the fury of the eruption have been found,” the officials at the Italian site near
Leonardo da Vinci is famous for his elaborate, nuanced artworks and advanced technological ideas. But new research has revealed another level of complexity to his drawings: a hidden world of tiny life-forms on his artwork. The findings, the researchers said, could help build a microbiome “catalogue” for artwork. Each of the pieces had a unique
Telling faces apart has been an important social skill in the evolution of our species. But our ability to recognise faces actually varies much more than you might think. On the one end of the scale are those with face blindness – a condition where people struggle to recognise faces at all. At the other end are
We live in an age of division. Of red hats versus blue votes. Black lives versus blue lines. Green energy versus gold purses. Society, it seems, is melting like some proverbial iceberg. It’s a metaphor that extends beyond the poetic. A model of social cohesion created by researchers from the Complexity Science Hub Vienna draws
More than 500 years ago, a medieval soldier’s dead body settled at the bottom of a Lithuanian lake, and for centuries it lay hidden beneath the mud. Now, those submerged remains have finally been found. The skeleton was discovered during an underwater inspection of the old Dubingiai bridge in eastern Lithuania’s Lake Asveja. Though the skeleton lay under a
Egypt announced Saturday the discovery of an ancient treasure trove of more than 100 intact sarcophagi, dating back more than 2,500 years ago, the largest such find this year. The sealed wooden coffins, unveiled on-site amid much fanfare, belonged to top officials of the Late Period and the Ptolemaic period of ancient Egypt. They were
People in wealthy, industrialized countries are used to finding their supermarket shelves fully stocked. Yet for a brief period early in the COVID-19 pandemic, some of those shelves emptied out, as panic drove shoppers to stockpile and supply chains were interrupted. For many, this came as a reminder that our food supply system is not
Inch by inch, they gently pick through the soil in search of thousand-year-old relics. Racing against on-setting mould yet painstakingly meticulous, archaeologists in Norway are exhuming a rare Viking ship grave in hopes of uncovering the secrets within. Who is buried here? Under which ritual? What is left of the burial offerings? And what can
An ancient grave in Austria may represent the oldest burial of twins on record, a new study finds. The 31,000-year-old burial dates to the Upper Paleolithic (a period lasting from 40,000 to 10,000 years ago), also known as the Old Stone Age. One of the infants died shortly after birth, while his twin brother lived
Two ancient mummies discovered in a rock-cut tomb in Egypt more than 400 years ago are finally spilling their secrets, now that scientists have CT scanned their remains, a new study finds. Both mummies, as well as a third on display in Egypt, represent the only known surviving ‘stucco-shrouded portrait mummies’, from Saqqara, an ancient
The discovery of a 2-million-year-old skull in a South African cave is changing what we think we know about one of humanity’s primitive ancestors, scientists report in a new study. But the newly unearthed fossil specimen from the extinct human species Paranthropus robustus is also giving researchers a unique snapshot on the transformations that climate
Several close relatives of our species, Homo sapiens, have walked this Earth since the genus Homo evolved more than 2 million years ago. These hominins lived in diverse habitats and challenging environments. Some even crossed paths and interbred. Though more than one may have reached significant technological and cognitive milestones, such as controlling fire, developing
Neanderthals may have lost out to Homo sapiens in the evolutionary battle for survival, but as time goes on we’re learning about more and more similarities between the species – and according to new research, that extends to the raising of children. A new study used geochemical and histological techniques to look at three Neanderthal
Between the two halves of our brains is a gap filled with fluid and spanned only by the corpus callosum: a bridge of neural fibres that ferries information to either side. Some people, however, are born without a corpus callosum, meaning they lack the usual neural highway of approximately 190 million axons that would typically carry
For most of us mere mortals, tackling even a typical marathon would be a major achievement. So what kind of mindset are ultra-runners tapping into when they complete gruelling races that can go way beyond the 100 kilometre mark? Researchers surveyed 56 elite runners taking part in the 2019 Hawaiian Ultra Running Team’s Trail 100-mile
Silently moving in the wilderness of the Andes mountains, ancient hunter-gatherers stalked a herd of vicuña. The hunters threw stone projectile points with ease, hitting some of the beasts and leading the rest to scatter. The vicuñas, wild ancestors of alpacas, fell and the skilled hunters – both females and males – went to examine their
Whether it’s Mozart or metal, listening to music can be an intense, even euphoric experience. Hearing your favourite tune might bring up joyful memories soaked in nostalgia, while a soaring melody might send a chill down your spine. This tingly ‘chill’ sensation you feel can actually be seen on brain scans; has been linked to
Around 600,000 years ago, humanity split in two. One group stayed in Africa, evolving into us. The other struck out overland, into Asia, then Europe, becoming Homo neanderthalensis – the Neanderthals. They weren’t our ancestors, but a sister species, evolving in parallel. Neanderthals fascinate us because of what they tell us about ourselves – who
Nobody likes being interrupted when they’re busy, let alone being randomised at work when they’re trying to get important jobs done. But what’s going on under people’s skin when workplace interruptions keep diverting workers from the task they’re trying to concentrate on? An experiment in Switzerland investigated this all-too-common scenario, and found the effects of
Something appears to be changing the temperature of the average human body, and it might be tied to our modern lifestyles. Over the years, it seems as though people in the United States and the United Kingdom have grown steadily colder, with body temperatures coming up short of the usual 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, or 37
An analysis of 12 ancient papyrus fragments has revealed some surprising details about how the Egyptians mixed their red and black ink – findings which could give us a lot more insight into how the earliest writers managed to get their words down on the page. We know that ancient Egyptians were using inks to
Humans and dogs have shared a long and beautiful relationship, but the story of how we got together has been lost to the sands of time – so we don’t know exactly how long we’ve been friends. According to new research, though, we started dogs on the path of domestication well before 11,000 years ago.
To help defeat – or at least contain – COVID-19, people all over the world have been told to stay at home this year, to lower transmission of the pervasive pathogen that has so drastically altered the course of 2020. Depending on the severity of outbreaks, sometimes being advised to ‘shelter in place’ is just
The quality and complexity of dreams appear to change with our stages of sleep, according to a new analysis. Before the twenty-first century, we used to think dreams only occurred during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, but more recent research shows people sometimes recall dreams even when they are woken from non-REM stages of sleep.
There comes a time in everyone’s life when the brain and the body reach their peak before age begins to take its toll. While muscle mass, strength, and function start to deteriorate around age 30, new research on professional chess players suggests the brain actually ages in a slower and more gradual way. Analysing 125
People thrive all across the globe, at every temperature, altitude, and landscape. How did human beings become so successful at adapting to whatever environment we wind up in? Human origins researchers like me are interested in how this quintessential human trait, adaptability, evolved. At a site in Kenya, my colleagues and I have been working
A new psychology study investigating the best way to say ‘thank you’ has now offered a few preliminary tips for those looking to strengthen their romantic relationships. In both diary entries and conversation studies, psychologists found the best way to express gratitude is to elaborate on how responsive your loved one was to your needs.
Water is essential for basic human survival. But it can also be dangerous; contaminated water can spread deadly diseases that have the potential to eradicate whole communities. Safe, clean water offers humanity one of its best chances to thrive. Several ancient civilisations, including the Greeks, Egyptians, and Romans, filtered their water. Sanskrit writings dating back
Learning no lessons from horror films of yore, Britain has plans for a high-speed rail project that will lay tracks over the ruins of a medieval church. And, apparently, the project has run into some trouble with witches and dark spirits. According to archaeologists working at Stoke Mandeville, a village that lies in the path
Escape artist and magician James Randi, who spent decades investigating and debunking faith healers, mind readers, psychics and other fraudsters and charlatans who claimed paranormal powers has died, his foundation said. He was 92. “We are very sad to say that James Randi passed away yesterday, due to age-related causes. He had an Amazing life. We will
A cat lies in the Sun in Peru, its ears up and alert, its belly exposed, and tail stretched out. The cat is 37 metres (120 feet) long, and around 2,000 years old. It’s a geoglyph recently discovered in the famous Nazca desert in Peru. After authorities began improving access to a lookout point called