The transition from apes to humans may have been partially triggered by the need to stand on two legs, in order to safely carry heavier babies. This theory of species evolution presented by Lia Amaral from the University of São Paulo in Brazil has just been published online in Naturwissenschaften.
For safety, all nonhuman primates carry their young clinging to their fur from birth, and species survival depends on it. The carrying pattern changes as the infant grows. Newborns are carried clinging to their mother’s stomach, often with additional support.
Months later, infants are carried over the adult body usually on the mother’s back, and this carrying pattern lasts for years in apes. However, this necessity to carry infants safely imposes limits on the weight of the infants.
The belief among some archaeologists that Europeans introduced alcohol to the Indians of the American Southwest may be faulty.
Ancient and modern pot sherds collected by New Mexico state archeologist Glenna Dean, in conjunction with analyses by Sandia National Laboratories researcher Ted Borek, open the possibility that food or beverages made from fermenting corn were consumed by native inhabitants centuries before the Spanish arrived.
Dean, researching through her small business Archeobotanical Services, says, “There’s been an artificial construct among archeologists working in New Mexico that no one had alcohol here until the Spanish brought grapes and wine. That’s so counter-intuitive.
In our first exciting episode of Who’s Smarter: Chimps, Baboons or Bacteria? The Power of Group IQ
( Part I ) we showed how small-brained baboons can outsmart big-brained chimpanzees and how bacteria can out-innovate chimps, baboons, and you and me. We also visited an evolutionary mystery in the world of a bacterial buddy that's with you every day, the E. coli found in your gut.
In Part II
we discussed how E.
Chimpanzees crave roots and tubers even when food is plentiful above ground, according to a new study that raises questions about the relative importance of meat for brain evolution. The study documents a novel use of tools by chimps to dig for tubers and roots in the savanna woodlands of western Tanzania.
The chimps’ eagerness for buried treats offers new insights in an ongoing debate about the role of meat versus potato-like foods in the diet of our hominid ancestors, said first author Adriana Hernandez-Aguilar, who collected the field data for her doctoral research at the University of Southern California.
The debate centers on the diet followed by early hominids as their brain and body size slowly increased towards a human level.
New research is the first to definitively pinpoint when and from where HIV-1 entered the United States and shows that most HIV/AIDS viruses in the U.S. descended from a single common ancestor. The actual ancestral HIV entered the U.S. long before the storied "Patient Zero," senior author Michael Worobey said.
The AIDS virus entered the United States via Haiti, probably arriving in just one person in about 1969, earlier than previously believed, according to new research.
After the virus, HIV-1, entered the U.S., it flourished and spread worldwide.
A new study explores the role of natural enemies, such as predators and parasites, for mixed mating, a reproductive strategy in which hermaphroditic plants and animals reproduce through both self- and cross-fertilization. The findings highlight the possible evolutionary consequences of these interactions.
Mating systems are a complex set of traits that reflect interactions among genetics, population structure, demography, and numerous environmental factors that influence mating success. These traits have profound consequences for genetic variation.
Questions about human migration from Asia to the Americas have perplexed anthropologists for decades, but as scenarios about the peopling of the New World come and go, the big questions have remained. Do the ancestors of Native Americans derive from only a small number of “founders” who trekked to the Americas via the Bering land bridge? How did their migration to the New World proceed?
A team of 21 researchers, led by Ripan Malhi, a geneticist in the department of anthropology at the University of Illinois, has a new set of ideas.
Halloween is a time for children to dress up as witches, ghouls and goblins, but historically witchcraft was serious business, according to a Duke University professor.
Though people today might view witchcraft as mere superstition, it’s evident from anthropological literature that, for some people, the practice has served a basic human need, said Anne-Maria Makhulu, an assistant professor of cultural anthropology who studies the ongoing practice of witchcraft in Africa.
"We live in a bewildering world where we don’t have a lot of control. And we can imagine doing things through magic that we can’t do as ordinary human beings," said Makhulu, who is teaching a course this semester on magic(!) and capitalism(!!).
Residents of small isolated fishing villages on the northern peninsula of Newfoundland have participated in the ritual of “mumming” for centuries. According to the tradition, small groups of villagers, or mummers, disguise their identities and go to other houses to threaten violence, whereupon the people of the houses try to guess the intruders’ identities.
A study by researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia argues that this tradition is a manner of communicating trust and trustworthiness.
The Internet, personal computers, word processing and spreadsheets are so embedded in today’s society that it’s hard to remember that just 35 years ago they didn’t exist.
Thomas Haigh, assistant professor of information studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, is among a very small number of computer experts in the world who are also historians, studying the role of technology in broader social change. These new experts are tracing how computers have changed business and society.
Researching late 20th century technology has given Haigh the opportunity to talk to many pioneers who developed both computers and the software that powers them.