Anthropology

New genetic research in BMC Evolutionary Biology found telltale mutations in modern-day Indian populations that are exclusively shared by Aborigines.  The new study indicates that Australian Aborigines initially arrived via south Asia.

Dr Raghavendra Rao worked with a team of researchers from the Anthropological Survey of India to sequence 966 complete mitochondrial DNA genomes from Indian 'relic populations'. He said, "Mitochondrial DNA is inherited only from the mother and so allows us to accurately trace ancestry. We found certain mutations in the DNA sequences of the Indian tribes we sampled that are specific to Australian Aborigines. This shared ancestry suggests that the Aborigine population migrated to Australia via the so-called 'Southern Route'."
Neanderthals were stoutly-built and human-like and lived at the same time and in the same areas as some modern humans.  But they went extinct.

Anthropologists have tried to solve the mystery of Neanderthal's fate since the first fossils were discovered in the small valley of the river Düssel called Neandertal, about 7 miles east of Düsseldorf in Germany.

Speculation is they they inter-bred with modern humans or failed to compete for food or resources  or perhaps were even hunted to extinction by humans.
Do friends wear the same clothes or see the same movies because they have similar tastes, part of the reason they became friends or, once a friendship is established, do individuals influence each other to adopt like behaviors? 

Social scientists don't know for sure and are still trying to understand the role social influence plays in the spreading of trends because the real world doesn't keep track of how people acquire new items or preferences. 

But the virtual world of "Second Life" does. Researchers from the University of Michigan have tried to use this information to study how "gestures" make their way through this online community. Gestures are code snippets that Second Life avatars must acquire in order to make motions such as dancing, waving or chanting.
Yesterday, the Brazilian national team overcame a 2 goal deficit to defeat the USA squad 3-2 in the final of the Confederations Cup.   The unheralded USA team was a surprise but  teams always are until they achieve big wins over a period of time.    Then it becomes predictable and expected, like Brazil.

But what makes a great footballer?   Being in excellent physical condition undoubtedly helps but few people actually believe that intense physical training alone can turn an average player into Cristiano Ronaldo - who is Portuguese.   Instead, there is something else that must be added.   Scientists from the University of Queensland have decided to study what this "something else" might be.  
Human brains have tripled in size over the past 2 million years,  growing much faster than those of other mammals.

What might the reasons be for such dramatic brain expansion?

University of Missouri researchers studied three hypotheses for brain growth: ecological demand,  social competition and climate change.

Yes, climate change.   They're not stupid.   An entire presidential cabinet is stuffed with carbon dioxide true believers so it's good diplomacy to at least consider global warming may make us devolve - that would be terrific marketing for a carbon trading scheme.   Luckily, the much more likely social competition was determined in their analysis as the major cause of increased cranial capacity.
Did animals teach us one of the oldest forms of human technology, basketry? Did that help us learn to count? These are just two of the themes due to be explored at a University of East Anglia event which takes place June 5-6) is part of Beyond the Basket, a new research project led by the university exploring the development and use of basketry in human culture over 10,000 years.

Basketry has been practiced for millennia and ranges from mats for sitting on, containers and traps for hunting, to partitions and walls - all of which have been central to advancing our culture.
Neanderthals/neandertals, popularly regarded as the 'stupid' cousins of modern humans, were actually capable of capturing the most impressive animals - and that takes some sense.   Dutch researcher Gerrit Dusseldorp analyzed their daily forays for food to gain insights into the complex behavior of the Neanderthal. His analysis revealed that the hunting was very knowledge intensive. 
Did Language Invent Humans ?

Writing is a human invention.  We have plenty of evidence of its invention and of its improvement down the ages.  It would make no sense to assume that writing somehow 'just appeared'.  A magical origin of writing would presuppose that our brains are hard wired to read, but we all know that reading and writing are skills that must be taught in a formal manner.  Again, if we were 'hard wired' for written language then we would all use a single writing method, regardless of language.  Writing is most definitely invented.
Supreme Court justice Potter Stewart famously stated, regarding hard-core pornography, during the Jacobellis vs Ohio obscenity case (1964):
I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I
understand to be embraced within that shorthand description; and
perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so.  But I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that.