A proof-of-concept study finds that it is possible to identify an individual's ancestral background based on his or her fingerprint characteristics - a discovery with significant applications for law enforcement and anthropological research.

"This is the first study to look at this issue at this level of detail, and the findings are extremely promising," says Ann Ross, a professor of anthropology at North Carolina State University and senior author of a paper describing the work. "But more work needs to be done. We need to look at a much larger sample size and evaluate individuals from more diverse ancestral backgrounds."

A Catholic, a Jesuit and a scientist walk into a bar. What do they have to talk about? And just how do those conversations go?

This scenario is no joking matter. Conflict as well as collaboration have characterized the historical relations between these three parties since the founding of the Society of Jesus, nearly 500 years ago. How do these three interact today in an era of “War on Science” that tends to politicize so many scientific issues?

Patrick Nunn, a professor of geography at University of the Sunshine Coast, and collaborator Nick Reid, a University of New England linguist, believe aborigines in Australia have records of Australia's coastline going back 7,000 years - obviously unheard of in any other culture.

Their evidence they must be accurate? The stories are all consistent with one another.

Psychologists know that you can't send a sentence around a room and have it be accurate so the team contends that because the stories are similar, they must be true. “It’s important to note that it’s not just one story that describes this process. There are many stories, all consistent in their narrative, across 21 diverse sites around Australia’s coastline,” says Nunn.
It was a humid, sticky 32°C when I made a quick trip to the grocery store in shorts and a tank top earlier this week. Despite the heat, however, the store clearly wanted me to think it was the fall season – and for us Americans, that means pumpkin spice.

Weaving in and out of each aisle, I was inundated with row upon row of pumpkin spice M&Ms, pumpkin spice yogurt, pumpkin spice Oreos, pumpkin spice cereal, pumpkin spice beer, pumpkin spice cookies, pumpkin spice bagels, pumpkin spice Pop-Tarts, pumpkin spice popcorn, pumpkin spice hummus, pumpkin spice creamer for my pumpkin spice coffee …

Evidence from the tropical lowlands of Central America reveals how Maya activity more than 2,000 years ago not only contributed to the decline of their environment but continues to influence today's environmental conditions, according to researchers at The University of Texas at Austin.

Synthesizing old and new data, researchers were the first to show the full extent of the "Mayacene" as a microcosm of the early anthropocene -- a period when human activity began greatly affecting environmental conditions.

Since the 1980s, flagship comic-book superhero movie franchises – from DC’s Superman to Marvel’s Iron Man – have seen some major movie studio investments and, more often than not, blockbuster returns.

But significant changes in the superhero mythos in our culture indicate that their future seems bleak.

Universal Studios leads the year’s movie profits without a single superhero movie. Meanwhile, the latest Fantastic Four reboot has failed terribly.

By Joel Shurkin, Inside Science - Once upon a time, there lived a people we call the Natufians. They were among the first to quit their nomadic ways and settle on land where they grew crops, lived in complex settlements, put up stone buildings, domesticated dogs, and might have invented cemeteries before their society disappeared into the mists of history.

Israeli researchers now think they also may have developed a unique telegraph system to let everyone know when a catered funeral was underway and were among the first people to put up grave markers.

Much attention is being given to what people ate in the distant past as a guide to what we should eat today. Advocates of the claimed paleo diet recommend that we should avoid carbohydrates and load our plates with red meat and fat. Its critics, on the other hand, argue that these are the same ingredients that would set us up for heart attacks. Moreover, these animal-derived foods require more space to produce on our crowded planet filled with starving humans.

African women in polygamous marriages or with alcoholic husbands have a significantly higher risk of being physically abused by their husbands than women in monogamous marriages or women whose husbands don't abuse alcohol, according to survey results presented at the 110th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association. 

5 percent of the world's population accounted for a disproportionate 31 percent of public mass shooters globally from 1966-2012, according to new research presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association.

An analysis examined the years 1966-2012 using data from the New York City Police Department's 2012 active shooter report, the FBI's 2014 active shooter report, and multiple international sources. The author says it is the first quantitative analysis of all reported public mass shootings around the world that resulted in the deaths of four or more people. By definition, these shootings do not include incidents that occurred solely in domestic settings or were primarily gang-related, drive-by shootings, hostage taking incidents, or robberies.