Social scientists believe that pre-Homo human ancestral species, such as Australopithecus africanus, used human-like hand postures much earlier than was previously thought.

The authors say they have the first archaeological evidence for stone tool use among fossil australopiths 3-2 million years ago. The distinctly human ability for forceful precision (e.g. when turning a key) and power "squeeze" gripping (e.g. when using a hammer) is linked to two key evolutionary transitions in hand use: a reduction in arboreal climbing and the manufacture and use of stone tools. However, it is unclear when these locomotory and manipulative transitions occurred.
Most dogs and most humans get along well now and anthropological explanations are that selective selection is the reason; wolves that were not a threat were not killed and over time the agreeable ones got shelter and food. That cooperation has led to thousands of years of being man's best friend.

Friederike Range and Zsófia Virányi from the Unit of Comparative Cognition at the Messerli Research Institute at University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna have an alternate idea, the "Canine Cooperation Hypothesis". They believe that since wolves already are tolerant, attentive and cooperative, the relationship of wolves to their pack mates could have provided the basis for today's human-dog relationship. 
Some cultural pundits contend that income inequality is linked to parenting inequality but new findings dispute that. 

You don't have to be wealthy to be involved in your child's life, despite modern thinking, according to a new paper which finds that poorer parents are just as involved in education, leisure and sports activities with their children as wealthier ones.

The researchers used the Poverty and Social Exclusion in the UK survey, carried out between March and December 2012. Among the questions it asked were:

  • How many days in the past seven days have you, or your partner read stories with your child/children or talked with them about what they are reading?

Conformity is a bad thing, in media portrayals like Apple advertisements - yet then they have a lot of people who look a lot alike all standing in line to buy the latest iPhone.

In reality, despite the claims of creative people who insist that only one brand is for creative people, they are conforming. It is human nature to conform. Former Vice-President Dan Quayle was once criticized for not knowing how to spell 'potato' while guest judging a spelling event. It was spelled wrong on the answer card and he knew it was wrong but he conformed and politicians and the public do the same thing every day.

It makes us follow the lead of computers, even if the machines give us the wrong advice.

Odds are they won't be so happy after Yuletide. Shutterstock

By Frederik Pedersen, University of Aberdeen

January is a strain for most people. It’s dark and the festive lights don’t disguise this anymore. You’re back at work and the next holiday may be some way off. You’ve just had to spend a large amount of time with your family. This has consequences.

Dogs successfully migrated to the Americas about 10,000 years ago, according to a new study. That's a long time ago but still thousands of years after the first human migrants crossed the land bridge from Siberia to North America. Dogs have been associated with humans in findings from 11,000 to 16,000 years ago. 

Whether you are a a hipster in Montreal or a Pygmy in the Congolese rainforest, certain aspects of music will touch you the same way.

That applies to scores we associates with very different films, and therefore tones, like Psycho, Star Wars, and Schindler's List, according to a team of scholars who arrived at this conclusion after traveling deep into the rainforest to play music to a very isolated group of people, the Mbenzélé Pygmies, who live without access to radio, television or electricity.

It would be madness today to think of farmers as wimpy - watching a 160 lb. kid throw a giant hay bale around does not make people think of weakness - but skeletally the invention of agriculture made us weak compared to foraging ancestors.

As we shifted from foraging to farming, we had more food and that led to more culture and education and progress - but it also brought more sedentary lifestyles and so our skeletons have become much lighter and more fragile since the invention of agriculture.

About 10 percent of Asia can claim to be descended from Genghis Khan and they are absolutely correct, genetic studies show; the reason is that part of the benefit to rampaging across Asia, the mid-East and into Europe was a lot of sex.

But it isn't just conquering Mongols, even on a small scale violent conflict offers biological rewards to those those who take part in it, say anthropologists who correlated violent raids and combat to reproductive fitness. 

The shirt Matt Taylor wore while being interviewed about the Rosetta space mission set off a media and online shirtstorm. Youtube/ ESA

By Jamilla Rosdahl, University of the Sunshine Coast