Tree islands, patches of high, dry ground a meter high that dot the marshes of the Florida Everglades, are elevated enough to allow trees to grow and provide a nesting site for alligators and a refuge for birds, panthers, and other wildlife.
And those critters may have anthropogenic garbage left by early man to thank for it. Garbage mounds left by prehistoric humans might have driven the formation of many of those Everglades' tree islands, distinctive havens of exceptional ecological richness in the sprawling marsh that are today threatened by human development.
Because of the time difference, many discovered the news of the Tohoku earthquake hours after the 9.0 magnitude tremor was recorded 81 miles off the Japanese East Coast - an earthquake so epic that the resulting tsunami reached across the Pacific and the coasts of America and New Zealand. But also for much of the waking world, news about the unfolding crisis happened instantaneously - because of the amazing reach of social media.
Infants and toddlers can suffer serious mental health disorders, yet are unlikely to receive treatment that could prevent lasting developmental problems, according to an analysis in American Psychologist.
Language may have an undervalued role in learning the meanings of numbers. A study based on research using deaf people in Nicaragua who never learned formal sign language showed that people who communicate using self-developed gestures (homesigns) were unable to comprehend the value of numbers greater than three because they had not learned a language containing symbols used for counting.
Recent research indicates that bilingual speakers can outperform monolinguals in certain mental abilities, such as editing out irrelevant information and focusing on important information, said Judith Kroll, Distinguished Professor of Psychology, Penn State. These skills make bilinguals better at prioritizing tasks and working on multiple projects at one time. Kroll said that these findings counter previous conclusions that bilingualism hindered cognitive development.
While any individual action in a zero-tolerance culture will be evidence of endemic racism, the plain fact is actual racism is below any level in history and dropping fast. That makes it possible to again discuss variations in skin color to provide one of the best examples of evolution by natural selection acting on the human body.
Scientists have understood for years that evolutionary selection of skin pigmentation was caused by the sun. As human ancestors gradually lost their pelts to allow evaporative cooling through sweating, their naked skin was directly exposed to sunlight. In the tropics, natural selection created darkly pigmented individuals to protect against the sun.