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On ancient Earth, the earliest life encountered a paradox. Chains of RNA—the ancestor of DNA—were floating around, haphazardly duplicating themselves. Scientists know that eventually, these RNA chains must have become longer and longer, setting the stage for the evolution of complex life forms like amoebas, worms, and eventually humans. But under all current models, shorter RNA molecules, having less material to copy, would have reproduced faster, favoring the evolution of primitive organisms over complex ones.
The evolution of human culture is often compared to biological evolution, and it’s easy to see why: both involve variation across a population, transmission of units from one generation to the next, and factors that ensure the survival of some variants and the death of others. However, sometimes this comparison fails. Culture, for instance, can be transmitted “horizontally” between members of the same generation, but genes can't.
For many Facebook users, the urge to like a kitten video or snoop on a high-school flame is almost irresistible.
Related: Why the modern world is bad for your brain
Yoga has long been a popular form of exercise and meditation, but science is starting to confirm the ancient practice has the power to treat depression and anxiety.
Related: Warped Brain Lobes Could Underlie Depression Symptoms
HINT: Don't tell your kids that they are. More than three decades of research shows that a focus on “process”—not on intelligence or ability—is key to success in school and in life
Last semester, I began my math history class with some Babylonian arithmetic. The mathematics we were doing was easy—multiplying and adding numbers, solving quadratic equations by completing the square—but the base 60 system and the lack of a true zero made those basic operations challenging for my students.
Late last week it was revealed that the beard from King Tut's burial mask was hastily glued back on with epoxy after being accidentally knocked off by a maintenance crew. After inspecting the priceless artifact, a German restoration specialist says it can probably be fixed.
Nature experts have discovered a remarkable submerged forest thousands of years old under the sea close to the Norfolk coast.
Alt: Diver finds 10,000-year-old FOREST which originally stretched as far as Europe hidden under the North Sea (images)
Archaeologists are excavating the vessel that served as the flagship of the pirate Blackbeard, and the medical equipment they have recovered from the shipwreck suggests the notorious buccaneer had to toil to keep his crew healthy.
New research has revealed previously unknown tattoos on a man who had been preserved in ice for over 5,000 years.
Alt: Ötzi the iceman's hidden tattoos uncovered: Scans reveal previously unseen inkings on 5,300-year-old mummy's ribcage (images)
Media reports and the blogosphere are fueling speculation that the remains of a woman found in a massive tomb in northern Greece may belong to Alexander the Great’s mother, Olympias, who was executed when she was about 60 years old.
Pity the hadrosaur. The duck-billed dinosaur had no horns, armor or tusks for defense when Tyrannosaurus rex was on the hunt. And it was too big to escape by climbing a tree or burrowing into the ground. To top it all off, the herbivore was slow of foot. Luckily, the layout of a hadrosaur's leg and tail muscles may have helped it escape the massive jaws of tyrannosaur predators.
Humans began migrating to the Americas roughly 15,000 to 20,000 years ago. But domesticated canines likely didn’t show up on American continents until 10,000 years ago, long after humans first arrived, according to a new analysis of ancient dog DNA by University of Illinois researchers. Their findings were published in the Journal of Human Evolution.
A remarkable photograph of the live birth of a thresher shark has cast light on the lives of these elusive, vulnerable fish.
It’s been known for some time that captive dolphins can invent new vocalizations. Although such whistles may be harder for us to pronounce than names like “Flipper” or “Willy”, they nonetheless serve many of the same purposes among porpoises. That’s because dolphins make up new whistles that other dolphins then use to signal each whistle’s inventor. But what happens when dolphins meet for the first time? And what about wild dolphins–do they use “names”? Well, according to this study, the answer to both of those questions is a resounding “yes”!
Science has not entirely ignored unusual interactions between species. Biologists have described relationships formed to achieve a specific goal, like the cooperative hunting between groupers and moray eels. And in the mid-1900s, Konrad Lorenz and other ethologists demonstrated that during critical periods after birth, certain birds and other animals would follow the first moving object they saw, whether animal, human or machine, a phenomenon known as imprinting.
Bernd Heinrich was on a hike through the woods of New England when he observed something which would go on to change our perception of animal psychology.
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