August 9, 2012

Three New Fossils and the Evolutionary History of Our Genus
Fossilized skulls show that at least three distinct species belonging to the genus Homo existed between 1.7 million and 2 million years ago, settling a long-standing debate in palaeoanthropology. (Matt Kaplan, Nature)

Can Lying Impact Your Health?
“Recent evidence indicates that Americans average about 11 lies per week. We wanted to find out if living more honestly can actually cause better health,” study author Anita Kelly, professor of psychology at the University of Notre Dame, said in a press release. “We found that the participants could purposefully and dramatically reduce their everyday lies, and that in turn was associated with significantly improved health.” (Ryan Jaslow, Health Pop, CBS News)

Engineering Bacteria That Could Survive on Mars
A team of undergraduates from Stanford and Brown universities are busy applying synthetic biology to space exploration, outfitting microbes to survive extreme Martian conditions and produce resources needed to sustain a human colony. (Tanya Lewis, Wired Science, Wired)

Generic Language and the Transmission of Social Essentialism
Telling your kids that “Italians love pasta” or “girls have long hair” may seem harmless enough, but a new study says using such generalizations may do more than a parent intends. Children who hear that sort of generic language to describe a category of people can endorse a range of stereotypes about the category, the researchers, from New York and Princeton universities, found. (Mary MacVean, Booster Shots, Los Angeles Times)

Genetics of North African Jewish Groups
The study researchers found that the genomes of Jewish North African groups are distinct from one another, but that they show linkages to each other absent from their non-Jewish North African neighbors. The findings reveal a history of close-knit communities prone to intermarriage, said study leader Harry Ostrer of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. (Stephanie Pappas, LiveScience)

Category: Field Notes

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