29 Evolution News Articles from 2013
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12-31-13 Texas repels creationist threat to biology textbooks
Texas repels creationist threat to biology textbooks
CHILDREN in Texas will spend the next decade reading biology textbooks free of anti-evolution propaganda, thanks to the defeat last month of creationist attempts to cast doubt on the evolution content of such books.
12-31-13 Viewpoint: Human evolution, from tree to braid
Viewpoint: Human evolution, from tree to braid
If one human evolution paper published in 2013 sticks in my mind above all others, it has to be the wonderful report in the 18 October issue of the journal Science.
12-28-13 Year in Review: Language learning starts before birth
Year in Review: Language learning starts before birth
Parents are usually careful to watch their language around young children. Maybe parents-to-be ought to watch what they say, too. Not only do babies slurp up language skills in the first few years of life, but new research also suggests that this precocious language learning starts in the womb.
12-28-13 Year in Review: Sleep clears the cluttered brain
Year in Review: Sleep clears the cluttered brain
Sleep showers away cellular grime that builds up while the brain is awake - just the sort of process that could have made sleep a biological imperative, scientists reported in October
12-25-13 Diabetes Gene Common In Latinos Has Ancient Roots
Diabetes Gene Common In Latinos Has Ancient Roots
When it comes to the rising prevalence of Type 2 diabetes, there are many factors to blame. Diet and exercise sit somewhere at the top of the list. But the genes that some of us inherit from Mom and Dad also help determine whether we develop the disease, and how early it crops up. Now an international team of scientists have identified mutations in a gene that suggests an explanation for why Latinos are almost twice as likely to develop Type 2 diabetes as Caucasians and African-Americans.
12-20-13 Neanderthals could speak like modern humans, study suggests
Neanderthals could speak like modern humans, study suggests
An analysis of a Neanderthal's fossilized hyoid bone - a horseshoe-shaped structure in the neck - suggests the species had the ability to speak.
12-17-13 Nature more than nurture determines exam success
Nature more than nurture determines exam success
COULD a child's educational fate be determined at conception? A controversial study on twins claims to provide evidence that the genes we inherit have a bigger impact on exam success than schooling and parenting.
12-11-13 Exam grades 'more nature than nurture'
Exam grades 'more nature than nurture'
Genetic influence explains almost 60% of the variation in GCSE exam results, twin studies suggest.
12-8-13 The Brains of Men and Women are Different...With a Few Major Caveats
The Brains of Men and Women are Different...With a Few Major Caveats
Women's and men's brains are wired differently, in ways that seem to match the stereotypes.
12-1-13 'Memories' pass between generations
'Memories' pass between generations
Behavior can be affected by events in previous generations which have been passed on through a form of genetic memory, animal studies suggest.
10-19-13 Cats' genes explain hunting success
Cats' genes explain hunting success
Lion, tiger and snow leopard DNA offer clues to feline evolution
9-18-13 CDC warns of future catastrophic antibiotic resistance
CDC warns of future catastrophic antibiotic resistance
IT'S official: America's antibiotic army is on its last legs.
9-18-13 Mice 'can lose innate fear of cats'
Mice 'can lose innate fear of cats'
Mice may permanently lose their innate fear of cats after they have been infected with a microscopic parasite, researchers say.
9-13-13 Surprising upside seen for small testicles
Surprising upside seen for small testicles
Men With Big Testicles Less Likely To Be Caring Fathers, Study Shows.
8-2-13 Selfish traits not favored by evolution, study shows
Selfish traits not favored by evolution, study shows
Humans and animals could not evolve in a co-operative environment by being selfish, scientists say.
8-1-13 Feathered dinosaurs had 'flight-ready' brains
Feathered dinosaurs had 'flight-ready' brains
Several ancient dinosaurs evolved the brainpower needed for flight long before they could take to the skies, scientists say. (Webmaster's comment: Since New Caledonian crows are better tool makers and problem solvers than chimps could this mean some ancient dinosaurs were also tool makers and problem solvers? Probably.)
6-11-13 Grandma's Experiences Leave a Mark on Your Genes
Grandma's Experiences Leave a Mark on Your Genes
Your ancestors' lousy childhoods or excellent adventures might change your personality, bequeathing anxiety or resilience by altering the epigenetic expressions of genes in the brain.
5-29-13 8 drugs that exist in nature
Most drugs today, legal and otherwise, are synthesized in a laboratory. But most medical and recreational drugs originally began in the wild, growing naturally in forests, fields, and deserts. Some can still be found there. Here are some of the country's better known drugs, in their natural, pre-processed form. (Webmaster's comment: Notice that most of these are all about getting one high! Only two have medical purpose only.)
- Opium poppy (heroin, morphine, codeine): Morphine is one of the many opiates that come from the opium poppy. The poppy is sliced while still in bud form, and the milky fluid (latex) that bleeds out is dried, becoming raw opium.
- Blue agave (Tequila): Alcohol is unique in the world of drugs because it's made through the process of fermentation, not a particular basic ingredient. Fermentation occurs when yeast eats the sugars of whatever plant you're using, the by-product being ethanol (drinkable alcohol).
- Coca leaves (cocaine): Coca leaves, mostly grown in South America, have to go through some pretty ugly steps to become cocaine. Steps involving powdered cement, gasoline soaks, and battery acid baths are all needed to condense the naturally occurring leaves into an illegal narcotic.
- Ephedra sinica (Sudafed, meth): This scraggly little bush, also called ma huang, has been used in Chinese medicine for centuries. If it sounds familiar, that's because decongestants like Sudafed once synthesized their main ingredient from ephedra (pseudoephedrine).
- Psilocybin mushroom (shrooms): Psilocybin, the naturally occurring compound that causes the euphoria and psychedelic trips associated with shrooms, can be found in over 200 species of mushrooms, most of which grow wild in Mexico. Different mushrooms have different concentrations of psilocybin, even varying in which part of the fungus you eat.
- Willow bark (aspirin): Salicylic acid, found in willow bark, has cooled fevered brows across the world for millennia. Even Hippocrates, the father of medicine, used to recommend chewing the bark to reduce fevers and inflammation in his patients, around 300 B.C.
- Sassafras root (ecstasy): Root beer and sarsaparilla used to have actual sassafras oil in them for flavor. They don't anymore, since the chemical in the oil, safrole, is now a controlled substance.
- Penicillium mold (penicillin): Penicillin: The mighty, moldy world changer. It was the first drug to effectively combat bacterial infections, leading to cures of an untold number of afflictions, from strep to syphilis. It was discovered accidentally by Alexander Fleming in 1928.
4-20-13 Shorter-winged swallows evolve around highways
Shorter-winged swallows evolve around highways
Crossing the road has gotten easier for cliff swallows. Over generations, the mortal threat of speeding cars may have shortened their wings.
4-19-13 Time to get tough on the physiological causes of crime
Time to get tough on the physiological causes of crime
In The Anatomy of Violence, Adrian Raine makes a strong case - often based on his own research - that distinct biological traits shape criminal behavior. Early intervention could counteract the effect of an abusive childhood.
3-13-13 The father of all men is 340,000 years old
The father of all men is 340,000 years old
Albert Perry carried a secret in his DNA: a Y chromosome so distinctive that it reveals new information about the origin of our species. It shows that the last common male ancestor down the paternal line of our species is over twice as old as we thought.
3-4-13 Interbreeding With Neanderthals
Interbreeding With Neanderthals
Telltale evidence of ancient liaisons with Neanderthals and other extinct human relatives can be found in the DNA of billions of people.
2-25-13 Babies can hear syllables in the womb, says research
Babies can hear syllables in the womb, says research
Scientists say babies decipher speech as early as three months before birth.
2-9-13 Language Skills Present at Birth: Newborns Can Tell Native from Foreign Vowel Sounds
Language Skills Present at Birth
Babies may start to learn their mother tongues even before seeing their mothers' faces. Newborns react differently to native and foreign vowel sounds, suggesting that language learning begins in the womb, researchers say.
1-27-13 'Quantum smell' idea gains ground
'Quantum smell' idea gains ground
A controversial theory that the way we smell involves a quantum physics effect has received a boost, following experiments with human subjects.
1-27-13 Quantum biology: Do weird physics effects abound in nature?
Quantum biology: Do weird physics effects abound in nature?
Disappearing in one place and reappearing in another. Being in two places at once. Communicating information seemingly faster than the speed of light.
1-25-13 Epigenetics:The Switcheson Your Genes
Epigenetics:The Switches on Your Genes
New research suggests that people's experiences, not just their genes, can affect the biological legacy of their offspring.
1-17-13 Mouse burrowing 'in their genes'
Mouse burrowing 'in their genes'
The details of how mice burrow appear to be driven by genetics and not through learning, researchers report.
1-8-13 Science puts wrinkled fingers to the test
Science puts wrinkled fingers to the test
Science may be getting closer to explaining those prune-like fingers and toes we all get when we sit in a hot bath too long.
29 Evolution News Articles from 2013
2012 Evolution News Articles