A University of Nevada team, led by anthropologist Peter Gray, tested several hypotheses about pets and contemporary courtship or dating rituals. Their study will appear in a forthcoming issue of the journal Anthrozoös.
We all know that men like to impress the fairer members of our species, and this permeates into almost everything we do: we want to drive the shiniest car on the block, crack the funniest jokes 24/7 and write for ZMEScience so we can impress the ladies at parties. In essence, no matter how unlikely it is to actually impress, if a man has a choice between doing something and doing that something over the top so he can show off to women, you can bet your right arm he’s gonna do the latter.
It seems like evolution has fostered us humans all along for us to become the dominant species on planet Earth. We owe so many gifts to the tender processes that began millions of years ago and shaped us the way we are today. Gripping dexterous hands, remarkable social behavior and lets not forget about those big brains. It’s not enough to have a big brain, though. What makes us humans particularly successful is our ability to adapt constantly to our environment. Humans fair well in luxurious plains, but they seem to survive in the desert as well. Then look at the times we’re living in. Technology, networking, all our cultural heritage. It takes a lot to adapt to such changing times, and no other species seems to be this good at it. While we owe a great deal to genetics, it’s brain plasticity – an inherent ability to mold our cerebral connections to fit our environment – that took us the extra mile.
A paper published recently in Nature Communications details how a team lead by Dr. Ben Wilson and Professor Chris Petkov used a brain imaging technique to identify the neuronal evolutionary origins of language. Their findings help us understand how we learn to speak, and could allow new treatments for those who lose this ability from aphasia after a stroke or dementia.
Cardiff University public health experts have discovered a powerful link between a pupil’s breakfast quality and their performance at school. The study – the largest to date looking at how nutrition influences school performance — recorded the breakfast habits of 5000 pupils aged 9 through 11, and their results in the Key Stage 2 Teacher Assessments 6-18 months later.
Scientists at the Georgia State University, Georgia Regents University and Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center found that the brain uses sweet foods to form the memory of a meal. The paper shows how the neurons in the dorsal hippocampus — a part of the brain that is critical for episodic memory — are activated by consuming sweets.
Women suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) show elevated levels of testosterone and testosterone derivatives in their systems, as well as an increased risk of anxiety and depression. As the offspring of these women (both sons and daughters) show similar symptoms, it’s been believed that PCOS can be transmitted through genetic code. However, a new idea comes to question this — specifically, the fact that the fetuses of mothers with PCOS are gestating in high levels of testosterone is what causes these symptoms.
Researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have developed implantable devices that can activate — and in theory, block too — pain signals traveling from the body through the spinal cord before they reach the brain.
We all have a friend that enjoys inappropriate jokes or slapstick humour more than any sensible person ought to. University College London researchers now claim that a twisted sense of humour might be an indicator of dementia setting in, particularly if the person in question used to have a different sense of humour.
In a testament to epigenetics, researchers show that it’s possible that the marks of trauma can be transmitted down to subsequent generations.