Brainless hydras can tell us a lot about the significance of sleep

Brainless hydras can tell us a lot about the significance of sleep

It does not have a brain, or even much of a nervous system.  And yet, new research shows, it sleeps ...
COVID is outsmarting our immune systems — and it’s rendering essential monoclonal antibody treatments less effective

COVID is outsmarting our immune systems — and it’s rendering essential monoclonal antibody treatments less effective

The use of monoclonal antibodies for the treatment of COVID gained national and international attention last October, when President Trump ...
‘Every time you sit down in the subway, you are likely commuting with an entirely new species’: 12,000 new bacteria and viruses discovered in 6 continent study

‘Every time you sit down in the subway, you are likely commuting with an entirely new species’: 12,000 new bacteria and viruses discovered in 6 continent study

About 12,000 bacteria and viruses collected in a sampling from public transit systems and hospitals around the world from 2015 ...
Homo sapiens reevaluated: Why the definition of ‘modern human’ is undergoing a revamp

Homo sapiens reevaluated: Why the definition of ‘modern human’ is undergoing a revamp

One definition of a species is: "Groups of interbreeding natural populations that are reproductively isolated from other such groups," according ...
Viewpoint: Why the Wuhan lab escape theory explaining the origin of the global pandemic isn’t going away anytime soon

Viewpoint: Why the Wuhan lab escape theory explaining the origin of the global pandemic isn’t going away anytime soon

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted lives the world over for more than a year. Its death toll will soon reach ...
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Viewpoint: Zombie pseudoscience — Evolution and intelligence studies are still shadowed by a focus on brain size

Phrenology is the detailed study of cranial sizes and shapes as a proxy for brain size and shape... Phrenology has ...
‘It’s out-competing other viruses’: Killer Indian COVID strain spreads dark cloud over growing global recovery

‘It’s out-competing other viruses’: Killer Indian COVID strain spreads dark cloud over growing global recovery

India [has] set another coronavirus milestone. [On May 19th], authorities announced the country had recorded more than 4,500 deaths from ...
Hairy oddballs: Why are humans the only animal to grow hair on our heads but almost none on our bodies?

Hairy oddballs: Why are humans the only animal to grow hair on our heads but almost none on our bodies?

Fur keeps animals warm when it's cold at night and protects them from the sun during the day. Human ancestors ...
How did the Wuhan lab leak theory go from conspiracy theory hunch to genuine national security question?

How did the Wuhan lab leak theory go from conspiracy theory hunch to genuine national security question?

Throughout much of the pandemic, the “lab leak” hypothesis has been ridiculed by scientists as a baseless conspiracy theory, fueled ...
Podcast: Is laughter unique to humans? No, other animals evolved the same play behavior. Here are some examples

Podcast: Is laughter unique to humans? No, other animals evolved the same play behavior. Here are some examples

[HOST MICHAEL MARTIN:] It's true, we all laugh. But is laughter, uniquely human? It turns out, not really. Plenty of ...
Evolution of creativity: An emerging theory of why Neanderthals succumbed to more ‘advanced’ Homo sapiens

Evolution of creativity: An emerging theory of why Neanderthals succumbed to more ‘advanced’ Homo sapiens

Theories regarding the extinction of the Neanderthals range from climate change or the homo sapiens outpacing them in terms of ...
Fact checking ancient Greek history: Teeth recovered from military gravesites contradict historical beliefs that no mercenaries were deployed in battles

Fact checking ancient Greek history: Teeth recovered from military gravesites contradict historical beliefs that no mercenaries were deployed in battles

Ancient historians loved to write about warfare and famous battles. While these millennia-old stories still feed modern imaginations – Homer’s ...
Ecological engineering: We could save endangered wildlife and fight pest-spreading diseases using cloning and gene editing. Should we?

Ecological engineering: We could save endangered wildlife and fight pest-spreading diseases using cloning and gene editing. Should we?

[Endangered black-footed ferrets] are especially susceptible to plague. While many of us have not given much thought to plague since ...
9 archaeological finds that have reshaped our views of human evolution

9 archaeological finds that have reshaped our views of human evolution

Here are nine of the most revealing discoveries that have changed our understanding of our early ancestors—and ourselves. ... 2 ...
Did ‘global cooling’ push multiple lines of early humans into extinction, paving way for Homo sapiens?

Did ‘global cooling’ push multiple lines of early humans into extinction, paving way for Homo sapiens?

Modern humans, called Homo sapiens, are part of the genus Homo, which has existed for at least 2.8 million years ...
Ancient poop could save lives: ‘Exquisitely preserved’ lost microbes discovered in 2,000-year old feces could help battle chronic illnesses

Ancient poop could save lives: ‘Exquisitely preserved’ lost microbes discovered in 2,000-year old feces could help battle chronic illnesses

Previous research has made a connection between preindustrial diets, greater diversity in the gut microbiome and lower rates of chronic ...
Science Facts and Fallacies Podcast: COVID's mysterious origins; Why some anti-vaxxers got their shots; Unwise J&J 'pause'?

Science Facts and Fallacies Podcast: COVID’s mysterious origins; Why some anti-vaxxers got their shots; Unwise J&J ‘pause’?

Where did SARS-COV-2 come from? For most of the last year a natural origin story was the predominant view among ...
Is the clock ticking for the human race?

Is the clock ticking for the human race?

At a recent lecture to Harvard alumni I was asked how long I expect our technological civilization to survive. My ...
Are human brains the evolved pinnacle of problem-solving evolution? The reality may be more mundane

Are human brains the evolved pinnacle of problem-solving evolution? The reality may be more mundane

People often assume that evolution has progressed in an upward trajectory, from simple organisms to more complex ones. Because humans ...
'Gene Conservation Units' may be key to preserving rare species — and maintaining evolutionary processes to help them adapt to environmental change

‘Gene Conservation Units’ may be key to preserving rare species — and maintaining evolutionary processes to help them adapt to environmental change

UK landowners and conservationists welcome wider-spread use of Gene Conservation Units (GCUs) to help protect some of the rarest plants ...
‘Humans developed complex belief systems around death’: 78,000-year old gravesite marks oldest human burial in Africa

‘Humans developed complex belief systems around death’: 78,000-year old gravesite marks oldest human burial in Africa

Archaeologists have identified the oldest known human burial in Africa during field work that uncovered the remains of a child ...
What might happen if viruses jump from pet dogs to humans? That worrisome future is already here

What might happen if viruses jump from pet dogs to humans? That worrisome future is already here

[S]cientists are reporting that they have discovered what may be the latest coronavirus to jump from animals into people. And ...
Rapidly-spreading COVID-19 variant currently ravaging India makes first appearance in the US — in children with no recent travel history

Rapidly-spreading COVID-19 variant currently ravaging India makes first appearance in the US — in children with no recent travel history

Scientists [at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center found] two cases of the variant first detected in India using ...
Why do some animals live extraordinarily long lives — and can humans benefit from studying them?

Why do some animals live extraordinarily long lives — and can humans benefit from studying them?

Life, for most of us, ends far too soon — hence the effort by biomedical researchers to find ways to ...
Were self awareness and the ability to plan what set us apart from Neanderthals?

Were self awareness and the ability to plan what set us apart from Neanderthals?

We bear a trace of Neandertal legacy in our genome, a bequest from ancestral interbreeding. But some experts argue that, ...
Are trees social beings? They exchange nutrients, help one another, and communicate about pests and other environmental threats

Are trees social beings? They exchange nutrients, help one another, and communicate about pests and other environmental threats

Previous ecologists had focused on what happens aboveground, but [Suzanne] Simard used radioactive isotopes of carbon to trace how trees ...
In research breakthrough, ancient human remains can now be preserved and analyzed without destroying genetic material

In research breakthrough, ancient human remains can now be preserved and analyzed without destroying genetic material

An Austrian-American research team (University of Vienna, Department Evolutionary Anthropology and Harvard Medical School, Department of Genetics), in collaboration with ...
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