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Early Triassic ocean temp reached 40°C

The end-Permian mass extinction, which occurred around 250 million years ago in the pre-dinosaur era, is believed to have wiped out nearly all the world’s species. But scientists have been puzzled by the perplexingly long period – five million years – it took for new species to start appearing after the end-Permian event. Now, an […]

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Gene mutation behind African migration also responsible for modern health woes

The brain-boosting genetic mutation that allowed primitive man to migrate across the African continent is over-represented in modern-day African Americans and is believed to be responsible for the higher rates of hypertension, diabetes, coronary heart disease and cancer in that racial group. The findings are the result of a genetic analysis of different racial and […]

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Double whammy dinosaur extinction theory

Widely credited to have wiped out the dinosaurs, the giant asteroid that smashed into the Yucatán Peninsula 65 million years ago may have been preceded by a volcanic extinction event that warmed the planet dramatically and killed nearly all of the life on the ocean floor. University of Washington researchers say they have evidence that […]

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Neanderthal nookie notion nixed

Hybridization, the idea that modern humans and Neanderthals once interbred is probably wrong, say researchers at the University of Cambridge who suggest that a common ancestry better explains the DNA we share with Neanderthals. The new work, that details an alternative explanation for the 1-4 percent shared Eurasian and Neanderthal DNA, appears in the journal […]

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Families forged from female food fanciers

A new mathematical simulation shows that the most commonly proposed theories for the emergence of human pair-bonding are not biologically feasible. Instead, the new model suggests the emergence of the modern family was likely initiated by females who showed a preference for low-ranking males who were better at providing food, rather than fighting. Author of […]

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Earliest cave art was erotica, say anthropologists

A block of limestone in southwestern France is adorned with what anthropologists believe are engravings of female genitalia dating back 37,000 years. The ceiling piece containing the proto-pr0n (pictured) was discovered in 2007 at Abri Castanet, an archaeological site that contains some of the earliest examples of primitive art. New York University anthropologist Randall White, […]

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Dino farts warmed early climate

Mesozoic methane emissions from dinosaurs could, according to new calculations, have produced more of the notorious greenhouse gas than all modern sources – both natural and man-made – put together. The research, published inCurrent Biology, suggests the emissions could have significantly heated the already wet and warm climate. Sauropod dinosaurs, say the researchers, were similar […]

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Inch-long fleas tormented dinosaurs

Ten times bigger than their modern cousins, prehistoric flea fossils unearthed by Chinese scientists reveal a proboscis like a hypodermic needle. The new discovery is detailed in the journal Current Biology. “These were insects much larger than modern fleas and from the size of their proboscis we can tell they would have been mean,” said […]

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Hoarding may have led to human bipedalism

Detailed observations of chimpanzees indicate that upright walking may have emerged millions of years ago as an adaptation to be better able to carry scarce, high-quality foods and other resources. The new findings, in Current Biology, provide yet another hypothesis for the emergence of bipedalism, which other studies have linked to fighting ability, climate changeand […]

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Chinese fossils may be new human species

Dating from only around 13,000 years ago, fossils from two caves in south-west China have revealed a previously unknown Stone Age people who exhibit a highly unusual mix of ancient and modern anatomical features. The curious mash-up of features has startling implications for theories about the early peopling of Asia. The international team of researchers […]

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