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Women with Neandertal gene give birth to more children

Women with Neandertal gene give birth to more children

Neandertal progesterone receptor has a favourable effect on fertilityOne in three women in Europe inherited the receptor for progesterone from Neandertals – a gene variant associated with increased fertility, fewer bleedings during early pregnancy and fewer miscarriages. This is according to a study published by researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany and the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden."The progesterone receptor is an example of how favourable genetic variants that were introduced into modern humans by mixing with can have effects in people...

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May 27
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Cultural diversity in chimpanzees

Cultural diversity in chimpanzees

Chimpanzee groups each have their own unique termite fishing culturesThe transmission of cultures from generation-to-generation is only found in a few species besides humans. Chimpanzees are one such species and exhibit a large diversity of cultural and tool use behaviours. Although these behaviours have been well documented at a handful of long term research sites, the true cultural repertoire of chimpanzees across populations is still poorly understood. To better understand this diversity, researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, initiated...

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May 27
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Climate change increases migration at the expense of the poor

Climate change increases migration at the expense of the poor

A climate game developed by Max Planck researchers shows that global cooperation can be possible – although not without effortIn 2018, around 16 million people were displaced by extreme climate events. People from poorer countries flee more often as a result of climate events. Scientists at the Max Planck Institutes for Evolutionary Biology in Plön and Meteorology in Hamburg have used a climate game to investigate how extreme climate events combined with poverty affect the migration of people to rich countries if the participants are also expected to finance measures against climate change....

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May 27
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Happiness and the evolution of brain size

Happiness and the evolution of brain size

Serotonin can act as a growth factor for the stem cells in the fetal human brain that determine brain sizeDuring human evolution, the size of the brain increased, especially in a particular part called the neocortex. The neocortex enables us to speak, dream and think. In search of the causes underlying neocortex expansion, researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden, together with colleagues at the University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus Dresden, previously identified a number of molecular players. These players typically act cell-intrinsically in...

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Oct 25
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Forming beliefs in a world of filter bubbles

Forming beliefs in a world of filter bubbles

Study examines how people deal with diverging informationWhy do so many Republicans still believe that the recent US presidential election was fraudulent? Is it possible to reach coronavirus deniers with factual arguments? A study by researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development and the University of Amsterdam provides insights into what it is that stops people from changing their minds. Their findings have been published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B.By talking to other people and observing their behavior, we can learn new things, acquire new...

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Nov 27
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Computer Scientists: We Wouldn’t Be Able to Control Superintelligent Machines

Computer Scientists: We Wouldn’t Be Able to Control Superintelligent Machines

New Findings From Theoretical Computer ScienceWe are fascinated by machines that can control cars, compose symphonies, or defeat people at chess, Go, or Jeopardy! While more progress is being made all the time in Artificial Intelligence (AI), some scientists and philosophers warn of the dangers of an uncontrollable superintelligent AI. Using theoretical calculations, an international team of researchers, including scientists from the Center for Humans and Machines at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, shows that it would not be possible to control a superintelligent AI. The...

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Jan 13
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We wouldn’t be able to control superintelligent machines

We wouldn’t be able to control superintelligent machines

According to theoretical calculations of computer scientists, algorithms cannot contain a harmful artificial intelligenceWe are fascinated by machines that can control cars, compose symphonies, or defeat people at chess, Go, or Jeopardy! While more progress is being made all the time in Artificial Intelligence (AI), some scientists and philosophers warn of the dangers of an uncontrollable superintelligent AI. Using theoretical calculations, an international team of researchers, including scientists from the Center for Humans and Machines at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development,...

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Jan 13
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Neanderthal Ancestry Identifies Oldest Modern Human Genome

Neanderthal Ancestry Identifies Oldest Modern Human Genome

The fossil skull of a woman in Czechia has provided the oldest modern human genome yet reconstructed, representing a population that formed before the ancestors of present-day Europeans and Asians split apart.In an article published in Nature Ecology & Evolution, an international team of researchers analyses the genome of an almost complete skull first discovered in Zlatý Kůň, Czechia in the early 1950s and now stored in the National Museum in Prague. The segments of Neanderthal DNA in its genome were longer than those of the Ust’-Ishim individual from Siberia, the previous oldest modern...

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Apr 8
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Genomes of the earliest Europeans

Genomes of the earliest Europeans

Ancient genomes shed new light on the earliest Europeans and their relationships with NeandertalsAn international research team has sequenced the genomes of the oldest securely dated modern humans in Europe who lived around 45,000 years ago in Bacho Kiro Cave, Bulgaria. By comparing their genomes to the genomes of people who lived later in Europe and in Asia the researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, show that this early human group in Europe contributed genes to later people, particularly present-day East Asians. The researchers also...

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Apr 8
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Great tits change their traditions for the better

Great tits change their traditions for the better

Immigration helps populations shift to more efficient behaviorsResearchers at the Max Planck Institute for Animal Behavior and the University of Konstanz in Germany have found that birds are able to change their culture to become more efficient. Populations of great tits were able to switch from one behavior to a better alternative when their group members were slowly replaced with new birds. This research reveals immigration as a powerful driver of cultural change in animal groups that could help them to adapt to rapidly changing environments. In animals, “culture” is considered to be any...

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Apr 8
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