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We Just Found an 11-Million-Year-Old Ancestor That Hints How Humans Began to Walk

We Just Found an 11-Million-Year-Old Ancestor That Hints How Humans Began to Walk

The fact we can confidently balance on top of a pair of meat-sticks without toppling over is the very symbol of human evolution. Yet just how we came to stand upright in the first place remains a hotly debated topic. Now we have a new piece in the puzzle. Recently discovered fossils left by a relative who lived during the Miocene some 11.6 million years ago has provided compelling new evidence that our journey onto open ground could be compared to a toddler learning to walk, rather than a baby rising from a crawl. Thanks to an assortment of well-preserved hominid bones uncovered from a...

November 7, 2019
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BREAKING: Light has been stored as sound for the first time

BREAKING: Light has been stored as sound for the first time

Last year, scientists took a big step towards creating the next generation of computers.For the first time ever, they stored light-based information as sound waves on a computer chip - something the researchers compared to capturing lightning as thunder. While that might sound a little strange, this conversion is critical if we ever want to shift from our current, inefficient electronic computers, to that move data at the speed of light. Light-based or photonic computers have the potential to run at least than your laptop, not to mention the fact that they won't produce heat or suck up...

September 18, 2017
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Scientists Successfully Turn Breast Cancer Cells Into Fat to Stop Them From Spreading

Scientists Successfully Turn Breast Cancer Cells Into Fat to Stop Them From Spreading

Researchers have been able to coax human breast cancer cells to turn into fat cells in a new proof-of-concept study in mice.To achieve this feat, the team exploited a weird pathway that metastasising cancer cells have; their results are just a first step, but it's a truly promising approach. When you cut your finger, or when a foetus grows organs, the  cells begin to look less like themselves, and more 'fluid' – changing into a type of  called a mesenchyme and then reforming into whatever cells the body needs.This process is called epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and that cancer can...

August 11, 2019
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Humans Actually Have an Irrational Preference For Round Numbers

Humans Actually Have an Irrational Preference For Round Numbers

Would you rather save 90 percent with a product discount, or 91.27 percent? New research suggests that our minds are wired to prefer nice, round numbers over irregular ones, even when the irregular option means a better deal overall. This taste for numerical aesthetics was revealed in a study involving 1,552 participants across six different experiments. The volunteers were tested on their responses to, and assessments of, rounded and non-rounded numbers when put up against each other.Whether it's a marketing splash on a billboard, product information on packaging, or a public health...

July 12, 2020
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An Entire New Genus of Trapdoor Spiders Has Been Discovered in Australia

An Entire New Genus of Trapdoor Spiders Has Been Discovered in Australia

Trapdoor spiders are an ingenious lot. They create hidden burrows with silk-hinged trapdoors from which they emerge to nab their unsuspecting prey. They've also proven rather slippery when it comes to naming conventions. The name can refer to spiders from a wide range of across the world, and now a team of Australian scientists has found an entirely new living on the east coast of Australia – some species of which were originally thought to belong to another genus of trapdoors."Resolving the higher-level systematics of the Australasian spiny trapdoor spiders (family Idiopidae, subfamily...

July 10, 2020
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Here's How Scientists Know Coronavirus Wasn't Made in a Lab

Here's How Scientists Know Coronavirus Wasn't Made in a Lab

One of the conspiracy theories that has plagued attempts to keep people informed during the is the idea that the was created in . But the vast majority of scientists who have studied the virus agree that it evolved naturally and crossed into humans from an animal species, most likely a bat. How exactly do we know that this virus, , has a "zoonotic" animal origin and not an artificial one? The answers lie in the genetic material and evolutionary history of the virus, and understanding the ecology of the bats in question.An estimated 60 percent of known infectious diseases and 75 percent of...

July 17, 2020
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Artificial Intelligence Can't Deal With Chaos, But Teaching It Physics Could Help

Artificial Intelligence Can't Deal With Chaos, But Teaching It Physics Could Help

While artificial intelligence systems continue to make , they're still not particularly good at dealing with chaos or unpredictability. Now researchers think they have found a way to fix this, by teaching AI about physics. To be more specific, teaching them about the , which gives the AI information about the entirety of a dynamic system: all the energy contained within it, both kinetic and potential., designed to loosely mimic the human brain as a complex, carefully weighted type of AI, then have a 'bigger picture' view of what's happening, and that could open up possibilities for getting...

June 28, 2020
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For The First Time, CRISPR Gene-Editing Has Been Used on Squid

For The First Time, CRISPR Gene-Editing Has Been Used on Squid

For the first time, the innovative method has been used on squid, marking a milestone in the scientific study of these creatures – and opening up many new areas of potential research.  enables very precise, speedy, and low-cost DNA edits. Put simple, the ingenious molecular workings of the method are often described as something that allows us to 'cut' and 'paste' genes; in humans it promises to give us a way of and at the genetic level.In this case CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing was used on (the longfin inshore squid) to disable a pigmentation gene, turning off the pigmentation usually found...

August 11, 2020
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Study Confirms 'Slow Blinks' Really Do Work to Communicate With Your Cat

Study Confirms 'Slow Blinks' Really Do Work to Communicate With Your Cat

Cats have a reputation for standoffishness, especially compared with dogs, but if you find your feline friend a little hard to bond with, maybe you're just not speaking their language. Never fear - new research has shown that it's not so difficult. You just need to smile at them more. Not the human way, by baring your teeth, but the cat way, by narrowing your eyes, and blinking slowly. By observing cat-human interactions, scientists were able to confirm that this expression makes cats - both familiar and strange - approach and be receptive to humans."As someone who has both studied animal...

October 9, 2020
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For The First Time, Human Cartilage Has Been Engineered in Space

For The First Time, Human Cartilage Has Been Engineered in Space

If we're going to get serious about long-term space voyages, then being able to patch up injuries will be essential – and that's no longer a far-off concept.A cosmonaut on board the International Space Station just engineered human cartilage in the microgravity of space for the first time. Bioprinters that can produce human tissue already exist on Earth, but they rely on gravity and scaffolds in order to bring cartilage cells together.The clever part of the new process is using magnetism as a replacement for gravity, inside a bespoke assembly machine.With the help of magnetism, the effects...

July 19, 2020
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