Humans

Muscles Thought to Be Exclusively Human Have Just Been Found in Apes

It’s thought that humans, unlike other primates, have evolved certain muscles unique to us. But now those muscles have been found in other apes – and this challenges our core perceptions about human evolution.   According to anatomist Rui Diogo of Howard University in the US, a large part of the human narrative revolves around our “special” place in nature, which can …


Humans

There’s a Wild Conspiracy Theory on Hitler’s Death, And It’s Finally Been Debunked

It sounds like a work of alternative history fiction: as Soviet forces closed in on Adolf Hitler’s bunker in Berlin, the Führer fled in the nick of time to South America where he lived in hiding for another 17 years.   As far as conspiracy theories go, it’s up there with Elvis and Roswell, but you’d better believe there are …


If a Nuclear Bomb Explodes, Government Officials Will Probably Use These Scripts to Calm You Down

The US government prepares for all sorts of threats, ranging from biowarfare and chemical weapons to volcanoes and wildfires. But none match the specter of a nuclear explosion. A small nuclear weapon on the ground can create a stadium-size fireball, unleash a city-crippling blastwave, and sprinkle radioactive fallout hundreds of miles away.   The good news is that the Cold …

Scientists Have Found The ‘Holy Grail of Shipwrecks’ And Up to $17 Billion in Treasure

For centuries, untold riches of gold, silver, and jewels buried with the world’s most valuable shipwreck were dreamt of by generations of sailors, squires, and treasure hunters alike.   But when eyes were finally laid on the so-called ‘holy grail of shipwrecks’ – the Spanish galleon San José, which went down off the coast of Colombia in 1708 – they …

Neuroscientists Have Cracked The Science of Michael Jackson’s Gravity-Defying Dance Move

In 1987, the music video Smooth Criminal by Michael Jackson stunned audiences around the world with a gravity-defying move – leaning forward to a staggering 45 degree angle.    There was some footwear magic happening there, for sure – but a group of neuroscientists have looked at the spine biomechanics behind the technique he performed in concerts all over the world. And …

Here’s Why Different Conspiracy Theories Keep Contradicting Each Other

Flat Earthism and the idea that human activity is not responsible for climate change are two of the most prevalent conspiracy theories today. Both have been increasing in popularity since the late 20th century.   Currently, 16 percent of the US population say they doubt the scientifically established shape of the Earth, while 40 percent think that human-induced climate change …

Huge Cache of Human Bones Has Revealed ‘Barbarian’ War Rituals During The Roman Empire

Archaeologists in Denmark have made a rare and extremely valuable find. Preserved in wetlands peat sediment, the remains of a fierce battle that raged in the first century CE, leaving nearly 2,100 bones to tell the tale millennia later – challenging what we know about barbarian warfare.   The Germanic tribes were ferocious warriors, instrumental in taking down the Roman …

Experts Say There Was “Something Wrong” With The Cougar Who Killed a Seattle Cyclist

The two mountain bikers, authorities say, did what they were supposed to do. They made loud noises to drive the cougar away. One of them even struck the animal with his bicycle.   But none of it worked. The big cat that had been following the two friends as they were mountain biking in rural Washington state pounced, lunging at …

The Size of The Town You Live in Has a Huge Effect on Happiness Levels

Heaven is wide open spaces – at least, it is for most people, according to a massive new data set of happiness in Canada. A team of happiness researchers at the Vancouver School of Economics and McGill University recently published a working paper on the geography of well-being in Canada.   They compiled 400,000 responses to a pair of national …

US Fertility Rates Have Plummeted Into Uncharted Territory, And Nobody Knows Why

The US birth rate has hit a new record low, with women in nearly every age group giving birth to fewer babies than a year ago. New figures show just 60.2 babies were born in 2017 for every 1,000 women of ‘childbearing’ age (15-44) – a low not seen in the US since officials began charting national birth rates decades …

Browsing The Internet at Work May Not Make You Less Productive, Says Study

Are you reading this while you should be working? The personal use of the internet during work hours has been dubbed ‘cyberloafing’, but a new study shows that you might not really be to blame for your constant scrolling.   The researchers, from the University of Haifa in Israel and the University of South Florida, focused on whether cyberloafing is …

Do You Cry More on Planes? Here’s Some Scientific Reasons to Explain Why

Very few people enjoy air travel. The chances something will go wrong are incredibly tiny, but that doesn’t mean it’s a pleasant experience. Your feet may swell up, your ears may pop, and, for some people, you may end up crying like a baby.   In 2011, Virgin Atlantic conducted a study that revealed 55% of respondents had heightened emotions …

What Everyone Gets Wrong About ADHD

Picture someone with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). You’re probably imagining a person who is easily distracted, can barely sit still, and impulsively jumps from topic to topic at a hundred miles an hour.   For some people this is endearing, but for others, someone with ADHD sounds like their worst nightmare. But our preconceptions aren’t always entirely correct. For …

A “Made in China” label solved the mystery of an 800-year-old shipwreck

The practice of branding goods with their country of origin has been going on much longer than you might think – and a “Made in China”-style label etched into a 12th century piece of pottery has helped experts accurately date the cargo haul of a mysterious shipwreck.   Discovered in the 1980s by a fisherman in the Java Sea, off …

A speech scientist reveals why this illusion has only one correct answer

Yanny or laurel? The internet exploded in argument this week as people debated which of those words a robot was saying in this recording, which originated on Reddit and was posted on Twitter by YouTube vlogger Chloe Feldman.   Hardik Kothare, who works in the speech neuroscience lab at UCSF, was quick to weigh in with his assessment of the …

The rise and fall of the Roman Empire is being rewritten by ice hidden under Greenland

The frosty vastness of Greenland might have eluded the far-reaching grasp of the Roman Empire, but that’s not to say imperial fortunes were never felt by the icy lands up north.   A new study has provided a stunning, unprecedented glimpse into the peaks and valleys of ancient Roman and Greek civilisation by looking in a place so distant and …

Best-selling author Michael Pollan took several psychedelic drugs, and then wrote about it in vivid detail

When Michael Pollan tripped on magic mushrooms for the first time, he saw himself spread out across an expansive outdoor landscape like paint. It was the best-selling author’s second stop on a three-part tour of psychedelic drugs, which Pollan describes in vivid detail in the book How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About …

Eerie remains of a 2,000-year-old horse have been discovered in Pompeii

An amazing new discovery has been made in the ancient Roman city of Pompeii: the remains of a stable, complete with the remains of a dead horse, which died 2,000 years ago when the city was swallowed by the ash of an erupting volcano.   The discovery was made by archaeologists, but what led them to it is disturbing. It …

Yanny or Laurel? The internet is going mad over this auditory illusion

It’s always fun when the internet goes mad over a new illusion. This time, instead of a visual illusion like the goddamn dress, we can’t stop talking about one little sound. One word pronounced in a weird robot voice is making lighting-speed rounds at the moment, creating a wave of confusion in its wake.   Like most of the internet’s …

The trolley problem has been tested in ‘real life’ for the very first time

It’s called the trolley problem, and it’s all about how far you’d be willing to go to save lives in an emergency – even if it meant killing somebody. Now, scientists have tested this famous thought experiment in real life for the first time: with almost 200 human participants, caged mice, electric shocks – and one heck of a decision …

Stephen Hawking’s memorial service is officially open to time travellers

Science lovers worldwide were devastated by the news of physicist Stephen Hawking’s death in March. And it appears that the organisers of his memorial service are not excluding anyone, even those born in the future.   Hawking’s funeral already took place back on March 31 in Cambridge, but now it’s time for the final farewell – and interment of the ashes. …

What everyone gets wrong about introverts

When you hear the term “introvert,” you might imagine someone who’s quiet and insular, who likes to spend most of their time alone, avoiding social situations. But being an introvert isn’t really anything to do with how much you like spending time with other people. In fact, introverts can have some of the deepest and most meaningful friendships.   The …

This unique man’s 60 years of blood donations saved 2.4 million babies

In 1951, a 14-year-old Australian boy named James Harrison awoke from a major chest operation. Doctors had removed one of his lungs in a procedure that had taken several hours — and would keep him hospitalized for three months.   But Harrison was alive, thanks in large part to a vast quantity of transfused blood he had received, his father …

There’s a road in the US that illustrates America’s weird relationship with the metric system

America’s love affair with the imperial system is a bit of a mess. The soda is in litres, the milk is in gallons, and just one highway in Arizona uses exclusively metres and kilometres.   But how did it get this way? Well, a new video, by YouTube channel Half as Interesting, explains the complicated reasons why the US is …

Detached human feet keep washing ashore in this peaceful Canadian province

Another human foot inside a shoe has been washed ashore on Gabriola Island in the British Columbian Salish Sea. It brings the total number of disembodied feet discovered in the area since 2007 to 19.   On the afternoon of Sunday, May 6, a man out walking near the shore discovered the hiking-boot-clad foot, wedged inside a logjam. In a …

Ever wondered what the 10 most cited sources on Wikipedia are?

These are the two words you never want to see on Wikipedia: [citation needed] Why? Because Wikipedia isn’t infallible. The world’s fifth most popular website – according to um… Wikipedia – is an awesome resource of almost endless knowledge, but that knowledge is only as sturdy as the bedrock of primary sources it’s built on top of.   That’s why …

This common viral disease has plagued humanity thousands of years longer than we thought

Evidence of Hepatitis B has been found in human DNA dating back to the Bronze Age, around 4,500 years ago. We now have proof that it infected humans broadly across Eurasia for millennia, pushing back the earliest evidence we have by thousands of years.    Previously, the earliest evidence of Hepatitis B was just 450 years old – and its …

This common viral disease has plagued humanity thousands of years longer than we thought

Evidence of Hepatitis B has been found in human DNA dating back to the Bronze Age, around 4,500 years ago. We now have proof that it infected humans broadly across Eurasia for millennia, pushing back the earliest evidence we have by thousands of years.    Previously, the earliest evidence of Hepatitis B was just 450 years old – and its …

America really is in the midst of a rising anxiety epidemic

If you’re feeling stressed, uncertain about what the future holds, or even physically unsafe, try not to panic – you’re definitely not alone. New survey results show Americans’ anxiety levels experienced a sharp increase in the past year, with almost 40 percent of respondents saying they felt more anxious than they did a year ago.   That’s a pretty big …

Scientists have found a strong link between a terrible childhood and being intensely creative

Performing artists who were exposed to abuse, neglect or a dysfunctional family as a child might experience their creative process more intensely, according to a new long-term study that has found a link between the two.   Psychologists at California State University, Northridge, studied 234 professional performers, looking for a reason why mental health disorders are so common in the …

Here’s the right way to pick up a cat, according to the world’s most helpful vet

Cats can be adorable and cuddly companions, but as anyone with a cat knows, they can also be extremely tricky to hold. In fact, holding them the wrong way could get either you or your cat hurt.   However, veterinarian Uri Burstyn makes the whole thing look like a breeze in a video seen over 2 million times, published on …

New York City’s crumbling ‘Island of the Dead’ is unearthing its nameless skeletons

It’s the largest mass burial site in the US, but for an estimated 1 million souls interred at New York City’s ‘Island of the Dead’, their eternal resting place is disintegrating.   Hart Island in the Bronx, said to be the largest taxpayer-funded cemetery in the world, is crumbling in the face of longstanding erosion, and as the ground gives …

Radar scan reveals no trace of hidden chambers in Tutankhamun’s tomb

No walls will be coming down in the tomb of ancient Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun. After conducting a thorough investigation, the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities has definitively declared that it contains no secret chambers after all.   This marks the third radar survey of the tomb, the most comprehensive yet, and, the Ministry says, the conclusive word on the subject. The …

There’s no such thing as being right or left-brained, and 9 other brain myths we’ve all heard

However long you’ve been alive, chances are you’ve heard a completely incorrect “fact” about the brain. The human brain is notoriously complicated, and despite many advances in modern science, much of the organ remains a mystery.   That’s probably why, when someone hears a rumour about how the brain functions, they spread it – regardless of whether or not it’s …

Your willingness to take risks has a genetic basis, and it could be influencing you more than you know

Those who take extreme risks often describe being drawn in by a feeling of compulsion. William Trubridge, a free-diving world record holder who regularly plunges his body hundreds of metres under water, simply explains “it beckons me beyond my means”.   Most of us will be familiar with this feeling, even if we do not feel compelled to plummet headlong …

One or two spaces after a full stop? Scientists have found the answer, and we’re not happy

In the beginning, the rules of the space bar were simple.  Two spaces after each period.  Every time.  Easy. That made sense in the age of the typewriter. Letters of uniform width looked cramped without extra space after the period. Typists learned not to do it.   But then, at the end of the 20th century, the typewriter gave way to …

A woman got a cockroach stuck in her ear, and it took 9 days to get it out

Katie Holley from Florida has penned an incredibly detailed account of how she woke up to a cockroach in her ear, and the nine days it took for the last bits of it to be removed.   Strap yourselves in, because this story is exactly as terrifying as it sounds. “Last month, in the middle of the night, I woke …

A mysterious human ancestor used these 700,000-year-old tools from the Philippines

A new discovery of stone tools and other evidence has revealed that hominins – our pre-human relatives – were in South East Asia hundreds of thousands of years earlier than we thought.   Found in the Philippines, the 57 stone tools and an almost complete rhinoceros skeleton showing signs of having been butchered, date back 709,000 years. Previously, the earliest …

A neuroscientist reveals the most important choice you can make in life

According to Moran Cerf, a neuroscientist at Northwestern University who has been studying decision-making for over a decade, the surest way to maximise happiness has nothing to do with experiences, material goods, or personal philosophy.   It’s all about who you decide to spend time with. But “it’s not just advice to choose your friends carefully,” Cerf told Business Insider. …

DNA shows the very first population of Native Americans was shockingly small

An analysis of DNA collected from representative populations in China, Siberia, and the US has revealed the first peoples to call America home could have numbered as few as 250 individuals.   The study adds important detail to models describing how the New World was populated in the wake of the last great ice age, painting a picture of small …

For the first time, we know precisely how much radiation Hiroshima bomb victims absorbed

At 8:15 am on August 6, 1945, the United States dropped the first combat atomic bomb, “Little Boy.” It exploded 43 seconds later, creating a massive fireball that incinerated much of Hiroshima.   Nearly 350,000 people were in the Japanese city that day, and most were civilians. Twenty-seven years later, a scientist from across the Pacific Ocean arrived in Hiroshima …

This 3D optical illusion will make you question the shape of reality

Things are not what they seem. If you ever needed proof, there’s an arrow we could show you, one that points to a different kind of truth. But be warned – once you’ve seen it, you’ll never look at the world quite the same way again, thanks to the mind-melting brilliance of Japanese mathematician and optical illusionist Kokichi Sugihara.   …

A scientist sat through an entire flat-Earther convention. Here’s what he learned

Speakers recently flew in from around (or perhaps, across?) the Earth for a three-day event held in Birmingham: the UK’s first ever public Flat Earth Convention. It was well attended, and wasn’t just three days of speeches and YouTube clips (though, granted, there was a lot of this). There was also a lot of team-building, networking, debating, workshops – and …

Here’s how old you can be and still master a foreign language, according to science

A new study suggests we’ve got more time than we thought to master something new – at least as far as learning a new language goes. Children can pick up languages much more easily than adults, as any kid from a bilingual home will show; but when does this window of opportunity shut? At what age can we no longer …

New evidence shows the true extent of the Biblical kingdom of David

Beyond the Biblical legend of David versus Goliath, historical records concerning a far reaching Israelite kingdom in the 10th century BCE have left plenty of room for debate. A new archaeological study has found evidence supporting the belief that a monarchy just might have united the lands during this important period, while also serving as a reminder of how biases …

Flat-Earthers think you can’t fall off the edge because we live in a Pac-Man world

This weekend, over 200 Flat-Earthers from all “around” the world gathered in Britain for the nation’s very first Flat Earth Convention. “People are waking up,” said the event organizer Gary John. “We’re seeing an explosion of interest in Flat Earth theories and increasing mistrust of governments.”   Like any good pseudoscience convention, this one was full of magical thinking and …

Only half of your friends actually like you, science reveals

When you call someone a friend, it goes without saying that they too consider you a friend – you like them, they like you, it’s a reciprocal thing.  But a 2016 study found that this is probably only true about 50 percent of the time – only half of perceived friendships are actually mutual, and that’s a problem.    Led …