Tag Archives | Ancestors

‘Mixed’ Neanderthal-Like Lineage Revealed in Ancient Skulls

Picture: Rawansari (CC)

Picture: Rawansari (CC)

Nobody wants third-hand teeth…

A key first step in Neanderthal evolution may have been the development of front teeth that could act like a “third hand,” researchers now say.

These new findings are based on 17 hominin skulls showing a mix of traits from Neanderthals and more primitive human lineages, dating back some 430,000 years. The specimens likely belonged to a hominin group within the Neanderthal lineage but perhaps not direct Neanderthal ancestors. (Hominins include modern humans and extinct ancestors and close relatives of the human lineage.)

The mix of traits suggests the defining features of the Neanderthal body may have evolved separately in stages instead of evolving together gradually, scientists added.

via Ancient Skulls Reveal ‘Mixed’ Neanderthal-Like Lineage.

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Animal Study Suggests That Ancestral Fears Cause Brain Changes

Skibbereen_by_James_Mahony,_1847Is it possible that you fear something for no other reason beyond that your grandfather feared it as well?

Via BBC:

A new study published in Nature Neuroscience has shown that rats taught to fear a certain smell could pass that fear onto their offspring.

Marcus Pembrey, emeritus professor of paediatric genetics, says it has implications for our understanding of the “nature versus nurture” debate.

Prof Pembrey told the Today programme “sperm can carry information about the ancestral environment or experiences, in this case the conditioning shocks of the grandfather.”

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Women Like Pink Because Of ‘Berry-Picking’ Past And Boys Like Green Because Of Their Hunting Ancestors

525px-HeteroSym-pinkblue.svgDo pinks and purples remind you of gathering berries? Do greens and blues remind you of hunting in the forest? Finding a reason other than cultural influence as to why genders seems to lean towards specific colors, scientists look to our past. Via Fiona Macrae at Daily Mail:

Girls really do prefer pink – and not just because it is pretty.

Scientists have shown that females are drawn to pinks and reds and men to blues and greens – and they believe the explanation lies our hunter-gatherer past.

As the gatherers of the operation, women’s brains became fine-tuned to the purples and reds of ripe fruits and berries.

The men, meanwhile, developed a preference for the clear blue skies that signaled good weather for hunting.

The theory comes from Chinese scientists who asked more than 350 students to study 11 colours for three minutes and then rank them in order of preference.

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