Humans

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A growing body of drug research has shown that experiences with psychedelic drugs can be both positive and negative – scary and uncomfortable for some, but leading to improvements in well-being and relationships for others. These substances also show promising early results for treating mental disorders, in controlled doses. So why the disparity between the
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Our natural inclination to help others in need runs extremely deep within our mammalian heritage – there’s many examples of altruism in primates and it’s even been demonstrated in mice. This generosity, prevalent across human cultures, has psychological and health benefits for us all as individuals. Now researchers have also found evidence that generosity helps people in societies live
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You’d think a plant scientist would feel at home on a farm, but Neil Stewart was used to working with potatoes, not human cadavers.  Fascinated by environmental contaminants, Stewart was on tour at the University of Tennessee’s ‘body farm’ – more formally known as the Anthropology Research Facility – where forensic anthropologists study the effects
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Modern-day drone sensors can sometimes detect what’s invisible to the human eye, such as the remains of a historical city called Etzanoa or the ‘Great Settlement’ in the fields of Wichita, Kansas – remains that have been buried for hundreds of years. Researchers think they’ve found what’s known as a ‘council circle’ monument in Etzanoa, and while
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Where do dreams come from? It’s an age-old question, something people have been wondering and theorising about for millennia. Whereas ancient civilisations may have interpreted dreams as having supernatural or spiritual origins, in modern society, we’re more likely to analyse our dreams in terms of our waking life, looking for meaningful connections linking the content
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Prehistoric sculptures depicting human-like faces have some scientists thinking certain expressions might well be universal across time and culture. New research has found ancient Maya people and other Mesoamerican civilisations, such as the Olmec, were sculpting scenes of pain, elation, sadness, anger, strain and determination in ways that are still recognisable to us up to
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Having strong, biased opinions may say more about your own individual way of behaving in group situations than it does about your level of identification with the values or ideals of any particular group, new research suggests. This behavioural trait – which researchers call ‘groupiness’ – could mean that individuals will consistently demonstrate ‘groupy’ behaviour
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In the north of the Arabian Peninsula, bordering the Nefud Desert, archaeologists have recently catalogued vast stone monuments dating back 7,000 years. Shaped like long rectangles, the ‘mustatil‘ structures are a mystery – but new evidence suggests they were possibly used for ritual or social purposes. Mustatils are amongst the earliest forms of large-scale stone
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Scientists have developed an experimental device and protocol for manipulating the content of people’s dreams while they are sleeping, by making them recall specific cues that can trigger targeted dream themes and experiences. While the boundless dream-building of Inception remains the stuff of science fiction for now, the new research shows that the evolving science
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A first-of-its-kind artificial intelligence (AI) study of romantic relationships based on data from thousands of couples has identified the top predictors that make partners feel positively about their relationship – and the findings show romantic happiness is about a lot more than simply who you’re with. Researchers conducted a machine-learning analysis of data collected from
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As scientists scramble to figure out where exactly the coronavirus pandemic emerged, other virologists are still chasing the origins of another once-devastating disease – smallpox.  Now, they’ve found viral DNA of an ancient strain of smallpox in Viking Age archaeological remains from northern Europe. The samples, dated at the earliest to 603 CE, provide definitive
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Tools excavated from a cave in central Mexico are strong evidence that humans were living in North America at least 30,000 years ago, some 15,000 years earlier than previously thought, scientists said Wednesday.​ Artefacts, including 1,900 stone tools, showed human occupation of the high-altitude Chiquihuite Cave over a roughly 20,000 year period, they reported in
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In ancient Greece, several hundred years before the common era and long before the invention of wheelchairs, some holy sanctuaries may have been specially designed with disability in mind. While ramps were not particularly common in the fourth century BCE, ancient healing temples are often ringed by these permanent stone structures. Archaeologist Debby Sneed from California