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December 10, 2012

Why Human-Neanderthal Sex Is Tricky to Prove

Scientific American - Posted: December 10th, 2012, 7:55pm EST
pA bundle of recent genetic studies have suggested modern humans had sex with Neanderthals thousands of years ago when the two populations roamed the planet alongside each other. However, the bones left behind by the two species don#39;t bear any obvious traces of interbreeding, and a new study of monkeys in Mexico shows why we shouldn#39;t expect them to./p a href=http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=human-neanderthal-sex[More]/a

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Why Human-Neandertal Sex Is Tricky to Prove

Scientific American - Posted: December 10th, 2012, 7:55pm EST
pA bundle of recent genetic studies have suggested modern humans had sex with Neanderthals thousands of years ago when the two populations roamed the planet alongside each other. However, the bones left behind by the two species don#39;t bear any obvious traces of interbreeding, and a new study of monkeys in Mexico shows why we shouldn#39;t expect them to./p a href=http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=human-neanderthal-sex[More]/a

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First photo of rare, wild New Guinea singing dog in 23 years

Scientific American - Posted: December 10th, 2012, 6:24pm EST
[caption id=attachment_590 align=alignnone width=565 caption=Photo of wild New Guinea singing dog, cropped to focus on dog. Copyright: Tom Hewitt] [/caption]This is one of the only photographs ever taken of a wild New Guinea singing dog, an exceptionally shy and rare animal from the highlands of New Guinea. The photograph was taken in August this year by Tom Hewitt, Director of Adventure Alternative Borneo , during a trek in the remote Star Mountains of Western New Guinea. a href=http://www.scientificamerican.com/blog/post.cfm?id=first-photo-of-rare-wild-new-guinea-singing-dog-in-23-years[More]/a

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Porcupine Quills Inspire Better Needles

Scientific American - Posted: December 10th, 2012, 5:31pm EST
pPorcupines sport some 30,000 quills, which easily penetrate flesh--and then stay stuck in it. Now, scientists have analyzed the shape of individual quills to discover what makes them so effective--and how we can harness their power for medical devices. The study is in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences . [Woo Kyung Cho et al, Microstructured barbs on the North American porcupine quill enable easy tissue penetration and difficult removal ]/p a href=http://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode.cfm?id=porcupine-quills-inspire-better-nee-12-12-10[More]/a

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Brain Cells Made from Urine

Scientific American - Posted: December 10th, 2012, 5:00pm EST
pSome of the waste that humans flush away every day could become a powerful source of brain cells to study disease, and may even one day be used in therapies for neurodegenerative diseases. Scientists have found a relatively straightforward way to persuade the cells discarded in human urine to turn into valuable neurons./p a href=http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=brain-cells-made-from-urine[More]/a

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Should Doctors Warn Pregnant Women about Environmental Risks?

Scientific American - Posted: December 10th, 2012, 4:00pm EST
pSAN FRANCISCOnbsp;ndash;nbsp;When Dr. Darragh Flynn sits down with her pregnant patients, she preaches healthy habits: Donrsquo;t smoke or drink, eat nutritious foods and take vitamins./p a href=http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=should-doctors-warn-pregnant-women-about-environmental-risks[More]/a

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C-Sections Save Kids and Moms in Tanzania

Scientific American - Posted: December 10th, 2012, 1:25pm EST
[caption id=attachment_10188 align=alignleft width=300 caption=President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania and friends announce encouraging results of a pilot program to help save pregnant womens lives in Tanzania by making cesarean sections more widely available. UN Photo/J Carrier] [/caption]It never ceases to amaze me how much the world says it wants to save childrens lives and how rarely it tries to do the one thing that has been proven to protect more youngsters than anything else--keeping their mothers alive. (Maybe if it was called orphan prevention?) That is why I was so pleased to hear that Tanzanias efforts to expand skilled medical care to all women during labor and delivery have started to pay off. Dying during childbirth --typically from bleeding, high blood pressure or infection--is one of the most common causes of mortality for women in the poorest regions of the world--despite the fact that death in these situations is largely preventable. a href=http://www.scientificamerican.com/blog/post.cfm?id=c-sections-save-kids-and-moms-in-tanzania[More]/a

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Bolivian Reserve Named Hotspot of Biodiversity

Scientific American - Posted: December 10th, 2012, 10:32am EST
A remote park in northwest Bolivia may be the most biologically diverse place on Earth, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society. The non-profit organization helped put together a comprehensive list of species found there.

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Rhino Poaching Fight Takes to the Skies

Scientific American - Posted: December 10th, 2012, 9:32am EST
South Africa is taking to the skies in its fight against rhino poaching, with a hi-tech aircraft specially designed for the job. Rhino populations have been hit hard by illegal hunters in recent years.

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Brain Cells Can Look Ghostly

Scientific American - Posted: December 10th, 2012, 8:00am EST
pSwathed in green threads, this glial cell may hold clues for brain repair. a href=http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=brain-cells-can-look-ghostly[More]/a

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You scratch, I scratch! The social contagion of itch.

Scientific American - Posted: December 10th, 2012, 12:19am EST
I would like to start this post with a challenge. Can you get through this entire post WITHOUT feeling itchy? I know I couldnt even write the first line. And Im not alone. Itch is contagious. Watching someone else scratch can make you itch, and you should try to get through a lecture on a skin condition. I wonder how dermatologists can take it.What IS an itch? The clinical definition is that its an unpleasant sensation associated with the urge to scratch. Ok, then. Itching is a very important part of clinical diagnosis, from things like poison ivy to allergies to severe use of methamphetamine. In addition, there is a psychological disorder of severe itch which can be both disfiguring and incredibly distressing. a href=http://www.scientificamerican.com/blog/post.cfm?id=you-scratch-i-scratch-the-social-contagion-of-itch[More]/a

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