A decorated raven bone discovered in Crimea may provide insight into Neanderthal cognition (A raven bone discovered in Crimea shows two extra notches, which the researchers say they did intentionally to create a consistent—perhaps symbolic—pattern.)
Just like humans, artificial intelligence can be sexist and racist (Just like Tay. RIP in peace, Tay. Princeton University academics have shown, using a database of over 840 billion words from the Internet, that AI mimics humans and, they too, can apparently become ‘racist and sexist’, just like their creators. A “bundle of names” being associated with European Americans were more likely to be associated with pleasant terms, compared to African Americans who were associated with unpleasant terms. Male names were associated with careers while female names were associated with family. Seems like the AI just gets information and makes a conclusion based on the information, learning as it goes along. I don’t think putting human buzzwords onto AI is practical.)
Childhood lead exposure linked to lower adult IQ (This has been known for, literally, decades. In the new study, every 5 micrograms/dl increase in blood lead levels early in life was shown to decrease IQ by 1.61 points by the time the subjects reached 38 years of age along with reductions in working memory and perceptual reasoning. More shockingly, children who had blood lead levels over 10 micrograms/dl had IQs 4.25 points lower than their peers with low blood lead levels. Some research has shown that for each decrease in 1 point decrease in IQ annual salary decreases by about 200 to 600 dollars. This also shows that high blood-lead levels during childhood cannot be recovered from. There is currently an epidemic of lead poisoning in the Detroit Metropolitan area affecting Arab and African American children (Nriagu et al, 2014), as well as in low-income blacks in Saginaw, Michigan (Smith and Nriagu, 2010) and immigrant children in NYC (Tehranifar et al, 2008). However, see Koller et al (2004) for a different view, showing that blood-lead levels during childhood only account for 4 percent of the variation in cognition whereas parental and social factors account for more than 40 percent. High blood lead levels also lead to an increase in detrimental behavior (Sciarillo, Alexander, and Farrell, 1992). Clearly, measures need to be taken to reduce lead in water around the country as quality of life will improve for everyone.)
Molecular clocks track human evolution (Scientists estimate that we emerged around 200kya in Africa and spread throughout the world 50-100 kya through looking at the ‘molecular clock’—mutation and recombination. Some geneticists estimate that there are between 1.5 and 2 million mutational changes between humans and Neanderthals—estimating a splitting date at 550-750kya.)
How Ants Figured Out Farming Millions of Years Before Humans (Ants have probably been farming since the Chicxulub meteor impact that killed the dinosaurs in one South American rainforest. The researchers found that all fungus-farming ants came from the same ancestor around 60mya. Thirty million years later, another farming species emerged. One of the species was a “more complex agriculturalist” which probably transported its fungus to different locations while the other species were “lower, less complex agriculturalists” which grew fungus capable of “escaping its garden and living independently”. The dry climate allowed the more complex agriculturalists to domesticate the fungus and control the temperature by digging holes for storage.
Mimicking an impact on Earth’s early atmosphere yields all 4 RNA bases (Researchers showed that mimicking an asteroid crash resulted in the formation of the production of all four bases of RNA, the molecules essential for life. Take that, Creationists.)
Study finds some significant differences in brains of men and women (Adjusting for age, researchers found that women had significantly thicker cortices than men while men had higher brain volumes in every area they looked at, including the hippocampus (which plays a part in memory and spatial awareness), the amygdala (plays a role in memory, emotions, and decision-making), striatum (learning, inhibition, and reward-processing), and the thalamus (processing and relaying sensory information to other parts of the body). Men also varied more in cortical thickness and volume much more than women, which supports other studies showing that men only have higher IQ distributions than women, not higher average intelligence. There are, of course, differences between the male and female brain, but I’m now rethinking my position on male/female IQ differences (leaning towards no). Read the preprint here: Sex Differences In The Adult Human Brain: Evidence From 5,216 UK Biobank Participants
Infants show racial bias toward members of own ethnicity, against those of others (Now the study I’ve seen a buzz about the past few days. In one of the studies, researchers found that babies associated other races’ faces with sad music while associating their own races’ face with upbeat, happy music. The second study showed that infants were more likely to learn from their own race than another, which relied on gaze cues. Both studies tested infants between the ages of 6 to 9 months with both studies finding no racial bias in infants less than 6 months of age. The researchers, of course, conclude that this occurs because of lack of contact with other race babies/people. In study one, infants aged 3 to 10 months watched videos with a female adult with a neutral facial expression. The babies heard music before viewing each clip; happy music and same race face; happy music and opposite race face; sad music and same race face; and sad music and opposite race face. They found that babies looked longer at same-race faces with happy music while looking longer at other-race faces with sad music. The second study looked at whether or not babies would be willing to learn from their own race or a different race. Babies aged 6 to 9 months were shown a video in which a female adult appeared and looked at one of the four corners of the screen. In some of the videos, an animal appeared where the person on the screen looked while in other videos, an animal appeared at a non-looked at location. They showed that babies followed the gaze of their own race more often than the other race, showing that infants are “biased” towards learning from their own race. This is clearly evidence for Genetic Similarity Theory. Expect a research article on this soon. Read the abstracts here: Infants Rely More on Gaze Cues From Own-Race Than Other-Race Adults for Learning Under Uncertainty and Older but not younger infants associate own-race faces with happy music and other-race faces with sad music)