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‘Missing link’ ends debate about how ancient human relative got around

New lower back fossils are the “missing link” that settles a decades old debate proving early hominins used their upper limbs to climb like apes and their lower limbs to walk like humans. The recovery of new lumbar vertebrae from the lower back of a single individual of the human relative, Australopithecus sediba, and portions of other vertebrae of...

School COVID-19 policies are a real mixed bag

An analysis of all 50 states’ school COVID-19 policies finds widespread discordance and variation. The look at policies about masking in schools, requiring COVID-19 vaccines for eligible students and teachers, and providing COVID-19 services in the school setting, finds variation among states but also within states, as individual districts adopt policies...

White neighborhoods have higher carbon emissions

More carbon emissions come from homes in white neighborhoods than those in African American ones, research finds. Residential energy use represents roughly one-fifth of annual greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. A team of researchers used data from 60 million individual United States households to look into how carbon emissions resulting...

Only this one kind of frog has legit teeth

Just one species of frog, out of more than 7,000 living today, has true teeth in its lower jaw, report researchers. The culprit, a large marsupial frog named Gastrotheca guentheri, has puzzled scientists since its discovery in 1882 for possessing what appeared to be a complete set of jagged, daggerlike teeth on the top and bottom of its mouth. Scientists...

Missing nature during COVID took a mental toll on young adults

Two new studies link declines in outdoor activities and park use during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic to reductions in mental health measures for teens and young adults from middle school through college. The studies build evidence for the mental health benefits of nature’s medicine—and the potential hazards of restricting access, researchers...

Little kids don’t believe girls like computer science and engineering

Children as young as age 6 develop ideas that girls are less interested than boys in computer science and engineering. These stereotypes can extend into the late teens and contribute to a gender gap in STEM college courses and related careers, according to a new study that explores the gender-based beliefs young children and teens hold about interest...

Super tiny lag adds to the awkwardness of Zoom

Conversations on Zoom can be exhausting. New research shows that trying to catch subtle cues despite internet lag time may be why. Conversations have a transition time between speakers averaging about 200 milliseconds. Because this is fast, the listener has to comprehend the speaker, plan their response, and predict when they can cut in, simultaneously,...

Where did COVID-19 start? Evidence points to market

The Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, China has emerged as the most likely source of the COVID-19 outbreak, making a possible alternative explanation that the virus leaked from a research lab increasingly unlikely, according to a new paper. Sleuthing through health records and genomic and epidemiologic data from the earliest days of COVID-19,...

1 in 5 early galaxies may be hiding in space dust

Astronomers have discovered two previously invisible galaxies 29 billion light-years away from Earth. The discovery suggests that up to one in five such distant galaxies remain hidden from our telescopes, camouflaged by cosmic dust. The new knowledge changes perceptions of our universe’s evolution since the Big Bang. “The next step is to identify...

Healthy placentas could protect brains of growth-restricted babies

Placentas from mothers of healthy newborns could one day be used to reduce brain injury in growth-restricted babies, according to new research. The findings show that stem cells sourced from a healthy placenta may reduce damaging inflammation in these babies after only three days. “There is currently no treatment to protect the brains of a growth-restricted...

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