A prominent evolutionary scientist, Dr. Eugene M. McCarthy, is advancing a new theory about the origins of man. He says that while it is true that a chimpanzee is our closest genetic relative, human beings have characteristics that are unlike any other primate. For example, we lack the hairy hide of chimps and instead have just plain skin; under that skin, we have a layer of subcutaneous fat, whereas you never see an obese chimp; we have a protuding nose, whereas an ape’s nose is flat; and there are scores of other differences. Dr. McCarthy postulates that human beings may be a hybrid of two different kinds of animal. The animal that has those other characteristics–skin, fat, protuding nose, etc.– is the pig. [Read more…]
Virtually all animals sleep, but scientists have had a hard time figuring out why that is. New research has apparently uncovered a major reason why our brains need to go out of consciousness on a regular basis: While we are asleep, toxins that build up in the brain get flushed out. Experiments with mice show that their brain cells actually shrink so that there is 60% more space between them, allowing fluid to wash them more effectively, sweeping out dead cells and Alzheimer’s-causing plaque, as well as chemical toxic wastes.
How lucky we are that so many random mutations came together to make this happen so as to allow us to sleep! I feel bad, though, about the animals that must have lived for millions of years before one of them, completely by chance, gained this survival advantage and spread it to all other species. Before they could sleep, living organisms must have been really grumpy.
After the jump, details about the discovery. [Read more…]
I’ve blogged about dogs. But I also like cats. They are cool, graceful little killing machines. I also like what cat-haters don’t: their independence. Did you know that cats, unlike nearly every other domesticated animal, cannot be intentionally bred? Did you know that cats are the most popular pet in the world, with three-times as many cats as dogs?
British zoologist John Bradshaw, the author of The Behaviour of the Domestic Cat, has a new book out: Cat Sense. After the jump is an excerpt from that book. Read it all at the link, but I have quoted a passage that shows how cats sometimes do, in fact, show affection to their human owners. Sort of. [Read more…]
Look at your hands. If you are a man, chances are that your ring finger is longer than your index finger. If you are a woman, your ring finger and your index finger are probably about the same length or your index finger is slightly longer. Right? This very minor difference between the sexes was used to determine that the hand-paintings in the caves of Spain–among the earliest art ever discovered–were mostly the work of women.
Researchers are claiming that they have new photographic and physical evidence of the existence of the Sasquatch, a.k.a. Bigfoot. Not only that, they have sequenced Bigfoot’s DNA, which reportedly shows that the creature is a hybrid human.
A consistent feature of Bigfoot sightings is that the observer smells an overpowering musky stench. I am experiencing that right now, and it smells like a hoax. Still, I get a big kick out of this sort of thing. After the jump, I give you the website of these reports, a link to the scholarly article on the physical evidence and the DNA analysis, a news story, a photograph of Bigfoot, and a video. Everything you will need for a Bigfoot extravaganza. [Read more…]
In a story about how the rotation of the earth has slowed 2/1000 of a second over the last century, science writer Ivan Amato explains how dependent our technology is on extremely accurate time-keeping. For example, if the clocks in your GPS device and the satellite it connects to are out of synch by as little as 1/1000 of a second, your location would be thrown off by hundreds of miles. [Read more…]