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Mystery human species Homo naledi had tiny but advanced brain

Posted on 24 Apr 2017 in Homo floresiensis, Human Origins

It’s not the size of your brain, it’s how you organise it. The most recently discovered species of early human had a skull only slightly larger than a chimpanzee’s, but its brain looked surprisingly like our own – particularly in an area of the frontal lobe with links to language. Image: GovernmentZA

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Neanderthal skulls and brains may have developed just like ours

Posted on 25 Jul 2016 in Featured, Human Origins, Journalism

Great minds grow alike. Evidence from Neanderthals’ skulls suggests that their large brains grew in the same way as ours do. That in turn suggests that Neanderthals were perhaps not so cognitively different from us – although not everyone agrees with this interpretation. Image: p_a_h

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Humans and birds share the same singing genes

Posted on 11 Dec 2014 in Evolution, Health, Journalism

It’s not just great minds that think alike. Dozens of the genes involved in the vocal learning that underpins human speech are also active in some songbirds. And knowing this suggests that birds could become a standard model for investigating the genetics of speech production – and speech disorders. Image: Adrian S Jones

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Dog head-turning shows they do understand what you say

Posted on 26 Nov 2014 in Journalism, Life

Our best friends really are good listeners. Dogs have probably ranked as our top companions for more than 30,000 years – new evidence that they can extract plenty of meaning from human speech may explain how they have held on to the number one spot for so long. Image: Adventures with my dogs

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3D silk doughnut opens window on brain injury

Posted on 13 Aug 2014 in Health, Journalism

Researchers have several lifelike 3D models of the brain at their fingertips, but they mimic the brain’s dense and tangled structureMovie Camera so well that it is difficult to work out how individual cells are performing. David Kaplan at Tufts University in Massachusetts, who develops biomaterials made of silk proteins, wondered if his silk structures could provide a scaffold to build an easier-to-study neural network. Image: Tufts University

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