Researchers claim that the earliest human remains, specifically a jawbone and a handful of teeth, have been discovered in Ethiopia and date back to 2.8 million year ago, which is almost 400,000 years older than previously thought.
"Prior to 3 million years, humans were relatively ape-like and partially arboreal, partially bipedal," Brian Villmoare, who led the research, told Discovery News. "They lived in the forest, had small brains, and did not eat meat or use tools."
He added that after 2 million years, "humans have large brains, stone tools, and eat meat, so this transitional period is very important in terms of human evolution." more >>
Liberals can be just as anti-science as conservatives, a study finds, when the science challenges their politics.
"The Partisan Brain: How Dissonant Science Messages Lead Conservatives and Liberals to (Dis)Trust Science," was posted online and will be published in the March issue of The Annals of the American Acadamy of Political and Social Science, which contains several articles of the theme of politics and science. The Ohio State authors are Erik Nisbet, associate professor of communication and political science, Kathryn Cooper, a doctoral student in communication, and R. Kelly Garrett, associate professor of communication.
The findings challenge previous research reporting that the brains of conservatives are different than the brains of liberals and "are fundamentally less capable of rationally processing scientific evidence." more >>
Scientists have been unable to explain how large mysterious cloud-like formations appearing above the surface of Mars could have formed, a phenomenon first spotted by astronomers in 2012.
"It raises more questions than answers," said Antonio Garcia Munoz, a planetary scientist from the European Space Agency.
A New Jersey judge hearing a lawsuit made against a sexual orientation change therapy group has decided to bar the testimony of experts who consider homosexuality a mental disorder.
State Superior Court Judge Peter F. Bariso Jr. ruled last week that Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing (JONAH) could not bring certain experts in due to their position that homosexuality should still be considered a mental illness.
"The overwhelming weight of scientific authority concludes that homosexuality is not a disorder or abnormal. The universal acceptance of that scientific conclusion – save for outliers such as JONAH – requires that any expert opinions to the contrary must be barred," wrote Bariso. more >>
British members of parliament have voted in favor of a bill that paves the way for the creation of "three-parent" babies with the DNA from two women and one man, aimed at tackling genetic diseases. The approval comes despite concerns from the Church of England.
BBC News reported that 382 MPs in the House of Commons voted in favor of the bill, and 128 were against. While a vote at the House of Lords is also needed to take place before the bill becomes law, proponents said they expect it to pass, with the first babies from this process being born in 2016.
British Prime Minister David Cameron said that the idea is to allow parents with genetic diseases to give birth to healthy infants. more >>
A so-called "emergency contraceptive" that has been central to recent court battles due to its mandated coverage by the Obama administration works most often by causing an abortion, according to a review of medical data published this month in the journal The Linacre Quarterly.
After studying the most recent scientific and medical evidence on levonorgestrel emergency contraception, which goes by the brand name Plan B, the researchers concluded that the women who take it do not get pregnant because it "quite often" causes an abortion if taken before ovulation.
Plan B was first approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration in 1999. After passage of the Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare," the Health and Human Services Administration required most employers to cover Plan B and other FDA-approved emergency contraceptives in their employee's health insurance plans. more >>