"Moreover, you scorned our people, and compared the Albanese to sheep, and according to your custom think of us with insults. Nor have you shown yourself to have any knowledge of my race. Our elders were Epirotes, where this Pirro came from, whose force could scarcely support the Romans. This Pirro, who Taranto and many other places of Italy held back with armies. I do not have to speak for the Epiroti. They are very much stronger men than your Tarantini, a species of wet men who are born only to fish. If you want to say that Albania is part of Macedonia I would concede that a lot more of our ancestors were nobles who went as far as India under Alexander the Great and defeated all those peoples with incredible difficulty. From those men come these who you called sheep. But the nature of things is not changed. Why do your men run away in the faces of sheep?"
Letter from Skanderbeg to the Prince of Taranto ▬ Skanderbeg, October 31 1460

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Post by Phoenix » Mon Feb 22, 2010 5:19 pm

Houses of the Rising Sun: Research Sheds New Light on Ancient Greeks
ScienceDaily (Nov. 26, 2009) — New research at the University of Leicester has identified scores of Sicilian temples built to face the rising Sun, shedding light on the practices of the Ancient Greeks.

Dr Alun Salt, an astronomy technician from the Centre for Interdisciplinary Science at the University of Leicester, found that out of all the temples he surveyed in Sicily, all but three faced the rising sun.
The findings have been published on line in the journal PLoS ONE.
The results may imply that there is an 'astronomical fingerprint' for Greek settlers in the Mediterranean which can distinguish between sites settled by people following the Greek religion and natives who adopted Greek style through trade, but kept their own culture. In the ancient world temples were not only associated with religion but were also political and economic statements.
This research helps to resolve a longstanding dispute about temple orientation. Dr Salt commented:
"There are quite a few temples in Greece which don't face sunrise. So a few archaeologists have suggested that there is nothing significant about the number that face east. The problem is that no one has ever said what a 'significant number' would be."
The paper applies some simple mathematics from probability that would more usually be used in the context of coin tossing or roulette wheels. Dr Salt explained further:
"The situation with temples in Greece is quite complicated. It would be like spinning a roulette wheel and finding that half the time the ball bounces out of the wheel. But when it does land, 90% of the time it'll be on red. That looks odd to me."
In Sicily the results even were stronger. Only one of 41 temples faced west.
The alignments are not a hard and fast law, but have uncovered some new mysteries. Dr Salt said:
"What's really interesting are the temples which don't fit. The temple of Hekate, a lunar goddess, at Selinous faces west. If every other temple in Sicily faces east, then what is special about that one?"

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 100852.htm

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New Evidence From Excavations In Arcadia, Greece, Supports T

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Post by Phoenix » Mon Feb 22, 2010 5:25 pm

ScienceDaily (Feb. 3, 2009) — In the third century BCE, the Greek poet Callimachus wrote a 'Hymn to Zeus' asking the ancient, and most powerful, Greek god whether he was born in Arcadia on Mt. Lykaion or in Crete on Mt. Ida.

A Greek and American team of archaeologists working on the Mt. Lykaion Excavation and Survey Project believe they have at least a partial answer to the poet’s query. New excavation evidence indicates that Zeus' worship was established on Mt. Lykaion as early as the Late Helladic period, if not before, more than 3,200 years ago. According to Dr. David Gilman Romano, Senior Research Scientist, Mediterranean Section, University of Pennsylvania Museum, and one of the project’s co-directors, it is likely that a memory of the cult's great antiquity survived there, leading to the claim that Zeus was born in Arcadia.
New evidence to support the ancient myth that Zeus was born on Mt. Lykaion in Arcadia has come from a small trench from the southern peak of the mountain, known from the historical period as the ash altar of Zeus Lykaios. Over fifty Mycenaean drinking vessels, or kylikes, were found on the bedrock at the bottom of the trench along with fragments of human and animal figurines and a miniature double headed axe. Also found were burned animal bones, mostly of goats and sheep, another indication consistent with Mycenaean cult activity.
“This new evidence strongly suggests that there were drinking (and perhaps feasting) parties taking place on the top of the mountain in the Late Helladic period, around 3,300 or 3,400 years ago,” said Dr. Romano.
In mainland Greece there are very few if any Mycenaean mountain-top altars or shrines. This time period — 14th-13th centuries BC — is approximately the same time that documents inscribed with a syllabic script called Linear B (an archaic form of the Greek language) first mention Zeus as a deity receiving votive offerings. Linear B also provides a word for an 'open fire altar' that might describe this altar on Mt. Lykaion as well as a word for a sacred area, temenos, a term known from later historical sources. The shrine on Mt. Lykaion is characterized by simple arrangements: an open air altar and a nearby sacred area, or temenos, which appears to have had no temple or other architectural feature at any time at this site.
Evidence from subsequent periods in the same trench indicate that cult activity at the altar seems to have continued uninterrupted from the Mycenaean period down through the Hellenistic period (4th – 2nd centuries BCE), something that has been documented at very few sites in the Greek world. Miniature bronze tripods, silver coins, and other dedications to Zeus including a bronze hand of Zeus holding a silver lightning bolt, have been found in later levels in the same trench. Zeus as the god of thunder and lightning is often depicted with a lightning bolt in his hand.
Also found in the altar trench was a sample of fulgurite or petrified lightning. This is a glass-like substance formed when lightning strikes sandy soil. It is not clear if the fulgurite was formed on the mountain-top or if it was brought to the site as a dedication to Zeus. Evidence for earlier activity at the site of the altar, from the Final Neolithic and the Early and Middle Helladic periods, continues to be found.
The Mt. Lykaion Excavation and Survey Project is a collaboration between the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Philadelphia, the University of Arizona, and the Greek Archaeological Service in Tripolis, Greece. Project directors are Dr. Romano, Dr. Mary Voyatzis of the University of Arizona, and Dr. Michalis Petropoulos, Ephor of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquties of the Greek Archaeological Service in Tripolis. The project is under the auspices of the American School of Classical Studies in Athens. Investigations at the Sanctuary of Zeus also include excavations and survey of a number of buildings and monuments from the lower sanctuary where athletic contests were held as a part of the festival for Zeus in the Archaic, Classical and Hellenistic periods. These include a hippodrome, stadium, stoa, bath, xenon (hotel building) and fountain house. The Project, which began in 2004, will continue in the summer 2009.
Support for the Mt. Lykaion Excavation and Survey Project comes from a number of foundations including the Karabots Foundation, the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, the 1984 Foundation, the Niarchos Program for the Promotion of the Hellenic Heritage at the University of Pennsylvania, as well as from numerous individual donors.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 175200.htm

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Egyptians, Not Greeks Were True Fathers Of Medicine

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Post by Phoenix » Mon Feb 22, 2010 5:28 pm

ScienceDaily (May 9, 2007) — Scientists examining documents dating back 3,500 years say they have found proof that the origins of modern medicine lie in ancient Egypt and not with Hippocrates and the Greeks.

The research team from the KNH Centre for Biomedical Egyptology at The University of Manchester discovered the evidence in medical papyri written in 1,500BC -- 1,000 years before Hippocrates was born. "Classical scholars have always considered the ancient Greeks, particularly Hippocrates, as being the fathers of medicine but our findings suggest that the ancient Egyptians were practising a credible form of pharmacy and medicine much earlier," said Dr Jackie Campbell.
"When we compared the ancient remedies against modern pharmaceutical protocols and standards, we found the prescriptions in the ancient documents not only compared with pharmaceutical preparations of today but that many of the remedies had therapeutic merit."
The medical documents, which were first discovered in the mid-19th century, showed that ancient Egyptian physicians treated wounds with honey, resins and metals known to be antimicrobial.
The team also discovered prescriptions for laxatives of castor oil and colocynth and bulk laxatives of figs and bran. Other references show that colic was treated with hyoscyamus, which is still used today, and that cumin and coriander were used as intestinal carminatives.
Further evidence showed that musculo-skeletal disorders were treated with rubefacients to stimulate blood flow and poultices to warm and soothe. They used celery and saffron for rheumatism, which are currently topics of pharmaceutical research, and pomegranate was used to eradicate tapeworms, a remedy that remained in clinical use until 50 years ago.
"Many of the ancient remedies we discovered survived into the 20th century and, indeed, some remain in use today, albeit that the active component is now produced synthetically," said Dr Campbell. "Other ingredients endure and acacia is still used in cough remedies while aloes forms a basis to soothe and heal skin conditions."
Fellow researcher Dr Ryan Metcalfe is now developing genetic techniques to investigate the medicinal plants of ancient Egypt. He has designed his research to determine which modern species the ancient botanical samples are most related to.
"This may allow us to determine a likely point of origin for the plant while providing additional evidence for the trade routes, purposeful cultivation, trade centres or places of treatment," said Dr Metcalfe.
"The work is inextricably linked to state-of-the-art chemical analyses used by my colleague Judith Seath, who specialises in the essential oils and resins used by the ancient Egyptians."
Professor Rosalie David, Director of the KNH Centre, said: "These results are very significant and show that the ancient Egyptians were practising a credible form of pharmacy long before the Greeks.
"Our research is continuing on a genetic, chemical and comparative basis to compare the medicinal plants of ancient Egypt with modern species and to investigate similarities between the traditional remedies of North Africa with the remedies used by their ancestors of 1,500 BC."
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 161143.htm

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Heart Disease Found in Egyptian Mummies

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Post by Phoenix » Mon Feb 22, 2010 5:32 pm

ScienceDaily (Nov. 17, 2009) — Hardening of the arteries has been detected in Egyptian mummies, some as old as 3,500 years, suggesting that the factors causing heart attack and stroke are not only modern ones; they afflicted ancient people, too.

Study results are appearing in the Nov. 18 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) and are being presented Nov. 17 at the Scientific Session of the American Heart Association at Orlando, Fla.
"Atherosclerosis is ubiquitous among modern day humans and, despite differences in ancient and modern lifestyles, we found that it was rather common in ancient Egyptians of high socioeconomic status living as much as three millennia ago," says UC Irvine clinical professor of cardiology Dr. Gregory Thomas, a co-principal investigator on the study. "The findings suggest that we may have to look beyond modern risk factors to fully understand the disease."
The nameplate of the Pharaoh Merenptah (c. 1213-1203 BC) in the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities reads that, when he died at approximately age 60, he was afflicted with atherosclerosis, arthritis, and dental decay. Intrigued that atherosclerosis may have been widespread among ancient Egyptians, Thomas and a team of U.S. and Egyptian cardiologists, joined by experts in Egyptology and preservation, selected 20 mummies on display and in the basement of the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities for scanning on a Siemens 6 slice CT scanner during the week of Feb. 8, 2009.
The mummies underwent whole body scanning with special attention to the cardiovascular system. The researchers found that 9 of the 16 mummies who had identifiable arteries or hearts left in their bodies after the mummification process had calcification either clearly seen in the wall of the artery or in the path were the artery should have been. Some mummies had calcification in up to 6 different arteries.
Using skeletal analysis, the Egyptology and preservationist team was able to estimate the age at death for all the mummies and the names and occupations in the majority. Of the mummies who had died when they were older than 45, 7 of 8 had calcification and thus atherosclerosis while only 2 of 8 of those dying at an earlier age had calcification. Atherosclerosis did not spare women; vascular calcifications were observed in both male and female mummies.
The most ancient Egyptian afflicted with atherosclerosis was Lady Rai, who lived to an estimated age of 30 to 40 years around 1530 BC and had been the nursemaid to Queen Ahmose Nefertiri. To put this in context, Lady Rai lived about 300 years prior to the time of Moses and 200 prior to King Tutankhamun (Tut).
In those mummies whose identities could be determined, all were of high socioeconomic status, generally serving in the court of the Pharaoh or as priests or priestess. While the diet of any one mummy could not be determined, eating meat in the form of cattle, ducks and geese was not uncommon during these times.
"While we do not know whether atherosclerosis caused the demise of any of the mummies in the study, we can confirm that the disease was present in many," Thomas says.
In addition to Thomas, Dr. Adel Allam of the Al Azhar Medical School in Cairo, Egypt, is the study's co-principal investigator. Dr. Randall Thompson of the Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas City, Mo.; Dr. L. Samuel Wann of the Wisconsin Heart Hospital in Milwaukee; and Dr. Michael Miyamoto of UC San Diego also contributed to the JAMA report.
The Egyptology and preservationist team consisted of Abd el-Halim Nur el-Din and Gomma Ab el-Maksoud of Cairo University; Ibrahem Badr of the Institute of Restoration in Alexandria, Egypt; Hany Abd el-Amer of the National Research Center in Dokki, Giza, Egypt.
The authors express their appreciation to Zahi Hawass, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, for allowing them to scan these mummies and perform this investigation.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 161017.htm

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Language Structure Is Partly Determined by Social Structure

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Post by Phoenix » Mon Feb 22, 2010 5:35 pm

ScienceDaily (Jan. 28, 2010) — Psychologists at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Memphis have released a new study on linguistic evolution that challenges the prominent hypothesis for why languages differ throughout the world.

The study argues that human languages may adapt more like biological organisms than previously thought and that the more common and popular the language, the simpler its construction to facilitate its survival.
Traditional thinking is that languages develop based upon random change and historical drift. For example, English and Turkish are very different languages based upon histories that separate them in space and time. For years, it has been the reigning assumption in the linguistic sciences.
The recent report, published in the current issue of PLoS One, offers a new hypothesis, challenging the drift explanation. Gary Lupyan, a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Psychology in Penn's School of Arts and Sciences, and Rick Dale, an assistant professor in psychology at the University of Memphis, conducted a large-scale statistical analysis of more than 2,000 of the world's languages aimed at testing whether certain social environments are correlated with certain linguistic properties.
The researchers found striking relationships between the demographic properties of a language -- such as its population and global spread -- and the grammatical complexity of those languages. Languages having the most speakers -- and those that have spread around the world -- were found to have far simpler grammars, specifically morphology, than languages spoken by few people and in circumscribed regions. For example, languages spoken by more than 100,000 people are almost six times more likely to have simple verb conjugations compared to languages spoken by fewer than 100,000 people.
Larger populations tend to have simpler pronoun and number systems and a smaller number of cases and genders and in general do not employ complex prefixing or suffixing rules in their grammars. A consequence is that languages with long histories of adult learners have become easier to learn over time. Although a number of researchers have predicted such relationships between social and language structure, this is the first large-scale statistical test of this idea.
The results draw connections between the evolution of human language and biological organisms. Just as very distantly related organisms converge on evolutionary strategies in particular niches, languages may adapt to the social environments in which they are learned and used.
"English, for all its confusing spelling and exceptions -- if a baker bakes, what does a grocer do? -- has a relatively simple grammar," Lupyan said. "Verbs are easy to conjugate and nouns are mostly pluralized by adding 's.' In comparison, a West African language like Hausa has dozens of ways to make nouns plural and in many languages -- Turkish, Aymara, Ladakhi, Ainu -- verbs like 'to know' have to include information about the origin of the speaker's knowledge. This information is often conveyed using complex rules, which the most widely-spoken languages on earth like English and Mandarin lack."
Lupyan and Dale call this social affect on grammatical patterns the "Linguistic Niche Hypothesis." Languages evolve within particular socio-demographic niches. Although all languages must be learnable by infants, the introduction of adult learners to some languages (for example, through migration or colonization) means that aspects of a language difficult for adults to learn will be less likely to be passed on to subsequent generations of learners. The result is that languages spoken by more people over larger geographic regions have become morphologically simpler over many generations.
A remaining puzzle is why languages with few speakers are so complex in the first place. One possibility, explored by researchers, is that features such as grammatical gender and complex conjugational systems, while difficult for adult learners to master, may facilitate language learning in children by providing a network of redundant information that can cue children in on the meanings of words and how to string them together.
The results and theory proposed by Lupyan and Dale do not aim to explain why a specific language has the grammar it does. Because the findings are statistical in nature, many exceptions to Lupyan and Dale's theory can be identified. Their work, however, provides a comprehensive analysis of how some social factors influence the structure of language and shows that the relationships between language and culture is far from arbitrary.
The study was funded by an Integrative Graduate Education and Research Training award to the Institute for Research in Cognitive Science at Penn and by the National Science Foundation.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 140347.htm

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Engraved Gemstone Carrying A Portrait Of Alexander The Great

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Post by Phoenix » Mon Feb 22, 2010 5:40 pm

ScienceDaily (Sep. 22, 2009) — A rare and surprising archaeological discovery at Tel Dor: A gemstone engraved with the portrait of Alexander the Great was uncovered during excavations by an archaeological team directed by Dr. Ayelet Gilboa of the University of Haifa and Dr. Ilan Sharon of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Image

"Despite its miniature dimensions – the stone is less than a centimeter high and its width is less than half a centimeter – the engraver was able to depict the bust of Alexander on the gem without omitting any of the ruler's characteristics," notes Dr. Gilboa, Chair of the Department of Archaeology at the University of Haifa. "The emperor is portrayed as young and forceful, with a strong chin, straight nose and long curly hair held in place by a diadem."
The Tel Dor researchers have noted that it is surprising that a work of art such as this would be found in Israel, on the periphery of the Hellenistic world. "It is generally assumed that the master artists – such as the one who engraved the image of Alexander on this particular gemstone – were mainly employed by the leading Hellenistic courts in the capital cities, such as those in Alexandria in Egypt and Seleucia in Syria. This new discovery is evidence that local elites in secondary centers, such as Tel Dor, appreciated superior objects of art and could afford ownership of such items," the researchers stated.
The significance of the discovery at Tel Dor is in the gemstone being uncovered in an orderly excavation, in a proper context of the Hellenistic period. The origins of most Alexander portraits, scattered across numerous museums around the world, are unknown. Some belonged to collections that existed even prior to the advent of scientific archaeology, others were acquired on the black market, and it is likely that some are even forgeries.
This tiny gem was unearthed by a volunteer during excavation of a public structure from the Hellenistic period in the south of Tel Dor, excavated by a team from the University of Washington at Seattle headed by Prof. Sarah Stroup. Dr. Jessica Nitschke, professor of classical archaeology at Georgetown University in Washington DC, identified the engraved motif as a bust of Alexander the Great. This has been confirmed by Prof. Andrew Stewart of the University of California at Berkeley, an expert on images of Alexander and author of a book on this topic.
Alexander was probably the first Greek to commission artists to depict his image – as part of a personality cult that was transformed into a propaganda tool. Rulers and dictators have implemented this form of propaganda ever since. The artists cleverly combined realistic elements of the ruler's image along with the classical ideal of beauty as determined by Hellenistic art, royal attributes (the diadem in this case), and divine elements originating in Hellenistic and Eastern art. These attributes legitimized Alexander's kingship in the eyes of his subjects in all the domains he conquered. These portraits were distributed throughout the empire, were featured on statues and mosaics in public places and were engraved on small items such as coins and seals. The image of Alexander remained a popular motif in the generations that followed his death – both as an independent theme and as a subject of emulation. The conqueror's youthful image became a symbol of masculinity, heroism and divine kingship. Later Hellenist rulers adopted these characteristics and commissioned self-portraits in the image of Alexander.
Dor was a major port city on the Mediterranean shore from the Middle Bronze Age (2000-1550 B.C.E) until the establishment of Caesarea during the Roman period. Alexander the Great passed through Dor in 332 B.C.E., following the occupation of Tyre and on his way to Egypt. It seems that the city submitted to Alexander without resistance. Dor then remained a center of Hellenization in the land of Israel until it was conquered by Alexander Janneus, Hasmonean king of Judah (c. 100 B.C.E.).
The team of archaeologists has been excavating at Tel Dor for close to thirty years and recently completed the 2009 excavation season. A number of academic institutions in Israel and abroad participate in the excavations, directed by Dr. Ayelet Gilboa of the University of Haifa and Dr. Ilan Sharon of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The project is supported by these two institutions along with the Israel Exploration Society, the Berman foundation for Biblical Archaeology, the Zinman Institute of Archaeology, the Wendy Goldhirsh Foundation, USA, and individual donors. The gemstone will be on public display at the Dor museum in Kibbutz Nahsholim.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 101147.htm

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Most Modern European Males Descend from Farmers Who Migrated

#7

Post by Phoenix » Mon Feb 22, 2010 5:43 pm

ScienceDaily (Jan. 21, 2010) — A new study from the University of Leicester has found that most men in Europe descend from the first farmers who migrated from the Near East 10,000 years ago. The findings are published January 19 in the open-access journal PLoS Biology.
Image

The invention of farming is perhaps the most important cultural change in the history of modern humans. Increased food production led to the development of societies that stayed put, rather than wandering in search of food. The resulting population growth culminated in the seven billion people who now live on the planet. In Europe, farming spread from the 'Fertile Crescent', a region extending from the eastern Mediterranean coast to the Persian Gulf and including the Tigris and Euphrates valleys.
There has been much debate about whether the westerly spread of agriculture from the Near East was driven by farmers actually migrating, or by the transfer of ideas and technologies to indigenous hunter-gatherers. Now, researchers have studied the genetic diversity of modern populations to throw light on the processes involved in these ancient events.
The new study, funded by the Wellcome Trust, examines the diversity of the Y chromosome, which is passed from father to son. Mark Jobling, who led the research, said: "We focused on the commonest Y-chromosome lineage in Europe, carried by about 110 million men -- it follows a gradient from south-east to north-west, reaching almost 100% frequency in Ireland. We looked at how the lineage is distributed, how diverse it is in different parts of Europe, and how old it is." The results suggested that the lineage spread together with farming from the Near East.
Dr Patricia Balaresque, first author of the study, added: "In total, this means that more than 80% of European Y chromosomes descend from incoming farmers. In contrast, most maternal genetic lineages seem to descend from hunter-gatherers. To us, this suggests a reproductive advantage for farming males over indigenous hunter-gatherer males during the switch from hunting and gathering, to farming -- maybe, back then, it was just sexier to be a farmer."
Funding: MAJ was supported by a Wellcome Trust Senior Fellowship in Basic Biomedical Science (grant number 057559); PB, GRB, SMA, ZHR, and CTS were supported by the Wellcome Trust.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 133508.htm

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Liberals and Atheists Smarter? Intelligent People Have Value

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Post by Phoenix » Thu Feb 25, 2010 10:50 pm

Liberals and Atheists Smarter? Intelligent People Have Values Novel in Human Evolutionary History, Study Finds

ScienceDaily (Feb. 24, 2010) — More intelligent people are statistically significantly more likely to exhibit social values and religious and political preferences that are novel to the human species in evolutionary history. Specifically, liberalism and atheism, and for men (but not women), preference for sexual exclusivity correlate with higher intelligence, a new study finds.

The study, published in the March 2010 issue of the peer-reviewed scientific journal Social Psychology Quarterly, advances a new theory to explain why people form particular preferences and values. The theory suggests that more intelligent people are more likely than less intelligent people to adopt evolutionarily novel preferences and values, but intelligence does not correlate with preferences and values that are old enough to have been shaped by evolution over millions of years."
"Evolutionarily novel" preferences and values are those that humans are not biologically designed to have and our ancestors probably did not possess. In contrast, those that our ancestors had for millions of years are "evolutionarily familiar."
"General intelligence, the ability to think and reason, endowed our ancestors with advantages in solving evolutionarily novel problems for which they did not have innate solutions," says Satoshi Kanazawa, an evolutionary psychologist at the London School of Economics and Political Science. "As a result, more intelligent people are more likely to recognize and understand such novel entities and situations than less intelligent people, and some of these entities and situations are preferences, values, and lifestyles."
An earlier study by Kanazawa found that more intelligent individuals were more nocturnal, waking up and staying up later than less intelligent individuals. Because our ancestors lacked artificial light, they tended to wake up shortly before dawn and go to sleep shortly after dusk. Being nocturnal is evolutionarily novel.
In the current study, Kanazawa argues that humans are evolutionarily designed to be conservative, caring mostly about their family and friends, and being liberal, caring about an indefinite number of genetically unrelated strangers they never meet or interact with, is evolutionarily novel. So more intelligent children may be more likely to grow up to be liberals.
Data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) support Kanazawa's hypothesis. Young adults who subjectively identify themselves as "very liberal" have an average IQ of 106 during adolescence while those who identify themselves as "very conservative" have an average IQ of 95 during adolescence.
Similarly, religion is a byproduct of humans' tendency to perceive agency and intention as causes of events, to see "the hands of God" at work behind otherwise natural phenomena. "Humans are evolutionarily designed to be paranoid, and they believe in God because they are paranoid," says Kanazawa. This innate bias toward paranoia served humans well when self-preservation and protection of their families and clans depended on extreme vigilance to all potential dangers. "So, more intelligent children are more likely to grow up to go against their natural evolutionary tendency to believe in God, and they become atheists."
Young adults who identify themselves as "not at all religious" have an average IQ of 103 during adolescence, while those who identify themselves as "very religious" have an average IQ of 97 during adolescence.
In addition, humans have always been mildly polygynous in evolutionary history. Men in polygynous marriages were not expected to be sexually exclusive to one mate, whereas men in monogamous marriages were. In sharp contrast, whether they are in a monogamous or polygynous marriage, women were always expected to be sexually exclusive to one mate. So being sexually exclusive is evolutionarily novel for men, but not for women. And the theory predicts that more intelligent men are more likely to value sexual exclusivity than less intelligent men, but general intelligence makes no difference for women's value on sexual exclusivity. Kanazawa's analysis of Add Health data supports these sex-specific predictions as well.
One intriguing but theoretically predicted finding of the study is that more intelligent people are no more or no less likely to value such evolutionarily familiar entities as marriage, family, children, and friends.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 132655.htm

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Re: ScienceDaily

#9

Post by Phoenix » Sun Jan 09, 2011 8:50 pm

[quoteemDNA Reveals Origins of First European Farmers]ScienceDaily (Nov. 10, 2010) — A team of international researchers led by ancient DNA experts from the University of Adelaide has resolved the longstanding issue of the origins of the people who introduced farming to Europe some 8000 years ago.
Image
A detailed genetic study of one of the first farming communities in Europe, from central Germany, reveals marked similarities with populations living in the Ancient Near East (modern-day Turkey, Iraq and other countries) rather than those from Europe.
Project leader Professor Alan Cooper, Director of the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA (ACAD) at the University of Adelaide, says: "This overturns current thinking, which accepts that the first European farming populations were constructed largely from existing populations of hunter-gatherers, who had either rapidly learned to farm or interbred with the invaders."
The results of the study have been published today in the online peer-reviewed science journal PLoS Biology.
"We have finally resolved the question of who the first farmers in Europe were -- invaders with revolutionary new ideas, rather than populations of Stone Age hunter-gatherers who already existed in the area," says lead author Dr Wolfgang Haak, Senior Research Associate with ACAD at the University of Adelaide.
"We've been able to apply new, high-precision ancient DNA methods to create a detailed genetic picture of this ancient farming population, and reveal that it was radically different to the nomadic populations already present in Europe.
"We have also been able to use genetic signatures to identify a potential route from the Near East and Anatolia, where farming evolved around 11,000 years ago, via south-eastern Europe and the Carpathian Basin (today's Hungary) into Central Europe," Dr Haak says.
The project involved researchers from the University of Mainz and State Heritage Museum in Halle, Germany, the Russian Academy of Sciences and members of the National Geographic Society's Genographic Project, of which Professor Cooper is a Principal Investigator and Dr Haak is a Senior Research Associate.
The ancient DNA used in this study comes from a complete graveyard of Early Neolithic farmers unearthed at the town of Derenburg in Saxony-Anhalt, central Germany.
"This work was only possible due to the close collaboration of archaeologists excavating the skeletons, to ensure that no modern human DNA contaminated the remains, and nicely illustrates the potential when archaeology and genetics are combined," says Professor Kurt Werner Alt from the collaborating Institute of Anthropology in Mainz, Germany[/quoteem]
Source: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 172344.htm
PLoS Biology, 2010; DOI:10.1371/journal.pbio.1000536

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Re: ScienceDaily

#10

Post by Phoenix » Sun Apr 17, 2011 9:53 pm

Africa the Birthplace of Human Language, Analysis Suggests

[quoteemScienceDaily (Apr. 15, 2011)]Image

—Psychologists from The University of Auckland have just published two major studies on the diversity of the world's languages in the journals Science and Nature.

The first study, published in Science by Dr Quentin Atkinson, provides strong evidence for Africa as the birthplace of human language.
An analysis of languages from around the world suggests that, like our genes, human speech originated -- just once -- in sub-Saharan Africa. Atkinson studied the phonemes, or the perceptually distinct units of sound that differentiate words, used in 504 human languages today and found that the number of phonemes is highest in Africa and decreases with increasing distance from Africa.
The fewest phonemes are found in South America and on tropical islands in the Pacific Ocean. This pattern fits a "serial founder effect" model in which small populations on the edge of an expansion progressively lose diversity. Dr Atkinson notes that this pattern of phoneme usage around the world mirrors the pattern of human genetic diversity, which also declined as humans expanded their range from Africa to colonise other regions.
In general, the areas of the globe that were most recently colonised incorporate fewer phonemes into the local languages whereas the areas that have hosted modern humans for millennia (particularly sub-Saharan Africa) still use the most phonemes.
This decline in phoneme usage cannot be explained by demographic shifts or other local factors, and it provides strong evidence for an African origin of modern human languages -- as well as parallel mechanisms that slowly shaped both genetic and linguistic diversity among humans.
The second study, published in Nature by University of Auckland researchers Professor Russell Gray and Dr Simon Greenhill and their colleagues Michael Dunn and Stephen Levinson at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in the Netherlands challenges the idea that the human brain produces universal rules for language.
"The diversity of the world's language is amazing," says Professor Gray. "There are about 7,000 languages spoken today, some with just a dozen contrastive sounds, others with more than 100, some with complex patterns of word formation, others with simple words only, some with the verb at the beginning of the sentence, some in the middle, and some at the end."
"Our work shows that the claims some linguists have made for a really strong role of the innate structure of the human mind in shaping linguistic variation have been hugely oversold," he says.
Using computational methods derived from evolutionary biology, Gray and his team analysed the global patterns of word-order evolution. Instead of universal patterns of dependencies in word-order features, they found that each language family had its own evolutionary tendencies.
"When it comes to language evolution, culture trumps cognition," Gray observes.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... ce+News%29[/quoteem]

mrhon
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Re: ScienceDaily

#11

Post by mrhon » Thu Dec 03, 2015 9:39 am

As a part of the human immune system, white blood cells create a number of enzymes that help fight disease. Sometimes, these enzymes can malfunction, causing damage to the body or increasing cancer growth. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri have determined a detailed structural view of one of these enzymes, called MMP7, as it binds to the membranes, or surfaces, of cancer cells. Steve Van Doren, a professor in the MU Department of Biochemistry, says understanding the structure of this enzyme and how it works with partners will help create future treatments for cancer.

"MMP7 is known to make cancer cells more aggressive and likely to spread throughout the body," Van Doren said. "We now understand that MMP7 signals to cancer cells to become more aggressive when the enzyme cuts off specific proteins as it binds to those cancer cells. Knowing this, we hopefully can find ways to prevent these enzymes from binding and signaling to these cancer cells in the first place. The end result could be a way to prevent cancer cells from spreading so rapidly."

For the study, Van Doren and his research team, including lead author Stephen Prior, a postdoctoral fellow at MU, used a highly sophisticated piece of equipment called a Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectrometer to map the structure of assemblies containing MMP7. Functioning similarly to a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine, the NMR spectrometer uses large magnets to allow scientists detect the nuclei of atoms in order to reconstruct detailed images of sub-microscopic enzymes. The researchers then study these 3D images to determine how these enzymes work within the body.

Additionally, Van Doren and his research team published a study investigating a sister enzyme, known as MMP14. In this study, Van Doren used the same NMR spectrometer to determine how MMP14 helps cancer spread throughout the body. He says this knowledge also will inform future research into ways to prevent the spread of cancer.

"MMP14 is the most important protein-cutting enzyme in terms of how cancer cells migrate throughout the body," Van Doren said. "These enzymes essentially cut paths through the collagen meshwork of tissues in the body. By clearing paths through this collagen, the MMP14 enzyme enables tumor cells to move and spread. By understanding the structures of how these enzymes attack collagen and other proteins, we can find ways to block them from allowing cancer to spread."

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