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Tag: Humans

South African rock shelter artifacts show early humans colonized inland areas

South African rock shelter artifacts show early humans colonized inland areas

Science
March 31 (UPI) -- Archaeological evidence from a rock shelter in South Africa suggests early humans colonized a variety of environments, including inland settings, undermining theories linking the origins of our species to the coast. For generations, the rock shelter on Ga-Mohana Hill, positioned at the edge of South Africa's Kalahari Desert, has served as a spiritual site for local people. But until now, researchers weren't sure how long the shelter has been used by humans. Advertisement To find out, archaeologists excavated a collection of white calcite crystals and ostrich eggshell fragments, thought to be used as water vessels. Researchers detailed their excavation and analysis efforts in a new paper, published Wednesday in the journal Nature. "The crystals point towards spiritual or...
The real reason humans are the dominant species

The real reason humans are the dominant species

Science
Getty ImagesFrom early humans rubbing sticks together to make fire, to the fossil fuels that drove the industrial revolution, energy has played a central role in our development as a species. But the way we power our societies has also created humanity's biggest challenge. It's one that will take all our ingenuity to solve.Energy is the key to humanity's world domination. Not just the jet fuel that allows us to traverse entire continents in a few hours, or the bombs we build that can blow up entire cities, but the vast amounts of energy we all use every day. Consider this: a resting human being requires about the same amount of energy as an old-fashioned incandescent light bulb to sustain their metabolism - about 90 watts (joules per second). But the average human being in a developed cou...
Study: Few ‘important’ genetic changes seen in COVID-19 since hop to humans

Study: Few ‘important’ genetic changes seen in COVID-19 since hop to humans

Health
March 12 (UPI) -- The genetic makeup of the coronavirus underwent few "important" changes during the first 11 months of the pandemic, despite the emergence of potentially dangerous new strains last fall, according to a study published Friday by PLOS Biology. After analyzing hundreds of thousands of sequenced virus genomes, researchers from the United States, Britain and Belgium documented little significant alteration in the virus' genetic structure since it jumped to humans. Advertisement This was the case until late in 2020 -- after nearly a year of the virus circulating widely among people in nearly every nation on Earth -- when new variants began to emerge as a result of limited immunity in people who'd already had the virus. The vaccines developed to fight off the virus should contin...
Humans evolved to use water much more efficiently than apes

Humans evolved to use water much more efficiently than apes

Science
March 5 (UPI) -- The story of humans' descent from the trees -- the journey from ape to early human -- often focuses on the development of big brains, dextrous hands and bipedal gait, but new research suggests another difference may have been equally important: water efficiency. In a first-of-its-kind study, published Friday in the journal Current Biology, researchers were able to show that humans process water much more efficiently than our closest relatives. Advertisement The trait may have allowed early humans to venture farther and farther from water sources, exploring and adapting to new environs. Until now, scientists didn't have the necessary data to compare the water conservation capabilities of chimpanzees and gorillas with those of modern humans. "Getting real data on this requ...
Earth’s water cycle is increasingly dictated by humans

Earth’s water cycle is increasingly dictated by humans

Science
March 3 (UPI) -- For the first time, scientists have quantified the influence of humans on surface water storage, a key component of the global water cycle. Most investigations of the impacts of human activities on hydrological patterns are focused on specific watersheds or freshwater bodies, but for the latest study, published Wednesday in the journal Nature, scientists zoomed all the way out, adopting a global view. Advertisement The findings revealed the human species as the dominant regulator of surface water storage on Earth. Using surface water level measurements collected by NASA's ICESat-2 satellite altimeter, launched in 2018, scientists compiled a massive, global dataset for seasonal water level variability. The observations, captured by ICESat-2 and organized by the research t...