Picture by Frans de Waal, Emory University – Own work, based on Chimp_face.pngHuman and Chimp: Can Our Genes Tell the Story of Our Divergence? PLoS Biology Vol. 3/6/2005, e202










End your day with a big bang, each week our office compiles a list of our favorite science related news stories. Whether it be health, climate change, climatology or quantum physics we help you to grow your brain.

5. Scientists Create A New Kind of Matter by Sophie Weiner : A time crystal is a new form of matter that was created at the University of Maryland.

Matter that is traditionally studied is known as equilibrium matter. Meaning that the matter settles into a pattern, and is not constantly in motion. A crystal is when a structure of atoms or molecule repeats itself in space.

A time crystal flips this concept on its head. A time crystal does have a pattern, but it continues to stay in motion. Researchers said that a time crystal is like Jell-O, when you tap it, it moves. The difference, a time crystal does not need energy to move, and will never stop moving.

The article speculates that time crystals could be used in quantum computers.

4. Black humor is sign of high intelligence, study suggests by Jamie Doward: An interesting article that looks at the association between a person’s sense of humor and their intelligence.

A study done at the Medical University of Vienna, found that people with a dark sense of humor had a higher intelligence and were less aggressive.

This runs counter to a previously held belief that people with a dark senses of humor “grumpy and prone to sadism.”

3. Climate change drove population decline in New World before Europeans arrived : It is now speculated that climate change might have been a reason for the decline of the Native American population prior to the arrival of European settlers.

Researchers from Indiana University and Purdue University recreated 2,100 years of temperature and precipitation data to put their idea to the test. It is believed that a drought, caused by climate change, would have made food production difficult for the Native Americans in the Mississippi and Ohio River Valleys.

The Native American population declined during the Little Ice Age (1300-1800), when climates were colder and drier.

2. Researchers Learn That Chimps will Murder and Eat their Dictators  by Yasmin Tayag: Julia Pruetz Ph.D and her team from Iowa State University found a group of chimps that beat up and murdered their tyrannical alpha male.

A tyrannical chimp named Foudouko once ruled the group of chimps with a second in command beta-male named Mamadou. Mamadou became injured, and had to leave the group. Foudouko stayed loyal to Mamadou, but was eventually shunned by his group, then murdered and cannibalized.

The violent results was a shock to the researchers, but believe it might have been a result of a low female count in the group. Female chimps are often poached to be used as pets in Senegal. This uneven ratio of women to men, may have created competition between the males for the females in the group.

1. The world might see a mass extinction of primates if humans don’t act  by Sarah Kaplan: Continuing with the primate theme, this weeks number one takes a bleak look at primates future on this planet. In a new study 31 primatologists warn that a mass extinction of primate populations might be on the horizon. As much as 60-percent of species are in danger of going extinct.

The culprit for the decline of primate populations is us. Habitat loss, hunting and climate change caused by humans is having a severe effect on as many as 75-percent of primate species.

Solutions proposed to help reverse the decline by the primatologists include land sharing with primates, better monitoring programs of apes, and working to improve the ecosystems.