Nutrition has benefits for brain network organization

Nutrition has been linked to cognitive performance, but researchers have not pinpointed what underlies the connection. A new study by researchers found that monounsaturated fatty acids -- a class of nutrients found in olive oils, nuts and avocados -- are linked to general intelligence, and that this relationship is driven by the correlation between MUFAs and the organization of the brain's attention network.

The study of 99 healthy older adults, compared patterns of fatty acid nutrients found in blood samples, functional MRI data that measured the efficiency of brain networks, and results of a general intelligence test according to Science daily.

New ancient sea reptile found, the earliest of its kind

A previously unrecognized 132 million-year-old fossilized sea monster has been identified by an international team of researchers.

The bizarre sea creature was a plesiosaur, an extinct long-necked aquatic reptile resembling the popular image of the Loch Ness monster, which dominated the seas during the Age of Dinosaurs.

Farming, cheese, chewing changed human skull shape

The advent of farming, especially dairy products, had a small but significant effect on the shape of human skulls, according to Science daily.

Humans who live by hunting and foraging wild foods have to put more effort into chewing than people living from farming, who eat a softer diet. Although previous studies have linked skull shape to agriculture and softer foods, it has proved difficult to determine the extent and consistency of these changes at a global scale.

Graduate student David Katz, with Professor Tim Weaver and statistician Mark Grote, used a worldwide collection of 559 crania and 534 lower jaws (skull bones) to model the influence of diet on the shape, form, and size of the human skull during the transition to agriculture.

They found modest changes in skull morphology for groups that consumed cereals, dairy, or both cereals and dairy.

"The main differences between forager and farmer skulls are where we would expect to find them, and change in ways we might expect them to, if chewing demands decreased in farming groups," said Katz, who is now a postdoctoral researcher.

Analysis of a 'rusty' lunar rock suggests the moon's interior is dry

The moon is likely very dry in its interior according to a new study.

The question of the moon's moistness matters because the amount of water and other volatile (easily evaporated) elements and compounds provide clues to the moon's history and how it was formed, according to Science daily.

"It's been a big question whether the moon is wet or dry. It might seem like a trivial thing, but this is actually quite important," said James Day, a geochemist and the leading author of the study. "If the moon is dry  it would be consistent with the formation of the moon in some sort of cataclysmic impact event that formed it," Day said.

The results in this paper suggest that when the moon formed it was "very, very, hot," Day said. "Essentially an ocean of magma."

Day and his coauthors believe it would have been so hot that any water, or other compounds and elements that are volatile under conditions on the moon, such as zinc, would have evaporated very early in the moon's history.

They arrived at this conclusion after analyzing fragments of the "Rusty Rock," a rock collected from the moon's surface during the Apollo 16 mission in 1972.

Chimpanzees and humans spontaneously copy others to pass on new skills to the next generation

The human practice of copying the behavior of others make us effective learners and allows skills, knowledge and inventions to be passed on from one generation to the next according to Daily mail. 

Although decades of research has shown that apes are poor imitators compared to children, a new study has found that both humans and chimpanzees imitate to a similar extent. 

About 10 per cent of the actions produced by either humans or chimpanzee at a zoo was an imitation of the other species' interactions, and there was also overlap in the types of actions imitated by both species, including hand clapping and kissing.

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