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Talking to yourself, chimps foil hunters, roots of the brain Add to ...

Talking to yourself

" You think more words than you speak … There I go again, talking to myself," David Robson writes for the New Scientist. "Wherever I am, and whatever I'm doing, words bounce around my head in an incessant chatter. I am not alone in my internal babbling. Measuring the contents of people's minds is difficult, but it seems that up to 80 per cent of our mental experiences are verbal. Indeed, the extent of our interior monologue may vastly [surpass]the number of words we speak out loud. 'On average, 70 per cent of our total verbal experience is in our head,' estimates Lera Boroditsky of Stanford University in California."

Spend to save?

"How do you get penny pinchers to spend these days? Pitch products that promise to save them money," Anne D'Innocenzio reports for Associated Press. "Demand is rising for kitchen and bath gadgets that squeeze out that last blob of toothpaste and help get the suds out of tiny slivers of soap. Marketers of these gizmos tout how the pennies they save by reducing waste can add up. Retailers are stocking up. During the Great Recession, penny pinchers got even cheaper, while showing the newly frugal how it's done. Cheapskate gadgets may be a sign of the times, but they're also a sign of how product makers and retailers are trying to get people back into the saving habit."

Chimps foil hunters

"Across Africa, people often lay snare traps to catch bushmeat, killing or injuring chimps and other wildlife," Matt Walker reports for BBC News. "But a few chimps living in the rain forests of Guinea have learned to recognize these snare traps laid by human hunters, researchers have found. More astonishing, the chimps actively seek out and intentionally deactivate the traps, setting them off without being harmed." The discovery was serendipitously made by Japanese primatologists who were following chimps living in Bossou, Guinea, to study the apes' social behaviour. They observed five male chimps, both juvenile and adult, attempting to break and deactivate snares. On two occasions witnessed, the chimps successfully deactivated the traps set for them. Snare injuries to chimps are reported at many sites across Africa, with many animals dying in the traps. However, very few snare injuries have been reported among chimps studied at Bossou, which is unusual as the chimps live close to human settlements and snares are commonly laid in the area.

A few harmless calories?

Spiders are infesting Florida parks, United Press International reports. "A Florida bug expert says banana spiders up to 4 inches [10 centimetres]long, common in the state's parks and recreational areas, aren't dangerous but are nutritious. … Glavis Edwards, spider expert at the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, said the female banana spider is especially nutritious because of the egg mass in its belly."

Roots of the brain

"Brain structures directly related to the human brain have just been identified in a marine ragworm, according to a paper published in the latest issue of the journal Cell," Jennifer Viegas writes for Discovery News. "The discovery means that the origins of the human brain can now be traced back at least 600 million years, when we last shared a common ancestor with this species, Platynereis dumerilii, a relative of the common earthworm." She adds that lead author Raju Tomer, a scientist at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, and his colleagues suspect that other invertebrates, such as insects, spiders, crustaceans and velvet worms, also likely possess the brain structures, called "mushroom bodies," which correspond to our cerebral cortex.

The length of stubbornness

Men waste thousands of dollars of fuel costs because they refuse to ask for directions when lost, according to a British study. The research, commissioned by British insurance company Sheilas' Wheels, revealed that male drivers travel 444 unnecessary kilometres each year because they stubbornly reject help when lost.

Source: AOL News

Mom was a marsupial?

"The most important aspect of human evolution was facilitated not by Darwinian-style natural selection but by a crucial technological device invented by early Stone Age women, shows research by a leading British prehistorian," David Keys writes for The Independent. "Timothy Taylor of Bradford University claims that increased brain size was made possible by the invention of the baby sling, a development that enabled slower-growing, physically and mentally immature offspring to survive and flourish. 'In effect, kangaroo-style, early female human ancestors became marsupial, carrying their immature youngsters outside their wombs,' said Dr. Taylor, who has published his research in a book called The Artificial Ape. 'The invention of the baby sling, which allowed more babies to successfully mature outside the female body, instantly removed the barrier to increased head and brain size.' "

Thought du jour

"If you make people think they're thinking, they'll love you; but if you really make them think, they'll hate you."

- Don Marquis

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