A unique brain signal may be the key to human intelligence

Scientists exploring human neurons directly learn some remarkable things.

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  • Most research regarding human brains is performed with rodent brains on the assumption that it may also apply to us.
  • An unusual study looked at recently resected human brain tissue that turned out to contain some big surprises.
  • Human neurons' unexpected electrical signals and their behavior shed new light on human intelligence.
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William Shatner: Empathy must be taught

What a group of orphaned elephants can teach us about emotion and learned social skills.

  • Empathy is defined as the act of recognizing, understanding, and being sensitive to the feelings and experiences of others.
  • Sharing a story about young elephants at a nature preserve, William Shatner argues that empathy is a learned skill, not an inherited trait.
  • "That has to be learned, and I don't think it's any different from a boy to a girl. You have to walk in the shoes to experience what the other person is experiencing."
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Garjainia put the ‘hyper’ in ‘hypercarnivore’

A head built for meat-eating.

Image source: Foth et al/Wikimedia Commons/Petekub/Shutterstock/Big Think
  • A new analysis of fossils from the 1950s reveals an awesome predator.
  • Pre-dating the dinosaurs, the erythrosuchids were voracious "hypercarnivores."
  • Think terrifying crocodiles on steroids.
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Consider the axolotl: Our great hope of regeneration?

The axolotl is known to regrow its lower jaw, its retinae, ovaries, kidneys, heart, rudimentary lungs, spinal cord, and large chunks of its brain.

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It has long been understood, and by cultures too various to list, that salamanders have something of the supernatural about them.

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Will robots have rights in the future?

Perhaps sooner than we think, we'll need to examine the moral standing of intelligent machines.

  • If eventually we develop artificial intelligence sophisticated enough to experience emotions like joy and suffering, should we grant it moral rights just as any other sentient being?
  • Theoretical philosopher Peter Singer predicts the ethical issues that could ensue as we expand the circle of moral concern to include these machines.
  • A free download of the 10th anniversary edition of The Life You Can Save: How to Do Your Part to End World Poverty is available here.
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