Top 5 theories on the enigmatic monolith found in Utah desert

A strange object found in Utah desert has prompted worldwide speculation about its origins.

Credit: Utah Department of Public Safety
  • A monolithic object found in a remote part of Utah caused worldwide speculation about its origins.
  • The object is very similar to the famous monolith from Stanley Kubrick's "2001: Space Odyssey".
  • The object could be work of an artist or even have extraterrestrial origins.
Keep reading Show less

A Chinese plant has evolved to hide from humans

Researchers document the first example of evolutionary changes in a plant in response to humans.

Credit: MEDIAIMAG/Adobe Stock
  • A plant coveted in China for its medicinal properties has developed camouflage that makes it less likely to be spotted and pulled up from the ground.
  • In areas where the plant isn't often picked, it's bright green. In harvested areas, it's now a gray that blends into its rocky surroundings.
  • Herbalists in China have been picking the Fritillaria dealvayi plant for 2,000 years.
Keep reading Show less

Are humans cruel by nature?

Historian Rutger Bregman argues that the persistent theory that most people are monsters is just wrong.

  • How have humans managed to accomplish significantly more than any other species on the planet? Historian Rutger Bregman believes the quality that makes us special is that we "evolved to work together and to cooperate on a scale that no other species in the whole animal kingdom has been able to do."
  • Pushing back against the millennia-old idea that humans are inherently evil beneath their civilized surface, which is known as 'veneer theory', Bregman says that it's humanity's cooperative spirit and sense of brotherhood that leads us to do cruel deeds. "Most atrocities are committed in the name of loyalty, and in the name of friendship, and in the name of helping your people," he tells Big Think. "That is what's so disturbing."
  • The false assumption that people are evil or inherently selfish has an effect on the way we design various elements of our societies and structures. If we designed on the assumption that we are collaborative instead, we could avoid the "self-fulfilling prophecy" of selfishness.
Keep reading Show less

'Muscular bonding': The strange psychological effects of moving together

Synchronous movement seems to help us form cohesive groups by shifting our thinking from "me" to "we."

Credit: yoemll via Adobe Stock
  • Muscular bonding, a term coined by the veteran and historian William McNeill, describes how individuals engaged in synchronous movement often experience feelings of euphoria and connection to the group.
  • Psychologists have proposed that muscular bonding, or interpersonal entrainment, is a group-level adaptation that helped early human groups outcompete other groups.
  • Muscular bonding can help people form cohesive groups, but it could come at cost.
Keep reading Show less

Scientists piece together the story of humans and dogs

A new study tracks the human-dog relationship through DNA.

Credit: gerasimov174/Adobe Stock/Big Think
  • The earliest dog, not wolf, found so far comes from over 15,000 years ago.
  • A new study tracks the travel and development of dogs since the end of the Ice Age.
  • Insights are derived by comparing ancient canine DNA with ancient human DNA.
Keep reading Show less
Quantcast