By Kate Seamons
Published February 19, 2015
Finger length may be telling. (AP Photo/Staten Island Advance,Vincent Barone)
A study released earlier this month relied on the “2D:4D” ratio to determine that 57 percent of men are inclined to be promiscuous. Now, a second study says the same ratio—which makes use of the length of the index and ring fingers—can also indicate how nice men are to women.
The study, published in Personality and Individual Differences, notes that a lower ratio “indicates greater androgen exposure”; in less scientific-speak, it means the longer a man’s ring finger compared to his index finger, the more male hormones (chief among them testosterone) he was exposed to in the womb.
As lead author Debbie Moskowitz explains in a McGill University press release, “When with women, men with smaller ratios were more likely to listen attentively, smile and laugh, compromise or compliment the other person.” The results stemmed from 155 participants’ self-reported behavior.
Over the course of 20 days, they selected which behaviors they exhibited in any social interaction of at least five minutes. The researchers mapped those behaviors as agreeable or quarrelsome, and discovered men with lower digit ratios reported roughly a third more agreeable behaviors with women, and also a third fewer quarrelsome ones.
The results went beyond the romantic: They held regardless of who the woman was, from a romantic partner to a co-worker. But in terms of the romantic, Moskowitz noted her findings may support previous research that also linked smaller ratios to having more kids.
“Our research suggests they have more harmonious relationships with women … This might explain why they have more children on average.” Somewhat incongruously though, the smaller-ratio men were the ones who fell into the potentially more promiscuous camp in the previous study.
This article originally appeared on Newser: Finger Length Indicates How Nice a Man Is to Women
Modern humans no brainier than neanderthals, study finds
By Kate Seamons
Published May 02, 2014
This Jan. 8, 2003 file photo shows a reconstructed Neanderthal skeleton, right, and a modern human version of a skeleton, left, on display at the Museum of Natural History.AP PHOTO/FRANK FRANKLIN II, FILE
It’s a well-ingrained stereotype: That Neanderthals grunted their way through life as less than brilliant “club-wielding brutes.” A new study published in Plos One says that just isn’t so.
Scientists have long theorized that early modern humans had a cognitive advantage (which translated, they posited, into a better diet, better weapons, and better communication) that allowed them to survive when Neanderthals did not some 40,000 years ago.
Wil Roebroeks at the Netherlands’ Leiden University was one of two researchers who dug through archaeological records looking for research to support the idea of a dimwitted demise, but instead found “there is no archaeology to back them up.”
Adds Dr. Paola Villa of the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History, “The evidence for cognitive inferiority is simply not there.” In terms of being able to communicate and work as a team, they point to a sinkhole in France where Neanderthals are believed to have steered hundreds of bison to their deaths; food remains at cooking sites suggest a diverse diet that included pistachios and wild olives, a press release notes.
Villa says part of the issue is that Neanderthals have long been compared to humans who came after them (in the Upper Paleolithic period) rather than those who were their Middle Paleolithic contemporaries.
Quips Villa, “It would be like comparing the performance of Model T Fords to the performance of a modern-day Ferrari and conclude that Henry Ford was cognitively inferior to Enzo Ferrari.” So why did they die out? Roebroeks and Villa think the answer is a complex one, but note that interbreeding with modern humans may have produced infertile male offspring, the Guardian reports.
(And there’s more evidence that Neanderthals weren’t the brutes their name suggests.)
Cold War images spill new secrets: Lost cities
By Kate Seamons
Published April 29, 2014
An image from the website.CORONA.CAST.UARK.EDU
The Middle East is home to 4,500 archaeological sites, or so we thought. An in-depth review of Cold War-era photos taken by spy satellites has pulled back the veil on as many as 10,000 more lost cities, roads, and other ruins in the region.
As Gizmodo reports, CORONA served as the code name for America’s first use of photographic spy satellites, and was in operation from 1960 to 1972.
Its name lives on in the new CORONA Atlas of the Middle East, which made its debut Thursday at the annual gathering of the Society for American Archaeology and revealed “completely unknown” sites via some of the 188,000 declassified photos taken during the mission’s final five years, reports National Geographic.
Archaeologist Jesse Casana of the University of Arkansas describes some of the sites as “gigantic,” with two sprawling over more than 123 acres; Casana suspects the largest, which appear to include aged walls and citadels, were Bronze Age cities.
And as he explains, the photos’ age matters. Though current satellites produce images superior to these grainy decades-old ones, “we can’t see a site that someone has covered up with a building,” and the fact that they were taken before cities like Iraq’s Mosul and Jordan’s Amman swelled makes them invaluable.
The CORONA site explains that the mission’s satellites snapped images “of most of the Earth’s surface” (images whose film strips were, in a great detail noted byNational Geographic, sent back to Earth via parachute-topped buckets) and archaeologists plan to also review areas like Africa and China.