Humans are born with a part of the brain that is prewired to be receptive to seeing words and letters, setting the stage at birth for people to learn how to read, a new study suggests. Analyzing brain scans of newborns, researchers found that this part of the brain — called the ‘visual word form area’ (VWFA) — is connected to the language network of the brain.
The first analysis of a sedimentary drill core representing 1 million years of environmental history in the East African Rift Valley shows that at the same time early humans were abandoning old tools in favor of more sophisticated technology and broadening their trade, their landscape was experiencing frequent fluctuations in vegetation and water supply that made resources less reliably available. The findings suggest that instability in their landscape was a key driver of human adaptability.
A new study, borrowing techniques from artificial intelligence research, suggests hominins in the eastern Mediterranean forged flint blades in flame, a task that requires creating and controlling heat.
Dr. Denton reflects on paradigm shifts that he’s witnessed, how his own thinking has changed, and how these shifts challenge Darwinian evolution in new ways.
It does not seem that all life arose simply by common descent. But maybe it can’t just invent itself without an inventor. Human inventions illustrate the point.