Study reveals human body has gone through four stages of evolution

Research into 430,000-year-old fossils collected in northern Spain found that the evolution of the human body’s size and shape has gone through four main stages, according to a paper published this week.

A large international research team including Binghamton University anthropologist Rolf Quam studied the body size and shape in the human fossil collection from the site of the Sima de los Huesos in the Sierra de Atapuerca in northern Spain. Dated to around 430,000 years ago, this site preserves the largest collection of human fossils found to date anywhere in the world. The researchers found that the Atapuerca individuals were relatively tall, with wide, muscular bodies and less brain mass relative to body mass compared to Neanderthals. The Atapuerca humans shared many anatomical features with the later Neanderthals not present in modern humans, and analysis of their postcranial skeletons (the bones of the body other than the skull) indicated that they are closely related evolutionarily to Neanderthals.

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Artificial intelligence authors crowdsourced interactive fiction

Georgia Institute of Technology researchers have developed a new artificially intelligent system that crowdsources plots for interactive stories, which are popular in video games and let players choose different branching story options.

With potentially limitless crowdsourced plot points, the system could allow for more creative stories and an easier method for interactive narrative generation. Current AI models for games have a limited number of scenarios, no matter what a player chooses. They depend on a dataset already programmed into a model by experts.

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Forgiving others protects women from depression, but not men

Older women who forgave others were less likely to report depressive symptoms regardless of whether they felt unforgiven by others. Older men, however, reported the highest levels of depression when they both forgave others and felt unforgiven by others.