These great apes share greetings – just like humans


By Ashley Strickland, CNN

What makes humans a prosperous species?

We have been around for a long time and we are still here (unlike Neanderthals). But the road has not been easy and we do not always make good choices. Maybe it’s because we strive, we fail, and we learn.

As my university photojournalism professor, Mark Johnson, often said, “Fail faster.” This means that failure is possible in anything we do, and the sooner we accept and learn from our failures, the more likely we are to turn them into successes.

Part of this process is learning from each other, a vital component of human connection. Even during the pandemic, we have found ways to stay present in everyone’s lives over great distances. Maybe our success stems from our ability to grow, learn and share, no matter what the odds.

Fantastic creatures

You say goodbye, and I say hello. Just like humans, some great apes do not leave each other.

Instead, they deliberately use cues to start and end social interactions.

Researchers observed more than 1,200 interactions among groups of chimpanzees and bonobos in zoos. These monkeys were more likely to hold hands, poke their heads, and touch each other before and after playing.

It’s much more important than mere courtesy, and it shows deep-rooted sophisticated behavior seen only in humans so far, the scientists said. But can you guess which monkey greeting is the most popular: hello or goodbye?

We are a family

A new clue to the greatest mystery in human evolution has emerged.

The only evidence we have of the Denisovans, an enigmatic group of primitive humans first identified by researchers in 2010, are fossil fragments that can fit in the palm of your hand.

A Filipino ethnic group known as Ayta Magbukon has the highest known level of Denisovan ancestry in the world. Denisovan DNA can be found in some modern humans because our Homo sapiens ancestors had children with them about 50,000 years ago.

Scientists have new theories for why there are so few of these fossils and where to look for them then.

Across the universe

The Geminid meteor shower is a skywatcher’s delight every December, and it comes from an unlikely source: an asteroid named Phaethon. Typically, meteor showers are caused by comets. This bizarre asteroid behaves like a comet.

Until now, scientists weren’t sure why. As Phaethon comes closest to the sun during its orbit, the heat from our star can cause sodium inside the asteroid to “sparkle” and spray.

This week, the researchers also shared that the ripples in the rings around Saturn revealed the “fuzzy” core of the planet.

Rather than solid rock, Saturn’s core is likely a mixture of ice, rock, and metallic fluids – and it’s much larger than previous estimates.

Go green

An agreement between nations in the 1980s helped us avoid a “scorched earth” outcome, new research shows.

The Montreal Protocol to ban CFCs, or chlorofluorocarbon chemicals once commonly used in aerosols, refrigeration and air conditioners, was signed by dozens of countries in 1987.

Scientists modeled how the relentless use of CFCs would have affected the ozone layer, which is 9 to 22 miles above Earth.

The ban helped us prevent a degradation of the ozone layer by the end of the 2040s, which would have devastating impacts on our planet and even our health.

Turn, turn, turn

If the heat of summer makes you dream of fall, wait before putting on a sweater; otherwise, you will suffocate. (But we won’t step on your pumpkin spice dreams.)

The Climate Prediction Center outlook for September through November shows above average temperatures for most of the country. Things will get colder eventually, but that cool feeling in the air may come later than you expect.

NOAA has also increased the odds for La Niña this fall, which could be good news for the Western states affected by drought, but this could be difficult for areas affected by tropical Atlantic systems. Speaking of thunderstorms, stay informed all weekend on Henri. Subscribe to our email alerts meteorologists and CNN reporters in the field.

Historic drought conditions also have an impact on fall foliage. It is what lookouts can see, depending on where you live.


One look at the latest:

– The discovery of these first mammalian fossils, including one named for “The Hobbit”, shows how quickly they evolved after the extinction of the dinosaurs.

– Scientists have been intrigued by the Martian South Pole for decades. Now they have determined what can hide under the ice.

– All coiled and whistling: rattlesnakes know playing intimidating mental tricks on humans when we get too close.

Just a thought before you go: search August full moon this weekend and set your clocks for a NASA spacewalk Next Tuesday at 8 a.m. ET.

Do you like what you read? Oh, but there is more. register here to receive the next edition of Wonder Theory, brought to your inbox, brought to you by writer CNN Space and Science Ashley Strickland, which finds wonders in planets beyond our solar system and discoveries of the ancient world.

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