Social Sciences

Making more monuments: Just like modern cities, ancient settlements got more productive as they grew

Living in bigger, denser settlements allowed the inhabitants of ancient cities to be more productive, just as is true for modern urbanites, according to a new study by scientists at the University of Colorado Boulder and the Santa Fe Institute.

As modern cities grow, they obey certain rules. As the population increases, for example, the settled area becomes denser instead of sprawling outward. This allows people to live closer together, use infrastructure more intensively, interact more frequently, and as a result, produce more per person.

Neanderthals were not inferior to modern humans

If you think Neanderthals were stupid and primitive, it’s time to think again.

The widely held notion that Neanderthals were dimwitted and that their inferior intelligence allowed them to be driven to extinction by the much brighter ancestors of modern humans is not supported by scientific evidence, according to a researcher at the University of Colorado Boulder.

NSF fellows tackle research ranging from cystic fibrosis treatment to a better hip replacement

This fall, the University of Colorado Boulder is again hosting a large class of National Science Foundation fellows. Twenty-six new graduate researchers have received NSF fellowships, bringing the total number of NSF fellows on campus to 101, a new record for CU-Boulder.

The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program is one of the most prestigious awards available for student researchers in the country. This year CU-Boulder was among the top 20 universities enrolling NSF fellows.

Trying to eat healthy? Read those nutrition labels carefully

People who made New Year’s resolutions to eat healthier or lose weight might also want to brush up on their math skills.

In a new study, marketing professor Donald Lichtenstein found that nutrition labels on packaged food products in the United States can lead even the most health-conscious consumers astray, if they don’t “do the math.”

Researchers unearth ancient bronze artifact in Alaska

A team of researchers led by the University of Colorado Boulder recently discovered the first prehistoric bronze artifact made from a cast ever found in Alaska, a small, buckle-like object found in an ancient Eskimo dwelling and which likely originated in East Asia.

People respond to immediate emotions in charitable giving

When considering giving money to humanitarian crises people often donate in response to events that grab their immediate emotions, according to a recent study by CU-Boulder psychology professor Leaf Van Boven.

"The question we wanted to answer with our study is what is the impact of people's emotions on their decisions to make charitable donations," Van Boven said. "We demonstrated that people act on what is immediately emotionally arousing to them. In other words, they respond to what makes them upset in the here and now."

Anthropologist uncovers new insights into the ancient Maya

For the past six decades, archaeologists have documented dense populations of ancient Maya in Mexico and Central America—hundreds of people per square kilometer. Corn, beans and squash are well-known Mayan food staples, but they are sensitive to drought and require fertile soils, and thus would be insufficient to feed a large population. So what did the Maya eat?

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