1,800 turtles violently swept into a watery grave: found in Chinese Jurassic rock layer.
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- Why are some sounds universally annoying to people? Evolutionists have suggested that high-pitched sounds like fingernails on a chalkboard are annoying because they resemble the distress calls of ancient primate relatives. In the evolutionary scenario, the emotional distress evoked by alarming screeches is a by-product of the evolved survival instinct telling us to flee. That particular evolutionary theory has been laid to rest by research demonstrating cottontop tamarins (a tiny New World monkey) are upset by the white noise we find pleasant as much as they are by high-pitched scraping. Despite the demise of this evolutionary explanation, the neurological footprint of sounds that get our attention (or get our goat) has been uncovered. Sukhbinder Kumar and colleagues report in the Journal of Neuroscience that the amygdala—a part of the brain associated with emotions—is stimulated when human subjects in an MRI machine are exposed to high-pitched scraping and squealing sounds. Other sounds that evoked increased activity in the brain’s emotional center were female screams and baby cries. Of course the evolutionary quest to explain why these sounds evoke a response will continue. Meanwhile, at least someone has shown that the emotions evoked by screams, scrapes, and squeals really are all in your head.
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