How Did Parents Flaunt Their Kids Before Facebook? Baby Shows.
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Regardless of how you feel about the Facebook friends who fill your newsfeed with photos of their babies, one thing is for certain: parents always want to show off their offspring. Always have, always will. No, really: before the advent of social media, parents took part in baby shows. The first baby show occurred at an Ohio county fair in 1854 with 127 infants competing for prizes—way before "Toddlers and Tiaras."According to a 2008 paper by Northwestern University professor Susan Pearson, these shows became commonplace in the 18th century at "agricultural and mechanics' fairs, urban theaters, exhibition halls, and fundraising events." Atlantic City hosted an annual baby show on its boardwalk, and the trend eventually made its way overseas to a few European cities. However, most of the world considered these shows as "a distinctly American, if slightly vulgar, novelty."
Identical Twins Live Longer Than The General Population
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Identical twins are born not only with a sibling and a mirror image, but also a best friend. And new research has found that the built-in social bond that comes from being a twin might actually increase an individual's lifespan. According to a 2016 study published in the journal Plos One, twins—both identical and fraternal—outlive the general population, but identical twins outlive fraternal sets. The study looked at siblings in the Danish Twin Registry, which tracked twins born in Denmark from 1870 to 1900, and found that in cases of both male and female twins, they had a longer life expectancy than their singleton counterparts. The reason for this, or so the researchers think, is that twins protect each other. "There is benefit to having someone who is socially close to you who is looking out for you," lead author and University of Washington professor David Sharrow said in a press release. "They may provide material or emotional support that lead to better longevity outcomes." But if the benefit is purely born of support, why are identical twins better off than fraternal ones? "There is some evidence that identical twins are actually closer than fraternal twins," Sharrow said. "If they're even more similar, they may be better able to predict the needs of their twin and care for them." The good news for non-twins? Sharrow says that even singletons can learn from this study and get some protection if they invest in strong social relationships. "Most people may not have a twin, but as a society we may choose to invest in social bonds as a way to promote health and longevity."
Baby Elephants Need Their Grandmothers
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A new study has shown that for Asian elephants, grandmothers are the key to babies' survival. Most animals keep reproducing until death, though some species, such as orca whales, elephants, and humans, continue to live for decades after no longer giving birth. Because evolution is centered on reproduction, this has been somewhat puzzling for scientists: what's the use in living to old age if you're no longer producing offspring?To help answer this question, a team of Finnish researchers observed Asian elephants in Myanmar. What they found was astonishing: if a grandmother lived in the same area as her grand-calf, that calf had eight times lower risk of death. The calf's mother, likewise, produced more offspring, ostensibly because she had less work when it came to raising her own calves and so was free to bear more. They also found that the more calves the grandmother had given birth to, the bigger the effect she had on her grand-calves, showing that more experience in motherhood made her a better grandmother. This study isn't just heartwarming; it has real lessons for conservation, too. Nearly half of baby elephants kept in zoos die in their first years, and elephant reproduction in captivity is also a challenge. This study suggests that zoos would benefit from keeping grandmothers around. Learn more about animal families in the videos below.
Family Dinners May Help Boost Teens' Academic Performance
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Sitting down to dinner as a family is important for a whole host of reasons, yet a 2004 study found that a third of families eat only one to two meals a week together at most. Those families miss out on the many benefits a family meal offers, including the opportunity to reconnect, communicate, and share ideas at the end of the work or school day. But this communication does more than just strengthen family ties: research shows that teens who have frequent family dinners are 40% more likely to say they receive mostly As and Bs in school. They're also less likely to use alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana, be obese, or engage in sexual activity. Understandably, they're also less likely to suffer from depression, which might be due to the support and communication family dinners offer. We've collected some awesome videos on this topic. Watch them now to learn more.
from Big Think
Key Facts to Know
The U.S. ranked 33 out of 35 countries in terms of having family meals together. 0:22
Families can reduce sibling conflict by assigning them a collaborative task to be completed just before dinner. 1:13
Research shows that parents do 2/3 of the talking during dinnertime. Experts recommend letting children speak at least half of the time. 4:38
Does Your Birth Rank Determine Your Personality?
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Much psychology research has been done on the significance of birth order, and what your birth rank might mean about your personality. Researchers analyzed 200 birth order studies to find that some personality traits were consistent with birth rank. Research shows that a person's personality is not dictated by being the youngest or oldest innately, but rather more by the roles, responsibilities and relationships to others in the family. This means that just because you're the first born, you're not guaranteed to be the smartest. However, because you're the oldest in comparison to your siblings, you've had more time to acquire knowledge. Similarly, the youngest of the pack may garner a reputation for being sheltered or having difficulty succeeding in certain areas like school or the job market-not because they're incapable, but because of the expectations put forth by older siblings.