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Ancient African herders had lasting ecological impact on grazed lands

Ancient animal herders added to the ecological richness and diversity of the African savanna thousands of years ago – an effect that persists to the present day, a new study finds. The herders’ practice of penning their cattle, goats and sheep at night created nutrient-rich grassy glades, called hotspots, that still attract wildlife and have increased habitat diversity in the region, researchers report in the journal Nature.

Many young adults lack financial literacy, economic stability, study finds

Many youths lack financial literacy and money-management skills, indicating an urgent need for educational programs that will help them enter adulthood better equipped to handle their financial affairs, a new study found.

A professor not afraid to cross academic boundaries

Illinois professor Ruby Mendenhall is focused on issues of poverty, inequality and violence, but crosses many academic boundaries in search of answers.

Study shows diminished but ‘robust’ link between union decline, rise of inequality

A new study shows a diminished but “robust” link between the decline of unions and the rise in wage inequality.

What should we make of the ‘68 Chicago Democratic Convention now?

A U. of I. political historian looks back 50 years at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago.

Study: Student loans hamper wealth accumulation among black, Hispanic adults

Black and Hispanic adults who graduate college with student loan debt have significantly lower net worth at age 30 than students who don't borrow to pay for college, according to a new study led by University of Illinois scholar Min Zhan.

In rats, perinatal exposure to phthalates impairs brain structure and function

Male and female rats exposed in the womb and during lactation to plasticizing chemicals known as phthalates had significantly fewer neurons and synapses than those that were not exposed, researchers report in a new study. The phthalate-exposed rats had reductions in the size of their medial prefrontal cortex, a brain region that regulates behavior, and showed deficits in cognitive flexibility.  

First dogs in the Americas arrived from Siberia, disappeared after European contact

A study reported in the journal Science offers an enhanced view of the origins and ultimate fate of the first dogs in the Americas. The dogs were not domesticated North American wolves, as some have speculated, but likely followed their human counterparts over a land bridge that once connected North Asia and the Americas, the study found.

What now with gerrymandering? Are algorithms part of the answer?

The Supreme Court “punted” this week on the issue of partisan gerrymandering, but left the door open to future action. An Illinois professor hopes her research can be part of the solution.

Do summer jobs provide lifelong benefits for teens?

University of Illinois Extension educator Kathy Sweedler, whose focus area is consumer economics, spoke recently with News Bureau education editor Sharita Forrest about what teens can gain from summer jobs.

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