Science  07 Jun 2013:
Vol. 340, Issue 6137, pp. 1150

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  1. OK, Cupid: Online Dating Can Lead to Love

    Once considered "creepy" by many, online dating has become mainstream with the rise of dating websites such as Match and Ok Cupid. Now, a new survey of nearly 20,000 Americans suggests that spouses who met online have marriages that are at least as stable and satisfying as those who met in the real world—possibly more so.

    Curious about the impact of online dating, John Cacioppo, a psychologist at the University of Chicago in Illinois and a scientific adviser to eHarmony, convinced the company to pay for the survey. (Two statisticians with no connection to the company, Elizabeth Ogburn and Tyler VanderWeele of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, analyzed the answers). In 2012, 19,131 people out of 200,000 who responded to an e-mail survey request were chosen; of those, more than a third reported meeting their spouse online. Still-married participants answered questions such as, "Please indicate the degree of happiness, all things considered, of your marriage."

    Online marriages, it turns out, were durable. In fact, people who met online were slightly less likely to divorce and scored slightly higher on marital satisfaction, the team reports online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

  2. 'Crucial Link' in Primate Evolution


    A tiny fossil skeleton excavated from an ancient lakebed in central China is among the earliest known primates, a team reports this week in Nature. Dubbed Archicebus achilles, the creature lived 55 million years ago and probably weighed less than an ounce. Its discovery supports a once-controversial hypothesis: Primates first evolved in Asia and only later migrated to Africa.

    A. achilles is likely a very early ancestor of modern tarsiers, a group of small, big-eyed nocturnal primates with long heel bones that help them take powerful leaps. The fossil "sits at that critical part of the [evolutionary] tree right where the tarsier branch is splitting away from the anthropoid branch," which includes monkeys, apes, and humans, says K. Christopher Beard, a paleontologist at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and a co-author of the study. Indeed, A. achilles has several anthropoid-like features, including relatively small eyes and a short heel bone.

    "You don't get these kind of complete fossils very often," says John Fleagle, a paleontologist at Stony Brook University in New York who was not involved in the research. "It documents an aspect of primate evolution that we didn't have much documentation for."