Is your phone giving you horns?


Why would you even ask that? Well, because this.

I sense problems immediately. First, the story is tagged “evolution”. The horns are not arising through inheritance of advantageous mutations, so that isn’t evolution.


Yes last time I checked, horns were external and pointed upwards. The X-ray seems to show an internal, downward-pointing bone growth.

But wait, there’s more.

The story mentions (but does not link to) three research articles. Here are the links. Two are freely-available.

It’s the second of these, published in Nature Scientific Reports, which is getting the attention. Some points:

First: “Data availability – The authors declare that all data supporting the findings of this study are available in the article.” They may declare that, but it most certainly is not true.

Second: what data and analysis they do show barely supports the assertion that there’s a statistically-significant prevalence of the condition in young adults. I can’t do any better than Heather B here, read her comments at the article or the image, right.


we hypothesise that the use of modern technologies and hand-held devices, may be primarily responsible for these postures and subsequent development of adaptive robust cranial features in our sample

This is pure speculation. There is, for example, no comparison with a control group.

Bad science. Bad statistics. Bad reporting. And guess what? That’s what people like.