Where did our written numbers come from?
Linguistic clues show how people around the world first developed mathematical thought.
Artist’s impression of Proxima b, a planet orbiting the star Proxima Centauri within the closest known star system outside of our solar system.
Using AI to search for ET might help us find things we couldn't even imagine we should look for, but to succeed we also have think critically about how we create and use that technology.
Sunrise at noon in the Arctic. Little exposure to sun was a piece of the genetic puzzle.
Bering Land Bridge National Preserve
Why was one gene mutation that affects hair, teeth, sweat glands and breasts ubiquitous among ice age Arctic people? New research points to the advantage it provided for ancestors of Native Americans.
Pan having sex with a goat, statue from Villa of the Papyri, Herculaneum, 1752.
The vast discrepancy between abhorrence of bestiality and acceptance of slaughtering on animals suggests that thinking imaginatively about animal orgasm may help us to be more compassionate toward animals.
Who gets to decide for the dead, such as this Egyptian mummy?
AP Photo/Ric Feld
Are DNA samples today's version of the human skeletons that hung in 20th-century natural history museums? They can provide genetic revelations about our species' history – but at an ethical price.
Understanding the past requires knowledge that goes beyond modern science.
Insights and approaches drawn from anthropology could be a useful part of the toolkit for a cop trying to catch a killer.
What can a modern-day Creole language tell us about its first speakers in the 1600s?
New research suggests that hints left in Creole languages can identify where the original speakers came from – even hundreds of years after they migrated and mixed together.
Teeth fossils with evidence of dental lesions from
Prehistoric humans and their predecessors may have had a very different diet but their teeth suffered in similar ways to ours.
The universal sign for ‘Look over there!’ isn’t so common in some cultures.
It was long thought that humans everywhere favor pointing with the index finger. But some fieldwork out of Papua New Guinea identified a group of people who prefer to scrunch their noses.
A connection can be made in between Ursula Le Guin’s fiction and her father’s groundbreaking work in anthropology.
Oregon State University
Le Guin's father, Alfred Kroeber, was at a forefront of a movement that rejected social Darwinism and cultural superiority. In his daughter's fiction, we see these ideas come to life.
Fossilized teeth from a modern human who lived in Israel close to 200,000 years ago.
Israel Hershkovitz, Tel Aviv University
New discoveries are changing archaeologists' ideas about the origins of our own species and our migration out of Africa. This fossil pushes Homo sapiens' African exodus date back by 50,000 years.
Rural China sheds light on the role of witchcraft in society.
Most anthropologists believe that witch labelling has evolved to get people to conform. But new research suggests an alternative explanation.
Chill: There’s no one right way.
Opening the minds of worried new parents to other ways of raising children may assuage fears that if they fail to 'do the right thing,' their children will be doomed.
Randy Schafer / shutterstock
Recent archaeological evidence shows the remote islanders didn't commit 'ecocide' after all.
Filming of Maasai and tourist interactions.
How can we understand each other, especially when stereotypes cloud our view? An ethnographic movie captures a sense of the 'other' in an encounter between Maasai villagers and Dutch tourists.
Rhesus monkeys on Cayo Santiago.
Puerto Rico's Cayo Santiago Research Station has been a world-famous site for primate studies since 1938. Now scientists are working to save its staff and rhesus monkey colony after Hurricane Maria.
Keeping pets is a habit that goes way back into our hunter-gatherer past, and has played an important part in our evolution.
The joker is he.
His particular brand of foolery is proving highly effective – and destructive.
What sounds did the people of Chaco Canyon hear during daily life?
David E. Witt
We tend to think of archaeological sites as dead silent – empty ruins left by past cultures. But this isn't how the people who lived in and used these sites would have experienced them.