Just like us, but different: recently-discovered
Homo sapiens fossils have a modern face, but an ancient brain case.
Philipp Gunz, MPI EVA Leipzig
New paired research papers have pushed back by 100,000 years the time frame in which humans (Homo sapiens) are thought to have lived in Africa.
The stone flakes are flying, but what brain regions are firing?
Shelby S. Putt
We can't observe the brain activity of extinct human species. But we can observe modern brains doing the things that our distant ancestors did, looking for clues about how ancient brains worked.
When new discoveries are jealously guarded under lock and key, science suffers.
A century-old case of scientific fraud illustrates how hard it is to untangle the truth when access to new discoveries is limited.
Did Puss in Boots have it all wrong?
Cats evolved in hot desert regions where there were lots of small animals to eat. So they evolved feet that are perfect for pouncing on prey, climbing, scratching and jumping from great heights.
Alice Roberts with the ‘hobbit’.
New research on Indonesian fossils reveals clues to an ancient expansion out of Africa.
Our cells have a built-in genetic clock, tracking time… but how accurately?
Stopwatch image via www.shutterstock.com.
How do scientists figure out when evolutionary events – like species splitting away from a common ancestor – happened? It turns out our DNA is a kind of molecular clock, keeping time via genetic changes.
Upper teeth of a Neanderthal who lived about 40,000 years ago.
Anthropologists gather clues about how our ancient ancestors lived from their teeth. What will future anthropologists make of us based on the fossilized pearly whites we'll leave behind?
POJ THEVEENUGUL / shutterstock
We have the penis of a monogamous primate yet our body sizes suggest our ancestors slept around a lot.
How our ancestors ate could explain why today’s humans are mostly right-handed.
The way early humans learned to handle food could explain why the majority of people today are right handed.
All shapes and sizes.
New research uncovers the role of the primate baculum and may explain why humans don’t have one.
The armour of the 380 million year old placoderm fish
Scientists have long believed that our distant cousins are the placoderms, and ancient group of armoured fish. But a new study is casting doubt on that view.
Bonobo Jasongo at Leipzig Zoo has a hunch about what you’re thinking.
Realizing that others' minds hold different thoughts, feelings and knowledge than your own was thought to be something only people could do. But evidence is accumulating that apes, too, have 'theory of mind.'
Michael Rosskothen / shutterstock
David Attenborough's latest BBC documentary indulges wishful thinking over evidence.
Australopithecus afarensis, the ultimate human ancestor.
Why being human can't be traced back to hunting, fire or any other single event.
Fire significantly added to our ability to change the world.
Fire image from www.shutterstock.com
The level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is rising faster than at any point in the past 55 million years.
Illustration of ritualised human sacrifice in traditional Hawaiian culture, as documented by the French explorer and artists Jaques Arago in 1819.
Arago, Jacques. (1822). Promenade autour du monde: pendant les années 1817, 1818, 1819 et 1820, sur les corvettes du roi l’Uranie et la Physicienne, commandées par M. Freycinet
Human sacrifice seems horrifying and costly. But there might be a reason so many early human societies practiced it.
How has a retrovirus survived intact within the human genome for millennia, and how has it affected us?
Excavations in Liang Bua, a limestone cave on the Indonesian island of Flores.
Smithsonian Digitization Program Office Liang Bua Team
New excavations at an Indonesian cave have pushed back the time the 'hobbits' disappeared to about 50,000 years ago.
Standing up for what’s right can come with a cost to the individual – but also a benefit.
It helps society function when people punish selfish acts, even at a personal cost. A new theory suggests third-party punishment also confers some benefits on the punisher.
With moralistic gods watching, it’s easier to be fair and cooperative.
For human groups to grow from small, intimate communities to the huge interconnected societies we know now, people needed to be willing to cooperate with strangers. Religion might have played a big role.