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Natural history of the present

Displaying 11 - 20 of 92 articles

Two left hands form a heart-shape. Leon Brocard/ Flickr

Can science finger a philanderer? Not like this!

Are people naturally monogamous, polygamous or promiscuous? It’s one of those questions that most people feel quite confident in answering. Ask a few people and you’re likely to receive a variety of contradictory…
Statue of Genghis Khan at at Tsonjin Boldog near Ulaanbaatar. Enkhbold G/ Flickr

Male sexual despots rewrite history

“Heredity”, opined the pioneering cultural anthropologist Alfred L. Kroeber in 1915, “cannot be allowed to have acted any part in history”. I have yet to encounter a crisper expression of the view that…
A Red Cross burial team retrieves the body of a suspected victim of Ebola in Liberia. EPA/Ahmed Jallanzo

Elections in the time of Ebola

How will the Ebola crisis influence next week’s mid-term elections in the USA? One might expect that an epidemic limited almost entirely to West Africa should be way, way down on the list of factors likely…

Economic dependence promotes prudishness

Marriage, according to those who habitually preface the word with “traditional”, is a collaboration. With complementary roles, filled as predictably by one woman and one man as peanut butter fills the…

What makes us human?

What separates humans from other animals, including our closest relatives? It’s one of those big questions perennially posed by the evo-curious public. But until recently I seldom gave it much thought…

Atheism snookered by moral snap-judgements

When Jack was young, he began inflicting harm on animals. It started with just pulling the wings off flies, but eventually progressed to torturing squirrels and stray cats in his neighbourhood. As an adult…