“Virtual Paleontology” Provides Insight into Last Common Ancestor with Neanderthals

In order to address the question of what the ancestors of humans and Neanderthals might have looked liked, a research group at the University of Cambridge took a digital approach. … More “Virtual Paleontology” Provides Insight into Last Common Ancestor with Neanderthals

Discovery of Homo naledi demonstrates need to revise the Homo genus

2015 has been a very exciting year for Paleoanthropology. No doubt the pinnacle was the discovery of a brand-new hominin species Homo naledi, a bombastic revelation met with great and appropriate fanfare in the popular press. But H. naledi is not the only revision that is afoot in our understanding of the way that the … More Discovery of Homo naledi demonstrates need to revise the Homo genus

A conversation with Ian Tattersall about his new book: The Strange Case of the Rickety Cossack and Other Cautionary Tales from Human Evolution

I sat down with Professor Ian Tattersall to discuss his twenty-first (!) book, The Strange Case of the Rickety Cossack and Other Cautionary Tales from Human Evolution, released earlier this month from St. Martin’s Press and Palgrave MacMillan. Ian Tattersall in a research lab in the Department of Anthropology, American Museum of Natural History This … More A conversation with Ian Tattersall about his new book: The Strange Case of the Rickety Cossack and Other Cautionary Tales from Human Evolution

Genes Found that May Explain Expansion of Higher Brain Function in Homo sapiens

In the study of human evolution, one conundrum has always vexed us: how did humans evolve such powerful brains? Few Differences in Chimp and Human DNA The genome of Homo sapiens is remarkably similar to those of  our closest extant relatives, the common chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) and the pigmy chimpanzee, or bonobo (Pan paniscus). On the sequence level, we … More Genes Found that May Explain Expansion of Higher Brain Function in Homo sapiens

Is Violence What Made Humans Smarter than Other Animals?

It is readily apparent that humans are, by far, the most intelligent species on the planet. How this came to be, however, is anything but clear. Our substantial cognitive abilities are made possible by our enormous brains. When it comes to brain size (relative to body size), humans have the largest brains of any vertebrate. … More Is Violence What Made Humans Smarter than Other Animals?

The Meaning and Meaninglessness of Genealogy

The practice of genealogy, researching one’s ancestors and family tree, has exploded lately. Ancestry.com has become a huge success, boasting millions of subscribers and a net worth well over half a billion dollars. Many, if not most, families in the US have at least one person actively researching the long-forgotten twists and turns of their … More The Meaning and Meaninglessness of Genealogy