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
Traumatic memories are especially prone to distortion and exaggeration over time, complicating recovery of PTSD. But could this phenomenon have once brought evolutionary value? … More Why does Trauma Cause Memory Distortion?
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
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
March, April, and May of 2015 have seen a number of very important discoveries in the study of human origins. Here is a quick recap of the studies I found most interest. In early March, researchers from Arizona State working in Ethiopia found and described a 2.8 million year old jaw bone from a species … More A Big Few Months for Human Evolution Research
In the popular coverage of science, the question is sometimes raised, “Are humans still evolving?” Some high-profile science figures such as Sir David Attenborough, and even some biologists, such as Professor Steve Jones of University College London, have said that, “evolution is over” for humans, at least in the developed West. This view is wrong. … More Yes, Humans Are Still Evolving
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
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 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