Nick Longrich, University of Bath Nine human species walked the Earth 300,000 years ago. Now there is just one. The Neanderthals, Homo neanderthalensis, were stocky hunters adapted to Europe’s cold steppes. The related Denisovans inhabited Asia, while the more primitive Homo erectus lived in Indonesia, and Homo rhodesiensis in central Africa. Several short, small-brained species […]
The Earth is the only planet we know of that can support life in the cold, vast space. It seems we’re so, so lucky because our planet has a lot of unique characteristics that made life possible on it. But, interestingly, it also seems “where life can evolve, it will”. The diversity in life our […]
Vanessa Hayes, University of Sydney Where was the evolutionary birthplace of modern humans? The East African Great Rift Valley has long been the favoured contender – until today. Our new research has used DNA to trace humanity’s earliest footsteps to a prehistoric wetland called Makgadikgadi-Okavango, south of the Great Zambezi River. Our analysis, published in […]
Nick Longrich, University of Bath Are we alone in the universe? It comes down to whether intelligence is a probable outcome of natural selection or an improbable fluke. By definition, probable events occur frequently, improbable events occur rarely – or once. Our evolutionary history shows that many key adaptations – not just intelligence, but complex […]
Sleep. We all need it, and most of us don’t get enough of it. And even if we get the average recommended amount (the good old 8-hour dosage), that takes up about a third of our lives overall. But why do we sleep, from an evolutionary standpoint? The fact that it’s so widespread in the […]
Thomas Moynihan, University of Oxford It is 1950 and a group of scientists are walking to lunch against the majestic backdrop of the Rocky Mountains. They are about to have a conversation that will become a scientific legend. The scientists are at the Los Alamos Ranch School, the site for the Manhattan Project, where each […]
Walking on two legs is an evolutionary leap that led humans to conquer the world. But, why humans are walking on two legs? It’s still unclear. Now, according to a new study published on the University of Chicago’s Journal of Geology, the reason might be exploding stars a few million years ago.
Earth, our blue planet is a tiny oasis in the vast, cold, and dark space. It is the only planet we know of that can support life. The fossil record tells us that life on Earth has lasted at least 3.5 billion years (the Earth is about 4.54 billion years old), with the oldest physical […]
According to a new study published in the May 2, 2019 issue of Nature, 4.6 billion years ago, two neutron stars collided near the early Solar System (actually about 1000 light years from the gas cloud that eventually formed the Solar System). This violent collision has created heavy elements like silver, gold, platinum, cesium, and […]
Even if we stop destroying Earth’s wilderness today, it would take 3 to 5 million years for Earth to recover from the 6th mass extinction, scientists warn.