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 […]
An amazing video with scenes from the documentary Wild Scandinavia Episode 5 (Finland), with background music of the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius’ great work Finlandia, Op. 26.
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 […]
Charlie Gardner, University of Kent; Jake Bicknell, University of Kent; Matthew Struebig, University of Kent, and Zoe Davies, University of Kent It’s tempting to think that our forests would be fine if we could simply stop trees being felled or burnt. But forests – particularly tropical ones – are more than just trees. They’re also […]
Pedro L. Godoy, Stony Brook University (The State University of New York) What does the term crocodylian bring to mind? A big reptile with a chomping jaw?
There are big wildfires in the Amazon, the world’s largest tropical rainforest. Rainforests are the oldest living ecosystems and without a shadow of a doubt, the most vital habitats on Earth (Amazon rainforest has been in existence for at least 55 million years). The Amazon represents over half of the planet’s remaining rainforests, and comprises […]
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 […]
Philip Donkersley, Lancaster University How important are bees and what will happen when they go extinct? Is there research into what is killing them? I’ve been told it’s weed killers… – Tink, aged 18, Cornwall, UK. Bees – including honey bees, bumblebees, and solitary bees – are very important because they pollinate food crops. Pollination […]
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 […]
Today, August 12, is World Elephant Day. Even though these largest existing land animals are loved, revered and respected by people and cultures around the world, they are actually close to the edge of extinction. The escalation of poaching, habitat loss, human-elephant conflict and mistreatment in captivity are just some of the threats to both […]