Category Archives: human evolution

Fire in the hole: earliest evidence of human cooking.

You may be familiar with Harvard anthropologist Richard Wrangham’s book Catching Fire: How Cooking Made us Human, in which he posits all sorts of features of modern humans, including not only morphology (teeth and brain size), but also sociality, intersexual relationships, division of labor, and other forms of behavior were impelled by the discovery that […]

Free DVD on human evolution

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) is making available a free DVD of its holiday lectures on human evolution, “Bones, Stones, and Genes: The Origin of Modern Humans,” featuring talks by three noted scientists. I’ve posted on this before, but the DVD has just become available.  So if you haven’t ordered it, now’s the time […]

More on genes and geography: diagnosing your ancestry from your DNA

When discussing the question of human races yesterday, I wondered if anyone had ever tried to diagnose an individual based on his/her complement of genes (“genotype”), and said that I was unaware of any such attempt.  Clearly I haven’t been keeping up with the human-genetics literature, because several people called my attention to a paper […]

Are there human races?

UPDATE:  I’ve received an email from a researcher who points out that two of my statements are either misleading or incorrect in view of more recent work. Here’s the email and links: In your interesting blog article “Are there human races?”, you write:”As has been known for a while, DNA and other genetic analyses have […]

Free evolution DVD

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) is giving away a free DVD of its 2011 Holiday Lectures, which this year were on “Bones, stones and genes: the origin of modern humans.” The lecturers are good, solid scientists: John Shea, Sara Tischkoff, and Tim White. You can get the DVD, available in April, by filling in […]

Do we need group selection to explain human cooperation?

Readers of this site will know that I’m not a big fan of group selection—the idea that adaptations in different species often result not from selection acting among individuals with different genetic constitutions, but from selection acting among groups, with some whole groups replacing others by virtue of their average genetic difference. One supposedly group-selected […]

Tim White recommends five books on prehistoric man

The Five Books series of interviews and book recommendations on The Browser continues with an interview with paleoanthropologist Tim White from Berkeley.  His choice of the best books on “prehistoric man” (women will surely object to that term) will surprise you. And be sure to bookmark the Browser’s “Evolution” section, which contains links to articles, videos, […]

Ancient artists

by Greg Mayer A paper to be published tomorrow in Science by C.S. Henshilwood and colleagues reports the discovery of a 100,000 year old paint-making shop in a cave in South Africa. They found two abalone shells which had held a mixture of red ochre, animal marrow, and other ingredients, alongside stones and bones apparently […]

Neanderthals are us– More evidence

by Greg Mayer Alert reader daveau has drawn my attention to a  manuscript (abstract only; BBC story here) posted on Science’s website by Laurent Abi-Rached and others on the genetic evidence for interbreeding between anatomically modern Homo sapiens and earlier Eurasian Homo (Neanderthal man, and a related group, the Denisovans.) Jerry and I have addressed […]

Are humans still evolving?: a Radio 4 show.

The other day, BBC Radio 4 presented a half-hour show hosted by  Adam Rutherford:  “Human evolution versus cultural evolution,” the first of a two-part series called “In our own image: evolving humanity”.  You can hear the show at the link, and I understand it will be up for a week. The show features evolutionary luminaries […]

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