Category Archives: human evolution

Caturday felid: a rationalist cat writes in about human evolution

As I’ve mentioned before, I am friends with Malgorzata Koraszewska and Andrzej Koraszewski, who run the highly popular Polish website Racjonalista, which has thousands of secular followers starved for a non-theist viewpoint in an overwhelmingly Catholic country. Malgorzata translates many of this website’s articles into Polish, and so we have struck a deal: in return […]

Human evolution: the hobbits were probably real

I’m spending most of the day writing now, and it’s difficult to find time to read scientific papers and report on them.  So do excuse me for a while if I summarize new findings from (reliable) journalistic results, even though I’ll scan and link to the original paper when possible. There are two evolution-related findings […]

A modest proposal: testing the Cinderella Effect

One of the most prominent results of evolutionary psychology research is “the Cinderella Effect,” made famous by the work of Margo Wilson and Martin Daly (you can find one of their summary papers here). Although I don’t pretend to be an expert on the extensive literature on this phenomenon, it’s pretty much what the name […]

E. O. Wilson mistakenly touts group selection (again) as a key factor in human evolution

As most of you know, Edward O. Wilson is one of the world’s most famous and accomplished biologists.  He was the founder of evolutionary psychology (known as “sociobiology” back then), author of two Pulitzer-Prize-winning books, one of the world’s great experts on ants, an ardent advocate for biological conservation, and a great natural historian. His […]

Today’s Google doodle celebrates paleobiology

Take a look at today’s Google doodle and guess what it’s celebrating? If you don’t know, the answer is here More about the subject can be found here (I know Matthew disdains my use of Wikipedia entries but that is often the most comprehensive source of information!) As the alert reader said who sent me […]

Museum sign of the week

This, from The Poke (via Matthew Cobb) is said to be from Harvard’s Museum of Natural History. Of course I am investigating the backstory, and will report when I find out. Could it have been this one?

The Piltdown Hoax at 100

by Greg Mayer The Geological Society (London) is having a special meeting today to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Piltdown  hoax. There will also be a tour of a new special exhibit at the Natural History Museum (which also has a nice Piltdown website). It was exactly 100 years ago today that Charles Dawson, […]

Popular press wildly overblows “gene for humanity”

I’m about to describe one of the worst examples of science journalism I’ve seen in ages. It is a lesson on how the popular press overblows interesting scientific findings into world-shaking discoveries. miRNAs, or “microRNAs”, are small molecules of RNA, produced by the DNA, that have recently been discovered to play an important role in […]

Third unanswered question about evolution for BBC Focus

Here is the third and last “unanswered question about evolutionary biology” that I discussed in a short BBC Focus essay.  (#1 is here and #2 here). I’m putting this up because the second and third questions appear only in the print version. How much of our behavior reflects our evolutionary past? What does it mean […]

The peopling of the Americas

by Greg Mayer The Americas were the last continents to be inhabited, and there has long been controversy about how and when it occurred. There is a general consensus that the earliest Americans arrived from northeastern Asia in the late Quaternary, but the exact peoples involved, the routes taken, when they arrived, and the modes […]


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