Human Evolution

Tag archives for Human Evolution

How to find a Leprechaun

Nature editor and author Henry Gee has produced his Christmas list in which he describes his three wishes as an editor at a scientific journal; he enumerates the scientific discoveries that sit at the top of his professional “bucket list.” I started to write a comment on Henry’s blog post, here, but it turned into…

Catching Fire. The other one.

Catching Fire is apparently a very popular book and/or movie that everyone is very excited about. But Catching Fire is also a book about some interesting research I was involved in about the origin of our genus, Homo. You can pick up a copy of our paper on this page. We call it “The Cooking…

There are bacteria that use Iron (and other elements) to make tiny magnets that they carry around so they don’t get lost. (I anthropomorphize slightly.) There are isotopes of Iron that are not of the Earth, but are found only elsewhere in the universe. Suppose an event happened elsewhere and spewed some of that cosmic…

Penis Size: Does it matter and why?

A study just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences explores the question of penis size and female preference in humans. The study involved making a set of 3D models of human males of various relative body sizes, and fitting them out with various size flaccid penises. These were shown to a…

Common misconceptions and unproven assumptions about the aquatic ape theory A Guest Post by Marc Verhaegen *2013 m_verhaegen@skynet.be It is often assumed that Alister Hardy’s and Elaine Morgan’s aquatic ape theory (AAT) suggests that more than 5 Ma (million years ago) there was a semi-aquatic phase in our past (explaining e.g. human fur loss, fatness…

Fighting Over Hobbit

The Hobbit is a book by JRR Tolkien, a just released blockbuster movie, and a hominid from Indonesia. Here, we are speaking about the hominid from Indonesia. A while back I wrote a review of a book by Dean Falk, for American Scientist. You can find that review here, and you can find a different…

People who do a lot of field work end up with interesting stories to tell, especially if the fieldwork is diverse and the conditions are adverse. Often, the sort of thing people want to know about is very different from the repertoire of available stories, but as long as the expectations of the audience is…

I just want to say that Huxley is pretty bad at swimming. I quickly add, for a 3 year old human, he’s pretty darn good at it. Amanda’s family is very aquatic, as tends to happen when everyone spends several weeks per year (or longer) on the edge of a lake. They can all ski…

Following on discussion arising from this post, here is a revised discussion of throwing in human evolution. The question of diversity in science, and more specifically, success for women, is often discussed in relation to bench or lab oriented fields. If you read the blogs that cover this sort of topic, they are very often…

The Irony of the Projectile

The evidence from palaeoanthropology suggests that in the past humans were about the stature they are now, with more sexual dimporphism than now, with similar or larger brains than they have now, and used technology at the same level of sophistication as many later humans. Scientists argue over the degree to which modern day language…