Evolution

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Category archives for Evolution

Darwin’s On the Origin of Species is the book that introduced the theory of evolution by natural selection and launched the field of evolutionary biology. But the text itself evolved, too, from the first edition published in 1859 to the sixth in 1872. Chapters were shortened and lengthened, words added and deleted—though, more were put…

The Buzz: Aquatic Apes? Not Likely

Were our human ancestors ocean-dwelling? In a TED talk on Greg Laden’s Blog, writer Elaine Morgan makes the case that human traits like subcutaneous fat, nearly hairless skin, and bipedalism—traits which distinguish us from chimpanzees and other close relatives—evolved during an aquatic stage in human history. ScienceBloggers, however, spare little belief for this Aquatic Ape…

Human nature is often cited as an explanation for behavior—not a result. But as Eric Michael Johnson of The Primate Diaries explains, human nature is as much a product of individual actions as it is a driving force. And knowing how social structures arise out of individual patterns of behavior may help us adapt to…

In the course of anthropological history, several developments served to set humans apart from other mammals: Tools, language, and domestication all played an instrumental role in shaping our evolution. Now, Razib of Gene Expression reviews a recently published book, Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human, that argues that the ability to extract maximum energy…

In this week’s episode of Science Saturday, John Horgan chats with primatologist Richard Wrangham about two features that define humanity: violence and cooking. They compare chimpanzee aggression and human warfare, discuss the ancient origins of food preparation, assess the raw food diet craze, and explore how cooking has shaped the sexual division of labor in…