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The problem with defining our ancestors

Almost every paper on human evolution commences with an obligatory paragraph about how these particular scientists are defining the species in question. “Today we’re calling Homo erectus outside of Africa Homo ergaster,” they’ll say and you accept that and it’s all well and good.  But

Last neanderthals NOT found near the Arctic?

I previously discussed an article which suggested that the last members of Homo neanderthalensis retreated north into Russia prior to their eventual extinction. This conclusion was based upon the discovery of Mousterian tools – an industry produced by the neanderthals – at Byzovaya. However, although

A handaxe, nicknamed Excalibur. Does it have a genetic root?

The origin of religion

The amount of creationist claptrap in my previous post obscured an otherwise intriguing story: the origin of religion. But I didn’t have enough space to go into as much detail as I would’ve liked, but then I remembered, I own this blog! I can have

Prehistoric man changed the environment

Humanity altering the environment seems to be a very topical issue. The news seems to be full of stories about another animal we’ve driven extinct, another river we’ve polluted and how we’ve doomed our planet through man-made global warming. On the other hand we think

Jaws and creationism

Jaws and creationism. Unfortunately I’m not talking about the shark (although a creationist horror film would be awesome), but the human jaw. You see, each of our faces is different and for the most part this seems to be because neutral mutations accrue, changing our

Chimps have theory of mind?

One of the defining traits of humanity is conciousness or “sapience.” Arguably it’s what separates us from the beasts, so understanding its development is of prime importance when examining human evolution. To identify the origin of concious thought is to identify the very origin of

How our brains didn’t get big

The social brain hypothesis suggests that our brains, specifically our neocortex, grew larger because it allowed us to remember more relationships and thus live in larger groups which gave us an evolutionary advantage. The evidence for this is rather strong, allowing us to put one