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New Chinese hominin species: Dating

When an evolutionary gaze was first cast upon humanity it was believed that we had evolved in Asia due to our many similarities with orang-utans. As such most early attempts to uncover our early ancestors focused on that region. It wasn’t until the 1960s that

“Christmas parties” of the Upper Palaeolithic

I’ve previously discussed how one of the lesser known reasons forHomo sapienssuccess, particularly at higher latitudes, is our ability to divide a large group into several smaller groups to more efficiently gather resources from an area. However, an even lesser known fact is that these

A brief (pre)history of art

The facts of this post are currently disputed An appreciation of aesthetics seems to be an old trait in hominins. Ironically perhaps it seems to be older than the production of these aesthetics themselves. As early as Australopithecus it seems our ancestors had an appreciation

The evolution of monogomy, redux

For those of you who’ve been following this blog you should be able to recall that last week I wrote about a paper that purported to identify the development of monogamy in the human family tree. For those of you who haven’t been following I

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The origin of complex cooking

Today’s question comes from a Stuart Worley, submitted via the feedback form. Could you point me to (or discuss yourself) an explanation of how complex (TBD) cooking techniques “evolved”? In short, how did we get from eating single substances to, “gee, I think I’ll put

The evolution of monogamy

Humans have a rather bizarre relationships structure in which multiple, monogamous families live together. Whilst there may well be an “alpha” male he does not monopolise the females, instead allowing his subordinates to live within and mate with those in his group. This strategy is

The emergence of modern behaviour

Whilst Homo sapiens is defined by its biology, if one were forced to identify their most important attribute then their anatomy would not be it. No, it is our behaviour which truly sets apart from other creatures. Although our body is a highly derived object

When could our ancestors run?

Most people typically view Homo sapiens as physically rather weak; reliant upon our technology for survival in the harsh world. Picturing people without technology on the Savannah typically ends up with them becoming lion food in short order. We’re slower than Cheetahs, less agile than