(University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, News Bureau) “Catastrophic Thinking” may seem a title well timed for 2020, given its global pandemic, wildfires and hurricanes. David Sepkoski’s new book, however, is not a doomsday warning for the future, but a history of how concerns about threats to the planet and the human race came to be. He travels “from Darwin to the Anthropocene” to examine how science and culture have interacted to shape those views, especially on extinction and the value of diversity.
When air quality worsens, either from the smoke and ozone of summer or the inversion of winter, most of us stay indoors. But for individuals experiencing homelessness, that’s not always an option. Researchers document the effect of air pollution on people experiencing homelessness, finding that nearly all notice and are impacted by air pollution, whether or not they reside in shelters.
Archaeologists working at the site of the ancient Maya city of Tikal in northern Guatemala have found a sophisticated water filtration system that would have proven to be millennia ahead of its time. Built at the end of a channel from the Corriental reservoir, a critical source of drinking water for the northern Maya, the […]
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Males of the extinct human species Paranthropus robustus were thought to be substantially larger than females — much like the size differences seen in modern-day primates such as gorillas, orangutans and baboons. But a new fossil discovery in South Africa instead suggests that P. robustus evolved rapidly during a turbulent period of local climate change about 2 million years ago, resulting in anatomical changes that previously were attributed to sex.
Researchers seek to understand the genetic, sociopolitical and cultural changes surrounding the formation of the eastern Eurasian Steppe’s historic empires. The study analyzes genome-wide data for 214 ancient individuals spanning 6,000 years and discusses the genetic and cultural changes that preceded the rise of the Xiongnu and Mongol nomadic pastoralist empires.
Most mammals — including humans and other primates — reach sexual maturity early or late depending on lots of different factors, such as how much food there is to eat. Now, researchers studying close primate relatives of baboons known as geladas have shown for the first time that females of this species suddenly hurry up and mature when a new male enters the picture.
For centuries, historians and scientists mostly agreed that when early human groups sought food, men hunted and women gathered. Not so, say researchers.
(Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History) The creation and use of numeral systems is a defining feature of humans, but the prehistoric origin of these systems and the cognitive skills they require are poorly understood. With funding from the European Research Commission, QUANTA will bring together four leading researchers to examine these challenging questions.
(Chinese Academy of Sciences Headquarters) A joint research team from China, Germany and Australia has now reported their findings of Denisovan DNA from sediments of the Baishiya Karst Cave (BKC) on the Tibetan Plateau where the Xiahe mandible was found.