We Are All Africans
Svante Pääbo once said, “We are all Africans, either living in Africa or in recent exile from Africa.” It is now abundantly clear that Africa was the “cradle of humanity,” with multiple waves of hominins arising on that continent and spreading across the old world, eventually being effectively displaced by our own species, which also […]
Tool Use, Technology and the Evolution of the Human Mind
We “behaviorally modern humans” likely emerged more than 100,000 years ago in Africa, spread across that continent and eventually all over the planet, effectively replacing all closely related potentially competitive species. Among many possible explanations, was the co-evolution of the human mind with tool use and technology – ranging all the way from simple stone […]
What Happened When Modern Humans Met Neanderthals?
In short, they interbred, according to Svante Pääbo, a Swedish biologist and pioneer of paleogenetics, the study of preserved genetic material from the remains of ancient organisms, including ancient human DNA. He has served as director of the Department of Evolutionary Genetics at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, since 1997. […]
Evolution and Creationism as Science and Myth
Myths symbolize ideas, values, history and other issues that are important to a people. They may be true or false, mundane or fantastic; their significance is their meaning, not their narrative content. Science is a way of knowing about the natural world. Its conclusions tentatively may be true or false, but its significance is its […]
Why Do People Reject Good Science?
Many people will consider factual information and it will change their understanding. But there are some for whom, “Providing more, accurate information doesn’t seem to change their opinions or make them alter their erroneous views,” says Eugenie Scott, Founding Executive Director of National Center for Science Education. For example, Americans have a much lower incidence […]
Cancer from an Evolutionary Perspective
Humans have a relatively high risk of developing cancer in their lifetimes. But cancer is not unique to humans. Across the tree of life, we can trace cancer vulnerabilities back to the origins of multicellularity. Cancer is observed in almost all multicellular phyla, including lineages leading to plants, fungi, and animals. However, species vary remarkably […]
Imagination and Human Origins
Try to remember the first time in your life when you imagined something. It may have been imagining what was behind the door or under the bed, or a fantastic universe of wonders and exciting adventure. As children, our imaginations are furtive and encouraged as ways in which we develop our cognitive capabilities. As we […]
Why Did Humans Start Eating Meat?
Humans have been hunter-gatherers for most of our existence as a species and hunting has long been seen as a key human adaptation, thought to have influenced our anatomy, physiology, and behavior, indeed, a force in our evolution as a species. CARTA brings experts from across the globe to explore evidence pertaining to understanding the […]
Bring Back Mammoths
Remember Dolly the sheep? How in 1996 she made international news as the first cloned mammal? Now, imagine using those techniques to bring back extinct animals, such as the mammoth or the passenger pigeon. While the concept may no longer be science fiction, the costs and consequences of this research are still unknown. MacArthur Award […]