Nobel Prizes and ancient DNA – an explainer
The Nobel Prize was awarded to Svante Pääbo on 3 October for groundbreaking research based on ancient DNA. But what exactly is it and how does it impact our knowledge of human evolution and history?
When Did Humans First Wear Clothes?
Clothes have been around for millennia. But when did we first begin wearing them? Surprisingly, lice reveal the answer.
Humans Are Not the Only Farmers
A new study argues that southeastern gophers are farmers. And indeed, farming is far from a simply human endeavour.
The Neanderthal Diet
Learn how ancient DNA studies are casting doubt on the supposedly carnivorous diet of Neanderthals, our most closely related hominin ancestor. In fact, figuring out what these extinct hominins ate might be the key that unravels the mystery of their early demise. Read on to learn how.
What was the Black Death?
IN 1347 DEATH CAME to Europe. It ravaged for six years, and no one was spared. Old, young, rich and poor all died mysteriously. The mark of death was certain: Buboes would emerge in the groin or armpits, and within a few days, the victim would most likely die. Most experts agree that around 25…
21st Century Wars and Eurocentrism
AT THE TURN of the 20th century, the American political scientist Francis Fukuyama proclaimed the end of history. Liberal democracy had finally won the battle between ideologies that had characterized the century, and wars between states and ideologies were over. Conflict, of course, wasn’t over for good, but the constant warring that had always been…
An Ode to Grandeur
Since the 1980s, the biggest church in the world has been located in Côte d’Ivoire – a poor nation with only a minority of Christians. It has only been filled once, and is today falling into disrepair. This is the story of the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace.
The War of the Pickled Ear
Wars have many reasons. But only one has ever been fought over a pickled ear.
China’s Lost Industrial Revolution
In the 11th century, China was on the verge of an industrial revolution that would not see its equal until Europe invented steam power several centuries later. But how come it never happened?
Powdered Skull Was Supposed To Cure a King
In 1685 Charles II of England died of malaria. But the attempted cure was almost as deadly as the disease itself.