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?
A Brief History of Chickens
New research shows that the chicken was domesticated thousands of years earlier than previously supposed. But how and where did domestication first happen — and what’s the future of chickens?
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.
How We Get Around
One of the reasons that I have lately been very absent from this blog is because I’m in the middle of taking my driver’s license — amongst many other things. But thinking about driving as much as I currently am got me pondering: what is the history of transportation? We used to walk, then we began…
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…
Aborigines Were Part of a Pacific Trade Network 3,000 Years Ago
New archaeological evidence is uprooting traditional ideas about ancient Australia’s isolation from the rest of the world, showing that Aboriginal islanders were trading with islands across the Pacific 3,000 years ago.
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?