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‘Blinding speed’: How an ice age led to the populating of the Americas

Tens of thousands of years ago, two gigantic ice sheets smothered the northernmost parts of what has since been named ...
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Did Neanderthals have their own language?

Did Neanderthals have language? Before trying to answer that, I should admit my bias: I’m team Neanderthal. As an anthropologist ...
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‘Deep learning’ sheds light on natural selection in human DNA

Each person’s genome contains three billion building blocks called nucleotides, and researchers must compile data from thousands of people to ...
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Why we should search for alien life within our own Solar System

By examining interstellar asteroids and comets up close, argues Harvard astronomer Avi Loeb, we might be able to tell whether ...
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Search for extraterrestrial life could be hampered by drama surrounding NASA’s telescope dreams

For nearly 20 years, NASA has been planning and constructing a telescope unlike any ever built before: the James Webb ...
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Peering back in time: Engineered synthetic organisms could help answer key evolutionary questions

Evolution is the accepted explanation for life's diversity today, but there are still some holes in the process that we ...
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Is ‘interstellar visitor’ an alien probe? ‘We should be appropriately skeptical’

One year ago, in October 2017, astronomers detected the first confirmed interstellar visitor to our solar system – an asteroid dubbed Oumuamua ...
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300,000-year-old stone tools found in Saudi Arabian desert could shed light on human migration out of Africa

Stone tools unearthed in Saudi Arabia’s inhospitable Nefud Desert indicate that members of our genus Homo had ventured beyond the ...
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Was life on Earth ‘just a lucky accident’? Next Mars mission will drill for answers

American rocket engineers are being urged to push their next Mars mission to the limits of technological performance. Space scientists have ...
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No, humans haven’t wiped out 60 percent of animals since 1970. But things still look ugly

Since [October 29], news networks and social media have been abuzz with the claim that, as The Guardian among others ...
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Viewpoint: What ‘New Atheists’ get wrong about science and religion

New Atheism is a literary movement that sprung up in 2004, led by prominent authors like Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, ...
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Ancient spearheads raise new questions about North America’s first inhabitants

[A]rchaeologists have uncovered evidence of a human settlement stretching back as far as 15,500 years: hammer stones and broken knives, ...
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Rarely studied African genes fill in ‘blank canvas’ of early human history

Humankind’s early history in Africa is coming into sharper focus with a new study of 180 genomes from a dozen ...
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‘Cradles of diversification’: Lagoons played key role in evolution of first vertebrates

Scientists have discovered that shallow, lagoon-like environments were the cradle for vertebrate evolution, giving rise to our distant ancestors. A ...
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‘De-extinction’ engineers dream of reviving the lost passenger pigeon

Once the dominant species in eastern North America, passenger pigeons roamed the forests in giant flocks up to several billions ...
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Human evolutionary theory challenged in global study by diversity of birth canals

The shape of a mother’s birth canal is a tug-of-war between two opposing evolutionary forces: It needs to be wide ...
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We started eating chocolate 1,500 years earlier than previously thought, paper says

New archaeological evidence suggests humans were cultivating and consuming cacao—the crop from which chocolate is produced—as long as 5,300 years ...
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Recreating the chemical soup that may have sparked life on earth

In the molecular dance that gave birth to life on Earth, RNA appears to be a central player. But the ...
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Where did Europe’s original dogs go?

The first farmers to arrive in Europe from the Middle East brought their dogs along with them, effectively wiping out ...
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Marathon gene? Ancient CMAH mutation may have made us better runners

When Eliud Kipchoge broke the tape at the Berlin Marathon [in September]—setting a new world record by 78 seconds—he and his fellow ...
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DNA of God: Did humans evolve a need for religion?

[H]ow does evolution explain religion? Leading scholars propose a two-phase hypothesis (here, here): First, our ancestors evolved certain mental abilities, useful ...
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No strings attached: Why are men more interested in casual sex?

First, is there any truth in [gender] stereotypes? And second, if there is, why? The answer to the first question, ...
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‘The Tangled Tree’: Book explores what’s wrong with Darwin’s theory of evolution

Until recently, the central tenets of Darwin’s theory of evolution, from how heredity works to the gradual variation in species, had ...
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Challenging earth’s oldest fossils: Critics say ‘there’s absolutely nothing biological about them’

Two years ago, researchers from the University of Wollongong in Australia shook the science world by claiming to have discovered ...
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Is there a link between climate change and human evolution?

[W]hile all the talk nowadays focuses on how to change the course of the climate’s evolution, a study out [October 11] ...
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Tragic tradeoff: How depression evaded evolution

Depression is an evolutionary conundrum. On the one hand, it’s the leading cause of disability worldwide; on the other, the ...
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450,000-year-old teeth help piece together human family tree

Crime-drama fans know that forensic scientists can ID the remains of long-missing persons by examining their teeth. To solve even ...
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Sen. Elizabeth Warren controversy: Almost every American has a sliver of Native American ancestry

The reporting on the largest genetic study of American ancestry—claims that Americans are a genetic melting pot of white, black ...