The increasingly cold grip of fall and the horror of near endless winter

There’s no doubt fall can be beautiful and the first arrival of cold weather invigorating, but trees don’t lose their leaves because they want to.  Energy is scarce in winter, and all living things have been shaped by the timeless evolutionary challenge of how to spend it wisely, even ourselves. Unlike many, I can’t bring… Continue reading The increasingly cold grip of fall and the horror of near endless winter

Key moments in humanity’s early and more recent history remain written in our DNA

Two new studies illuminate long standing mysteries in our evolutionary and cultural history.  Why were early humans smarter and more adaptable than our Neanderthal cousins even though their brains were about the same size?  When and where did the earliest Indo-European languages emerge leading to what about half the world speaks today?  DNA is a… Continue reading Key moments in humanity’s early and more recent history remain written in our DNA

The Origin of Humanity: One Gene, Two Days, a Three Times Larger Brain Than Our Cousins

A groundbreaking new study demonstrates that a change to a single gene results in humans having three times bigger brains than our closest cousins, the great apes.  How evolution preserves and repurposes information in limitless ways, creating the incredible variety of life from small, measurable changes. The human brain is the most complex object in… Continue reading The Origin of Humanity: One Gene, Two Days, a Three Times Larger Brain Than Our Cousins