Sex Unites Us

Our Species Has Spent Its History Mating with Anyone Close By     In graduate school for anthropology many decades ago, I learned that the phylogenic tree of human evolution was best represented by a sturdy central trunk. That trunk embodied the singular path of our species but there were also several weak branches sprouting off the truck that had withered and died. The roots of that central trunk were the first bipedal hominids, Australopithecines living about 4.5 million years ago, and the top canopy was Homo sapiens sapiens, modern humans. But…

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Footprints Show Humans in the Americas over 20,000 Years Ago

The Enduring Story of Human Wanderlust     A recently calculated time frame for a series of ancient human footprints at White Sands National Park, New Mexico, is bringing people, especially anthropologists and archeologists, to their feet.   These footprints were discovered in 2009 by park staff; turns out there are thousands of preserved human other animal footprints — mammoth and giant sloths, for example — all over White Sands. But The United States Geological Survey has just completed working out the age of human prints, and their date of 23,000 years old significantly changes…

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The Evolution of Waiting

Why Having Patience Is an Adaptive Trait     I know how to wait. Or I should say I once learned how to wait and now I’m grateful the ability stuck because it turned out to be an asset, especially these days. Decades ago, I was a primatologist, that is, a person trained to watch monkeys. As an anthropologist, all that monkey watching had a purpose — to test various hypotheses about why those animals so closely related to humans acted the way they did, and what that might mean for the evolution…

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The Evolution of Human Stubbornness

Why do anti-vaxxers stick with their refusal to save themselves and the lives of others?    A lot has been written about the various reasons people are refusing to get the Covid-19 vaccine. Unaware of the twenty years that mRNA techniques have been in the works, some feel the vaccines have been developed “too soon.” Others think the shots are part of a “human experiment,” and they are not swayed by the expansive clinical trials nor by the fact that 3.6 billion doses have been administered around the world so far with minimal or…

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