Curious Kids: Where Did the First Person Come From?

This is an article from Curious Kids, a new series for children. The Conversation is asking kids to send in questions they’d like an expert to answer. All questions are welcome – serious, weird or wacky! Where did the first person come from? – Maeve, age 8, Adelaide. What an awesome question, Maeve! It’s one…

Food for Thought? Diet Helps Explain Unique Human Brainpower

It’s the mystery of all mysteries of science. Why is it that humans are so unusual compared to all other life? The key to solving this riddle lies in explaining the evolution of our large brains and exceptional intelligence. For as long as humanity has been contemplating our existence we must surely have been struck…

Where Were All the Women in the Stone Age?

Were there any women around in the Palaeolithic Era? If popular culture is any guide you’d think not. And even archaeology itself has a long way to go to address a deeply ingrained bias towards men. It’s obvious that without women Homo sapiens could hardly be here today. But our cultural imaginings of the Palaeolithic…

Paying a Heavy Price for Loving the Neanderthals

One of the biggest surprises about our evolution revealed over just the last decade is the extent to which our ancestors engaged in amorous congress with the evolutionary cousins. Bonking the Neanderthals, it seems, was a bit of a pastime for the distant relatives. It happened many times in Siberia, East Asia, the Middle East…

The Human Clitoris is An Object of Beauty, Pleasure and Intrigue

It seems remarkable to me that well into the twenty-first century we still have so much to learn about many parts of the human body. Organs we’re all very familiar with – ones we take for granted – still have the power to surprise, in terms of new discoveries about their structure, function or evolution….