The World's Oldest Mummies Are Suddenly Turning Into Black Goo

Having survived 8,000 years, the Chinchorro mummies found in modern-day Chile and Peru have started decaying more quickly than ever before—in some cases even melting into gelatinous "black ooze." Scientists at Harvard think they've found the reason why. » 3/10/15 7:20pm 3/10/15 7:20pm

How Farming Almost Destroyed Ancient Human Civilization

Roughly 9,000 years ago, humans had mastered farming to the point where food was plentiful. Populations boomed, and people began moving into large settlements full of thousands of people. And then, abruptly, these proto-cities were abandoned for millennia. It's one of the greatest mysteries of early human civilization. » 11/17/14 2:50pm 11/17/14 2:50pm

Why Do We Build Walls Around Our Cities?

At almost the instant when humans started building cities, we figured out ways to put walls around them. The often violent history behind those walls is still affecting urban life today, in ways you may not realize. » 9/03/14 1:30pm 9/03/14 1:30pm

This Diver Is Cradling a 12,000-Year-Old Skull in an Underwater Cave

Inside a cave so deep and dark it's called Hoyo Negro, or Spanish for "black hole," divers are transporting a 12,000-year-old skull for 3D scanning. The skull belongs to one of the oldest and most complete skeletons ever found in the Americas. Lucky for us, the expedition was documented with an entire set of stunning… » 5/15/14 6:00pm 5/15/14 6:00pm

15 of the Weirdest Images in the British Library’s New Digital Trove

Digging through the archives of old libraries is a blast. Depending on the library, you'll find everything from dated architectural drawings to snippets of old children's books. You can just imagine the treasures to be found in the British Library's ancient archive. And, now, you don't even have to get your fingers… » 12/17/13 9:00am 12/17/13 9:00am

8 Incredible Facts You May Not Know About Human Evolution

Homo sapiens evolved about 200-150,000 years ago in Africa, but our story as a species stretches back much further than that with early human ancestors. And the evolution of Homo sapiens is itself a tangled tale, full of unanswered questions and gothic family melodrama. Here are a few facts you may not know about the… » 11/15/13 10:52am 11/15/13 10:52am

The Mysterious Tool-Making Culture Shared by Crows and Humans

Many animal species use tools, from insects, elephants and sea urchins to apes, badgers and octopuses, but there are only two animals who make hooks to catch food: humans and crows. Why we both do this is a mystery — and unraveling it could explain the reasons why tool use evolved in the first place. » 11/07/13 12:12pm 11/07/13 12:12pm

When Did Humans Start Wearing Clothes?

Determining exactly when humans began wearing clothes is a challenge, largely because early clothes would have been things like animal hides, which degrade rapidly. Therefore, there’s very little archaeological evidence that can be used to determine the date that clothing started being worn. » 9/12/13 6:00am 9/12/13 6:00am

Middle Earth: Why We Need to Turn Our Map on Its Side

Though he never actually crossed it, the Greek mathematician Pythagoras is sometimes credited with having first conceived of the Equator, calculating its location on the Earth’s sphere more than four centuries before the birth of Christ. Aristotle, who never stepped over it either and knew nothing about the landscape… » 5/23/13 12:40pm 5/23/13 12:40pm

Were Prehistoric War Dogs Key To Humanity's Survival?

Tens of thousands of years ago, humans prevailed over a Neanderthals. A new study suggests that man's best friend might have helped us win the battle. » 5/15/12 9:40pm 5/15/12 9:40pm

Tough Times Are Written in Your DNA; Good Thing You Can Erase Them

You've seen the reports that individuals with a lower economic and social status suffer from poor health more often than folks in higher tax brackets. Now, thanks to a multi-year study of rhesus macaques monkeys, researchers have found genetic changes caused by stressful environments are likely contributing to that… » 4/09/12 3:01pm 4/09/12 3:01pm

Neanderthals and Modern Humans, Like, Got Busy

Despite representing different stages of human evolution, it looks like European Homo Sapiens might have had a penchant for a little Neanderthal booty. Or vice versa. » 11/02/11 4:37pm 11/02/11 4:37pm

The Oldest-Ever Homo Erectus Gadgets Revealed

They might look like a bunch of rocks, but scientists say this is the oldest-ever collection of hand axes, picks and other cutting tools used mainly by our ancient human cousins, Homo erectus. » 8/31/11 7:00pm 8/31/11 7:00pm

Iraqis Flocked to Western Digital Habits During the War

Aside from infrastructural devastation and enormous loss of civilian life, the 2003 US invasion of Iraq has had some pretty fascinating effects on the way they live—particularly their absorption of American habits. Including the way we're glued to our phones, says NYT reporter Mahmood Al-Bachary: » 3/08/11 9:40am 3/08/11 9:40am

Artificial Ape Man: How Technology Created Humans

Archaeologist and anthropologist Timothy Taylor explains how a long-vanished artefact explains human evolution and led to "survival of the weakest." » 8/23/10 7:40pm 8/23/10 7:40pm

Geek Anthropology: The Gadget Tribes of Technology

Rob from BBG put on his hybridized geek anthropology and 8-bit artist hat to create this brilliant (and stunningly accurate) taxonomy of "technology tribes," epitomized by the sad little iFan and possibly sadder blogger. [BBG] » 1/29/09 3:40pm 1/29/09 3:40pm